Skills games help trainee air traffic controllers pass the test

A leading provider of air traffic management services in the UK and abroad received some 3300 applications for trainee air traffic controller (TATCs) positions. From this, only 15 trainees completed the highly demanding three-year programme.

Traditional classroom training didn’t resonate with the newer, younger recruits: they expected technology-based learning. Simulator training was available, but it is an expensive resource and so is often limited.

The provider needed to address methods of training to increase its reach, efficacy and efficiency.

Main factors:

  • Delivering skills training in a more cost effective and efficient way
  • Catering to a modern and broad-spectrum audience


We developed a suite of four distinct interactive games testing the trainees’ vectoring skills. They include spatial awareness, compass orientation and directional commands. Trainees navigate mazes, compass directions and unusual shapes as they explore complex subjects.

Each game increases in difficulty, allowing each learner to find an appropriate level for them. A scoring function creates an element of competition.

Trainers can assess individuals’ abilities through their game scores and provide support where needed. They’re also accessible on mobile devices allowing for informal anytime learning.


Feedback from trainees and instructors has been overwhelmingly positive. The games have received the backing of regulators, paving the way for the development of more skills-driven solutions.

Instructors are seeing increased levels of learning achieved faster. Time-to-competence is greatly reduced amongst trainees playing the basic skills games.

A 20% decrease in the requirement for simulator sessions in the initial 3 months of training has resulted in substantial cost reduction.

This solution enables the provider to improve qualification rates by better supporting their trainees. The efficiencies achieved open up a new future of training possibilities for the company.

“The role of the modern controller is changing at a significant rate. Flexible tools like these help us stay ahead of future training demands.”


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