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ATCA is software that has been designed for use by virtual air traffic controllers, manning control positions within the UK on the VATSIM network.  ATCA stands for Air Traffic Controllerís Assistant, and that is exactly what it is designed to do, assist the virtual controller in many ways.

 Why was ATCA written?  A need was seen for a facility to record relevant airfield details based upon the latest METAR information, squawk code allocation blocks, neighbouring controller information, etc.  ATCA started out life as a wipe-clean board with the relevant details written on it with a non-permanent marker!  This was not too much of a problem when controlling one airport, but when several airports or a whole FIR are covered then it would have taken all day to rewrite the board every time the METAR data changed, leaving no time for actual controlling!

Another problem that soon became apparent was that the METARís on Pro-Controller (the controller client software, or radar screen, at that time) did not automatically update as those on the VATSIM server changed.  Pilots informing the controller that a more up-to-date METAR was available would sometimes lead to embarrassment!

So, it was decided to combine the information board and some other relevant information that was recorded separately into one piece of software - the birth of ATCA. Versions 1.0 and 1.1 were purely test and evaluation versions.  The first official release came with v1.2 which, due to the program coding, was available only to controllers within the Scottish FIR.  The great successes of ATCA in Scotland lead me to write new code enabling the software to be used within the whole of the UK.  Version 2.0 was born.

 

 

 

 

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