First step as a pilot !

This tutorial will show you the steps required to join IVAO as a virtual pilot using ALTITUDE Software. It is meant to give you a short overview about the tools used, and some very basic instructions how to “behave” in this new environment.

If you have not yet done so, you will need to join IVAO to create your personal user account.

Note that this is required only once, and valid for both ATC and pilot career!

More specifically, we will show you how to…

  • Download, install and set up the required software
  • Connect to the IVAO Network (“IVAN”)
  • Submit a (basic) flight plan
  • Interact with Air Traffic Control (ATC), or how to act in absence of ATC
  • Obtain further information and training


The first thing you need to do is download our pilot client, ALTITUDE, which will allow you to connect to the network. This can be downloaded from the Software Development Pages.


MTL (Multiplayer Traffic Library) will enable you to “see” other aircraft around you by installing hundreds of aircraft and their liveries into your flight simulator.

The MTL package is included in the ALTITUDE download and will automatically install itself when installing ALTITUDE. After installation of ALTITUDE has completed, the MTL Downloader will run automatically and ask yout to initiate download of the MTL files.

Press the green “Full Install” button to install all the MTL aircraft. Alternatively, you can select the MTL you wish to install from the list.

If you are installing all the MTL, there are over 3000 models to download so this may take some time. Once the aircraft have been downloaded, an MS-DOS window will open – do not close this window. Allow it to complete its tasks.

Execute your MTL installer periodically to download the latest MTL updates.


Open your simulator and create a flight. Once your simulator is running and your aircraft is loaded, open IVAO Pilot Client

Some important things to do before connecting to the network:

  • Make sure that when you are connected, your aircraft is parked at a gate. Do not connect on the runway or on a taxiway. When choosing your airfield within the Flight Sim menus, it automatically places you on the active runway so ensure that you have selected a gate in the appropriate drop down menu.
  • Do not use the slew option in flight sim to slew around the airport once you are connected. If you have to change gates just after you connected, use the options within flight sim to load your aircraft at a new gate.
  • If connecting with an airline callsign, you must use the airlines ICAO code followed by the flight number, i.e. BAW123 not BA123.

To connect, press the “OFFLINE” button. You will see a new window.

Enter the details:

  • Callsign: The callsign of your aircraft, this could be your aircraft registration or flight number for example.
  • VID: Your IVAO VID that was assigned to you when you joined.
  • Password: The IVAN password you were assigned when you joined IVAO.
  • Real Name: Your full name that you registered with IVAO.
  • Server: The server you are connecting to. For best performance, use the one auto selected.
  • Port: Leave this box as it is!
  • If you can transmit and receive on voice, select that option. If you can receive voice but cant transmit voice, select that option. If you are text only, select no voice
  • Aircraft Type: The type of aircraft you are flying.
  • MTL Model: The aircraft and livery you want other people to see you as.

Once again, make sure your aircraft is parked at a gate before connecting!

When all of the above details are correct, press the “Connect” button.

When you have successfully connected, the sign “OFFLINE” will change to “ONLINE”, and you will receive a welcome message in the IVAO Pilot Client dialog box.


On the IVAO Network, it is mandatory to file a flight plan for every flight. Before or after connecting to IVAN, to create a flight plan open . Most fields will be unknown to you, for your first flight it is sufficient to fill flight rules, departure aerodrome, route and destination aerodrome.

Some airspaces are very compact, complicated and get very congested. We recommend that your first flight is a local flight at a quiet airport (and not the big international field of your capital!) in order to start with a simple setup. The easiest way is a local flight according to Visual Flight Rules, that is doing traffic patterns around the airfield and flying in the vicinity of the airport.

For such a flight, fill in the flight plan as follows and refer to the picture for the location of the mentioned items:

  • Field 7, Aircraft identification.
  • Field 8, Flight Rules: “V” for VFR flight.
  • Field 13, Departure Aerodrome: Enter the ICAO-Code of your departure.
  • Field 15, Route: “LOCAL” or “VFR” for your local flight.
  • Field 16, Destination Aerodrome: Enter the ICAO-Code of your destination, in this case the same as departure for your local flight.

Later on, you might want to fly a route from A to B, employing Instrument Flight Rules. To find your way, you should follow the “motorways” in the sky, or airways. There are many different sources to find these routes. The best place to get routes is from the IVAO Route Database, which lists many popular city pairs. The routes found in this database are the routings that real aircraft follow through the air.

You will need to have enroute and aerodrome charts at your disposal to follow those routes. Controllers use these charts as well and will expect you to have them. Charts for your flight can be found on the division’s website of the country you are flying at (see active divisions list). Another good method is to query your favourite internet search engine for the words “[ICAO code] charts”, replace “[ICAO code]” with the code of your departure/destination airfield.


The purpose of IVAO is to fly online with virtual Air Traffic Controllers guiding you through the skies. You should therefore have an understanding of how to communicate with controllers. 

When connected and ready to start your flight, you have to make sure if there is an online ATC station in your airport or area. To do so, click on ATC in the IVAO Pilot Client menu and a list will appear with all active controllers in your area, including their respective frequencies. See the example below:

Tune the proper frequency of the controller in your radio shack. From now you can communicate with the controller.

If you have selected to use voice for your communications, when inserted the appropriate frequency, you will also automatically join the voice channel of the controller.

Before contacting the controller you should retrieve his ATIS. Knowing the information of the controller’s ATIS will help you communicating and flying in his airspace. To retrieve the ATIS, you can follow the steps below:

The primary form of communication with ATC is voice. However, text communication may be used. When communicating via voice, there are some important things you should remember:

  • When a controller or another pilot transmits on the frequency, wait until the other station has acknowledged and replied to the transmission before you transmit something.
  • When you first connect to a new frequency, wait for a few seconds before transmitting. You may inadvertently interrupt a conversation.


If there is no ATC online in the area where you are flying, you should tune to the Unicom frequency of 122.800 (a text only frequency) and broadcast your intentions. When flying on Unicom, keep a good look out for other traffic that may be operating in your area.

The “UNICOM” frequency here on IVAO is a text-only frequency. This means that all your transmissions in this frequency are done only by text. Hence when you select this frequency, you will not join automatically a voice channel.

Unicom is not to be used as a chat channel. It should be used for operational messages only. You should use the private message feature within IVAO Pilot Client to chat to individual people.

When you first load flight sim, the default frequency is 122.800. If there is no ATC at your departure aerodrome, please remember to first of all tune to Unicom 122.800 or you may transmit your intentions on the wrong frequency.

The UNICOM frequency is not meant to chat with other pilots. If you wish to chat with another pilot or ATC, type in your IVAP .chat [airplane or ATC callsign], hit enter and a chat window opens.