VRC Documentation


What is VRC?

VRC stands for Virtual Radar Client. VRC is used to connect to the VATSIM Virtual Air Traffic SIMulation network. VRC simulates the radar system used by air traffic controllers to guide aircraft along their routes through the simulated world on VATSIM. VRC is developed by Ross A. Carlson, a controller and instructor in the VATSIM Boston ARTCC. (ZBW) Portions of VRC (mainly the underlying networking and voice libraries) were contributed by Chris Serio and Ben Supnik, also of the virtual Boston ARTCC.

Development of VRC began in April of 2005. Phase one of the closed beta test began in November of 2005. Phase two began in March of 2006, and VRC was released in April of 2006.

Why Make Another ATC Client?

VATSIM began with ProController, which was then replaced by ASRC. ASRC is a fantastic program with many great features and excellent reliability. VRC was developed as an alternative to ASRC, primarily for users with multiple-monitor computer systems. VRC also takes a slightly different approach in terms of its user interface. Where ASRC strives to more closely model real-world radar systems, VRC was designed more for ease of use in the simulated radar environment found on VATSIM. Realism is a secondary concern, instead of a primary design goal.

Single vs. Multiple Monitor Support

As mentioned above, VRC is design for use on multiple-monitor systems. The goal is to keep the primary radar screen as uncluttered as possible. This is achieved by moving all secondary functions to floating tool windows which are intended to be dragged onto a side monitor. These secondary functions include flight strip editing, chat, communications control, the controller list, the arrival/departure list, etc. The only items that are kept on the main screen are those that the controller interacts with very often, such as the radio text area, the command line, and current weather information.

Because of this design approach, many users with single monitors may find the VRC interface quite "stuffy" or uncomfortable. It is possible that a future version of VRC may bring a more single monitor friendly version of the interface, but there are no such plans as yet.

Major Differences From ASRC

Following are the most notable areas where VRC differs from ASRC:

  • Numerous Floating Windows - As mentioned above, most secondary functions in VRC have been relegated to floating "tool windows" which the user can position anywhere on the screen. These are intended to be positioned on a side monitor, freeing up screen real estate for the primary scope. ASRC integrates all of its functionality into the main screen.
  • The Button Bar - Across the top of the main scope you'll find the Button Bar. This area contains various buttons which offer quick access to certain pieces of information or certain actions. This feature is vaguely similar to the buttons seen across the top of real-world STARS scopes. This feature is listed in this section because it represents a significant user interface difference between VRC and ASRC.
  • Communications Management - ASRC has a feature called the VSCS (Voice Switching and Communications System) which models its real-world counterpart. The VSCS contains buttons for both air-to-ground and ground-to-ground communications. VRC has no such device. Air-to-ground communications in VRC are handled through the Comms Panel. Ground-to-ground communications are only accesssible through dot commands.
  • The Profile System - VRC includes a system where the user can save different configurations as a "profile" and quickly restore any such configuration by way of the Profile Selection window. ASRC users can achieve similar functionality through a third-party program called ASRC Configurator.


In order to fully understand the concepts laid out in the manual, you should have at the very minimum: knowledge of basic Air Traffic Control terminology and procedures, as well as access to the sector files, alias files and POF files used in the area where you intend to control. Check with the Air Traffic Manager or training staff in your area in order to acquire the necessary files and information.

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  © Copyright 2005 Ross Alan Carlson - All Rights Reserved