Qualification & Standards

SERA™ was designed with aircrews in mind and was developed in close cooperation with flight instructors and well-qualified pilots. The result is a deeply immersive and instructionally invaluable flight training experience like nothing else on the market.

SATCE Explained

International Civil Aviation Association (ICAO) Document 9625, “Manual of Criteria for the Qualification of Flight Simulation Training Devices,” defines SATCE as:

"The simulation of other traffic entities within an airspace or ground environment along with the associated ATC [air traffic control] radio and data communications to other traffic and the ownship within this wider context."

In Plain English, SATCE (Simulated ATC Environment) is the environmental cueing system on a Flight Simulation Training Device (FSTD) that simulates external traffic on the ground or in the air (both visually and over radio) and Air Traffic Control (ATC) communications in the flight training environment.

The first formal requirement for ATC and radio skills training appeared in 2006 when the the International Air Transportation Association (IATA) introduced the Multi-Crew Pilot License (MPL) in response to a sharp increase in demand for commercial airline pilots. The goal of the MPL was to provide raw recruits with the necessary training and skills to occupy the First Officer’s seat on a commercial jet aircraft, and identified ATC and radio skills as a necessary feature of FSTD training. As a result of this initiative, several working groups have formed to review SATCE requirements and have created a set of recommendations outlining the scope and behavior for a SATCE system that can be integrated into a flight simulator.

Why is there a need for SATCE?

It’s hard to believe, but realistic ATC training and the presence of other traffic is practically non-existent in the flight simulation world. The best a pilot-in-training can hope for, even in our 21st-century world of technically advanced flight simulators, is to have the already task-overloaded instructor role-play the air traffic controllers and perhaps see (but not hear) some other traffic moving around the airport on pre-scripted tracks. This is somewhat alarming considering how almost every other aspect of FSTDs has improved since the inception of flight simulators. It is especially alarming when you consider the significant amount of communications-related incidents that occur each year.

Pilots face far too many unexpected challenges in real-world flight situations to be blindsided by something that they should be trained to handle. In any given flight plan, a flight deck crew will typically communicate with over ten different controllers in various roles while performing their other duties, something an instructor simply cannot role-play. Add to that the lack of external air traffic that would be present in the real world, and essential elements of a truly immersive and effective flight training experience are missing. With such an apparent training gap needing to be fulfilled, why have improvements to ATC training and the simulation of other traffic been neglected for so long?

In short, it’s been too difficult for flight training programs to meet these critical training needs. The technology hasn’t been available, and finding a cost-effective solution that could integrate into existing simulators was practically impossible… that is, until SERA™, ASTi’s Simulated Environment for Realistic ATC. SERA is the SATCE solution, offering the flight training world a fully automated ATC training device that simulates the presence of external traffic, integrates into existing platforms on every level of flight training device (FTD), and features a budget-friendly pricing model that won’t break the bank.


ASTi designed SERA™ with aircrews in mind, developing it in close cooperation with flight instructors and well-qualified pilots. The result is a deeply immersive and instructionally invaluable flight training experience like nothing else on the market.

SERA meets and often exceeds the requirements outlined in ICAO Document 9625,“Manual of Criteria for the Qualification of Flight Simulation Training Devices,” keeping you not only on par with but ahead of the technical curve for flight simulation.

Air Traffic Control

SERA provides fully automated and interactive ATC on the ground and in the air, meaning your crew experiences an unparalleled, life-like communications environment. Radio transmissions are frequency and context specific. Controllers send instructions and respond to ownship-initiated messages.

Radio Skills Training

Controllers and background traffic reinforce the use of proper phraseology and require the crew to read back ATC instructions as appropriate. The crew learns to communicate assertively and time radio transmissions when the frequency is open.

Weather Reporting

When instructors configure weather conditions in the training mission, SERA automatically includes them in ATIS weather reporting messages. Controllers issue instructions based on the current runway, wind, and cloud conditions.

Simulated Traffic

SERA adds simulated traffic to training missions according to worldwide flight timetables. Traffic density, aircraft types, and airliners all match what the crew in the cockpit will experience in their external environment. Trainees develop situational awareness skills when they are able to see the traffic in the visual system and listen to it on the aircraft radios.

Instructor Control

SERA runs all simulated traffic and controllers, simultaneously allowing instructors to control and intervene for fine-tuning and support training emergency procedures. Instructors can clear traffic to expedite the mission and force the simulated controllers to make various radio calls (e.g., “go around” on short final), simulating runway incursions or other emergency situations.

ASTi refuses to believe that simulating high-fidelity ATC and contextually appropriate external air traffic are too problematic fora simple solution. Don’t think it’s possible? Give SERA a try. We would be happy to demonstrate our ready-to-deploy SATCE solution at your convenience.

See SERA in Action!

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