Copy That

If you think flight sims are great check out sim air traffic control

"Just say it for realism's sake," the air traffic controller says. "Are there any cookies on board?"

Of the many niche corners of YouTube, one of the more wholesome is the section devoted to videos from the game Flight Simulator. The channel Airforceproud95 has amassed over 1.2 million subscribers posting videos from the game, including a particularly hilarious one in which he spawns inside an air traffic control (ATC) tower in Atlanta, Georgia, and tries his darndest to communicate in a serious demeanor while making some ridiculous requests of the pilots and aircraft in his digital airspace.

The realistic and the ridiculous — After assuming the role of virtual ATC and contending with the "amateur airshow" of a rogue Lear jet, our narrator asks a Boeing pilot (who sounds no older than 13) what sort of snacks are on his virtual flight. When our youthful sky jockey "can neither confirm nor deny" there are cookies on board, he's sent back to the gate to get some, but not before he has to turn in front of a taxiing F-18 and "make a sound effect" at it.

If this sounds ridiculous, it's because it is. But something tells us amidst the hijinks, there's an alarming amount of truth. Aside from the bits about hovering 747s and flick-flacking ones, that is.

Commitment to character — What's particularly endearing is ATC's commitment to staying in character, and his obvious enthusiasm for all things aeronautical. He seems genuine concerned when a growing number of virtual aircraft insist on taking off the wrong way down the runways, and without checking in with the tower before doing so.

In another moment, a plane is seen pivoting around mid-air while the ATC remains calm and collected.

Controlled chaos — ATC's professional tone and job-appropriate jargon — you'd think he's actually an air traffic controller in real life — are brilliantly juxtaposed against the strangeness of his requests. Even more remarkable is that everyone else is behaving themselves... in an online game... with strangers.

The video has over 8.2 million views, incredibly, which is further testament to ATC's unique charms. You have to be really good to make a niche topic like in-game capture of air traffic control in a flight simulator take off (no pun intended) to that degree outside the confines of its specialist community. It's a welcome respite from YouTube's normal toxicity.

Microsoft just dropped the newest version of Flight Simulator on Tuesday if you're interested in checking it out after seeing this video. The game is available on the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate service so you can give it a try for only $15 per month, or $1 for the first month.

As for us? We're going to keep watching Alpha Foxtrot Papa 95 (as we've taken to calling him) do his on YouTube.