Ashen: Airport Control Simulator Demo

The thrills and spills or air traffic control!

I can’t imagine an easier job for the last week than air traffic controller. I can’t imagine a harder job the rest of the time. I’m quite easily distracted, but by the nature of my job when this happens it rarely leads to two passenger jets colliding in mid-air, killing all on board, and raining down hot fiery metal on all below. Rarely. More usually it leads to my eating someone else’s bread. Which isn’t quite as bad. Now it’s possible to have a go at being an air traffic controller in Airport Control Simulator, and its demo, where you won’t have to risk ending the lives of anyone lucky enough to fly in the gaps between volcanoes.

Unless perhaps your computer gets struck by lightning when you’re playing, causing some sort of magical Round The Twist-like event to occur when suddenly your version of the demo is in fact controlling the aircraft at your nearest airport. Which would be slightly more of an issue when the demo runs out, and all planes fall out of the sky at once.

Which is a strong argument for not playing the demo at the “Impossible” difficulty setting.

It’s essentially a hardcore version of Flight Control, the super-soaraway smash on the iPhone. But rather than simply pointing aeroplanes at runways, here you have to manage their speed and altitude as well.

Only Bergamo is available at first in the demo, which I’ve just learned is the site of a German commune in Italy, served by Orio al Serio Airport. (I hear they make nice biscuits.) I successfully landed “one airplanes”, as instructed, and received a message that frankly is true:

I am indeed the best.

Which opens up Hamburg airport with two to land. Then Barcelona! With seven. Sadly it was at this point that I decided to find out what happens if you aim three aeroplanes at it each other. It turns out you get fired.


However, that’s your only option for creating disasters. The game is all Mr Spoil Sport about letting you crash a plane at 950km/h into the sea, not allowing you to go under 200m unless above an appropriately designated runway. Pshaw.

The demo is teeny weeny, just 24MB, and can be found here. It really is very indeed an awful lot like Flight Control, except you can’t draw nice curves, but rather have to take far more care of each plane to guide it safely to a place where it can land, pull up to the jetty, and kiss the buildings.


  1. Cassette Kids says:


  2. Jimbo says:

    Worst promotion ever.

  3. Rob says:

    Let’s just hope my daughter doesn’t overdose on crystal meth, which causes me to send a plane into the flight path of another plane due to depression.

    • ulix says:

      And lets hope I don’t feel secretly responsible for the death of hundreds because I manufactured the sweet blue meth.

    • dethgar says:

      Or that my wife wants a divorce and is borking that damned Ted Benneke!

    • Christian says:

      Hey, did you forget, I’m Q, I can bring them back to life easily!

  4. Lambchops says:

    Have you ever, ever felt like this? Have strange things happen? Are you going round the twist?

    A staple of CBBC viewing for me back in the day. Although the only episode that still strongly sticks in my mind is when the kid helps out some sort of water spirit who returns the favour by helping him win a “see who can piss the highest up the urinal” contest. I bet that’s the kind of storyline which would get shot down in the ideas stage nowadays. I also vaugely remember some nudity at some point – which definately would end up being deemed innapriate now!

    • John Walker says:

      I think it’s more to do with its being Australian, than British acceptance for content having changed much.

      The nudity, I imagine, would be the episode in which Pete microwaves his swimming trunks to get them dry, causing them to imbue the wearer with super powers. They eventually start to shrink, leaving him forced to return home naked, covering his pride with a dustbin lid. Meanwhile the trunks get put on Bronson’s frog to help it defeat the horrible Gribble kid’s toad, which it does by leaping in the air, flying around an aeroplane, and then landing on the toad at terminal velocity, splattering it over all watching.

      The episode that always stood out for me was the spaghetti eating contest, simply because of seeing someone projectile vomit gallons of spaghetti over a crowd. Or the seagull poo episode.

      That was a good show.

    • JB says:

      I always liked the theme tune.

    • Alex Bakke says:

      I liked the episode where the boy couldn’t end a sentence without ‘without my pants’ without my pants, leading to hilarity such as ‘I’m walking to school without my pants.’

      And they had Round the Twist back in the ’50s? Wowzers.

      Oh, and the seagull poo episode. And the one with the cabbage patch baby.

    • Cooper says:

      I didn’t realise until my younger sister got a couple of books, that the entire series is based upon the work of some authour named Paul jennings.

      The TV series is much, much better than the books though.

      The one that sticks in my mind is the one where the bones of a dead sailor keep cropping up, and they end up having to go digging and hunting for his whole skeleton. fun for all the family!

    • JonFitt says:

      Round the Twist was a great show. Bizarre in a way which only Australians can be.

  5. DaveyJones says:

    I’m sorry, but the guys who shoveled out this crap must be on meth to think that this is an example of quality game design. Or fun. What’s next, Customer Support Simulator? Oh no, another disgruntled customer hung up. Game over. Retry? Nah.

  6. Vinraith says:

    This looks interesting. I’ve been wanting to find a decent air traffic control sim ever since that DS one that didn’t quite pan out. This looks like it might fit the bill, certainly it’s worth trying the demo. The world needs more unusual sim games.

    • RedFred says:

      Agreed but depth is also required. This looks very shallow.

    • Vinraith says:


      Yeah, that’s the sense I’m getting. I’m still going to give the demo a shot, but my hopes are not up.

  7. blaargh says:

    Also worth looking at is link to

    Not very pretty, but I possibly more “realistic.” Quite intense, anyway.

  8. Jinkeez says:

    Well that was disappointing. I guess I was expecting something a little more realistic. This is just a fancier version of a game I already have on my iPod called Flight Control. Meh.

  9. Reikon says:

    A pretty good game like this is I Am An Air Traffic Controller 3 (link to, which is an English version of a Japanese game. It’s like the DS game Air Traffic Chaos in that you have to handle multiple jobs at once. Except it’s much, much harder than the DS one.

    I don’t think there’s a demo though.

  10. wat says:

    Real simmers ATC on Vatsim. Just saying.

  11. sovere1gn says:

    This is a rip off from iPhone app called “airport touch” or something. On the other hand, that game isn’t as serious as this.

  12. Jonas says:

    There’s also .

  13. Wayne haworth says:

    Don’t look now john, but this looks awfully like flight control on the iPhone! Maybe you should mention this in your article.

  14. Kieron Gillen says:

    This seems just like Flight Control to me. Why didn’t you mention that in the post? For shame, John, for shame.


    • Skurmedel says:

      Indeed, looks like Flight Control with more realistic graphics. Although I wouldn’t mind a more advanced flight control.

    • Rich says:

      He’s stopped responding. I think he might be sobbing in a corner somewhere.

  15. RogB says:

    this looks like harbour master on the iphone that looks like flight control on the iphone. OMG John, do some research

    (‘put the gun DOWN!’)

  16. Sobric says:

    There was also that episode where Bronson (maybe?) used his penis as a motor to win a swimming contest.

    That show was odd.

    • Sobric says:

      Also, wasn’t there a game on the iPhone called Flight Control or something? This seems a bit like that. I think John is losing his touch.

  17. Keshu says:

    Flight Control.Iphone.Similiar to this.Please Research More.

  18. Richard Clayton says:

    Not a sim but an interesting resource for those interested in Air Traffic

    link to

    Now with a “Volcano Layer”. This comes a few days late as earlier in the week there were no little planes over the UK. Until Lufthansa and the KLM started to brave it.

    Don’t right click the planes and issue them instructions as they are real and it would only serve to confuse.

  19. oceanclub says:

    I have a real adversion to air traffic control simulators ever since expecting the latest cool Spectrum game as a pressie, only for my aunt to buy me this:

    link to

    (Bear in mind I think it was already a 3 year old game when I got it.)


  20. godwin says:

    I remember playing an air traffic control game in the mid 90s and it had the most spectacular cutscenes when accidents happened. I would generate a scenario with the most number of aircraft and send them all flying towards each other. Without a doubt that was more entertaining and rewarding.

  21. John Walker says:

    I should probably mention, by the way, that this is an awful lot like a game for the iPhone called Flight Control.

    • CMaster says:

      Really John? Why did you not mention such a thing earlier?

    • Ffitz says:

      Keep up, Walker! This was mentioned in the original article. Don’t you read the damned site?

    • Wisq says:

      Sadly, the people who post redundant info don’t even read other comments before posting their (now doubly or triply) redundant info. Otherwise at least you could immediately comment on your own article and point out all the info that might otherwise be redundified by redunderheads.

  22. JonFitt says:

    Having only read the headline and looked at the pictures, I feel compelled to point out that this resembles another game I have played.

    • Frankie The Patrician[PF] says:

      And that’s exactly the point when John puts a paper bag on his head, so we’ll all have to sing that stupid song all over again to calm him down….
      Why have you said that?!!!!