Questions tagged [air-traffic-control]

Air Traffic Control (ATC) is a service of ground-based controllers that directs and coordinates aircraft to improve safety and efficiency.

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24
votes
5answers
6k views

May an emergency aircraft land on a closed runway?

Let's say that you're on approach to a remote airport to refuel (for arguments sake, Funafuti International Airport, Tuvalu), with 1-2 hours of fuel remaining in your aircraft. Contacting ATC to ...
20
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1answer
900 views

Practice Pans - are there any genuine reasons not to use them?

I'm a low time PPL. In my personal opinion, practice pans, perhaps one or two a year, are a good thing. Practice in a procedure that builds confidence removes one more item from the pucker factor ...
12
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3answers
4k views

I've been denied VFR clearance through C airspace, what should I do?

If I'm flying along in my C-152 and I am trying to go in a straight line through the "center" of C airspace (to land at a regional airport under the airspace), but the controller tells me to remain ...
20
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1answer
2k views

What is a counseling session with the FSDO/FAA?

I just flew into Bravo unintentionally 48 hours ago. My error: I thought I was 1,500 feet above the ceiling, but I was 1,000 feet below it. Furthermore, I had an incorrect frequency for Approach, and ...
6
votes
1answer
213 views

Where can I get information on ATC facility activity, like the number of flights handled in a month?

As a numbers/statistics geek I would like to be able to look up information on how "busy" particular airports or regions are. I'm sure the FAA collects this data, but is it accessible to the ...
16
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1answer
940 views

What's the process for an uncontrolled airfield to become controlled/towered?

I know some uncontrolled airports can have more operations per day than many controlled airports. That got me wondering what the process is for the change to a towered, controlled airport. I know a ...
13
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3answers
4k views

What is the procedure when being vectored for an approach and ATC allows you to pass through the final approach course?

If you are on a heading, being vectored to intercept final on an instrument approach, and it appears that you will fly through the final approach without being cleared to intercept it, what should you ...
5
votes
2answers
977 views

How should a Traffic Control Tower notify aircraft that their frequency just changed?

What is the policy for ATC towers to notify aircraft the frequency they broadcast and monitor on has changed? How do they do it, if radio isn't available (because they just changed their frequency)?
27
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5answers
35k views

When should the term “pan-pan” be used instead of “Mayday”?

FAAO JO 7110.65, §10-1-1 states that "pan-pan" can be used to indicate a state of urgency: a. An emergency can be either a Distress or an Urgency condition as defined in the "Pilot/...
21
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1answer
2k views

What must ATC do, following a reported laser sighting by a plane?

Supposing a pilot reports having a laser beam shone on them to ATC, what action should they take? Is the pilot allowed to take evasive action? Can other planes request clearance to avoid the area?
12
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1answer
7k views

When cleared for an approach and not on vectors, is a depicted course reversal always required?

At least where I fly, most instrument approaches now use a Hold In Lieu of Procedure Turn (HILO). The "full procedure" now consists of a turn in the hold before proceeding inbound. In the example ...
22
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6answers
19k views

Is there a dedicated emergency frequency?

Coast patrol has a dedicated frequency for emergency that must be watched at almost all hours, and even if I recall, it had a "dead silent period" to prioritise whatever emergency might be reported. ...
22
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3answers
1k views

Can Air Traffic Controllers participate in Q&A?

While asking the question in chat How do we get controllers on the site? @egid suggested there may be FAA or union restrictions on participating in Q&A. That would be sad since pilots and ...
32
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2answers
19k views

I just saw a plane drop off online radar; should I do anything about it?

I was watching Flight Radar 24, positioned near my house, to see what planes I could spot, and noticed a Cessna 550's transponder just dropped off @ 5,325 ft in a high-speed descent! Is there ...
17
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3answers
9k views

What is the security policy for getting into a Control Tower in the US?

Are there any regulations the FAA has ruled to get into a Control Tower? Do people need any special kind of security clearance? Are there forbidden items or other special rules? I'd also want to know ...
11
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1answer
827 views

Who runs the Air Navigation System (air traffic control) in Canada?

Who runs the Air Traffic Control system in Canada? Is it the government?
14
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2answers
5k views

What is the proper procedure for leaving class D airspace?

So one thing that always struck me as kind of odd was when you depart a class D tower (VFR) and you get your departure instructions, that's kind of ... it. You just go on your merry way and switch off ...
48
votes
3answers
12k views

How can I politely remind ATC that I'm waiting for instructions or clearance?

(background: low-hour, low-experience, private pilot.) I've got an issue regarding talking to air traffic controllers, especially when I think they may have messed up, yet still giving them the ...
30
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4answers
29k views

When can I request flight following?

I'm a student pilot doing all VFR flying and making flight plans for training. I've heard that most people don't file a flight plan for VFR outside of training though, and instead request "flight ...
11
votes
3answers
978 views

What is an easy format for giving pilot reports?

Is there a technique anyone has to make it easier to give PIREPs (mnemonics, etc?) I'd like to be able to give them while I fly but I can never find the expected format handy, so it ends up being a ...
20
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4answers
7k views

How are aircraft separated in a non-radar environment?

In remote areas that have no radar (oceanic airspace, etc.) how is aircraft separation maintained so that airplanes don't get too close? What do areas that normally have radar do when there is a ...
17
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2answers
2k views

How does ATC handle arriving/departing runways that cross?

Forgive my total lack of aviation knowledge. I just flew out of SFO and was fascinated by the fact that pairs of planes alternated between departing on 28L + 28R (simultaneously) and arriving on 19L/R....
22
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4answers
10k views

Can you bust a TFR while operating under IFR?

Is it possible for the pilot to be held responsible for violating a Temporary Flight Restriction if the controller makes a mistake while you are operating under an Instrument flight plan (ie: does not ...
16
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5answers
7k views

Are you required to report leaving an altitude if you have been given a crossing restriction?

If ATC gives me a clearance to cross a fix at a specific altitude or a descent at pilot's discretion and I read back the clearance, is my readback considered the report specified in the AIM, or do I ...
10
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1answer
2k views

When and how can pilots waive wake turbulence holds in the US?

According to FAA rules, controllers are required to hold aircraft 2 or 3 minutes for wake turbulence under certain conditions. When is that wake turbulence hold required, and when are pilots allowed ...
7
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1answer
344 views

How do oceanic lateral offset procedures work?

I was reading a forum for professional pilots and ran across a thread on lateral offset procedures during oceanic flight (apparently having the FMS offset the aircraft from the centerline of an ...
15
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3answers
818 views

Is English sufficient for international aviation?

Is it possible to fly internationally understanding only English for radio communications? Are there exceptions?
22
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6answers
6k views

Can you tell ATC you are a “student pilot” when you are not?

Many pilots who are not native English speakers have a hard time when they start flying in the U.S. because of the pace and sometimes elaborate instructions given to pilots by controllers. The advice ...
27
votes
5answers
17k views

Which ATC instructions should be repeated back by the pilot?

AIM 4-4-7 (b) says: Pilots of airborne aircraft should read back those parts of ATC clearances and instructions containing altitude assignments, vectors, or runway assignments as a means of ...
9
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1answer
3k views

When should the half bank mode of an autopilot be used?

Half bank can make turns more comfortable for passengers, but ATC expects turns to be at standard rate much (most?) of the time. When is it permissible to use half bank?
12
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3answers
3k views

What ATC entities does a commercial airliner communicate with?

As a private pilot, I am familiar with tower, ground, approach and departure control, but I am aware that there are other entities like clearance, pushback and center. If I were flying a commercial ...
15
votes
3answers
23k views

What are the differences between “ground stop”, “ground delay”, and “gate hold”?

I've heard several terms referring to air traffic control procedures that restrict movement for a certain period of time: ground stop, ground delay, and gate hold (plus others I'm sure I'm forgetting ...
11
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1answer
1k views

How will radar systems be used in FAA's NextGen ATC plans?

Based on the reading I've been doing of FAA's Next Generation Air Traffic Control (NextGen) plans, I've been wondering if and how radar systems will continue to be used for ATC as NextGen rolls out? ...
14
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2answers
8k views

What is the range and accuracy of ATC radar systems?

What is the average range, accuracy, and update frequency of radar systems used to monitor airspace in the USA? I'm primarily interested in capabilities for tracking smaller general aviation aircraft ...
11
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3answers
410 views

How is drone (UAS) traffic regulated in the US?

Does the FAA regulate drones at this time? Maybe they regulate only a certain class / size of UAV / UAS? Is drone regulation to the level that traffic is managed through ATC?
18
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2answers
2k views

Do controllers take wind into account when giving headings?

When ATC gives you headings to fly, do they consider wind correction? In theory they should because they call it a heading and not a track, but do they? After all, the heading they want you to fly ...
32
votes
2answers
8k views

What is the cause of unusually strong wake turbulence from the 757?

The Boeing 757 (at least in the US) is in a special class of its own with respect to air traffic control wake turbulence advisories and separation. This is apparently due to it producing stronger wake ...
38
votes
2answers
4k views

How do I “sightsee” in a class Bravo airspace?

There are some good sights to see inside of class Bravo airspace. What is the best way to plan and communicate to ATC that my intention is to fly into the airspace to see some specific landmarks?
34
votes
5answers
3k views

Should you wait to switch to the ground frequency until after crossing a runway?

I've never had the opportunity to fly into a controlled airport with parallel runways, so I've never actually faced the situation. But, in the interest of being ahead of it, when would it be prudent ...
43
votes
2answers
4k views

What does it mean when the controller uses the word “request”?

I recently had the opportunity to fly a PAR approach into Büchel Airbase in Germany. It was a ton of fun and I'll definitely try it again when I get the chance. However, as we were getting set up for ...

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