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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Does Flight Following automatically include permission to fly through class C or D airspace?

The situation is as following - I requested flight following at approach, got a squawk and instructed to maintain VFR with heading and altitude at my discretion. My route is through class D and class ...
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Why does Class D overlap class B around SeaTac? …and other Seattle Bravo airspace strangeness

I noticed KBFI's class delta overlaps SeaTac's bravo by 500 to 700 feet. Does anyone know which tower the overlapping airspace belongs to? Does it classify as Bravo airspace and do you need to hear ...
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How does having multiple ATC towers affect airport operations?

I know there are airports with more than one ATC Tower, though I only know it from my own country (SCHIPHOL - EHAM). This airport has two towers called Tower-Center and Tower-West. Tower-West is built ...
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1answer
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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 ...
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1answer
921 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 ...
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6answers
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What is the procedure when an aircraft with an emergency can't land due to a blocked runway?

This is a hypothetical scenario, but I'm interested to know if there are any regulations/guidance for what ATC should do in this situation. The hypothetical nightmare scenario: The runway is blocked ...
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2answers
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Why would an airliner make a 90° course change?

Why would this airliner be doing a 90° course change at cruising altitude? I saw this while waiting for a traffic light to change. 9 Jan 2020 1:42 pm (18:42 UTC) at Virginia Beach, VA, coordinates: ...
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5answers
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Can commercial air traffic operate from uncontrolled airport, airspace?

Are there any airports with scheduled services where big jets (say 737 or A320) or wide bodies regularly operate without control tower? Are there any rules (EASA FAA) for this? If controllers go ...
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Why must IFR be cancelled?

Watching flying videos and listening to LiveATC, you will sometimes hear a pilot cancel IFR approach. Why does the ATC care if you are on IFR or VFR? So long as you get on the ground safely, it seems ...
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Do seaplanes need to get clearance for takeoff?

Do seaplanes need to get clearance for takeoff? Do they have ATC? How do seaplanes get clearance to takeoff?
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Is the pilot required to keep visual lookout during IFR operations in VMC?

During VFR operations, the pilot must always self-assure separation from other aircraft, and thus must maintain a visual lookout all the time. For IFR operations but in VMC, are there any rules as to ...
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Should I wait for Tower to provide runway exit instructions?

This is somewhat already answered here (Is it a flight violation to mishear ATC instructions for exiting the runway?), but this question is more geared toward taking action before hearing from Tower. ...
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How do airports with no ATC operate?

I've heard that some airports don't have an ATC tower and nobody monitors the landings. Can someone tell me how those planes can land/takeoff safely without incidents occurring? I understand the fact ...
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When replying to ATC, callsign first or last? [duplicate]

When I was in flight school, some instructor told me that it is the unknown ICAO standard that you should reply to an ATC call with your callsign first, like this: ...
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When do pilots actually use ‘wilco’?

I know it means “I have understood the instruction and will comply.” However, any instruction that is a clearance, concerns runway use or contains altitude/level, heading, speed or squawk code ...
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How is the ATC language structured?

Is the content of spoken communications used by air traffic control and pilots defined as part of a rigorous language definition? Such as a morphological or lexical foundational system, or is ...
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What happens when I tell ATC to “mark the tape”?

You can find anecdotal mention of this phrase among pilots you may talk to as well as postings on various forums. The idea conveyed is that telling a controller to "mark the tape" means they will ...
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1answer
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Do pilots who have color deficient eyesight see light gun signals differently?

Can pilots with color deficient eyesight expect to see the red, green, and white light-gun signals as such? In other words, if the controller is giving them a green light, will they see green? If they ...
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Is ATC communication subject to FCC profanity regulations?

I've never had instance to swear or use profane terminology on ATC frequencies but I've always wondered if the same FCC restrictions which apply to terrestrial entertainment radio stations are in ...
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What is the normal descent rate for airliners?

A few days ago I was on a flight from SFO to AUS (Airbus 320) and I was shocked by the steep angle of descent into AUS. I have been on over a hundred commercial flights but I've never experienced such ...
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May the tower use the runway while an emergency aircraft is inbound?

I have a question regarding an aircraft in emergency. Of course it will have priority for landing but if the position of this aircraft is very far, like for example 20 minutes or more away, would the ...
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Is it bad form to call “ready to depart” when you know you won't be cleared yet?

My local aerodrome is towered and has parallel hard and grass runways. Simultaneous parallel departures or landings are not normally allowed. On one occasion we had been instructed to "line up and ...
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What if you don't recognise an aircraft ATC is telling you about?

Often an ATS will warn you about other aircraft: when you're taxying and need to give way, or for land-after (and other conditional) clearances, or to warn of traffic in the area you're flying in. ...
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How do airports handle traffic during emergencies?

What does ATC do when there is an emergency? This could be a tower or an ARTCC being evacuated or otherwise unusable. How do they decide whether to close the airport/airspace? What do they do with ...
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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 ...
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1answer
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How does vertical separation work above FL400?

The information mentioned in "Jeppesen Airway Manual" is that after FL400, fight levels are FL430, FL470, FL510 for the 'even' FL's column. Normally, I would expect every level divided by a thousand ...
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What data is displayed on civilian ATC radar screens?

I am developping an ATC radar for a simulation. I don't think there is any standard for radars to show aircraft data on radar screens. But there should be general data to show on radar screens. For ...
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1answer
982 views

What are the slides that ATCs use for tracking departures and arrivals?

I've seen ATCs use little slides with flight numbers for tracking arrivals and departures - is there a term for them and are they still used today with modern ATC terminals?
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Why does the Las Vegas Airport have three control towers?

Why does the Las Vegas Airport have three control towers? I just noticed, and I find it a little weird. There should only be one... Does anybody know details on how this came about? And how they work ...
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1answer
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What are the differences between ACARS and CPDLC?

What are the differences between Aircraft Communication, Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS), and Controller Pilot Data Link Communication (CPDLC)? Can anyone please let me know in short, what is ...
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3answers
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What is the maximum number of planes a controller can control?

In a small and un-busy airport, the same controller can be the ground and tower at the same time. If the sector is un-busy (e.g. late at night), he may also be a sector, ground and tower all at the ...
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1answer
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What is a two- or three-mile base exactly?

I frequently hear the tower instruction Report a two mile base for runway 5 What is the intention of that instruction? I realize that under these circumstances that we're not looking for pinpoint ...
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Do you say prefix K for airport codes in the US when talking with ATC?

I'm a new student, and I see the US airport codes on charts with the K prefix, e.g. KORD for Chicago O'Hare. I have always seen on commercial flight booking sites, only the last three, letters such ...
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What is the maximum altitude ATC would deal with?

What's the maximum altitude ATC would deal with? Any example of jets service ceiling certified for above 45.000? Commercial & Business jets?
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Why should I request a long landing?

I fly in/out of a small international airport occasionally, the runways are quite long. It is not unusual to land half-way or even three-quarters down the runway. When doing this, pilots request long ...
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2answers
2k views

Which source to use when reporting the current altitude to ATC?

While flying from KSNA to KVCB VFR at night, Norcal Approach asked for my current altitude. I was somewhere between 12.0 and 12.5 depending on which reading I was going to use. ATC had me confirm. ...
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3answers
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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 ...
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3answers
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Can a commercial airplane overtake another airplane going in the same direction?

If there are two commercial airplane flying towards the same destination, on the same flight path, and the second plane is being faster than the first plane, is the second plane allowed to overtake ...
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Restricted Area “popping up” around you — can it happen, and what do you do about it?

What happens if you are flying along through a Restricted Area (lets assume you're in a J-3 so you're VFR/no transponder, but you have a handheld radio to talk to ATC with) and said restricted area ...
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How does ATC protect Air Force One?

Air Force One is obviously a big deal. We close terminals and implement other seemingly crazy safeguards against terrorist attacks while the president is en-route to an airport. How does ATC protect ...
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2answers
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Who to call for flight following?

I was up this past weekend on my first solo cross country and decided to request VFR flight following and was a bit confused at what happened. For this question I will set up the actual situation as ...
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2answers
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What does 'intercept final' exactly mean?

I work as ATC in Korea. I have question about the exact meaning of the word 'intercept'. In FAA order 7110.65, 5-9-1 vector to final approach course, "vector to intercept the final approach course", ...
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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....
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1answer
947 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 ...
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1answer
4k views

What is typical ATC procedure when a non-pilot calls from a commercial flight for help?

"This is ShinyWings 123, I'm not a pilot, the pilot and copilot are unconscious. Help." Probably a day air traffic controllers dream of with dread, when a member of cabin crew, or even worse,...
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How can ATC distinguish planes that are stacked up in a holding pattern from each other?

If I understand holding patterns correctly, several planes stack up vertically, each circulating at its assigned altitude until given permission to exit the pattern and enter an approach for landing. ...
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How do I know how to describe my position on the airport when I contact ATC?

When asking for taxi clearance, a pilot must include his location when contacting ATC. However, I'm not quite sure exactly how to state your position in the airport. For example, I've heard some ...
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If I'm on a IFR flight plan with appropriate IFR reserves, and I'm given a lower altitude which will consume more fuel, what should I do?

Let's say I'm on a long-range flight at my requested altitude of FL250, and I am handed off into a very busy sector where the controller tells me "Descend and maintain FL210, for traffic." At FL250, ...
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Do French, Spanish, Italian, and Greek controllers still speak to their native pilots in their native language?

At the time of my retirement in 1999, controllers in France, Spain, Italy, and Greece typically spoke to their native pilots in their native language in spite of the fact that English was/is the ...
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Why are turbine-powered aircraft “considered ready for takeoff”?

In an answer given to How can I politely remind ATC that I'm waiting for instructions or clearance? by @Mark, he quoted part of AIM regs: 4-3-14. Communications a. Pilots of departing aircraft ...

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