ATC personel

Discussion in 'Change to my Frequency...' started by Crane Pilot, Jul 26, 2016.

  1. Crane Pilot

    Crane Pilot Pre-takeoff checklist

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    If a pilot is on VFR flight following. Would it be ok to let center or whoever the ATC is doing the following know of your intended descent for weather or a descent when in range of the intended airport.
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2016
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  2. avgeek11

    avgeek11 Filing Flight Plan

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    As a controller when a VFR aircraft checks in with me and its moderately busy, i acknowledge the aircraft and state "advise prior to any altitude changes"
     
  3. Mike Smith

    Mike Smith Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    You don't have to, but it won't hurt.
     
  4. jordane93

    jordane93 Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Sometimes ATC will tell you advise them of any altitude changes, sometimes they won't. It's not necessary to notify them unless they tell you to. I've always let ATC know of any altitude changes but that's just my preference.
     
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  5. Ryanb

    Ryanb En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Not required, but it is a good idea too.
     
  6. Hank S

    Hank S En-Route

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    I generally tell them "beginning VFR descent" and "field in sight."
     
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  7. Cajun_Flyer

    Cajun_Flyer Cleared for Takeoff

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    My cruise alt was 3,500 ft the other day, but I ran into clouds right at 3,500. I'm still a new pilot and they looked higher from far away, so I decided to prioritize descending over letting ATC know I was descending. Once I felt safe, I then let them know what I did and why I did it. The guy told me he appreciated my weather report. Didn't seem peeved at me at all.
     
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  8. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    While it doesn't generally hurt to volunteer the information, there are some situations where it would be fairly pointless. Examples would be when you're nearing your destination, or if you're approaching class B airspace without having been cleared to enter it.
     
  9. luvflyin

    luvflyin En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Kinda sounds like ya did the "aviate, navigate, communicate" thang
     
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  10. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    The AIM says you should inform them when changing VFR cruising altitude. I suppose a descent could be interpreted as changing your cruising altitude.

    If you are in airspace where no separation exists with you vs other VFR/IFR aircraft, they won't care. If you are in airspace where separation exists, then they might care and inform you to "report any altitude changes."
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2016
  11. danhagan

    danhagan Cleared for Takeoff

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    In congested areas (California approaching Class B), they always will give you an altitude restriction due to all the metal moving through the area ... here in west Texas, you can do pretty much anything you please.;)
     
  12. MAKG1

    MAKG1 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The only times I've ever been given VFR altitude restrictions in Class E is if I'm flying outbound below class B, and report a climb that would put me inside if I could climb at impossible rates.

    Approaching Class B, ATCs response is one of "cleared into Class B" or "remain clear of Class B." And you have to get pretty close before they do either. They assume you know where it is.
     
  13. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Occasionally, I get an "advise altitude changes" usually in terminal areas. Otherwise outside of class B/C it's optional to tell them. Telling them "field in sight" is usually treated as "I'd like to cancel radar services now."

    ATC doesn't have to tell you to remain clear of the class B. You're not allowed to enter a class B without a clearance. Class C (or even D) is a different matter. You're free to boogie in there as long as you're in communications. If they want to keep you out they have to tell you.

    ATC telling you to remain clear of the class B is right up there with telling you to remain VFR. It's purely for emphasis but you were supposed to do that anyhow.
     
  14. Shawn

    Shawn En-Route

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    Letting them know your intent is correct...here is my canned answer that I post to this question that pops up every now and then for others that may be following:

    Per AIM 4-1-15-b-2:

    "When receiving VFR traffic advisory service...Pilots should also inform the controller when changing VFR cruising altitude."

    It does not say "must" but "should" and "inform" not "request".

    Some controllers may not care or get irritated...their problem. I will always call out an altitude change...when able. There have been situations where I just start down due to busy radio traffic or other reasons...hence "should"

    "Nor Cal, Sklyane 12345 starting VFR decent into Watsonville" is all you need.

    Now, the one thing that I hear on frequency that irritates controllers all the time is VFR pilots "requesting" an altitude change. You are VFR, you can fly what you want (unless given an altitude restriction)...hence likely a snarky "altitude at your discretion" response.

    "Advising" is NOT: "NorCal, would like to start my decent" or "NorCal, can I descend to 5500'?"

    Should be "NorCal, Slylane 12345 descending to 5500'"

    If your call to ATC requires any response other than "Thank You" from the controller you are not informing, you are requesting...which is not needed and will result in an unnecessary back and forth conversation and possibly a crabby controller.

    While AIM is not regulatory, it is the recommended procedure.
     
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  15. danhagan

    danhagan Cleared for Takeoff

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    I used to travel a lot from El Paso to Fullerton (Disney). Every trip there was an altitude restriction in Banning Pass, and it continued to past the west side of the pass (usually was 10500 in the pass and restricted to no lower than 8500 in it - from there I was lucky to get 4500 approaching Fullerton).
     
  16. Shawn

    Shawn En-Route

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    Yup, Altitude restrictions in E can be common on FF if you are in the approach path of any busy IFR airport, get them quite often. Usually just a traffic avoidance restriction then back to "altitude at pilots discretion" once the traffic is no factor. Banning Pass area is a the approach corridor for ONT and LAX inbounds depending on altitude.
     
  17. steviedeviant

    steviedeviant Pre-Flight

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    Thank you for this. I have made the mistake of requesting a change in altitude, but your posting clears that up. Should always look at the AIM.
     
  18. ircphoenix

    ircphoenix Pattern Altitude

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    I make it a habit now to just say my tail number and "VFR climb *altitude*" or "VFR descent *altitude*". Usually the controller says thanks for the heads up. I do fly in the relatively congested southern California area, so the controllers down here seem to appreciate the call. When I fly further north, they seem a little more like "uh... okay. Why are you telling me?" If they reply with that or an annoyed "... at pilot's discretion" then I don't bother telling them anything else until I switch to the next controller.
     
  19. weilke

    weilke Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Unless the frequency is super busy, I follow the 'should' in the AIM and advise starting my descent. Once or twice, I have received a 'maintain current altitude, I have IFR traffic below you' or a traffic advisory for someone heading the other direction. Same with calling an airport in sight, sometimes that prompts a 'remain with me for a minute' followed by an advisory about an IFR departure heading my way.
     
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  20. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I've heard controllers say "altitude pilot's discretion," but I've never heard them say it with an annoyed tone of voice.
     
  21. ircphoenix

    ircphoenix Pattern Altitude

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    I have on a couple of occasions. Which is why I mentioned it. =D Most are fine and say thanks. But there's a couple who you know just went off mic and said "doesn't this idiot know he's VFR? Why is he bothering me with his altitude?" Because it's a COURTESY as outlined by the AIM. But if you would rather I be DIScourteous, no problem.
     
  22. MAKG1

    MAKG1 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I've heard a NorCal controller respond with "Uh, OK," but never annoyance.
     
  23. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I wonder if SoCal controllers get annoyed more often.
     
  24. MarkZ

    MarkZ En-Route

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    Heh. It's funny you say that.

    During OSH week, I lost count of how many VFR FF guys trolled into the Bravo, then descended or climbed the moment I reminded them that Flight Following does not equate to a Bravo clearance. The best response to that I got, "Well, then we WANT a clearance through the Bravo!"
     
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  25. Shawn

    Shawn En-Route

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    Never had a SoCal controller get annoyed when "advised" with a brief call...have heard several get annoyed with requests for altitude changes. My experience has been the busier it is the more they appreciate it.
     
  26. MAKG1

    MAKG1 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    "Hey ***hole, Cessna 123XY descending 3500 F U." Well, maybe that isn't a great idea....
     
  27. ircphoenix

    ircphoenix Pattern Altitude

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    Whatever. 1st amendment. I do what I want. :D
     
  28. Ravioli

    Ravioli En-Route PoA Supporter

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    I may be giving them too much information but I always tell them when I'm changing altitude or track and why. The response is usually something like "thanks" or "remain VFR" but not "approved" unless it's a request to enter Bravo. I assume that the controllers appreciate knowing what I'm doing rather than guessing it from the scope. I also assume they are careful not to use terminology resembling clearances or assignments where it would not be proper.

    Oh, and I also like talking on the radio a lot so I feel more like a real pilot. ATITPA, Reading back Altimeter settings, PIREPS when it's severe clear. :)