A few common mistakes made by pilots using atc services

This is not a gripe or attempt to belittle those that are not advanced atc. These are just observations I have made from working as atc on the advanced server. These corrections will not only make the Atc’s job more pleasant but also make you a better pilot.

  1. There is no need to report you position after atc has cleared you to land. If you are “cleared to land” then unless you wish to change to another runway or change from touch and go to full stop then please don’t tell me your position.
  2. Remaining in the pattern should only be used if you intend on taking off, turning left/right and doing a touch-n-go. Basically if you are leaving the airport to go anywhere other than directly back to same runway then use departing straight out,etc.
  3. When you request taxi, the atc responds with "taxi to runway 31L, (Contact tower when ready). That second part is what I want you to focus on. The ground controller is telling you to contact tower whenever you are ready to depart. There is no need to request frequency chance. Which brings me to my final tip.
  4. Please do not request take off unless you are first in line holding short at runway. This crowds the frequency and confuses the atc and sometimes we can not see who is next to take off because of traffic.
    I hope that at least one pilot reads this and makes these simple changes.
    Capt. Hodge
    ///ATC Adv Controller

With number one, pilots can report position after clearance if they are worried about traffic. Ie if someone has just been cleared to line up and they are on like a 2 mile short final or something


And number 2, they can use if if they want to do a single circuit and then land as well, not just touch and go


Would you not want know to that I am going south after departing from a north direction runway in order to avoid confusing me with entering a pattern?

What if you’re in a C172 - often the GA parking would have a taxiway to a midpoint in the runway. You wouldn’t be cutting in line, ATC could manage the order of aircraft? (Or not if it’s too difficult to tell who’s who at a busy airport, I’m unsure how this works in IF from an ATC perspective). Plus it’s unlikely a C172 for example, would be in line behind a jet… :)

Which is why I said if you are going anywhere besides where you took off from… That covers single circuit right?

And yes you can always report position if an aircraft is told to line up and wait when you are on short final but What’s going to start happening is no take off clearance will be given if an aircraft is less than 8 miles away. That way there is no worries.

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I just cleared you for take off, if you gave correct departure info then I know where you are going.

Reporting position is important as @MishaCamp said in his post. If a guy tells you you’re cleared for takeoff and then an incoming pilot says he’s on final, and is 20 seconds from landing, the ATC can’t tell the pilot to stop in mid-air without crashing, so he would simply tell the pilot requesting takeoff to “cancel takeoff clearance.” On Monday afternoon I was controlling ground at San Clemente, and a plane had to wait for I think six incoming planes to land before taking off. That’s where reporting position is important.

By the time he hears the inbound traffic the other guy lining up is already on the runway. I know this because I have witnessed this numezrous times. You realize how much time has passed? You clear delta 1234 for immediate take off, inbound traffic announced position on final, “oh I better cancel takeoff clearance” but delta 1234 is on the runway. Only option left is tell inbound to go around and hopefully he is paying attention.

Besides, I’m trying to simplify this process by not giving a bunch of what if’s. The pilots that will need to follow the instructions in my OP are not the ones calling in position because of runway intrusions.

These four simple tips are exactly the four things that would make the job of all controllers and also all pilots easier and for everything to run more smoothly.

Controllers constantly clearing ground traffic to change to tower or figure out whether aircraft are actually remaining in the pattern takes time away from important things like departures and sequencing inbounds.

Thanks for your post!

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Since this has been bumped, may I add that you shouldn’t report your position after you’ve been sequenced

Also I do notice people requesting takeoff way before there at the runway. They shouldn’t actually change frequencies until at the runway.

I feel like these kind of posts can be very useless. No one needs to know what you think they’re doing wrong. If those “common mistakes” are really mistakes ATC will let the pilots know. 1st of all we need to report our position if we’re on final to let everyone know one more time we’re about to enter the runway. Just in case of those people who don’t pay attention and enter the runway when you’re approaching. If ATC did not want you to request frequency change then they wouldn’t have that as an option. I do understand where you’re coming from saying request takeoff if you’re first in line though.

Only if at a non towered airport.

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As I said we need to report position for the people who don’t pay attention (even for airports w tower) 😊

That is incorrect. If tower puts you in sequence, they know where you are and they are in control of all other aircraft. Reporting your position is unnecessary and clogs the frequency.


A few inputs from me too:
1.After pilots land,and are using reversers and braking, controller says : “exit runway,contact ground on the taxiway”
( Implying u have to contact ground yourself,no need to ask frequency change)
2. Expedite- in any situation expedite means to hurry, so pilots cooperation is expected. Don’t taxi at 5 kts. And don’t overspeed too. Keep an eye on the traffic inbound. That’s the reason you are asked to expedite.
3. Always ask permission before crossing a runway.
4. Always check the runway ur assigned for take off or landing,don’t change in your own will. (METAR can change late for a controller at times,be patient).
5.No misuse of commands like “Go Around,executing missed approach” even wen ur at 10000ft or high.
6. Even if anyone wishes to cruise at incredible GS make sure u reach 250 knots IAS 30-40 miles from airport for sequencing unless traffic is too low and u have a speed discretion 👍


Also, request frequency change is used between tower and departure, approach and tower etc. and even then it is a rare real life flight when I ever use that phrase. I have never used it on the ground in real life.

This is still a common mistake made by pilots.

If you are already cleared to land, you do not need to report position. Unicom is perhaps a different scenario, but with live ATC, we know where you are. If you’re cleared, please do not report every leg of your pattern.

Second, reporting position is not the same as calling inbound. If you intend to land, you use Call Inbound. Announcing as your first interaction “XXXX is on right downwind, runway X” is not a landing request.

Third, inbound on the ILS is to be used when Approach has cleared you for an ILS approach. It is not to be used when 24 nm southwest of the cone. You’re not on the ILS just because you intend to land.