A funny (and annoying) atc story.

So I was flying a Cessna Citation X over southern Cali, and the weather was both extremely turbulent, and cloudy. As in visibility was almost nill, heading from KLAX to KEDW. There was no ATC for most of the trip, except out of KLAX, but there was no center at the time so really, I was out of range. I began to get bored and started thinking ‘to hell with Edwards, I just want to land.’ And, as if by magic, suddenly I hear the controller for Palm Springs that had just come on, requesting contact. So I switched to their frequency, no problem. “Northsky (that was my callsign at the time) Say intentions.”

“Northsky is four nautical miles west of palm springs, requesting radar vectors to Edwards Air Force Base.”

I was smiling, finally, I would have something to do other than just sit there until edwards,

“Northsky, turn left on a heading 350, descend and maintain flight level 4,000.”

Cool, I got my vectors and i am turning and descending, with gear out, spoilers deployed and flaps full since I was in full cruise at 15,000. Eventually i make it down to four thousand and I retract my gear, flaps, and spoilers, and return to 200Kts.

Then, out of nowhere, I see a looming gray shadow come out of the haze, and I crash straight into the side of a mountain, because I was so anxious to get down, I didnt even realize that the controller (who I admit, was probably doing their best) Put me at a dangerous flight level for the airspace I was in, and put me into the side of a mountain range. good stuff.


This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.


@Rotate I wasn’t flying direct, in fact I had been flying around back and forth quite a while before that before landing at KLAX. Then, I took off and headed east, intending to make a sort of reverse L flightpath. I guess what I ran into was the Little San Bernardino Mountains.

My little advice is keep Altitude AGL on tab and keep your eyes on it on approach.


Noted, thanks for the tip. I never really did pay much attention to that.

They really need to give pilots access to the topographic maps that ATC have.


I was actually wondering why IF didn’t have that feature, I agree it would be very useful.

1 Like

The same thpe of thing happened to me the other day coming coming into WMKK on the Singapore region. Visibility was very low (3500m) so I was flying ‘blind’. At the airport the south facing runways were in operaton, which meant I had to go round the airport to land. Anyways, I was decending to ILS alt for final,but before I knew it I was faced with this:

Those poor passengers…


What’s the point of having Altitude MSL on tab as you can already see them as Instuments. Not just you, I seen them on so many pictures. AGL always help me out how high I’m from runway even if i am in unknown territory. Why MSL not AGL, I’m puzzled.


@divebuddha is that your call sign calling the Singapore centre? ;)

I spend alot of time admiring my plane in normal mode, with no HUD. If I had the AGL on the bar but not the MSL, I just know I would get mixed up and think I was lower etc. I will experiment though…

1 Like

When it isn’t very busy, controllers (also a few of the Advanced ones) vector their planes also to airports which they don’t actually cover.

A month ago I was KLAX approach, but I had enough time to vector a plane for the ILS at KRIV.

1 Like

Did you manage to pull out of that? The face I hit was pretty much a sheer drop, but it looks like you could have saved the plane if you reacted quick enough at least. (granted most of the passengers would have soiled themselves)

I prefer MSL to be on my tab, simply because I like to know exactly where I am in relation to traffic, if I were to utilize the AGL feature, it would have its own spot on the bar.

Yeah. Thankfully at the time I was paying attention and there were nothing taller ahead. I went back up a bit and waited for the mountains to finished before I defended again.

1 Like

what type of aircraft were you flying?

B767. (filler)

This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.

Sorry I don’t understand “whr I am relation to traffic”. MSL and the one on your dash would give same reading so no need 2 of the same IMO. As we don’t have barometric pressure and QNH,QNE assigned from ATC. AGL no use to you if you fly over water. We don’t have much of that ;)

That was a little misleading, what I meant was if a controller directed me to a flight level, those levels are in MSL, therefore I would want to see those numbers on my screen (or both MSL and AGL)