Grade 3 and expert server is not a place to be scared of. Some of the things you may read make it sound to be this place you should fear, but it is not. Here are a few of my points I like to make.
- It does take a little to get used to the fact that the planes around you (generally) know what they are doing and respect the rules.
- Plan ahead. Don’t just head straight to the airport, look around first and see if there is a line of traffic and where you should probably enter the line at.
- Follow the flow. Green/Red runways are not the rule, they are a guideline. The wind itself is the rule on which way you should land. A 5kt tailwind is nothing for most planes.
- When listening to ATC, look at the radar and see what other planes are doing. If you see approach is guiding planes to a certain spot and then turning, get ready for that turn.
- When the frequency is busy, be sure to look for the command from ATC at the top instead of waiting for the audio to come through. Sometimes there can be a 30-60 second delay which could cause you to miss a turn.
- Don’t feel rushed to push back and taxi. Take your time, plan your flight, and ask when you are ready. ATC is there for you and understands it takes time to plan.
- Pay attention when on the ground. Don’t go down a taxiway that already has a plane coming the opposite direction.
- Learn what “remaining in the pattern” and “go around” is and when to use it. I still see grade 5 pilots using “going around” at FL340 trying to tell me they are just passing through. Really?
- Listen to ATC even if you think it may be wrong. They have a plan for their planes. It may seem like you are being vectored away from an airport but have trust in them.
- If you have a problem with a controller or questions, feel free to DM them directly and ask. They are here to help and will let you know why they did something the way they did. I get asked questions a lot after flying “Why did you send me way over there” etc. When I point out that there was a mountain range or the flow of traffic they usually respond with “I didnt think of that, thanks”
- If you did get ghosted by a controller, make a note of their name and DM them. If needed a moderator will get involved to sort everything out.
- Have fun. For me flying on expert gives more satisfaction of a clean flight at the end of the day.