After you tune out of Tower frequency

Had two questions from fellow IFATCs on this, so dear fellow pilots and IFATC colleagues, please share your thoughts and let’s chat about the following:

A pilot is taking off and after the ATC approves frequency change, he tunes out of Tower’s frequency. There’s no radar controller.

Does tuning out of Tower mean that you’re out of Tower’s control and that the pilot can do what he wants?

For example: after tuning out of frequency, the departing pilot does a sharp turn and is about to clash with another (departing) aircraft.

What to do?



When a controller releases an aircraft from their frequency they relinquish responsibility and release any ATS (Air Traffic Service).

Basically you release them VFR meaning they can do what they like within the rules of VFR flying.

This obviously isn’t realistic within IF as aircraft continue to climb into Class C airspace where usually Radar Control is applied.

I actually think a Tower Director frequency would benefit IFATC in this instance, where they control the aerodromes airspace rather than just the circuit.

I may be and probably am to some degree not entirely correct but in my opinion if tower releases you then its on you the pilot to fly in a professional matter not so much do as you want in the case mentioned above i see nothing wrong with a ghost or if possible a vector to avoid conflict

When we release aircrafts from our frequency, we rely on the professionalism of ES pilots and the fact that they will keep enough separation at least in accordance with the VFR rules (IFR preferably).


I would read again. Doing what you want within the rules of VFR flying is very much the ruling in the real world. Also clarified in the remainder of my post.

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In my opinion and from my experience with IFATC, I would usually keep aircraft on my tower frequency until they are clear of any other aircraft on my frequency or in my airspace. For example, if I had two aircraft departing parallel runways, I would keep them both on my frequency until they were either outside of my airspace or there was no risk of conflict.


Figured I was probably wrong lol wasnt so much responding to your post but responding to the question posted above and adding my thoughts as the post requested but I stand corrected 👍

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As far as I know, there’s not a lot that you can do as a Tower controller. Only ‘extend upwind’ or ‘traffic allert, check surroundings immediately’.

Nice tag 🦘

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Yeah, they are the main commands that we can use as controllers to avoid traffic “collisions”. We can also issue straight out departures on a case by case basis if we deem necessary.

I’m glad you like the tag! 🦘

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As a controller: I would keep the aircraft on my frequency until I was sure that they would be safe with each other and would not interfere with traffic within my airspace.

As a pilot: Just like take-off, the climb is a critical phase of the flight. I would continue to monitor the climb and change altitude and route if I am in proximity to another aircraft. Pilots must pilot and be aware of their surroundings. You see, you avoid.


As same as everyone I would keep both aircraft in my frequency until there’s no conflict between then or even other traffic, unfortunately there’s not that much of commands that tower can use, I would probably use the ”traffic alert, check surroundings immediately” most of time in departing aircrafts, in landing ones I would use the pattern instructions or request speed

Also well said by Wesley there, the pilots should be aware of your surroundings when departing or approaching in busy airports

nice tag Declan @Declan

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I know controllers like pilots to leave their frequency(to declutter the screen from flightstrips) when they say “frequency change approved” but in fact I’m a supporter of staying on the frequency to maintain a listening watch as in real life. As a pilot I like to know that a departing or arriving airplane is coming my way or what is going on in general in the airspace I’m flying through.

Btw in real life, often where there is a mix of IFR and VFR traffic, the VFR traffic is more structured by using visual reporting points(which were available a few years ago in IF) for entering or leaving the zone. In this way a tower controller knows exactly where he can expect all the traffic arriving or departing his CTR.

So maybe this could be a good idea for the dev’s to reimplement the VFR reporting points and in the same way as the SID’s work now. For example if an airplane wants to depart north, the pilot can chose the VFR departure NORTH from the list, waypoints are automatically loaded in the flightplan and everybody happy! There could even be an ATIS message “use of VFR departures/arrivals recommended/compulsory”.

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