Approach Etiquette & Reminders

Hello fellow pilots! Hope you’re doing well. I wanted to go over proper etiquette for when you’re in Approach’s airspace on the Expert Server, and give some friendly reminders.

General Etiquette

  • Have patience. When you’re in a busy airspace, don’t spam messages, don’t send multiple approach requests if you think the controller forgot about you. If you’re really far out from the rest of the pack, this could mean the controller forgot about you, and it happens, we’re human. Simply just check in.-

  • If the controller suddenly goes offline, don’t make a beeline for the airport. This overwhelms the tower controller and your fellow pilots. Try your best to stay in the line the approach controller put you in, turning where previous planes made their turns.

  • Speed = If you see the plane in front of you is slowing down, do your best to follow their speed/slow down with them. No need to keep your speed up until you’re 3NM in trail of them. Also, recommended speed for being on base is 180 kts.


  • When initially calling into approach, no need to check in, just state your approach requests. This creates more work for the controller, having to respond to both requests, taking time away from other planes in a busy airspace.

  • If you’re handed from one approach to another, all you need to do is check in. We have your approach type on the screen. No need to request an approach again.

  • No need to request descent via STAR. This is mainly for Center.

  • If tower tells you “frequency change approved” after departure, this does not mean tune into approach. Tune out of tower’s frequency and don’t tune to another frequency.

  • If you were handed to approach after departure, if you have a flight plan, all you need to do is check-in. No need for flight following, no need to request a climb, etc… Also, PLEASE do not request ILS approach to your destination 5000NM away.

Thank you for coming to my TED Talk! If you have any questions, or if any controllers noticed something I missed, feel free to ask below :)


Does this apply to handoffs from Centre to Approach also, where Centre has already had your approach request?

Thanks for the helpful tips! Theres certainly been a noticable number of pilots around recently who could benefit …


Rocco sussy amogus imposter.

That is all.


Thanks for asking! If you’ve already made your approach request with center you don’t have to request again on approach. However, usually make your approach requests with approach instead of center.


This is my biggest pet peeve, and it goes for center too. All you have to do is CHECK IN. There is no need to request five different things on top of that.


“Singapore 1 is 3 miles north of Singapore Changi, requesting radar vectors to John F Kennedy.”

The vast majority of the time, pilots have a flight plan when departing. Requesting radar vectors means you want the controller to take you off your flight plan, creating more work for everyone. Plus we’ll deny the request since there’s kind of a massive ocean and a whole continent between you and your destination… so like Rocco said, just check in when you have a flight plan :)


Thank you so much for this educating and surprisingly accurate piece of text. Nice work Rocco.


I 100% agree. Just because you were not issued a speed restriction does not mean you cannot slow down. Occasionally, when having a long line of inbounds, a speed restriction might be issued to all of the planes, but one of them may be forgotten because it is far behind, or the controller never realized that they missed an aircraft. Once we do realize that we made a mistake, it is often too late. If you are on a filed procedure, you should keep your speed in line with the aircraft ahead. Don’t worry about the aircraft behind.

I also find that people on filed procedures (such as a star or an approach) will request a radar vectors approach after being told to continue as filed. I just don’t understand why? You filed the approach to fly it and you are being instructed to fly it.

One thing I want to add, though, is the use of Flight Following. People request flight following mainly because it has a lot of words (from my personal experience) without understanding what it means. They also request it after check-in so often that a whole Misc Message had to be added for that very reason: “Flight following request not required after check-in.” I am also certain that you are not flying from Singapore to JFK VFR. Another thing about FF is that some people will join the approach frequency asking for FF. As Rocco said, please just state the approach request.


If your approach controller leaves the frequency and it is some minutes before a new approach controller comes on (so not a “controller change in progress”), do you “check-in”, or start over with an approach request? (Some other option?).


Just check in! If you were assigned an approach, we can see it!


Thanks, Rocco! This is really informative!


Thank you Rocco very helpful!!!


This 👆🆙☝️

I can’t stress this enough, it’s very very frustrating when an approach controller goes offline or a controller change is in progress and the nice organisation completely goes to mayhem as everyone dashes towards the airport. In metaphorical terms, it’s like a swarm of bees!

Not only does it cause stress to the tower controller as everyone tunes in but also to the next approach controller as they have to fix the issue cause that shouldn’t have happened. “Please stand by, controller change is in progress” means just hold on a second, someone is coming to fill in.

Great topic Rocco!

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Thanks for making this Rocco!

I have a question. Does it both the controllers when pilots make sharp quick turns or would you prefer that they make smooth slower turns?

I’d say just try to fly professionally while keeping safety in mind. Never turn quickly if that means jeopardizing the safety of the flight, but also don’t take unnecessarily long to complete a turn. Listen to ATC instructions and execute them in the safest fashion as efficiently as possible.

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I fly very carefully. I was just curious.

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