ATC Controller Issues

Hi all, not too sure if it is permitted to send screenshots of the ATC conversations and add them into here to back up my story, im happy to do so below.

I had a slight issue while flying from Paris - London about an hour ago, i understand it was busy this evening and that’s understandable. I will elaborate below.

All was fine ATC wise departing from Paris, swift and efficient. I began my decent into London and contacted London Heathrow Approach, all was fine. Was immediately given vectors which i abided by immediately and done everything the ATC instructed, as you do.

ATC vectored me to 010°, i seen on the map i should have been vectored onto the left downwind of LHR but i was not. ATC began to say if i do not follow instructions i will be reported and to check the home screen for guidance. I abided by them 100%, i ignored it and kept my decent going hoping they would realise and vector me into London and to avoid any violations i didn’t repeat myself, ATC already seemed a little touchy. The controller left me flying at 3,000ft all the way to Cambridge and ignored my request for an Appraoch at the airport and then my final call was to Divert to Standsted, which also went on deaf ears. Shame really, Was a decent flight, busy approach. Hopefully the next controller doesn’t blame their mistake on the pilot and threaten with warnings. Unfortunately had to end my flight as i wasn’t given clearance to ANY airport, nor was i permitted to gain altitude.

Anyway, if you got this far congratulations and thank you for any replies that may be sent. Any help is welcomed. Happy flying ✈️


You can send photos here.I need photos to help me.

No problem, If needed i can replay the flight and get the ATC communication of the request to divert to Standsted and requesting approach.

Tried to crop the photos and only leave the necessary information, Hopefully they’re alright.

Be aware Heathrow has been extremely busy today so approach controller may have had a lot on their hands - your best bet is to private message the controller to discuss it


Nope, that is for technical support and not something like this ;)


I completely agree with you evan, the ATC system set up right now is just unbelievable, its old and needs a serious update. For the sake of both sides


You didnt happen to lose connection at all during this time, did you? Could have possibly dissappeared on ATC radar, hence the ignored requests

Why is it so hard for an IFATC controller to admit that the system is the problem?


Eh, its actually quite good in its current state. Sure, there’s always room for improvement but its not horrible 🤷‍♀️. Not really sure what you mean by the system being the problem?


There are so many messages that are exchanged between pilots and ATC in real life, compared to even VATSIM, preloaded messages are just not able to do the job in certain situations.


Fair, preloaded messages is just how it is with no voice ATC and it usually works quite well in my experience. We’re getting a bit sidetracked from the original topic though, so i’ll leave it at that :)

I was on approach into Heathrow at the same time as you.

Unfortunately, there was only one approach controller on duty with a workload greater than one person can reasonably be expected to handle.

IRL, flow control initiatives would be implemented restricting inbounds to what the airport can accept. ATC staffing shortages exist IRL which trigger flow control initiatives including ground stops, ground delay programs, traffic metering trough Flow Constrained Areas (FCAs), and aircraft departure releases on Expect Departure Clearance Times (EDCTs). Flow control initiatives delay aircraft on ground instead of en-route,

IFATC is completely volunteer, we provide ATC services because we enjoy it doing so (with reasonable workloads).

My approach request also went unanswered as the approach controller on duty was prioritizing service to aircraft closest to airport requiring inbound separation and approach clearances.

As an IFATC controller, trust me when I say the controller on duty did the best they could given the traffic volume.

To be completely honest, I believe the approach controller was sweating bullets with the workload and likewise frustrated.

The controller had also been on duty for a good hour, thus shortly thereafter, a controller change took place. The new approach controller was in a similar situation and likewise sought help. Once a second approach controller came online, inbounds were quickly sorted and ATC service normalized.

I realize the experience was frustrating – as a fellow IFATC controller inbound to Heathrow, I had insight as to the situation and slowed my arrival. Given the unusually high traffic volume, I would chalk this up to as a one-off and not worry about it.

All the best!



Hello 👋🏼 I was the radar controller during your session. To be honest it was not a good session, the workload was extremely high I am not usually affected by high workload but it was extremely frustrating with people taking extremely long to follow vectors and also people who thought it was funny to bombard me from the local airports. There were quite a few reports handed out this session for multiple reasons such as people taking an absurd amount of time to react to vectors. Not being able to intercept the ILS cone for their assigned runway and also not diverting when told to.

However if you do feel like you were incorrectly reported please do message I am going through them now. I will take a look at the replay also, it may have been that you were incorrectly reported in a very crowded airspace or it could be that you did something incorrect which you are not aware of :)