ATC heading direction

I was wondering what would be the correct procedure for when ATC gives you a heading but makes you turn the direction that would result in a much longer turn. Lets say you’re descending at heading 250 and ATC tells you to turn LEFT heading 300. What would be the correct procedure. Is this to maintain spacing with traffic? Or would this just be a mistake?


Just make the turn. That’s the procedure.


What turn, the turn ATC has told you too do?

Just follow their instructions. It’s the best thing to do, and they have a reason for it. :)

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Alright then, didn’t know if it as a mistake or not…

If I understood this correctly, ATC will automatically give you a direction that results in a shorter turn. Hope that helps.

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Not all the time. Recently ATC told me to make the longer turn.

It’s probably for spacing but I can’t answer for them. If you have any other questions regarding something during your session pm the controller who was controlling at the time.

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Just follow atc direction. They know what they’re doing.

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This is not planned, we do not have the option to give “long turns” but indeed follow what you have been told even if it´s a mistake.

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That’s what I did, and I got ghosted

Did you followed their direction?

I thought I was, but apparently not?

If you contact the controller you will deffenetly get it reversed

I already did, thanks

Note that ATC does not control the left/right part of the instruction.

If you are flying 310 and get told to turn left to 340, chances are there was a disconnection at some point.

Clearly, you should just make the 30 degree right turn, not the 330 degree left turn.

ATC can’t control it, and none would be upset if you made the shorter turn.


Turn left heading 300 and maintain the altitude you were previously assigned. If you were not assigned an altitude then altitude is at your discretion, you are normally assigned an altitude. Remain situationally aware and avoid traffic if needed.

If you are being vectored for an ILS, GPS, Visual Approach or Radar Vectors then you are IFR when under a radar (approach) controllers’ control. If you are VFR then you’re responsible for maintaining separation but if you have requested flight following you will receive traffic advisories.

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@Trio you really want them to turn left?

(The question isn’t “should I turn to the heading”, it’s “should I follow the left/right part when it’s obviously backward?”)

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Folks, in the future, I’d leave these types of questions to those who know the answer. I saw a few folks guessing with some misleading and inaccurate responses. If we’re looking to improve the quality of pilots on the servers, let’s try to give folks the most accurate answer as possible. Feeding the false information will only continue the issues that folks may have. Thanks