ATC Playground At KMIA

Just finished a flight from KTPA to KMIA. Controllers at KMIA did a pretty good job. Question though…why tell me to turn to heading to 110 three times? I acknowledged it & was on that heading from the point I was asked to turn to that heading. Doesn’t ATC have ability to see the heading a pilot is flying?

There’s a variety of factors that could come into play here. If you’re referring to heading, then I’m assuming that you’ve been tuned in to approach/departure?

You’re right about ATC having the ability to see what heading the pilot is flying- for goodness sake, there’s even a big 360-degree green circle on their radar, which enables them to even make a rough guess.

Perhaps, the controller wanted confirmation of your heading. I’m not sure if it was intentional or not, but the 110-degree heading could have been thrown out there several times to ensure that you were on course. I’ve controlled LAX Center several times, and the planes I’ve trafficked into the airport were ordered to turn heading from time to time (gives spacing and opportunity for flow through runways).

Though, the controller could have been acting stupid for no apparent reason. The whole three-times thing kind of strikes me off a bit (if it were two times, then I would let it slide). I find it hard to believe that a controller would accidentally order you on the 110-degree heading three times in a row.

Therefore, I would conclude that the controller wasn’t acting to the best of his ability- he erred in his judgement. It still stands to remember, however, that controllers have a master plan in their head to traffic planes in and out. You’ll need both sides of the story to understand the situation.


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I was on approach. They had me deviate from my flight plan heading to the 110 heading & maintain. I was in compliance with the request, but thought it was strange to be told three times when I was on that heading for 30 nm’s

Yeah… Three times is a little bit iffy.

I mean, I could understand the deviation if the controller needed some room to maneuver aircraft ahead of you. If there’s few aircraft, however, and they’re appropriately distanced from you on approach, then something fishy is definitely up.

Something seemed off already if he/she had to tell you three times. You’ve responded to the request, so I don’t see any other reason the controller could be hounding you if you were following instructions. Three times in a row is definitely not a case of “dumb thumbs” with instruction.

If I were controlling you (that sounds… wrong), then I would have you continue on your course, provided that there weren’t any heavy traffic around the airport. Was there any traffic at all?

I’m just kind of at a loss for words. I think the controller was in the wrong, but more details would be needed (traffic, etc?).

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Maybe 3 other planes in the area. Pretty light

I also understand ATC is practicing & learning. But, for light traffic, I thought it was odd he/she didn’t know I was on the heading they advised me on.