ATC Situational Awareness

Controller’s really need to have more “situational awareness”. Someone on IFFG was complaining that there was an approach frequency and a tower, each manned by different controllers. He was with approach and got vectored into KPDX, while tower was sending On-guard messages. He ignored them and stayed with approach. Tower didn’t like that so he ghosted the innocent pilot.

Moral of the story: Us controllers are not blind. There are a lot of ways to find out the other frequencies that are available (checking FB, checking map, even tapping a plane to see what frequency it is connected too!)

Please be responsible with your power. Yes, we are ghosting more strictly than before, but you better be 100% sure that you are right before you ghost someone.


To add to this, - if you’re opening a station an an airport that already has some station active, try to get in touch with that controller. At the moment, Facebook PM best serves this purpose, - however perhaps this forum will provide an opportunity for this too? At any rate, this is a great point. Check your airport to see if anyone else is attending it (if you’re operating Tower - this could be Ground or Approach, for example), - and if you’re signing on, try to let them know, so they can do proper hand-offs and not ghost people.

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Need more info really. Had the approach controller kept him on freq because he needed further vectors? was the twr trying to pick up traffic further than 10mi? Did the pilot forget to ack the handoff and switch freq?
Approach - You should be handing off to tower as you give the last vector, so the a/c can contact the tower for 10mi finals.
Tower - Shouldn’t be “touting” for traffic greater than 10mi out, unless directly contacted by VFR traffic, when a simple “proceed inbound” or joining instructions are sufficient.
Pilots - Situational awareness and good procedures are key. Don’t rely on the controller being superhuman, they make mistakes too. If it looks wrong or sounds iffy don’t do it. Go around, don’t make a hole in the ground.


@Nigel_Wright, I’m not sure how far out 10 miles is. I was the approach controller and I gave the final vector and clearance for the ILS, then handed him off to tower

It’s about 80% length of the approach track as a rough estimate - that extends about 12-13 miles from the runway threshold I think

As a rough guide you should have handed them off to tower before they get into the triange or wedge of the approach/ILS path.

I handed off to tower before he reached the ILS. Cleared for ILS and handed off to tower just as I always do. Turns out that it was most likely a server ghost so this discussion doesn’t matter anymore anyway.

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