Booking ATC | Let’s Break The Loop!

Inspired by @azeeuwnl in:
Expert pilots - how do you choose your airports

Booking Frequencies

Introduction

This request was heavily inspired by the post I linked above. Firstly, let me just say I know there are issues with this, but I’m sure we should be able to work it out.

Infinite Flight’s Infinite Loop

Basically, it goes like this:
Pilots fly to an airport > IFATC open their > Pilots fly to an airport > IFATC open their > Pilots fly to an airport > IFATC open their [goes on Infinitely].
Here’s how it works:
Pilots like flying to massive international megahubs like London Heathrow Airport, Los Angeles Inti, John F. Kennedy Inti, etc. How many times have you seen someone talking about flying to; EGLL, KLAX, KSFO, KJFK, EHAM, KORD, EDDF?
But, one of the reasons pilots like flying there is because IFATC open there when ever it is on the schedule. But, here’s the problem, IFATC only open there because pilots go there. It was very well explained in the post above so I’m not going to repeat it. But basically, we need pilots to start flying to smaller airports, so IFATC want to open smaller airports, so pilots fly to smaller airports, and so forth.

What Is The Request?

For IFATC controllers to be able to choose to “book” a frequency for a certain time/date. Note: this is optional; IFATC do not have to do this. It is simply an option. Basically, say a controller looks at the schedule for the proceeding week on Sunday evening. They know that they’ll be available, and probably want to control, Friday at 1700Z. They would go to a website, maybe if-atc.com or ifatc.org, and go to book London Luton (EGGW( tower and ground from 1700Z-1800Z. I’m not to sure how exactly the process would work, but basically it would be choosing the airport, frequency(ies), start time, end time.

How Will This Help?

Right, so as a pilot, if you want to plan to have ATC, as many seem to do, do you spend time going “well, ATC are at this small airport now… but will they be there in 10-30 mins once I have gotten ready to take off / 1-2 hours once I arrive from my dep airport”? Yeah, me too. So, in app, if you as a pilot could see all the bookings, then there will be a greater chance that IFATC will be there still be there / will have opened by the time you arrive/depart.

Say I am planning a flight, I want to fly from the US to the UK. Ok, obviously there are lots of airport pairs, but let’s just say I have two options for simplicity.

This is the ATC scheduled airports

London Heathrow* (EGLL), New York* (KJFK(, Edinburgh (EGPH), Orlando (KMCO).

Option 1: EGLL-KJFK
I have ATC the whole flight.
Option 2: EGPH-KMCO
At the minute, I would have no ATC. I just wouldn’t. Both of these airports are relatively small - yes, I know they are large, but relatively speaking, they’re not. That means that less pilots will fly there, meaning IFATC are going to be battling to get a position at EGLL or KJFK to get some good traffic to work. Two people loose out in this situation

  1. Any pilots like me trying to fly from EGPH-KMCO with ATC but not getting it
  2. ATC who kinda wanna open either EGPH or KMCO, but as they will get little traffic, they feel bored and try and open larger airports.

With my request, ATC could have booked to be open at EGPH, so more pilots will be inclined to fly there, meaning both pilots and the controllers get to have fun. Another massive ongoing issue this will resolve is all the traffic flocking to the hub, creating unrealistic traffic flow. Hey, all you Realism Police at places like Dublin, IFATC could use one runway like IRL as there would be less stress on the airport with 160+ 777s! We might to see fewers disasters like Tahiti.

What If A Controller Hasn’t Booked But Wants To Open?

Fine. Just find an available frequency and open. No fuss

What If A Controller Doesn’t Show Up After Booking?

Oh well, it’s like an event, sometimes people have stuff IRL. I think we can trust IFATC enough though that they’ll book when they know they can, or likely can, and just fly or open an available frequency when they are unsure.

I tried to make this as short as possible without making it too short. I did start to ramble with the EGPH KMCO example, but I hope you all got the point.

Community Issues & FAQ

Here, I will address all of you concerns or questions.

Thanks for checking out this request! If you want to see this fearure, why not leave it a vote?

The main issue here is we at IFATC can’t reserve frequencies. It’s on a first come first serve basis. It can also easily be an overused ability because people can just book the main hubs. While I do like the idea of being able to show pilots when a controller may plan to open a given airport to try and encourage traffic to go there, there’s probably a few too many logistical quirks to work out first.

4 Likes

Rather than having ATC reserve frequencies, which wouldn’t work like you said, could there be a way pilots could request frequencies open and get approved by IFATC staff then just use it like a normal ATC schedule airport? (It would still be first come first serve but it would give us a way to open more than the “set in stone” scheduled airports.)

And the come the 200 requests. I see what you both mean by there being issues with the first come first served.

1 Like

From what I’ve seen before, there have been instances where if a pilot requests that an airport be opened, whether it be via an IFC post or PM’ing a controller they know, the airport will most likely be opened up for a bit. But at the same time, the requests thread will be absolutely flooded. The IFATC Staff and Controllers all have things outside of IF, so it could be logistically challenging as well to sift through each request and have it approved.

2 Likes

Wow, so nice to see that my post has inspired you to create this request. Based on my experience as an IFATC and as a Pilot, I see your request as an ask for an on-demand IFATC service.

On Training Service an on-demand service already exists. For Expert Server the controllers have a minimum time they have to keep the airport staffed.

IFATC have tools to see inbound traffic load even before they open as controller, and I’ve often had the situation where I saw 3 aircrafts inbound for an unstaffed airport (in the schedule) within a 30 mins period. And I thought: imagine if we can just open and staff the airport, just for those three pilots, and then close again.

So your idea has inspired now a new idea with me: Pilots fly to (unstaffed) airports on the schedule for that day; IFATC can see them coming and ensure the airport is (briefly) staffed for these aircrafts.

The idea needs more thinking. But, as you said already, so has your idea 😊

1 Like

Well, I wouldn’t quite say that. It’s more for pilots to see where there will be IFATC, not to request it. And for pilots to see when IFATC might be at an airport, not the other way around. But thanks for the reply!