Calling ATC when AP is off

How would you go about communicating with ATC/unicom when AP is off or partially off? I personally find that I can’t always reliably announce every single thing on unicom because the ATC popup basically block the entire screen and I can’t see my pitch at all. Also can I get ghosted for not using unicom enough?
Even worse if I need to use the rudder in crosswinds.

I agree with you that it is difficult. The solution I’ve found is contacting ATC at about 20-25nm out as I will still have AP on because I turn it off at about 10nm out.

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The best thing to do, is find the runways in use. And the charts for the airport.just type in the ICAO, then charts, I’m sure you’ll find a PDF for it.

This mainly applies on the Expert Server…

Meanwhile, I get a Subway.

Not that I know of, but I encourage everyone to use Unicom despite flying by yourself with no one in the area.

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Always use Unicom, whether you are on Training Server or Expert Server

It makes for a better experience for everyone, lead by example 🙂

With regards to using ATC when auto pilot is off, I don’t find it an issue, just plan ahead and give yourself plenty of time to find the right command and have it ready.

Memorising the ATC menu options also helps so you kind of know where to select and thus spend less time fumbling through them


No, no, no, no, no, no. No.

If there’s active ATC, you must use it. Trying to use Unicom while a controller is trying to get ahold of you will most likely result in you being ghosted.

If only one frequency (i.e. only ground or only tower) is open, then feel free to use Unicom when the controller tells you to switch. However, if your airport has active ground and tower, please do the right thing and contact ATC.


I don’t believe that he was trying to say to use Unicom when there’s ATC, but to use the available communication method (be it communicating with ATC or using Unicom) at all times possible.


Just have to get used to it and hold your hands as steady as possible

No one will ever report you for not calling your pattern legs or whatever, but “will I get ghosted” shouldn’t be the threshold for etiquette. The threshold for etiquette should just be what’s best for those with whom you’re sharing the airspace. (Á la you don’t refrain from theft because it’s illegal, you don’t steal because it’s not the right thing to do, whether you’re caught or not.)

Regarding the logistics of using it without AP, it can be difficult, yes, but you should still make every effort to do so. I’ve flown tight patterns in GA planes on Unicom which seems like a never-ending string of position reports without AP, but you get used to it. If you have to, perhaps announce base just before you make your turn so that you’re not reaching for the controls while maneuvering, etc. With a little practice, it will get to be fairly inconspicuous.

But those sharing the airspace with you should know what you’re doing, whether you’re using AP or not.


Don’t be surprised if somebody takes your runway if you’re not calling on Unicom.

In real life the aircraft on final has right of way, according to US FAR, however if you aren’t announcing your legs how would they know where you are IRL?

Just, do it.

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