Center control

Hi community,

Does anyone know when you can change frequency off the Center control?

Let’s say I’m at cruising altitude and want to go AFK but I can’t as I’m still on the frequency of the Center what should I do?

When do you change frequency?

Captain Haribo


When they direct you to another frequency or give you permission as you leave their FIR


Hi, Haribo! Controllers can see if you are inactive and will treat you as such if so. All actions will be assumed unintentional, so you can leave your device and not worry about a thing. Let me know if you have any further questions!


But I will still be on the frequency when I leave the airspace as would be AFK.

Can the controller kick you off the Frequency?

No, they can’t. You’re free to stay on their frequency and simply turn your volume down.

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Even if outside the coverage area?

Yep, that’s fine. Since you’d be inactive, you wouldn’t be penalized in any way.

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Ooh gotcha now. I imagine you’ll just stay on their frequency and they will simply clear your flight strip but as @lucaviness said the controllers know when you’re active anyway so will probably be fine with it.

Ok, shouldn’t you just be able to leave (frequency) at cruising altitude if you are inactive?

Always ask to change frequencies. Although personally, I recommend simply staying on the frequency and silencing your device. As I said above, you’re fine to leave your device at cruise – controllers won’t mind at all.

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Sorry my mistake I meant leave the frequency.

If you request a frequency change before you wish to leave then they will likely grant it, at which point you can change to no frequency or another frequency of your choice.

Hope that answers your question!

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Ok, well I didn’t specify but one of the reasons I asked is that I’m in a flight now and was at cruising altitude and wasn’t allowed to change frequency.

That’s most likely because the controller doesn’t know that you want to leave your device. You’ll be completely fine if you leave your device at cruise. Just ensure that you’re active when descending and climbing. To back that up, per section 6.6.5 of the ATC Manual…

Center controllers will be able to see if an aircraft is ‘active’ or ‘away’ by looking at their flight progress strip. Due to this, ‘away’ aircraft should be left alone and conflicts assumed unintentional (see 1B.1.6 above for exceptions) .


Just put your cevice down. I don’t think ATC will approve your freq change, but if you become inactive, even outside of the airspace, it’s fine. Eventually you’ll be out of range for them to see you anyway.

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Requested Frequency change at FL180

Was told to start on the frequency

Requested at FL320

Was told to avoid sending duplicate message

I kind of want to leave the frequency what should I do?

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Just leave.

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Ok will do that?

So no need to request frequency change?

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Why do you want to leave the frequency? It shouldn’t matter if you’re not at your device anyway.


Why don’t you want to be on the frequency?