Checking In on Approach

Hi everyone!
This is a friendly reminder that when you tune to approach frequency with the intent to request an approach or vectors, you do not need to check in. Simply request your desired approach. On a busy frequency, this can really clog up the frequency, because we have to respond to both the check-in and the request.

On the other hand, don’t switch to approach frequency after departing unless tower explicitly tells you to contact approach. Then, if tower tells you to contact approach, you will check in. If you’re flying IFR, you do not need to request flight following, a check in is enough. If tower does not instruct you to contact approach, you do not need to contact approach.


I wish this was written in big bold letters when you opened the app…
Nice reminder for people!


on approach today EVERY pilot Checked in, I hope they see this

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I think people are just confused because approach sometimes does departure

There shouldn’t be any confusion if tower tells you where to go.

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Then why is the option there

@Ur_Friendly_Approach - I think I understand your question. When tower tells you “frequency change approved,” it means you get off their frequency and do NOT contact another one. Some people think that message allows them to tune to approach if they want. If you’re supposed to tune to a frequency, you will be explicitly told to do that.

The option is there because you’re in the range of the frequency. Additionally, you could take off and request an approach right back to the airport if you want radar patterns(but if the airspace is busy you’ll be denied radar patterns).

i meant the option of “with you” but helpful information 👌

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Ah. Checking in is there to establish contact with departure or center(or approach if it’s acting as departure). When they respond with “radar contact,” you can keep flying as you wish. If they vector you for traffic or terrain, then you must do what they say.

But the whole point of this thread is to say don’t do that

Yes, the point is to not do that when you can just request an approach. It’s a different procedure when you’re climbing or initially entering a center’s airspace.


I will say that I try to at least check in with approach when I’m planning on turning into the direction of arrivals. Mostly because it’s common for departures to go under the downwind leg arrivals and I just wanna make sure I don’t climb into their arrival pattern so if they want me to not turn, they may want to tell me to fly a heading away from their arrivals

Thanks for this reminder! I think I was guilty of doing this on your frequency today, because I was inbound to YVR and there were two approach frequencies. I had contacted frequency number 1, who vectored me, then handed me off to the second one. I was then handed back, and I checked in because I thought it was the same controller but it was a new one (who happened to be you I think)! One question is if I’m handed back to a controller who I’ve previously requested an approach with, what should I say?


If you’re handed from one approach controller to another, just check in. However, if you are handed from center to approach, request your desired service (ILS, GPS, visual, radar vectors, flight following).


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