Checking In

I had a question about this. Ive looked around the forums and I have seen that this means:

“Im checking in with the tower. I am following my flight plan to the runway.”

I am one of those people that creates an elaborate flight plan to the runway and ending with the airports waypoint.

I constantly get “say intentions” from the tower after I check in.

Can the tower not see my flightplan when they click on my plane?
Do I have the meaning of Check in wrong?
Does the tower simply not know that is what it means?
Is there something I am missing?


I’m no expert do don’t solely believe me, you should check in then tell them if you are requesting a approach or flying VFR until then they will ask your intentions.

I always want to follow my real flight plan with SIDS and STARS but I never know what to tell them.


thats my issue, because I have tried following my flightplan both when the airspace is empty and busy to see if ATC does the same thing

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Most advance ATCs should know that by checking in you want to follow your flight plan, VFR is for General Aviation only so please don’t request that else you will be given a check help pages command.

If you just check in and we can see you’ve got a flight plan we will try our best to let you follow it but we will vector you if you are going to conflict with other traffic, whether that be mid flight or during your approach to fit you into an approach line.

This happens in real life when pilots file a flight plan, they can be vectored away from it.


now what is the difference between radar vectors and flight following?

Radar vectors will just direct you to the towers airspace at pattern altitude so the tower can fit you into there pattern as and where they see fit

Flight following is the safer version of VFR, again only used by general aviation it basically means your relying on the controller to vector you from any sort of conflicts where as VFR you are flying purely visual. VFR is rarely used in the real world but flight following is the main one :)

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Some reading material to better understand

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thank you @stevenwalker109

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The best you can hope for is that with the implementation of global we get some proper instruments. Then we could fly NDB approach as well as ILS and then ATC would become largely irrelevant apart from a watchful eye. With that the commands and replies could move onto a largely more realistic basis.

Why would ATC be irrelevant?

You shouldn’t be using “check in” when first contacting atc anyway

You do in real life and we could if we had clearance delivery. :)

Because in theory, you should before flight, file a flight plan, know your route, and then the ATC would assign your SID, you would fly flight plan, and then arrival ATC would assign your STAR or you would fly your procedure Approach and simply need tower clearance. Not only that you and ATC would know your chosen altitude and should follow the semi circle rule.

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