Common Mistakes and Suggested Corrections for Pilots

Recently, while controlling and flying, I’ve noticed several pilots tend to make mistakes in certain areas/phases of their flight. The best way to fix these would be by taking a look at the tutorials. I would like to highlight a few places and also make suggestions which might be of help to the pilots:

1.) When exiting the runway, do not stop before the holdshort line

This is the most common error which I see on a pilot’s end. If you do not cross the hold short line, you’re still on the runway. You may be risking a go around for the aircraft behind, or delay the aircraft waiting to takeoff after you get off the runway. Cross the holdshort line then contact ground, as is evident from the exit runway message which says: “exit runway when able, contact ground on the taxiway

Basically, do not stop before the hold short line, wait for ground to give you clearance to taxi to parking, then cross the line. That’s incorrect.

Please exit the runway as soon as possible when there is a lot of traffic and tight spacing between departures and arrivals.

You’ve got to know your surroundings at all times.

2.) Do not request remaining in the pattern if you’re not

When you’re ready for takeoff, you’ll see two options: “Departing” and “Remaining in the pattern”. Now, if you’re flying from EGLL to KJFK, and say that you’re remaining in the pattern, what you’ve done is incorrect. You’re departing London airspace. So, you must select the “Departing” option and state the direction of your departure.

Now, you may ask: What do you mean by “Remaining in the Pattern”?

@Chitown has explained this very efficiently in his post below:

Here’s a diagrammatic representation of what a pattern means:


This video tutorial will show you how a standard pattern is flown:

Note that the pattern altitude for General Aviation aircrafts is 1000 feet AAL (Above Aerodrome Level) and for jets, it is 1500 feet AAL. These are also the altitudes which a controller refers to when they say “descend to pattern altitude”. Please do not rack up high altitudes as it could cause confusion between the controller and the pilot, ruining the consistency for a transition.

You may check this tutorial for detailed information on a pattern:

3.) Calling inbound properly

Do you sometimes get confused on what is the correct thing to tell tower when you want to land? Well, then this may be helpful:

  • When no approach frequency is available, you may call inbound by selecting: Call inbound–> Landing (Or touch and go if you wish to do patterns. Refer to point 2 for pattern work), request a specific runway if you wish to, and send the message.

All the cases below refer to calling in to tower When you’re cleared for the following by the approach controller

  • When you’ve been given radar vectors for the airport, when you contact tower, call inbound–>landing/touch and go

  • When you’ve been cleared for a visual approach by the approach controller, Call inbound–>landing/touch and go–> on the visual → the runway you’ve been cleared for.

  • When you’ve been cleared for an ILS/GPS approach:

Call inbound–>landing/touch and go–> on the ILS/GPS–> Runway you’ve been cleared for.

Here’s a detailed tutorial by @azeeuwnl:
Approach Types

Quick note: Do not switch to tower frequency without being instructed to do so by the approach controller.

4.) When you’re given an intercept, you’ve got to make the last turn on your own

The approach controller will give you an approximate 30° intercept on the ILS approach. When you’re given the intercept, the last turn (to align to the runway) has to be made by the pilots themselves. I’ve seen many pilots proceed to miss the intercept by continuing on the last heading given by the approach controller.

An ILS intercept message looks like this:


You’ve got to make the last turn to align to the runway on your own.

I’ll also add that you must not deviate from the heading or altitude given by the controller in any other circumstances.

5.) Requesting flight following to an airport, when you’re doing an IFR flight, is incorrect

Now, if you’re flying from EGLL to KJFK in a 747, and on contacting EGLL departure, you request flight following to John F. Kennedy, what you’ve done is incorrect. You’re only supposed to check in to departure in such a situation. That’s it. Of course, if departure gives you some vectors, follow them as they’re most likely trying to deconflict traffic. You’re free to do your own thing once you’re told to resume your own Navigation.

You may ask: ok, so when do I ask flight following?

The Answer: Request flight following when you’re in a General Aviation aircraft and are flying VFR.

You may also take a look at this tutorial:

6.) When on ground, do not “hide airplane dots”. Actively look at the map to prevent ground collision

Ground collision as a result of pilot error, on expert server, will most likely result in a ghost. You’ve got to be aware of your surroundings.

You may ask: What do I do if the aircraft does not render?

The answer to this question is in the title of the point: do not hide airplane dots and take an active look at the map. You have to use all the possible resources to prevent a ground collision. Failure to use these resulting in a ground collision will result in ghosting.

Graphics may be lowered to reduce lagging.

Last but not the least;

7.) When on unicom, after you’ve exited the runway, report “Clear of all runways”

There are two times when you exit a runway:

  • After you’ve landed, you exit to taxi to parking

  • After you cross a runway.

In both the above mentioned cases, after crossing the hold short line, report “Clear of all runways”. This is essential for landing as well as taking off aircraft. It will inform them that you’re no longer on the runway and the next aircraft can takeoff/land, as the case may be.

I hope this was informative, and if you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask me in this topic or via PM.

If you want more information of the flying ethics on Expert Server, please take a look at the tutorials category.

Thank you.


Thank you for bringing this up. I see soooooo many people doing this every time I control.


Yep I notice all of the above on a daily basis this is a nice reminder to pilots to improve them as a pilot 👍

Yes, I’ve written “do not stop before the hold short line” :)

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Oh please don’t forget to mention the dreaded remaining in the pattern.

When requesting takeoff, only request remaining in the pattern if you intend to fly an immediate crosswind, downwind, and base leg and land/touch and go at the airport you just departed from.

If that is not your intent, and you plan to fly to a different airport and/or take a scenic tour, ask for takeoff departing straight out or other direction.

This and the stopping on the runway are the two biggest mistakes I face each time I control.


Thank you for reminding me @Chitown. I’ve seen it so many times. I have added it to the topic :)

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You don’t necessarily have to stop on the taxiway, you can still taxi. I slow my speed down to about 5-10 knots, then increase my speed when the controller gives me taxi clearance as sometimes you could be blocking the runway exit by stopping. It’s fine if you’re not obstructing anyone though, which is the case most of the time.

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Also @Jet_Airways_995 may I suggest adding in when to call “inbound on the ILS/GPS/visual” and when to call inbound normally as that’s a common mistake.

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Thanks for the suggestion @TimShan05. I have added that part.

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Good post but the people who do that are the ones not on the IFC so…

Ok so super super super dumb question. So let’s say I depart from Atlanta headed to JFK. I takeoff west, and my flight plan has me turning south and working around the airport before going north towards JFK. So since my first turn from the runway is south, would I say departing south? Or would I say departing north because that’s my final heading in ATL airspace.

@bcc.123 You may just mention the direction you will be departing the airspace from.

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Yo @Jet_Airways_995, what is the most appropriate time to use the report position messages?

@Kiz The report position messages are great to use when tuned to Unicom in an uncontrolled airspace and there is other traffic there besides you. It can be handy to convey your position and the runway you’re using to other pilots, and vice versa.

I find it useful in situations such as:
a) Multiple aircraft are approaching the same airport/runway
b) Another pilot has requested traffic advisories
c) And especially when you are on final, and you can see on your map that there is/are aircraft on the ground taxiing to, or about to hold short of the runway you’re about to land on.

Hope this helps :)

Thanks though. What about when tuned into tower?

@Kiz you normally do not have to report position to tower, as they are aware of your position. Only if you’re convinced that something is wrong, you may use it to draw the controller’s attention. However, such cases are rare.


Yes. For example…

This evening I had a pilot approaching 27L at EGLL that dropped for a couple seconds on my end while they were on final. I cleared another pilot for takeoff thinking something may have happened, but the pilot that was on final came back on my screen and reported position. I was able to cancel the takeoff clearance and issue the go around…albeit closer than I ideally wanted to.

Anyways, this is an example of where I was thankful the pilot reported position. Sometimes things happen…sometimes mistakes happen as well as we are all human…if you see a conflict arising, I’m all for the pilot reporting position. Better safe than sorry.


Yes, several users on IFC may be familiar with these procedures. However, the frequency of the issues addressed in this topic are quite high, as observed by controllers. Even if some users on IFC were not familiar with even some of the addressed issues, it would be a good guide for them. It would be helpful for newer users as well :)

great thank you friend that helps clear up many doubts

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Very informative @Jet_Airways_995. Thanks a lot!!!

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