Common mistakes made when on Tower

I’m sure others will be encouraged to add to this list, but I want to share the most common errors seen by IFATC with pilots on tower frequency:

Inbound in the ILS
We see inbound pilots reporting ‘inbound on the ILS’ while really they are not at all inbound on the ILS. Now this is not a damaging mistake, so we would never ghost for this. But I do refer those pilots to Help Pages, not to be rude, but to encourage the pilot to review how to report inbound.

Departing straight out
When you announce departure ‘departing straight out’, then please…depart straight out!
And… be very, very careful when crossing other outbound flight paths when turning shortly after takeoff.

EDIT with add-on, based on the Comments below:
Remaining in the patterrn
There are at least 50 posts on this Forum expressing various levels of frustration and good info to explain how and when to use ‘remaining in the pattern’, and when not.

Hope this reminder is of use!


And something else:
Sometimes when it gets very busy, I have to deny patternwork. I have seen a few people try to evade that by taking off and then calling inbound for landing, and then repeating the process. Believe me, if you are doing this, we know exactly what your intentions are and if you keep it up then you can expect a lovely 7 day vacation back to the training server.
Thank you!


All very good points…

Tower and Approach talk to each other so if patterns are denied it is for a reason. Taking off when the tower said no pattern work and then asking approach for vectors back to the airport is going to result in approach giving you the scenic route to the back of the line depending on the traffic. Patterns are great… Just not with 12 inbound and a backed up line on the ground waiting to take off. Some airports makes patterns easier than other locations too so runway configuration plays into it.


Also, when you request takeoff “remaining in the pattern” and then immediately call for a frequency change when you’re airborne, that really grinds our gears. Or calling for “remaining in the pattern” with a flight plan to the other side of the planet.


Meanwhile I’m happy that my topic covering inbound on the ils was worthy of being linked…


That happened 90% of the time to me in the Training server. And also I don’t get why they ask for transition seconds after taking off.


Pattern altitude: Not 10100 feet.

Left downwind: to the right of the runway. Left/Right traffic is the direction of turns made, not whether your plane is left/right of the runway.

Go Around: Announced when aborting a landing. It does not mean “I’ve landed and am doing a touch & go.”

Request frequency change as soon as you can slip a sheet of paper between your landing gear and the runway: Chill. You’re still in the airspace. I may need to give you further instruction, since turning directly into other traffic is not something easily avoided without explicit “extend upwind” instruction, apparently. [Really, how many of you have been in a wide-body jet and turned over the ramp at takeoff?]

Calling inbound: As stated above, Inbound on the ILS when actively vectored for ILS Intercept by Approach (not RV, not FF, not absent approach while 25 miles away abeam the tower). But there is another common error: reporting your position as you would on Unicom is not the same as Call Inbound. [80 percent of the time the leg reported is wrong anyway, which is just mind-boggling.]

Switching frequencies at will: Never okay

Trying to pull one over on Tower after handoff from Approach: If Approach clears you for 27R, don’t call into tower for 27L. Approach put you where they put you for a reason. Stay there. If you choose instead to cut off the pilot who was cleared for 27L, don’t cry when you don’t get to land. Just follow instructions. It doesn’t matter which runway you put in your FP 4 hours ago.

Exit and cross: Means what it says. Don’t exit and hang your tail in the runway holding short of the parallel runway and ask ground to cross the runway you were already instructed to cross.

Requesting takeoff when 4th in line: Yeah, I know where you are in line. I’m not going to get confused and let you pass through the three ahead of you. So racing to request takeoff makes little sense.

Random 360s at intercept: If you can’t get down in time, two things. One, learn how to descend. Two, you can’t be doing random 360s at the localizer intercept and interfere with the traffic that did get down in time. Fly a full go around. This means you fly runway heading all the way to upwind, then turn to crosswind. You do not do circles at the intercept point.

If you’re newly Grade 3, I beg you to watch the tutorials. The little games that get played on TS don’t fly on Expert. If you don’t want there to be a week between your first and second sessions on Expert, prepare yourself.

Finally, saying “I’m sorry” when what you mean is “damn, you caught me” does not allay my frustration or assuage your guilt. You know you need taxi permission. Don’t play games.


I can’t express enough how important it is to realize that tower/approach/departure all talk on expert. If I’m vectoring you on approach, and you’re not listening and doing your own thing despite a few “please follow instructions” but somehow get to the ILS, I’m gonna hand you off and immediately tell tower that you’re on your last chance. A new frequency does not equal a clean slate.

In the same vein, approach and departure can be the same person too. So if you ask departure for something and they say no (because the airport you asked for an ILS approach to is 200nm away), switching to approach without permission and asking me the same exact thing again isn’t going to endear you to me (yes, this happened the other day).

TL;DR: Please exercise common sense. Controllers are trying to help you and keep IF organized for everyone, and your help is greatly appreciated!


MazSez: Differant voices Same Song! Those Dang Pilots they never get it the way we want it! Appears a machine generated Test to access the few and far between active ATC positions on the so call “Expert” keeps getting put on the rear burner along with a relook at Grade 3 qualifications for advancement. Accordingly, just suck it up all! Since this Topic is throwing stone again, I’ll throw two; Make maindatory the requirement to announce; Open, Close and Controller Change Overs on the Big Boy Server! Approach, stop molesting Transiting aircraft filed down range above the posted airfield ceiling. It’s completly unnecessary and distracting to all concerned. (Except for safety of flight issues). Have a nice day Pilots, Regards


We always announce those things, regardless of the situation (barring an emergency). If that isn’t happening, there’s an issue.

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@JoshFly8. MaxSez: Yr retort noted and rejected. If my 2 bulllets where not an issue as noted repeatedly would I state them! Max is an honest broker, I call them the way I see them! G’day…

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I faced this too. ATC tower requested that I contact it before pushback. I was about to but thankfully ground came on. How am I supposed to go about this If ground doesn’t show up? Am I supposed to pushback without clearance and just taxi without clearance or just wait for ground to show? Note this is only at LAX and JFK where ground goes offline randomly sometimes. I want to remain real.

@Kate_Russell. MaxSez: Hi Kate… If this was a TS-1 isssue dealers choice, remember unlike the Expert Server ATC’s on 1 have no means to communicate & coordinate.
If an Expert Issue Contact an ATC Moderator for consideration. Regards. G’day

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The post on this topic had me cracking up. This was really needed for a lot of the new pilots we are getting on IF and good reminders for us all. Thank to all the ATC’s for your hard work and patience with the pilots, you all make the flight sim experience on IF one of the best.


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