Consider aircraft elevation when RWY change

Hello all,

I am writing this because I think that this is something that needs to be considered especially on the expert server by ATC.

My fpl during this situation had me above FL160 as I was passing the approved runway so I needed to descend quite an amount before attempting to land. I believe the controller was not paying attention to my elevation and thats why he threatened to ghost me. Red line is my course after being cleared for 19R.

So I ask that ATC please consider an aircrafts elevation and proximity to runway. I am not saying to grant the pilots runway request, I am just asking that you consider the situation before threatening to ghost.

NOT ATTEMPT TO GET ANYONE IN TROUBLE. Just an feedback/overlooked observation to consider.

1 Like

Hey there!

IFATC take many factors into consideration when bringing an aircraft into our airports. However, as with altitude, there’s not a whole lot tower can do. Radar controllers are better equipped to deal with altitude.

If you’d like to talk to the controller, you can DM them here on the community. If you need help finding their name, don’t hesitate to ask.

Also, did you check the ATIS frequency before tuning into tower? It is possible that the runway you requested wasn’t being used as an active runway for landings, hence the threat of the ghost.

Runway was being used for landings which is why I requested it at the time

1 Like

Okay. That’s fine then.

Would you like to talk to the controller? If so, do you have their name? If not, do you have the time this happened?

1 Like

This happens with many approaches, this has happened to me as well with the DCA runway 19 approach. It doesn’t follow the path that shows on the map, but instead follows a river. The controller also tried to ghost me. But I later DM’ed them and they said that they would look out for these approaches.

1 Like

Hi Alan, I was controlling at KLAS when you were inbound. Firstly, I was not considering ghosting you. From a controllers perspective, the button I pressed read “follow instructions”, so the ghosting part was simply a miscommunication. I only told you to follow my instructions because I was unsure of your intentions/if you even heard my instructions correctly. I told you to enter a right base for one of the runway 19’s. When I saw you not turning final, I assumed you had either decided to not land at KLAS or mistakenly thought I said one of the 26’s. Like @MrMrMan said above, descending an airplane to traffic pattern altitude is not really part of a tower controller’s job. Next time I’d recommend you either descend to a comfortable altitude before calling inbound to a controlled airport without approach or go around on final to the runway. Sorry for the miscommunication!


Simple solution don’t call in at 16,000 feet.


I called in because of my proximity to the airport not because of elevation

Proximity doesn’t matter you are well above their airspace. No need to call inbound when you’re not set up for it.

Had issue with same controller last night for setting up on runway 25R. There was no one operating approach and of course I would pick 25R to set up on because closer to gates. First, I check ATIS as soon as I was within distance, then just as I’m nearing close enough to actually tune tower frequency he pings me for being in his airspace (which technically I was 25nm out and actually just beneath the real life shelf of airspace there. Whatever, no problem, I reply that I’m with him set up for ILS 26R. He sends me a message to review forums for proper ATC operations, then clears me for visual 25L (spite? he had people in pattern for 25L so why put me in mix?).

I have more hours in actual fighters than you have controlling pixel planes. If I did something wrong and not according to game “ATC operations” then I really dont get why Im paying for it. 😅

1 Like

You should only call for inbound when you are at a reasonable altitude and in a good position to execute the given instructions. General rule of thumb, only contact the Tower if you are below 10000ft and are within 20nm of the airport. Its is up to the pilot (unless radar is in effect) to mange his airspeed and altitude in accordance to inbound procedures

It is not up to the pilot to ‘pick a runway’ , the controller along with ATIS decides what runway each aircraft is on. If you are cleared for a runway you ‘didn’t pick’ , then you must follow instructions and change. Regarding ILS, i was not in the controller’s position, but ILS is usually a straight in approach, which you only get cleared for and have to ensure you remain the correct number in the sequence (Not told by ATC) for the approach. The controller may have felt you were executing the approach wrong and therefor changed your inbound procedures you would have to follow. Again, ILS/VISUAL/RV is not something you can always pick, ultimately it is up to the controller to decided. Most of the time, the required inbound is given but the pilot must always be prepared for a change at any moment.

1 Like

It wasnt a big deal, but letting him know I was set up for ILS 25R (which in game is 26R for whatever reason and was active t/o and land according to ATIS) should go as me requesting that. Clear me for visual, RNAV, mls, another runway, whatever… not a problem… A warning though?

and bam there’s the problem. you only call “Inbound on the ILS/Visual Runway XX” if there is approach control and they have cleared you for the ILS/Visual approach.

1 Like

In terms of a warning, what do you want? If tower changes your runway, you follow those instructions. If you show sign of refusal or becoming difficult, then you will get a warning and a potential ghosting. Only because the ATIS states the runway is available, does it no where say that you will always get that particular runway. The controller will choose whichever runway for you.

If there is approach (which there wasn’t in this case) then you will always get the instructions, by tower after Freq change, needed based on what approach has assigned you. The tower and approach controllers are all most always in contact, as well as a data tag showing what you have been assigned/cleared for. If there is no approach, tower decides what procedure you must follow.

1 Like

So I should have requested it rather than act as my own approach control? I’m totally fine with that, even though in my mind I was making it simple for him/her. I was also fine with the change to left rwy. No problem going where you need me. That wasnt the gripe even though it seemed out of spite. Gripe was the warning. If I call in that Im on 26R, 20+ nm out, I’d expect “okay, expect 26L” or “cleared visual 26L.” I didnt expect “No. Warning. Learn ATC” 😂

If I’m coming in from due east, it only follows that I’d set up on northern runway, because he had about 10 others coming in from the south out of SNA that Id expect he’d want to reserve southern rwy for. That was my logic.

1 Like

The ATC warning would have most likely (Again, i wasn’t in the controller’s position) come from the way the ILS approach was set up. If you were given instructions for a different approach which you were not following, then you would get this message. Never be your own approach, IFATC withhold a high standard in their operations, so trust that the controller knows what they are doing, and simply do as they say.

I was 20+ miles out when I checked in. I simply let him know I was set up for Right rwy… It’s a 1 or 2 ° deviation to switch to left rwy at that distance no biggie… Again, that wasnt the point.

Or FL230…FL340…all the things we see every day.

Not sure why you were cleared at that altitude, but that aside, this is why I put people who won’t be able to descend to intercept altitude before intercept in holds.

Speaking in general, not just here, as a pilot, you can’t wait until you’re at intercept to realize you’re not going to hit the glidescope then simply drift around at the head of the cone while you try to descend. There will be other traffic coming behind you.

Not sure why you were cleared at that altitude, but for pilots in general, if you call in with no time to descend to intercept altitude, you should be, and will be under most app controllers, be doing that descent well out of the way, not drifting around at the point of intercept.

1 Like