Frustrating ATC!

I’m not whining coz I love the ATC addition but one thing that frustates me is the ‘Unable’ pilot reply. It seems to be used alot and mostly I can’t see why because no other explanation can be given by the pilot. A couple of examples: a pilot calls up approach and asks for flight following in VFR. I say climb to xxx ft - he says unable. His a/c seems to be capable - maybe his weather setting prevents it? Another pilot flying over ocean wants an ILS app. I give a heading to intercept - he says unable. Why could that be? Would be good if there were added comments to the Unable reply - like Unable…terrain, or …weather etc.


Whether is the same for all users in a certain area (in Live).
And as far as I know Infinite Flight doesn’t feature clear-air turbulence at high altitudes.

I think “unable” is used by those who won’t be lead out of their pre-programmed course or who won’t be slowed down.

When acting as an Approach controller be always aware of the altitude of the aircraft you are vectoring: normally below 10.000 ft max VS is -1.400 ft.

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Let’s be perfectly clear on this. I be.ieve when your advising ATC your “Flying VFR” (Squake 1200) after check in your expecting to be left to your own discretion… I and many others don,t want or expecting vectors, speed/ altitude changes unless a safety of flight or conflict is evident to the ATC. ATC have enough on there hands without doing some lame ducks Nav work or doing IFR vectors in VMC. The “Unable” key is the only ATC “No thank you” option on the comm menu. If there VFR leave them alone and get on with it. If there VFR and the want something they’ll ask. Just Sayin, Max Sends
(PS: The “check in” followed by “Flying VFR” are declarative. It is not a request for Following. The “won’t be led” comment is telling, in my experience ATC’s don’t lead they provide guidance and order in a complex system, there passive, understanding and professional in there dealing with there public charges.
They don’t have authority to impose discipline they file incident reports and move on in my world)


@M_Somm flight following means they are flying by their own flight path so if they don’t have one don’t grant this. If they request VFR they are flying by visual sight and don’t need a flight plan. But you shouldn’t give either vectors or altitude unless it conflicts with another aircraft. @Maxmustang if this is happening when your away from other aircraft I’m sorry. but if your VFR flight or flight following flight needs to be re routed from your original plan for spacing then you need to comply with ATC or the tower controller if he’s doing his job should send you back to the approach frequency or make you go around. Which isn’t what you wanted either.

@Brandon_Sandstrom. Thanks for the bullet. Pls read my post again. " unless a safety of flight or a conflict of flight exists." Don’t call me I’ll call you. As for me individually I always file,in the IF world. In the real world the Filing may not be detailed and bare bones but at least ATC has some knowledge of where I!m going and doing. I believe the bottom line here is the lack of a closed loop communications capability between ATC nodes for one and the nature, age, language skill and proficiency level of the “Players”. Nothing’s perfect, we are all victims of the IF learning cycle. At some point we will all sing from the same sheet of music. Right now we’re just not harmonious. Regards, Max

I see now I shouldn’t have tagged you my apologize just ranting about people that do need to comply don’t. And I agree communication between communicators would be amazing. Or the ability for ATIS on the playground that would help to.

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thanks for the heads-up. I didn’t realise that FF is available in class B / C airspace (in Aus it is confined to G &E) so I learned something right there! I was seeing pilots streaming out of KLAX asking for FF and thinking I had to vector them out of the CTA. So my bad 😁

You know what’s more frustrating? When you’re on a long final into St Maarten runway 10 (and there is even an active tower that I’d been communicating with for the last 5-10 minutes) and the peanut who suddenly logs in as approach sends the on guard message ‘you’re in an active airspace please contact st Maarten approach on…’ SIX TIMES!

@MitchellJames. “Peanut”, I lov it! Been there, done that. I’ve stopped ranting on this never ending challenge. IF ATC is maturing slowly. Hopefully in time when your outside the outer ring Approach & Towers will stop soliciting with that dreaded “Your in Controlled Airspace” Call. All ATC node will be activated in a region so you have smooth handoffs and ATC will announce when there open and closed to business. All things come to those that wait! Good Day, Max Sends

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I agree with everyone!

Ok, I am always a pilot (Just tried ATC once at EHAM ^^) and let me explain why I reply " Unable " to ATC:

Note: It has nothing to do with Wind!

  • On a flight between KLAX and KSAN, if ATC asks me to climb FL330, I will reply unable. I want to have a Cruise part! If I climb that high, I will have to descend as soon as I reach FL330 - no point climbing at that altitude.
    I then request climb to an altitude around FL120.

  • ATC clears me to an altitude and I know there are high terrain in the region, I will reply Unable.

  • When ATC asks me ’ say intention ’ I have no other choice to reply: ’ Requesting radar vectors to … ’ even If I already have a flight plan. What else can I answer If I want to tell him where I am heading to?
    ATC will then generally give me the bearing to the station (ie. The airport). I will of course follow his instructions but If I am too close of my destination, I will reply ’ Unable’ because I have to align with the runway - not just follow the bearing to my airport!

I always listen to ATC but here are the cases where I answer ’ Unable ’

Hope it helps our friends in the Tower!