How the Other Half Hears Your Repeated Requests

Ever wondered whether to hit that Request Pushback button for the third or fourth time at a busy field, surrounded on all sides by 50-75 aircraft all doing the same?

Ever wondered what it sounds like on the other end? Why it might be frowned upon for you to continue banging that button? Why you’re not receiving an immediate response?

Wonder no more:

A few notes on the video:

I have a 15 minute time limit, so the cuts at each end may be a bit abrupt, but it essentially starts when I was dropped into the event already in motion at KORD, with everyone needing pushback.

What to note:

Note just how cacophonous it sounds on the other side. Note just how difficult it might be to respond to you instantly with 50 other people also blowing up the frequency.

I kind of moved the camera around a bit to get some perspective on the length of the existing line, etc, but what parts you should really note are the ones that show 8 to 10 planes in a line, or an alcove. Not all of those can pushback at once, but all of them will certainly be asking at the same time. Also note how many times, those aircraft are requesting pushback with another aircraft sitting behind them awaiting taxi.

You may think Ground is simply ignoring you, but hopefully hearing the other end will give you some sort of perspective on why it may be a second.

What you don’t see:

What you can’t see here is the ATC queue of tags.

IFATC typically works on a first-in-first-out system. The queue displays the first requests at the bottom of the queue, and the most recent at the top.

When you re-request pushback, your tag jumps to the top again.

That’s right, every time you request pushback again, you’re voluntarily sending yourself back to the end of the queue.

Doesn’t seem so productive, does it?

Anyway, hopefully this lends some perspective and leads to perhaps a tad more patience.


This is so true! A post like this was very much needed so that others may get a chance to view the ATC perspective. Sometimes just being patient and not cutting in line with the aircraft ahead makes ground control much easier for the ATC controller. Thanks Tim :)

If I may add, Tim. As fun(?) as this is on ground, it can be just as crazy on tower.

Example, let’s take 36R at ZBAA this evening. Night of a release so it was busy. I did my best to give taxi to 1/36L when possible, but for some reason everyone spawned next to 36R.

Anyway, if a pilot is on final I’m going to ask that you hold short. If there’s another pilot a handful of miles or less behind that one, that hold short still stands. Same if there is another one right behind that.

Now since I was naturally allowing intersection departures, imagine having one plane at each intersection highlighted here in yellow.

Now imagine three planes in succession on final for 36R (yes, I did my best to land 1/36L also, but I use all runways for everything).

Imagine each plane that is holding short requesting a takeoff (after being told to hold short already) after each plane that is on final lands.

I promise I see you. I promise I will clear you for takeoff when it is safe and when I get to it. Couple those multiple requests with a dozen or two pilots also requesting pushback, taxi, etc… multiple times on ground. I’m ready for some Advil. I appreciate those people that were patient. I don’t mean to sound like jerk. But patience is so much appreciated when the frequencies are busy.


Oh gosh. I could see the sweat on your forehead through the screen haha. Thankful I haven’t run across that misfortunate situation yet!

Ah, it was nothing compared to when all the mods decided to do fighter patterns at KMIA a few years ago and I was both tower and ground.

Each circuit took about 5 seconds, times about 15 pilots, trying to sneak ground ops in in between sequence and clears.


Dying laughing at the other end of the screen :) I’m only on my third day IFATC. Could only imagine what I would do!

Ground control stresses me out when they’re all requesting stuff at the same time. I just got to learn to ignore the noise. I think to myself I can’t taxi everyone at once, can’t get everyone airborne at once so there is no point in rushing.

Thanks for making this thread!
I was thinking about making one of these but didn’t think about producing the video!
Good job!
Hope everyone patience levels increase

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