How to Communicate with ATC in 20.1
The update is upon us! The glorious 777-200ER has been reworked, the 737 has a stunning live cockpit, and Infinite Flight has taken a huge step forward with realistic airspaces, SID/STAR procedures, and the return of center!
These new ATC features are sure to be daunting, but are quite simple to understand once you become acclimated with proper procedures. Not only are they extra realistic, but they limit the amount of messages that both the pilot and ATC need to send.
Note: In each section, I have linked the Infinite Flight User Guide section which explains everything in the post with much more detail.
Flight Planning/ATIS: ATIS hasn’t changed significantly. Tune in, listen to the weather, NOTAMS, runways, etc, and prepare to plan your flight. This is where the new D-ATIS comes in to play. The D-ATIS is found under the weather tab of the airport information section and notifies the pilot of any specific procedures in use. Make sure your selected SID is in accordance with ATC’s recommended SIDs! Additionally, check your arrival airport’s D-ATIS to ensure your selected STAR is also in accordance with ATC’s recommendations. Learn more here!
Taxi/Takeoff: The Taxi/Takeoff procedures have not significantly changed either. Request pushback, taxi, and takeoff as you normally would. Of course, be sure to enjoy the new taxiway diagrams visible on your map! For tutorials on proper takeoff/climb procedures, click here!
Departure Frequency: Interactions with departure frequency remain the same as well. Simply check in with departure and they will respond with “radar contact”. After this, you are free to follow your SID! If ATC gives you any vectors/altitude assignments, follow these over your SID. You will be told to “continue as filed” when ATC deems it applicable.
Center Frequency: Once you’re handed to center, check in once again. They will respond with “radar contact” and you can proceed as filed. Once again, be prepared to follow all ATC instructions.
Center Frequency: Center is the only frequency you will be talking with during cruise. When entering their airspace, simply check in to continue following your flight plan. No further communications are needed. Once away from your device, ATC will not send on-guard messages and any conflicts will be deemed accidental. You won’t be reported, don’t worry!
Center Frequency: As you prepare for your arrival, double check that your STAR is in accordance with ATC’s recommendations. If needed, center will ask that you “amend your flight plan to include ATC preferred STARs.” When you are approximately 1 minute from your TOD (Top of Descent), request a “descent via the STAR” with center. Center will most likely approve this request. You can now let VNAV descend the aircraft through the procedures! Remember to always follow all ATC vectors. Learn more about STARs here!
Approach Frequency: As you near the airport, center will hand you over to approach. Do not check in with approach. You should simply request an approach at your destination, whether this be an ILS, GPS, or Visual approach. You will be told to “continue as filed, expect vectors for XXX”. This means you may continue on your FPL until instructed otherwise. If you aren’t told to continue as filed, be prepared for immediate vectors.
Tower/Ground: Once you have been handed to tower, all communications will be the same as before the update. Call inbound based on your approach type, and request taxi to parking as normal.
Items to Note
If center is not active, you may descend via your STAR as normal. Upon initial contact with approach, do not check in. Simply request an approach at your destination airport.
If neither center nor approach is active, you may descend via your STAR as normal. Contact tower and call inbound as usual. Keep in mind that you may need to deviate from your FPL in order to follow your sequence.
These new features can seem challenging at first, but do remember that we are here to help! ATC is learning as well, and over the next few weeks we’ll be adapting to and overcoming challenges that we face as we strive to provide quality service. As a pilot, though, the experience is much better when you follow all instructions! Remember that ATC isn’t out to report you, but rather out to add to the amazing experience of online flight.
Once you’ve given this a read, head out and brave the expert server skies in your beautiful 777 or 737 knowing that you are fully equipped to face any scenario thrown your way.
Safe travels and enjoy this incredible update!