How to Communicate With ATC in 20.1

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.


Departure Phase:

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.


Cruise

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!


Arrival Phase

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.

  • You will not be reported for interfering if you are away from your device while cruising. @Trio made a wonderful topic about this: You can be away when with Center, it’s okay


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!

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Great Job Will A. Will answer lots of people’s questions.

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What should be done if none of the recommended SID/STAR work (eg. if there is no SID/STAR suitable for a Q400)?

Good job , thanks for your effort as many of us don’t know what some functions do .

Thanks !!

Requesting radar vectors would be a good idea.

I guess controller will still let me follow SID/STAR if there are no conflicts right?
At airports like Toronto, there are very similar STARs where one is for props, and one is for jets

If you use one of the recommended SID/STARs and there is no conflict you should be approved to continue as filed. If there are conflicts you’ll be given vectors/a hold/ a 360 to make space

This is great, Will! Thank you!

Im sorry for asking here, so after ATC told this, should we have to follow my/our SID or stay on current frequency until they issuing an instructions ? or we just follow our FPL just like that?

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Unless instructed otherwise by ATC (IE - fly straight out until XXXX feet), you’re more than welcome to follow the SID you’ve filed.

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Willbot tm

I had a question about contacting departure. After checking in, are you supposed to request flight following to your destination, or is that not required? And please correct me if I am wrong, you do not have to do this with center?

At what altitude and distance from the airport should we contact Center?

No. Checking in means that you’re requesting flight following to your destination - ATC will tell you to continue as filed, and that means you’re cleared to fly your FPL.

Requesting flight following would be considered sending duplicate messages if you’ve checked in beforehand. :)

Edit: just saw the second part of your question. Simply check in with center like you did with departure, and that’s it.

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So when I fly a long haul I usually will put my phone on the charger while I sleep? Does this mean that I will have to be awake in case I fly over an active center frequency?

Not at all! Sleep to your hearts content.

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Awesome post Will! Thx for the info to our community.

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Nice read! Thanks Will.

How and when do we tune into Center? Or will they contact us like approach do saying something like ‘you’re in an active airspace…’ ?

Thank you so much for this detailed post @Will_A will have a good look through it before heading to ATC controlled airports!