How to question ATC directions?

According to FAA Pilot/Controller Roles and Responsibilities (Chapter 5), there a number of situations where the pilot duty is to question ATC on instructions that he considers dangerous or in conflict with FAA regulations. I’ve experienced such situations, especially in training server, of course. In IF there are a some situations where you can use the Unable alternative, but not always. How do you proceed then to comply with FAA? Example: Approaching to a runway and the tower ATC authorises the opposite runway that is closed due to wind direction. (Yesterday happened to me and eventually the ATC realized the mistake and corrected afterwards).

It would be great that experienced pilots (e.g. grade 4 and 5) could send to other pilots or ATC’s a feedback message like “Please follow flight rules” or “Please confirm safety of submitted instruction”.
More info at


If it’s on the training server then there is nothing you can do, continue flying then transition to the expert sever once you meet the requirements.


An addition to what was said by @Chatta290 - If ever you encounter such an issue in the expert server, it is best to contact an ATC moderator, I.e if you had a doubt on who was the controller.

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Contact the controller first. He will have his reasons and will be happy to explain them to you.
No need to contact a mod straight away


As others have said the training server is just that a training server. Even on expert however you won’t find that we fulfil all FAA standards. If we did we would need certified controllers, and pilots who know the regs. We keep it as close as possible to RL regs, but there are a ton of exemptions. Mostly due to lack of knowledge on both parts. Any questions on specific procedures feel free to PM me.


@Gabriel_Hernandez. Wondered when some would roll out FAR Cap.5! Good work Gabriel😜! Particularly like 5-5-3 "Contact (Visual) Approach. Now all we need is the appropriate Pilot Friendly Comm Menu Items as requested
repeatedly. Regards, Max

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Red doesn’t mean closed


If you do receive a direction from ATC on Expert server that you think would result in a problem (not FAA reg problem but collision with another for example) I always respond standby to let the controller know that there is something that doesnt add up with the command. This is not usually approach vectoring or ground control but usually a tower frequency that clears for the wrong runway than cleared on ILS for or clearing me for take off with another aircraft on short final. Never have encountered serious mistakes but just minor selection errors. Even then these errors are very rare.


Yes, I’ve seen a number of comments with this approach about the training server, and I respectfully disagree: Yes, the expert server is where you will find the most expert ATCs and pilots and where rules are to be followed more stringently.

On the other hand, precisely in a training environment is where mistakes are to be timely detected and feedback is to be provided clearly and immediately, since it is during training that you create your habits and set your future behavior.

I personally try to report each situation when the pilot misbehave, particularly in the training server, and I would love that other more experienced pilots do so with me as a way to be aware of my mistakes and learn from them.

Since whenever I mention these issues I get the answer to wait until I can access the expert server, I clarify that I am Grade 5 and former Falcon 20 pilot.


The training server is precisely for ‘training’ this means skill levels vary, that’s why people tell you to go on expert. Don’t bother complaining about the service as it’s to be expected in most cases. Unless it’s the expert server you have to deal with it unfortunately.

I agree with you: No complains about the service at all.

Rather I invite to allow feedback to the pilots and ATCs trainees. Furthermore, I love to fly in the training server because airspace is far more challenging precisely because of lots of inexperienced pilots and ATCs, lots of traffic, perfect environment to improve on my collision avoidance procedures.

It would be great that experienced pilots (e.g. grade 4 and 5) could send to other pilots or ATC’s a feedback message like "Please follow flight rules"or “Please confirm safety of submitted instruction”.

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Your point is well taken, unfortunately, there’s no way (currently) to separate the wheat from the chaff, so-to-speak. There are some that are ‘training’ and looking to improve, and then there are those who are just, um, let’s say ‘there’. They’re not looking to improve either ATC or piloting skills.

I agree entirely on the monotony of the “fly Expert” replies, but unfortunately, that’s what we have. We can beg and plead. Create tutorials. Point out when pilots or ATC make mistakes in a constructive way [rant threads never do any good (speaking of others, not this one)] all we want. The problem is that the small percentage who want to genuinely improve is vastly outnumbered by those that simply don’t care.

I, personally, like long, technical discussions of rules and regs, and how we can make the sim as near as possible to RWA (while still recognizing we have to make concessions, because you can’t expect everyone who can download an app to have a PPL or know the handbooks front-to-back; KNUC will still be a haven for A388s). But, though I like those discussions, I’m in a very tiny, tiny minority.

With the current setup, we simply don’t have a way to transfer knowledge to those that have no desire to receive it. Perhaps if there were a true training server, instead of simply a casual 2.0, we could separate those that seek to improve from the others, but we then return to the fact that not everyone in the app is on the forum, etc. How do you communicate? We have a cache of tutorials, but no one actually checks them when told to check help. You can only lead them as far as they’re willing to start moving their own legs, and many simply don’t. I assume the end result to your “check safety” or “check sequence” or something similar would be any different to the current result to “check help”, which is to get mad but do absolutely nothing to find what you did wrong and make the same mistake next time. [Check Help with a sublist (e.g. Remaining in Pattern, approach speed, pattern legs, etc.) has already been shot down as not an option.]

As a side note (directed to the general), I always see people talking about grades. I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again for good measure:

Grades are meaningless.

I vectored two pilots yesterday on Expert with around 43000 XP, and they were flawless. It could very well have been their first session with active approach on Expert.

I also could list off about 20 grade 5s with hundreds of thousands of XP that I know by memory that have no idea what they’re doing and will never know. Because they have no inclination to do so. They will do the wrong things in perpetuity because they have no interest in learning. They’re not “better” because they’re grade 5 than the grade 3 that really wants to learn and really wants to know and improve upon their mistakes.

I would love to see the obsession with grades abate here. They’re utterly meaningless.

But like you, I would also love a way to communicate effectively with those that do want to learn, but I can’t offer up any solutions other than things that have already been shot down in the past.

Your point about the “training environment is where…” is well taken. We just don’t have that environment. We are left with Casual 2.0 for the moment.


@Gabriel_Hernandez…Welcome aboard Gabe. The voice of reason is a novelty on these boards. Both servers have Warts, I’m a GA TS-1 regular visitor because of the regional challenges. I visit the “Other” Server from time to time if they staff a region that’s rarely employed. Have not seen the others at Oshkosh, SeaTac, Brussels, Ny and a few other pariah regions in some time.
SoCal, Clemente and LAX draw the must flies and I don’t know why. Be watching for ya at 12 O’Clock High. Regards, Max

(Just noted other voices of reason here. @Brandon_Sandstrom @Tim_B, they make my day! Regards)


Appreciate your thoughtful answer.

I have high confidence on the power of feedback. Just imagine what will happen if pilots are allowed to send to other pilots the “Please follow flight rules” and those who get it from more than one pilot get ghosted for a while, even when in training server.

There would be two great benefits 1) Cleaning up the airspace of, as Maxmustang call them, Warts and 2) lecture true trainees.

It is quite refreshing to hear from some of the most constructive and proactive members within the IFC fostering positive change and providing decisive information by posting positive feedback to a thread that really should/needs to be read by all. Many of us that want to improve are left to sift through regurgitated, redundant and replies full of ignorance until coming upon material appealing to the eye and mind that wasn’t just darts thrown at a board per say. Sure would be comforting if we all learned a thing or two each day off of the outreach from our influential members resulting in a much sharper and well groomed community. A wise leader once told me, “the day that you stop learning and growing is the day that you should hang your hat and coat or someone could be seriously injured or killed by your arrogance and complacency!”

Thanks All


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