I’ve lost count of the number of times per session a pilot requests RV of departure, then either simply ignores the vectors and starts doing what they want anyway or says “unable” to a particular heading or simply changes their request to flight following.
Typically, the reasons fall into a couple categories:
- They have an intricate flight plan from SimBrief or whatever and you’ve taken them off of it by a millimeter.
If this is the case, and the pilot doesn’t want to divert from their flight plan the slightest inch, why in the world request RV? Just check in and be done.
- You’re not turning them off runway heading immediately after crossing the threshold
I know everyone who puts so much time and effort into that WPT-ICAO flight plan wants to hit NAV and spin 180 degrees in a half second, but there’s downwind traffic or other departing traffic you may need to climb over or around. If you have to spend an extra 30 seconds waiting to make that turn in order to not collide with another plane, where is the harm.
Either way, if you’re unwilling to wait, again, just check in and proceed. But when you do collide and are held accountable for it, don’t put it back on the controller. We tried to take you around the traffic, you just didn’t feel like waiting. VFR is see-and-avoid. Both actions referring to the pilot.
- You plan for terrain that you’ve painstakingly studied prior to opening and they prefer the “oh no a mountain better climb at 5000 FPM STAT” method of preparation and flight.
This is my favorite. Take a place like LFMN with 04s in use. Last time I was there, Geneva was the big destination and everyone wanted to head northeast. Well, guess what’s northeast, nearly immediately, of the runways: terrain:
So, here I am as a departure controller thinking “hey, great, I get to give them the Realism™ they all pretend to want (until it’s slightly inconvenient) and take them on the published SID:
“Man, I bet all those pilots complaining about us never using SIDs and STARs will really appreciate this.”
The second I tried to turn them south I got one of the three responses. Some just went northeast anyway, some used the inapplicable “unable (to eat the side of a mountain)”, and others immediately decided “oh I don’t want Radar Vectors after all.”
Please decide this first. If you don’t want to leave your flight plan, you don’t have to. Just check in. if you don’t want to be told where to go, flight plan or not, you don’t have to. Just check in. If you prefer we ignore the terrain and not vector you slightly away from your destination for a few moments…guess what? Just check in.
But please realize when you request RV, we are putting extra time into planning your departure. Every minute spent on vectoring you is time not spent vectoring approaches, so if you want RV, great we are happy to oblige. But don’t request our time and then simply ignore us or change your mind when you know before you ask what RV means.
And because I say this every chance I get:
If you request a flight level that is incorrect for your direction of travel, I am not accidentally giving you a correct one. Don’t ask again. I heard you correctly. The reason it’s not what you requested is because what you requested is wrong for your flight’s heading.
360-179 degrees: odd flight levels
180-359 degrees: even flight levels
If you have a set flight level for every flight regardless of circumstances, better check on that Realism™ machinery. It needs a little oil.