If You’re Curious as to Why Approach is Vectoring You Away

For whatever reason, there seems to be an inordinate amount of pilots who find 2 minute flights enjoyable, especially when it’s a 2-minute flight at the busiest hub of the day where they get to cut off the 20 other pilots who have patiently endured half an hour of vectors to finally reach their intercept, only to have someone try to sneak right in front of them.

With the exception of FNF, where NOTAMs bar this kind of flight, there is no rule against them. However, there is also no expectation that you just get to be first in line by default.

At EDDF, there isn’t a field right in front of the cone, but there is at a lot of fields, so just imagine the blue dot is a local field, where pilots try to take off and jump straight into the cone on final, completely oblivious to all other traffic around them. (Think KBFI-KSEA when 16s are in use.)

I will stress again, with the exception of FNF, there are currently no rules in place regarding where you may take off, so feel free to takeoff from these fields (for whatever strange reason that compels you to do so), but there are still rules about following Approach instructions.

This means that it is highly likely that:

  1. Approach will force you to climb above the traffic on final or nearing intercept.^

  2. Approach will vector you away from the field until such time as you can be slotted in all the traffic that was there well before you were.

  3. You will be ghosted if your only replies are “unable” or an unwillingness to comply. (Compliance with vectors is standard, it doesn’t change just because you feel like cutting people off. And ”unable” does not mean “I don’t want to.”)

So, one more time, you can certainly take off from next door. But do not just throw yourself into traffic. Maintaining separation and situational awareness is a prerequisite for flights anywhere on Expert, even if it’s next door.

Contact approach as soon as you’re airborne, and stay out of the cone until you’ve received vectors. Not contacting approach until you’ve maneuvered yourself in front of traffic which has been patiently awaiting their turn is not a free pass to first in line. It’s most likely just causing an incursion.

If you want to take off next door and there isn’t a NOTAM in effect, that’s your prerogative. But, under no circumstances are you “unable” to wait your turn, just like everyone else did.

This is not a special situation where you get to ignore vectors. It’s just a short flight (for whatever reason). You’re still responsible for everything you are on any other flight. It’s not a free pass to top priority.

^BTW, this is not a missed Approach. A missed Approach is when you’ve been vectored for an Approach and miss the intercept, or something similar. If the controller has no intention of giving you an intercept vector at that time, it is not a missed Approach. Nor is it okay to just break off because you see the cones. You may occasionally be taken past or over the cones. If you’re at an altitude above other traffic, there’s a reason. There’s no need to request descent to 3000 (you won’t get it…you’d just fly through other planes), Not should you ever just start to descend to 3000 on your own because you see the cone. We bring you over the top of the traffic on purpose, because bringing you across through the traffic would be silly.


Great explanation Tim, was waiting for a post like this.

1 Like

Read up @BluePanda900


Well I ve read that your should fly at least 150+ nm to by correctly vectored…and yeah, I think these pilots do not read the forum…

But a question that is a little offtopic, when can you actually callout unable?

The only times you should call out unable is when you literally are unable to follow the commands the approach controller asked you to do. For example, if they are making you turn right into a mountain. The following are not good reasons for saying unable.

  • wanting to maintain 245kts until the cone no matter what.
  • Being vectored away from the airport. There is almost always a reason
  • You would like to cut in line.
1 Like

Normally Approach vectors me away because I am: Too fast? Low on altitude? Too busy?

These are the reasons I get for this

When you’re actually unable to physically do it. There’s terrain below you and you’re given too low an altitude. You’re asked to fly 180 knots at FL360. That kind of thing.

Something which you can’t actually do.

Most of the time I get it from pilots in situations where they simply don’t want to divert from their flight plan to avoid traffic. That is not a reason to use it.

I can’t speak to what others have done, but apart from this scenario above, one of the most common issues I have with pilots is that they wait way too long to start to descend. They call in at FL340 20 miles out or something.

Personally, in that situation, I just give them an instant hold (I’m not bothering with someone trying to lose 31k feet over the course of 20 miles at M0.88. You can hang out until you’re actually prepared to intercept.) but other controllers may prefer to use detours to lose the altitude, I don’t know.

The too fast is kind of weird. I would use a speed command rather than vector away, but, again everyone is different.

The ‘too busy’ probably just means that if you’re headed straight in or something like that but there’s a bunch of people ahead of you, you might be taken off of your flight plan to be slotted in on downwind or something.

Again, you are not ‘unable’ to do any of these, whatever the reason. You are always able to hold. You are always able to change your heading (presuming no mountain). Not wanting to turn NAV off is not a reason to call in “unable.”

Side note:

I know someone will probably mention something about not wanting to hold when low on fuel, but here’s the thing: if you’re (the general ‘you’) low on fuel, flying at Cruise altitude at max speed 20 miles out is the last thing you should be doing. I always find it slightly irritating that people call in with low fuel while doing everything they can to keep their fuel burn as high as possible. It just doesn’t compute. If you’re working with your fuel, I’ll work with you. If you’re low but trying to burn through it faster, tough luck.


When people get ghosted there should be window pop up to join community site along with tutorials page link.

1 Like

I wish there was a way for every Infinite Flight user to see this. I really don’t see what is so appealing about climbing at 4000fpm to 25,000ft when flying 15nm from one airport to the other, especially in a controlled airspace. Very frustrating 😡

ok, when I issue unable, do you have time to look at it why I sent that? Don’t think so, or am I mistaken?
Don’t get me wrong, never sent unable and probably never will, just brainstorming…

Sure, if you send unable, I’m going to check to make sure I didn’t miss something, be it terrain or something else. (When I open, I have VFR charts for a 100 mile radius minimum open beside me)

I wouldn’t just immediately ghost upon hearing it.

If it’s a situation, which is fairly common, where, say, ATIS says depart straight out and the pilot tells me they’re “unable” to avoid making an immediate right turn into downwind traffic, I’ll know that it’s not a legitimate unable, and still give them several chances. If they continue their collision path, then es no bueno for them.

But “unable” isn’t an instant ghost, no.

The only response which is an instant ghost is a sarcastic “you’re welcome.” (Not a genuine “you’re welcome,” just the sarcastic one, and we can tell the difference, I promise). That’ll get you every time. Luckily those are extremely few and far between.

Well done, Tim. As a new radar controller i’ve had issues with this and this is a good explanation for what I do and when I do it! Will be linking this to pilots who have questions or concerns in the future. Well done!!

Yep it’s true. If I ever did a flight from KMKE-KORD around a 90 mile distance I would expect to wait my turn. I would get more XP and see the greatest thing, order and control. It’s beautiful to see lines of aircraft lined with another.

thats a great idea, a lot of IF pilots are not part of the community forum.

you can’t ghost someone for sarcasm, can you? Sure, it’s annoying, but aren’t ghosting there just to keep uncooperative players away? not to punish people for sarcasm…

I see your point however in real world aviation sarcastic remarks are robustly dealt with. its a question of professional integrity, to even enter Into to such engagements on any scale this forum is the place to be filing a report against a controller although I advise a calm and somewhat professional approach to be taken, as rightly so they take the role very seriously they all deserve the upmost respect…look around you at any time not just FNF its busy just have some patience I stand by my thought that IFC membership should be compulsory for expert users. It’s just makes sense that an expert is contactable and accountable for there actions… sarcasm included

Every ten seconds wasted on a pilots disregard for authority quantifies seconds to minutes of delays to others that do fly seriously and have a great deal of fun doing so…

Respect everyone.

Oh yeah, good point. :)

Harry Winsper

First of all, I’m fairly new to IF and I have fell in love with the sim… just one question, I notice “most” tower ATC announce there closing time. But I notice, alot of approach/departure do not. Many times I receive, "expect vectors for… then they literally sign off… Alot of times, I dont catch it until I notice there’s no traffic…
TO ALL ATC… you guys do a great job, even with all the Aholes you have to deal with!!! Thank you!!!

1 Like

Generally, I, and I think most other approach controllers, tend to announce 5 minutes about 45 minutes before actually closing. Most of the time, we will anounce it 4 or 5 times, but traffic just doesn’t allow for a break.

Then there’s always the fear that if we announce closing in two minutes or something, pilots may just think “well, he’s closing anyway…” and break off from vectors. It’s hard to gauge when we can actually close on Approach, because we like to wait until there’s a significant gap in close traffic. If we announce 5 minutes but in 5 minutes there’s 3 planes nearing intercept, we aren’t going to close, probably. It’s just really hard to actually announce it, and actually close at that time, so it ends up being an announcement well ahead of time.

Then of course, there’s always new pilots inbound, so no matter how many times we announce, there will always still be that one plane that calls in just as we were getting ready to close. Just the nature of timing.

It’s not a conscious decision on our part, it just kind of works out that way, because you can announce all you want but when you can actually close is heavily reliant upon the current traffic situation, and you kind of just have to close when the opportunity presents itself (nobody close to intercept).

1 Like