One of the most common errors I see pilots commit while I’m controlling is the incorrect use of “Inbound on the ILS”, “Inbound on the GPS”, and “Inbound on the Visual” commands. I’ve seen new and highly experienced players alike make this error, I so would appreciate it if everyone takes the time to read this reminder:
Quite a few people use these commands as they would “inbound for landing”, thinking that It just specifies what kind of runway they want. This is incorrect, they should only be used after you have been cleared for an ILS, GPS, or visual approach by a radar controller and transferred to tower.
When you have not been cleared by approach and contact tower directly, always announce inbound for landing. From there we will give you a pattern entry and sequence followed by a clearance. If you are already in the pattern, report your position instead.
When you have been cleared by approach, use the command correct to what you have been cleared for as soon as you are switched to the tower frequency. From there, we will give you a direct clearance if you are on the ILS/GPS, or a sequence and clearance if you are on the visual. If you have been handed off with flight following a radar vectors, you actually will need to use the inbound for landing command, which means a pattern entry, sequence, and clearance.
To close, I have made this chart which shows which shows which inbound commands you can use in different situations. If you often make this mistake, please download the photo to use for easy reference in the future:
Thanks everyone, and happy flying!