Infinite Flight Pilot Communications Manual

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Welcome to the Infinite Flight Pilot Communications Manual! This topic is meant to guide pilots through every aspect of communicating within Infinite Flight. Whether you are controlling or flying, conveying information is a vital part of every live session.

I encourage you to use this topic as a reference point - try linking other users to specific sections of this manual, rather than linking the whole thread. This can help newer users navigate the forum and this topic. To do so, simply right-click a blue heading and click “Copy Link”.


1. The Communications Interface

1.1 Main Communications

1.2 Map + Mini Map


2. Unicom

2.1 On the Ground

2.2 In the Air


3. Communicating with ATC

3.1 Pilot to Ground

3.2 Pilot to Tower

3.3 Pilot to Radar


4. Understanding ATC Instructions

4.1 ATIS

4.2 Ground to Pilot

4.3 Tower to Pilot

4.4 Radar to Pilot


5. When to Contact ATC

5.1 On Departure

5.2 On Arrival


6. Additional Resources

6.1 Common Mistakes

6.2 Special Circumstances

6.3 Other Resources

Image from iOS (3)

1. The Communications Interface

Image 1.1

communication@2x
Credit to the Infinite Flight User Guide

  1. The top left corner of the communication box shows the current frequency that you are tuned to, the Air Traffic Controller details (if it is an active frequency), and the METAR.

  2. The top right corner of the communication box contains a reminder of the last altitude, heading, speed, and runway assignments issued by a radar-controlled frequency, make sure to follow them!

  3. The boxes will automatically populate as you come into range with active frequencies (represented by a green text) or Unicom (uncontrolled) frequencies. Simply tap the frequency you want to tune to. You can also tune out of a frequency.

  4. All communication is logged here, double-tap the area to only show communication made by you and controllers talking to you.

  5. Live communications are logged here. Instructions will show up as they are sent.


Step 1 Select the airport you want using the technique shown in Getting more from your Map

Step 2 The info tab will show all active frequencies, the one you are currently tuned to will be highlighted green and labeled ‘COM 1’

Step 3 Tap ‘TUNE’ next to any frequency to make it COM 1 (you must be within the range of an airport to tune to its frequencies and you can only tune to radar frequencies when airborne

Image from iOS (2)

2. Unicom

On the Ground
Input When to Send When Not to Send
Taxi The pilot should announce that they are taxiing when on the ground and ready to taxi. The pilot should not use this if they are taxiing to parking.
Takeoff The pilot should announce takeoff when ready to takeoff. This should not be used every time the pilot performs a touch and go.
Clear of All Runways The pilot should send this if their entire aircraft is clear of all runways. This should not be sent when in the air.
Send Traffic Advisories Traffic advisories may be sent to inform other pilots of runway usage and traffic direction. In any other circumstance.
Cross Runway The pilot should announce a runway crossing before entering and exiting a runway. This should not be sent if the pilot is back-taxiing. Announcing takeoff will suffice.
Hold Short The pilot should send this to inform other pilots that they are holding position and not entering the respective runway. This should not be sent if the pilot’s intention is to line up and wait.

In the Air
Input When to Send When Not to Send
Report Position The pilot should report their position on each leg of a standard pattern. In any other circumstance.
Go Around The pilot should announce a go around to inform other stations of an aborted landing (e.g. unstable approach, runway blocked by an aircraft, or loss of separation with the aircraft ahead, etc). The pilot should not announce a go around after every touch and go.
Announce Inbound The pilot should send this if they are inbound and want to land or execute a touch and go. This should not be sent after every touch and go if the pilot is in the pattern.
Request Traffic Advisories Traffic advisories may be requested if the pilot wishes to inquire what runway(s) and traffic direction are in use. In any other circumstance.
Send Traffic Advisories Traffic advisories may be sent to inform other pilots of runway usage and traffic direction. In any other circumstance.

Image from iOS (2)

3. Communicating with ATC

Pilot to Ground
Input When to Send When Not to Send
Request Taxi to an Active Runway Sent when the pilot does not have a runway preference. The pilot should not send this when they are actively pushing back.
Request Taxi to a Specific Runway Sent when the pilot has a runway preference. The pilot should not request an unactive runway, determined by the current ATIS.
Request Taxi to Parking After exiting the runway, the pilot should request taxi to parking. The pilot should not request this until completely passed the hold short line.
Request Pushback When the pilot wishes to pushback, they should request a pushback clearance. This should not be requested if the user is piloting an aircraft without pushback capabilities (C172, C208, TBM-930, SR22, XCub, F18, F22, F16, F14, A-10, Spitfire, or P-38).
Request Runway Crossing If the pilot’s taxi route requires them to cross a runway, they must request permission to cross. The requested runway should be the same as the runway in use. In any other circumstance.
Request Frequency Change The pilot should request a frequency change if they wish to change frequencies and have not yet been given a clearance to do so. The pilot should not request a frequency change from Ground when they are taxiing to a runway. The frequency change is included in the taxi instruction (“contact Tower when ready”).

Pilot to Tower
Input (On Ground) When to Send When Not to Send
Request Departure The pilot should request departure if they are ready to takeoff from active runway. The direction should correlate to the direction the pilot will be departing Tower’s airspace. The pilot should not request departure if they are are not first in line.
Request Departure - Remaining in the Pattern The pilot should state that they will be remaining in the pattern if they plan to fly patterns (takeoff and land at the same airport). In any other circumstance.
Request Runway Crossing If the pilot is with the tower controller and wishes to cross a runway, they should request permission to cross the active end. The pilot should not request runway crossing if they wish to back-taxi.
Request Frequency Change The pilot should request a frequency change if they wish to change frequencies and have not yet been given a clearance to do so. In any other circumstance.
Input (In Air) When to Send When Not to Send
Inbound for Landing The pilot should send this if they did not receive an approach clearance or were provided with radar vectors or flight following. In any other circumstance.
Inbound on the ILS The pilot should call inbound on the ILS if they were cleared for an ILS approach. In any other circumstance.
Inbound on the GPS The pilot should call inbound on the GPS if they were cleared for a GPS approach. In any other circumstance.
Inbound on the Visual The pilot should call inbound on the visual if they were cleared for a visual approach. In any other circumstance.
Announce Go Around Reasons to go around include an unstable approach, runway blocked by an aircraft, or loss of separation with the aircraft ahead. In any other circumstance.
Request Departure The pilot should request departure when exiting Tower’s airspace after flying in the pattern. In any other circumstance.
Report Position The pilot should report their position if they have not been cleared yet and are landing momentarily. In any other circumstance.
Report Position - Full Stop The pilot can send this to inform ATC that they will be landing after flying in the pattern. In any other circumstance.
Request Runway Change The pilot can request a runway change if they would like to change runways while in the pattern or after calling inbound. In any other circumstance.
Request Transition If the pilot will be flying through Tower’s airspace, they should request a transition. In any other circumstance.
Request Frequency Change The pilot should request a frequency change if they wish to change frequencies and have not yet been given a clearance to do so. In any other circumstance.
Announce Missed Approach If the pilot’s approach is not looking right for any reason, they should announce a missed approach. In any other circumstance.

Pilot to Radar
Input When to Send When Not to Send
Request Approach The pilot should request an approach if they want an ILS, GPS, or visual approach provided. In any other circumstance.
Request Flight Following The pilot can request this if they want to fly into their destination without receiving an approach. If approved, they are free to follow their flight plan and have discretion over their altitude. This service should not be requested after Checking In.
Request Radar Vectors If the pilot does not want an ILS, GPS, or visual approach, and they have not requested another service, they can request radar vectors. ATC will vector them onto a VFR pattern leg and hand them off to Tower/Unicom at pattern altitude. In any other circumstance.
Request Altitude Change If the pilot is within 1,000ft of terrain or is within 3NM/1,000ft of another aircraft, they should request this. ATC will check their surroundings and take action if necessary. The pilot can also request this if they want to climb past their initial cruising altitude. The pilot should not request this upon departure. Checking In gives the pilot discretion over their altitude.
Executing Missed Approach The pilot may announce a missed approach if they are unable to continue their approach. If going around, this should be sent to the radar controller upon contact. In any other circumstance.
Check In The Check In is primarily used with Center and Departure. Approval authorizes the pilot to follow their own lateral and vertical guidance filed in their FPL. The pilot should not Check In with Approach. Instead, they should simply request an approach.
Request Descent via STAR The pilot should request this if they are 1 minute away from their top of descent (TOD) and have a STAR filed. If Radar tells the pilot to state their approach request, the pilot should not request a descent.
Request Frequency Change The pilot should request a frequency change if they wish to change frequencies and have not yet been given a clearance to do so. The pilot should not use this impatiently. Frequency changes will not always be given immediately.
Airport In Sight The pilot may report airport in sight if they can see the airport while on a visual approach. In any other circumstance.

Image from iOS (2)

4. Understanding ATC Instructions

ATIS
ATIS (Remarks) ATC Intention Pilot Actions
No Intersection Departures ATC require pilots to use the full length of the runway. The pilot should hold short at the end of the runway.
No Pattern Work ATC is not accepting pattern work. The pilot should not attempt to fly patterns at the airport.
Flow Control ATC is controlling the departure rate. The pilot should expect a delayed departure.
Long Taxi ATC may send departures to a runway that is not closest to the pilot’s terminal. The pilot should expect to be sent to a runway that requires a long taxi time.
Gate Hold ATC needs to freeze all outbound ground movement. The pilot should hold at their gate until the hold is lifted.
No Light Aircraft Light aircraft (XCub, C172, P38, SR22, and Spitfire) are not allowed in the airspace or at the airport. The pilot, if flying a light aircraft, must divert to or respawn at a different airport.
Rolling Departures ATC would like expedited departures. When cleared for takeoff, the pilot should enter the runway and begin their takeoff roll immediately.
Flight Plan Required ATC would like the pilot to file a flight plan before taxiing. The pilot must file a flight plan before requesting pushback.
Straight Out Departures ATC would like aircraft to maintain runway heading until the altitude sent with the takeoff clearance is reached and they are clear of traffic. The pilot should fly straight until at the assigned altitude and clear of all traffic before making any directional changes.
Multiple Frequencies in Use Controllers are using multiple frequencies to manage traffic. The pilot should be ready to change frequencies at any time.
Check Forum for Event Information ATC is referring pilots to special instructions on the IFC pages (i.e. FNF, VARB Summit) The pilot should check the forum before flying.
SID/STAR Use Recommended SID/STAR use is not essential for traffic management but is recommended. The pilots should add a SID/STAR to their flight plan.
SID/STAR Use Required SID/STAR use is essential for traffic management or for events and is being required. The pilot must add an ATC preferred SID/STAR to their flight plan.
ATIS (NOTAMs) ATC Intention Pilot Actions
Event in Progress An event is in progress. The pilot may experience delays or, depending on the event, will not be allowed to participate.
Size Restrictions in Place The airport cannot handle certain sized aircraft. The pilot should think about the size of their aircraft in relation to the airport.
Severe Weather Extreme weather conditions have been reported. The pilot should expect high winds/turbulence.
Low Visibility Low visibility has been reported. The pilot should expect low visibility.

Ground to Pilot
Instruction ATC Intention Pilot Actions
Pushback Approved ATC has given the pilot clearance to pushback. The pilot should pushback onto the taxiway.
Taxi to Runway, Contact Tower when Ready ATC has cleared the pilot to taxi to Runway XX. The pilot should begin to taxi to the assigned runway.
Hold Position ATC wants the pilot to immediately stop their aircraft. If at the gate, the pilot should wait until a pushback clearance is given. If the pilot is taxiing, they should bring the aircraft to a full stop and await the “Continue Taxi” instruction.
Continue Taxi ATC is lifting their “Hold Position” instruction. The pilot can continue to taxi.
Hold Short of Runway ATC wants the pilot to hold short of the runway. The pilot should hold their entire aircraft behind the hold short line.
Cross Runway ATC has cleared the pilot to cross the runway. The pilot should cross the runway. If “Please Expedite” is included, the pilot should expedite their crossing.
Give Way to Aircraft ATC wants the pilot to give way to another aircraft. The pilot should yield to the respective aircraft.
Instruction (Progressive) ATC Intention Pilot Actions
Expect Progressive Taxi Instructions ATC will use progressive taxi instructions. The pilot should continue as normal until given further instructions.
Turn Left Next Taxiway ATC wants the pilot to turn left at the next taxiway. The pilot should turn left at the next taxiway and continue taxiing until given further instructions.
Turn Right Next Taxiway ATC wants the pilot to turn right at the next taxiway. The pilot should turn right at the next taxiway and continue taxiing until given further instructions.
Continue Straight Ahead ATC wants the pilot to continue straight on the taxiway they are currently on. The pilot should stay on the taxiway until given further instructions.
Make a 180 ATC wants the pilot to make a 180º turn. The pilot should turn around and await further instructions.
Follow Aircraft Ahead ATC wants the pilot to follow the aircraft ahead. The pilot should follow the aircraft ahead until given further instructions.
Continue Taxi at Your Discretion ATC wants to let the pilot know that they are no longer subject to progressive taxi instructions. The pilot can continue their taxi at their discretion. If any other taxi instructions are given, they should follow those.

Tower to Pilot
Instruction ATC Intention Pilot Actions
Cleared for Takeoff ATC is clearing the pilot for takeoff. The pilot should commence their takeoff roll.
Cancel Takeoff Clearance, Hold Position ATC is canceling the pilot’s takeoff clearance. The pilot should abort their takeoff and hold on the runway.
Hold Short ATC wants the pilot to hold their position off the runway. The pilot should proceed to the hold short line and stop.
Line Up and Wait ATC wants the pilot to line up on the runway and hold their position. The pilot should enter the runway, stop, and be prepared to takeoff.
Back Taxi ATC wants the pilot to enter the runway and taxi to the specified end. The pilot should taxi on the runway and, depending on the instruction, either exit and contact Ground or line up and wait.
Exit Runway ATC wants the pilot to exit the runway they just landed on. The pilot should roll off the runway and contact Ground.
Exit Runway, Cross Runway X and Contact Ground. ATC wants the pilot to exit the runway at a controlled speed, cross Runway X, and contact Ground. The pilot should bring their aircraft to a safe speed, cross the specified runway, and contact Ground. No further communication with Tower is necessary.
Exit Runway, Hold Short of Runway X ATC wants the pilot to exit the runway at a controlled speed and hold short of Runway X. The pilot should bring their aircraft to a controlled speed and hold short at the specified runway. They should stay with Tower; runway crossing requests are unnesasary.
Speed at your Discretion ATC would like the pilot to manage their own speed. The pilot may fly at any safe speed, following speed restrictions.
Maintain Present Speed ATC wants the pilot to maintain their current speed until told otherwise. The pilot should check their speed and maintain that until told otherwise.
Maintain Slowest Practical Speed ATC wants the pilot to fly as slow as is safe. The pilot should decrease their speed as much as possible.
Maintain Best Forward Speed ATC wants the pilot to fly as fast as is safe. The pilot should increase their speed as much as possible.
Adjust Speed to Follow Aircraft Ahead ATC wants the pilot to slow down to maintain separation with the aircraft ahead. The pilot should adjust their speed so that they are flying at or less than the speed of the aircraft ahead.

Radar to Pilot
Instruction ATC Intention Pilot Actions
Continue As Filed ATC would like the pilot to continue flying at their discretion. The pilot should continue as filed; all altitude changes and directional changes do not require clearances.
Resume Own Navigation ATC would like the pilot to navigate on their own. The pilot should continue to navigate at their discretion; all directional changes do not require clearances. All altitude changes do.
Speed at Your Discretion ATC would like the pilot to manage their own speed. The pilot may fly at any safe speed, following speed restrictions.
Maintain Present Speed ATC wants the pilot to maintain their current speed until told otherwise. The pilot should check their speed and maintain that until told otherwise.
Maintain Slowest Practical Speed ATC wants the pilot to fly as slow as is safe. The pilot should decrease their speed as much as possible.
Maintain Best Forward Speed ATC wants the pilot to fly as fast as is safe. The pilot should increase their speed as much as possible.
Adjust Speed to Follow Aircraft ahead. ATC wants the pilot to slow down to maintain separation with the aircraft ahead. The pilot should adjust their speed so that they are flying at or less than the speed of the aircraft ahead.
Please Expedite Altitude Change ATC wants the pilot to expedite their altitude change. The pilot should increase their vertical speed to descend or ascend expeditiously.
Amend Flight Plan to Include ATC Preferred STAR. ATC needs to regulate traffic flow. The pilot should add an ATC preferred STAR to their flight plan.

Image from iOS (2)

5. When to Contact ATC

Ground – When the pilot is ready to pushback or taxi, they should contact Ground. Once with Ground, the pilot may initiate communication by requesting a service.

Tower – The pilot should contact Tower when they are a) handed off from Ground or b) ready for departure after being told to “taxi, contact Tower when ready”. Once with Tower, the pilot may initiate communication by requesting departure.

Radar – The pilot should contact departure or a similar radar service (approach, center) when they are a) handed off by Tower after takeoff or b) entering the controller’s airspace upon departure from a non-controlled field. Once with Radar, the pilot may initiate communication by Checking In or requesting Flight Following.


Radar – The pilot should contact a radar controller upon arrival when they are a) handed off from another radar controller or b) entering the controller’s airspace. Once with Radar, the pilot may initiate communication by checking in or requesting an approach service.

Tower – The pilot should contact Tower when they are a) handed off from a radar controller or b) inbound with no radar service when 25nm out at 10,000 AGL (or closer/lower). Once with Tower, the pilot may initiate communication by a) calling inbound (no approach service/radar vectors provided) or b) calling inbound on the ILS, GPS, or visual.

Ground – The pilot should contact Ground when they are a) handed off by Tower (this can be in the form of an exit instruction) or b) exiting the runway without an exit instruction or handoff. Once with Ground, the pilot may initiate communication by requesting taxi.

Image from iOS (2)

6. Additional Resources


Calling inbound on the ILS/GPS/visual without an approach clearance

If the pilot did not receive an approach clearance from a radar controller, they must not call inbound on the ILS/GPS/visual. Instead, they should use “announce inbound for landing” and can expect a pattern entry.


Checking In before requesting an approach

On initial contact with a radar controller, the pilot only needs to request an approach. Checking In is unnecessary.


Requesting a descent via STAR when with Approach

The pilot only needs to request an approach with the approach controller. No other requests are necessary.


Requesting climb/Flight Following after Check In

When handed off from Tower to Radar after takeoff, the pilot should not request Flight Following or a climb after Checking In. The pilot can either request Flight Following or Check In, both of which allow them to continue as filed.


Announcing "remaining in the pattern" when departing

If the pilot does not intend to fly patterns, they should not request this. Instead, they should announce that they are departing North, South, East, West or straight out.


Center Acting as Approach – The pilot should check in with Center on initial contact and request descent via filed STAR as normal. Upon reaching FL180, the pilot should request an approach for their destination airport; Center will acknowledge this request and issue vectors (if necessary) and a clearance. Note that pilots should not request visual approaches with Center as the center frequency does not have the ability to service visuals at this time.

Tower in the Absence of Ground – If no ground frequency is active, the pilot should pushback and taxi to a runway at their discretion, announcing all intentions over Unicom. No communication with Tower is necessary until the pilot is ready for takeoff.

Controller Change in Progress – When a controller change is in progress, there will be a brief period where no controller is present. The pilot should fly as normal and treat all clearances as relevant. When the new controller switches in, the pilot should not request or report things again, as the controller can see their communication history.


Infinite Flight User GuideInfinite Flight Video Tutorials

Official #ground-school TutorialsCommunity #ground-school Tutorials

Infinite Flight Air Traffic Control Education Group

If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to post them down below.


Project Leads – @lucaviness @PlaneGeek

Banners – @Gliding_Central

Special Thanks To – @Tyler_Shelton @RAH @DeerCrusher @TaipeiGuru @Juan_Oosthuizen @ToasterStroodie @MDoor @Tajay @Will_A @Yacht @Guxk @JarrettFlies @ShaneAviation @Trio @Aceorbit @Balloonchaser @Babacar


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126 Likes

Beautiful Tutorial!

2 Likes

Wow. Awesome job @lucaviness, @PlaneGeek and Everyone else that helped out. Turned out great and something that will be linked for years to come!

3 Likes

That’s a very detailed tutorial! Great job!

3 Likes

Again, great job guys!

3 Likes

Quite incredible work Luca, Jared and all others involved in this, you are a blast! Congrats you all!

2 Likes

Thank you all! Our goal is to help pilots become better on the expert server and help out our fellow controllers. 😊

5 Likes

Fantastic tutorial, glad I could help with this!

2 Likes

Thanks guys! I wasn’t able to fit it into the thread (max character count) but I’d like to thank @PlaneGeek for all his hard work on this project. I may have posted it but Jared did no less work than I. He really put his all into it; this wouldn’t be here if not for him.

Thanks to @Gliding_Central for making the beautiful banners, they’ve taken the thread to a whole new level!

And lastly, thanks to all of the fellow controllers who gave us advice and feedback along the way.

Hopefully, this thread can be of some help to both new and old users on this forum. See you all in the skies!

7 Likes

Very detailed tutorial 🙌

2 Likes

Incredible work @lucaviness, @PlaneGeek, and all the fellow controllers involved in this project! It was a blast working on this with you all! Fantastic job, again!

4 Likes

Great work @lucaviness and @PlaneGeek and @Gliding_Central you guys did amazing work! Well done!

3 Likes

I must say the banners are beautiful 💛 😉! Also another amazing tutorial to the IFC and well done to @PlaneGeek @lucaviness for running this project and to those behind the scenes editing all of the content that goes behind this topic. To the 30+ others… well done for all of your hard work too and that shouldn’t go un noticed.

3 Likes

Very well and amazingly put together Luca. Love the hard work from everyone and all the effort put into these tutorials! There are only making the pilots better and better!

1 Like

I cannot stress this enough but Luca makes the best tutorials on the forum. This one is by far my favorite from you! Well done and thank you for putting your time and effort to helping other pilots :)

3 Likes

Great Job guys… thanks!!

1 Like

Wow, this is great! It’s clear how much time and effort went into this, massive thanks and well done! @PlaneGeek @lucaviness @Gliding_Central and everyone else who worked on this, great work!

3 Likes

Amazing mate !

1 Like

Amazing tutorial! Thank you guys for all your hard work. I’m hoping this will help everyone, including ATC.

2 Likes