Is there anything I can do as a pilot to reduce the radar controller’s work load?


I’m wondering if there’s anything I can do to help reduce the work load of the radar controller and make their lives easier in a busy environment as a pilot?


Great question! When I’m controlling approach there’s two things I really appreciate pilots doing:

  1. When you call in, say your approach request (ILS, GPS, visual) and don’t check in. However, it would be appropriate to check in (and nothing more) if you have been assigned an approach by center.

  2. Be aware of your speed. If you’re 5 miles behind someone we’d really appreciate you not coming in at 340kts all the way down to 15,000 or lower

I’m sure other controllers will have more to add, but those are my two biggest things.


Noted! Thank you for your input!


This I find really irritating from a pilot’s perspective:

  1. Someone is behind me in the approach line rapidly catching me up because they’re travelling around 80kts faster than me.

  2. They are asked to reduce speed to follow my speed, they ignore it and get reported.

  3. They then complain that the report wasn’t fair because they were in a rush to land.

Me: if you are in a rush then don’t fly into a busy airport on expert server 🤦🏼‍♂️


Adding on to the post from Rob, please don’t ask for a frequency change. It’s a huge pet peeve I have personally. Now if you are going very far away from the airspace, then that’s fine but other than that, we will hand you off when ready.

You as in pilots


Thank you for asking! Here’s a few more tips:

On departure:

If you have an IFR flight plan, all you need to do is check in. Don’t request FF, don’t request anything else (unless your destination airport is within that Radar’s control). No need to request an altitude change either unless you have been given a specific altitude to maintain.

In Center:

Same thing as above. Just check in. However, when it’s time to descend and you have a STAR, request descent via STAR. If you don’t have a STAR, request an altitude change. If Approach is not active, request your approach once you reach a suitable point towards the end of your STAR. If you don’t have a STAR, request approach at a suitable point not too close but not too far from the airport (ie: don’t request it as you’re descending through 20000, just been approved to descend via STAR, or at cruise)

For Approach:

Same thing Rob said.


Thank you all for your answers! I may not be new to working with ATC but I do like to make ATC’s lives a lot easier so it’s nice reminder!:)


Adding on what they said above, there’s something that not only you, but every pilot should do: Following all the ATC instructions. I know that it looks simple, but If we talk about a busy airspace, the radar controllers look, and if it’s the case, work, a pattern to bring the aircraft in a safe and organized manner. So I think that following every instruction will make both sides easy: The controllers with the traffic flow and less workload, and the pilots not being disruptive and helping out the radar controllers in that way, adding on being professional too.

Hope this also helps :D

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I just want add some nicks and crannies as many people above have stated many valid points. Before i was an IFATC, whenever i flew to busy airspaces and was under radar controll i always tried and adjusted my speed according to the planes ahead and tried to maintain atleast 5-6 NM between the planes. And after becoming a radar controller i realised i was doing the right thing, as a radar controller i personally really appreciate when the pilots adjust their speed according to the aircrafts ahead and try and maintain the separation, in a busy airspace such small gestures results in a beautifully organised airspace. Thank you.


I know a lot of great information has already been shared, but I would love to share my two cents! Before I was IFATC, I always loved getting full approach services at an airport (as most people do, Its more fun!), but I did not like super long flights. I would do local flights. As an officer, now, I cannot tell you how often I have a rhythm and then a local flight from 6nm away requests an approach. I’m sure that that is not something you need to worry about, though. Another thing that I see a lot is a reluctance to deviate from one’s flight plan. If a radar controller gives you a vector off your flight plan, there is a good reason that maybe you cannot see, and you should follow it as soon as possible. It makes life so much easier as a radar controller when everything you instruct happens quickly and smoothly! Finally, changing approaches: Sometimes a radar controller may need to change the type of approach that you fly. It is a common occurrence for pilots to re-request their approach when they are not given the approach or runway that they requested. This takes attention away from other planes. I know @JetSuperior5192 mentioned it, but the #1 thing is just following instructions. I cannot stress that enough. I hope this was helpful, and feel free to message me about anything that has to do with IFATC. I’m sure that you are flying perfectly well, and if you are not, I hope you learned something. Have a lovely day.


Good question, I just flew my first ever approach with ATC on training server to EGLL, and I was seriously surprised of how many messages there were + some pilots just not listening. No idea how the controllers keep up with all of the traffic.

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