What this is: With long-haul flights bringing more and more pilots to Expert quicker, a simple list of habits picked up on TS that should be left behind.
What this is not: A thread to rehash every nuisance encountered on TS; every picture of a plane passing through another, etc.; a tutorial (those should, however, be read if you’d don’t want your first and second sessions on Expert to be a week apart; as always, this is not a callout thread or a roll call of who ‘does it right’.
Recently, I’ve noticed that nearly every new user sends a Stand By message immediately upon spawning. Bluntly, this is just unnecessary clutter and entirely pointless. It serves no purpose. When you’re ready for pushback, request it. I don’t need you to tell me you just spawned.
Taxiing While Requesting Taxi (or not requesting at all):
Okay, perhaps the TS controllers don’t have a good eye for the field and you’re able to play little games to see how far you can make it before being interrupted (probably the HS on TS). However, on Expert, we watch the field. Taxi clearance isn’t a courtesy, but a requirement. Not “hey, I’m already halfway to the runway”, but “may I begin taxiing.” It’s a question, not a declaration.
A pushback is generally a push straight back out of your gate and then a 90 degree turn to face your expected runway. It is not a 180-degree turnaround in your gate. Push back just like every commercial plane you’ve ever been on in your life has, then request taxi. Di not spin around like a top. While we’re at it, request taxi when you’re positioned to do so. Not the second after requesting pushback so you get your clearance early and don’t have to pause. That’s a silly game. Leave it on TS.
Pattern altitude for GAs is 1000 feet AGL; 1500 for commercial jets. It is not 10100 feet. And, no, you do not need to fly 349 IAS in the pattern so why you would fly that high is mind-boggling. BTW, this means you climb to pattern altitude and stop. It does not mean you climb at 7000 FPM to 8000 feet then slowly drop down. 1500 AGL is the peak of your climb.
Downwind on Patterns:
Since your altitude should be 1500 AGL max, you should not be flying a full 10 nm approach every time. Assuming you are keeping to the sequence given by ATC, turn base when below the glidescope [technically, there’s actually supposed to be descent on base, but we will keep it simple]. It is incredibly difficult to fit you in number one when you’re flying 15 nm downwind for no reason whatsoever.
Stay With Tower Unless Otherwise Instructed:
The most common new habit I’ve noticed is that pilots remaining in the pattern switch to Approach (without clearance, which should already be known as something you never do) and request a full ILS approach. That’s not how VFR patterns work. Unless Tower sends you to Approach, stay with tower, and fly a proper pattern. This does not include a full ILS approach. Not sure why this just started being commonplace, but it has. Stay with tower.
Not V1. Please. Have Some control of your airplane. This should be self-explanatory.
Please do no spawn in your 388 at some tiny GA tie-down just because it’s close to the runway you want to use. Use a gate. Maybe it takes an extra minute to taxi, but at least you don’t look rediculous squeezing a super into a spot meant for a Cessna.
Switching to Ground the Second You Touch Down
The exit command ends “…contact ground when off the runway.” That’s what it means if you’re not past the HS and off the runway, you should not be requesting taxi to parking.
Runway Colors Aren’t Gospel:
I’ll throw this in for everyone. Runway colors are just that. Colors. It doesn’t mean open, closed. Anything. The open runway is the runway ATC is using. End of story. I would suggest learning to read a METAR. A 5 kt crosswind is not a 30 knot tailwind. Don’t be a slave to colors. Even if both are green. If there’s an 18/36 runway and the METAR reads 180@4kts, expect 18. Or not. ATC discretion. Either way, colors dictate nothing. They’re a visual aid. That’s it.
I don’t mean this as a callout thread. There are plenty of tutorials and threads for more specific info in these. These just happen to be the most common games I see being brought to Expert as it becomes easier to reach Grade 3 (No, I don’t want to have a should we change the standards discussion here). I’ve unfortunately have had to force the second excursion on Expert be a week after the first for quite a few people. It doesn’t bring me pleasure, but these games that get played on TS simply don’t belong on Expert. I’d prefer not to ghost, but I need a little help on your end. Before you just jump on Expert, watch the tutorials. Know the rules. Be able to discern between proper procedure and what-I-can-get-away-with-on-TS.
Don’t take this as an admonishment. I’m trying to spare you the trouble of a vacation. I’ll assume most of you are well-intentioned, and are just used to a certain lack of awareness by TS ATC. But Expert is called that for a reason. If you have 120k XP and still request remaining in pattern every takeoff, no matter the circumstances, you should consider watching the tutorials.
While we are at it: when told to Check Help…do that. Don’t ragequit. You’re just gonna hear it again next time when you do the same thing because you didnt actually try to figure out what you did wrong. Check Help doesn’t mean instant ghost. It means please educate yourself. That way, you won’t look so silly when you claim you were ghosted for “no reason.”