New Transition Procedures for Pilots and Controllers, Effective Immediately.

Thank you, @Tristan_Hensley for this great tutorial on Transitions. Please feel free to post questions or concerns below!

Hello Pilots and Controllers!

In the past I have discussed how controllers and pilots should handle transitions when utilizing ATC on the Advanced Server. The ATC Administration Team has decided to make some changes on how we handle transitions to help minimize any confusion this has been causing. I am not going to go into detail about the “old way.” This is the way that we will be handling it from this point forward.

Transitions are only required if you are flying within 5 miles of a controlled airport (The center ring) and at or below the lowest altitude limit. When you click anywhere in the center ring, it will give you between 1 to 3 altitude ranges. The bottom range is what you should use. I will post pictures of a Class B Airspace, and a Class D airspace as an example so you can see what I’m talking about.

The first example is Palm Springs Airport in California (KPSP). If you click in the center ring of that airspace and then look in the top right corner, it gives you 3 different ranges of altitudes. What we will be using for transition purposes is the bottom range. So in this case is shows SFC-3000 (Meaning from the Surface up to 3000 feet). That altitude is in MSL. If you are flying at or below 3,000 feet and will get within 5 miles of the airport, you need to contact the tower and request a transition. The only exception to this rule would be if Approach Control is open. If Approach control is open, those controllers will communicate with each other and coordinate your flight, so you don’t have to.

If you are flying at 2500, and are going to pass by the airport 7 miles away, you are NOT required to contact the Tower. If approach control is open you would need to contact them. If you are flying at 4000 directly over the field, you do not need to contact the tower. Again, in this scenario, you only need to contact tower if you flying at or below 3000 feet, and within 5 miles of the airport.

In this next example, I will use KCRQ in Southern California. This is a Class D Airspace. When you click on the airport, it shows that the airspace is from the Surface to 2900 feet. So if you are at 3,000 feet, you do NOT need a transition. If you are flying within 5 miles of the airport and are at or below 2900 feet, you must contact the tower, if it is open, and request a transition.

The most important part of all of this is that if you are flying more than 5 miles from ANY airport, you do not need a transition from the Tower. If you are going to be flying within 5 miles of an airport, you need to check the lower altitude limit on your map to see if you need a transition or not.

Note: If you think you are going to conflict with the traffic in any given controlled airspace, you always have the right to check in with that ATC Facility.

ATC Recruiter/Supervisor


Another amazing tutorial from Tristan. Let’s NOT forget he is one of many many volunteers that help make Infinite Flight what it has become in such a short amount of time. Thanks


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I like the effort but doesn’t this take away some realism? I kindof prefer to contact tower and request transition when entering, for example, the second ring at 5000ft. It’s realistic and removes possibility of the tower ‘on-guarding’ you and asking for intentions. Also keeps bs out of class B airspace.

Yeah, I like the realistic way too, but we currently have people requesting it at FL330 still. Many times, IF procedures need to be a “one size fits all” and this is one of those, until I can work out a better solution to mimic real world ops.

Obviously in the real world your lower ring would be for Delta’s but Charlies and Bravos carry extra layers, as you’re describing. As it is, users are rarely getting just the basic “lower ring” transition request right, so I can only imagine complicating it further would just be worse.

Long story short, I’m going to send Matt a few ways to revamp this and make it more self explanatory, but realistic.


C’mon! I was writing a two paragraph explanation, just when Tyler beat me to it. There goes all that work. :P

Basically, what the chief said. ^


Sounds like a plan. Glad you’re working on improvements. Maybe not allowing the transition call when more than X nm away from the airspace is an option.

@StikLover2, i liked your post to give you some credit anyway. :P


Yeah, I’ve thought about that too. Maybe just shading out the option for pilots to even request it when they’re not within a reasonable area, or even a generated warning that says, “Request outside of appropriate transition area”. I would also like a tower command that simply says, “Unable Transition, for xxxxx” (Traffic, departures, etc).


Sounds like a great tutorial again thanks and can see working fine on advanced. As always it’s not the same on PG when you are at FL320 and are sent an " on guard" message…that’s when the Transition message helps.


We also need an ATC command like “No need to request transition if you intend to fly outside of my airspace” or something like this?

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Tristan, Tyler,
I don’t want to talk about pros and cons of this new procedure, but as far as I understand, this new procedure implies, that tower should not send a broadcast message to inbound traffic outside the 5nm, for this might be transition traffic. Might be realistic, but in IF, often without approach ATC, this implies, that traffic, inbound for landing on a wrong runway, cannot be contacted before the 5nm, even if tower identified this problem long before. Pilots will be forced to very quick decisions and reactions, often replanning the complete approach, in the last few miles before touchdown.

No problem for real advanced pilots on the advanced server, but I’m quite sure, there are other pilots flying there, too. On Playground this is not imaginable at all (Thinking on all these ‘inbound on ILS’ traffic, which cannot be switched to a pattern procedure in the last few miles).

Looking from the other (pilots) side, a pilot can still always check in, if he wants to. The only difference is, that he need not request transition in the outer rings.

So, from pilot’s point of view this might be a good idea (reducing the need for a transition request), but from tower ATC I don’t know, how to handle this: broadcasting only, after traffic enters the 5nm zone, waiting for reaction, giving pattern instructions to another runway in the last seconds before touchdown, and hoping, the pilot has enough skills to react without conflicting with other traffic…


@Tristan_Hensley @Tyler_Shelton I forgot tagging you. If you read this already, sorry for this tagging (don’t want to “bump” this thread)

You are quite right. ATC could still va a chance to identify an incoming traffic with a flight plan. In other cases it would be definitely too late for a broadcast message in the 5 NM circle.

Excellent tutorial ,this will definitely help many of us as controllers and pilots as when or how to use transition request appropriately.thanks a million to Tristan Hensley and Tyler for all their hard worked put in into this piece of awesome information.

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@Tristan_Hensley Do you have any comments to my posting (more question than concern) above ?

Thank you for this tutorial. I got very confused about transitions before.

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Beautiful tutorial, I will definitely use this now.