Pilots & Controllers: Tips, Tutorials, and Tricks (Part Two)

Hey all! Here’s part two of my tutorial series, which will be shifting focus in the near future! This is the last bulky tutorial that you’ll be seeing, as a certain project may allow me to present it in a different way in the future, if all goes well…

Meanwhile, just enjoy it! Put the coffee or tea kettle on, cut up some cake, and take a good morning, afternoon, or midnight read! This tutorial discusses various ethics and further tips on what to in terms of controlling or pilot awareness. Good luck!

Part Two: Straight in the Core


ILS Interception- Rule of Thumb

As an approach controller, you are responsible for directing aircraft onto the ILS or glidescope of a particular runway. There are various scenarios in which approach controllers are used, but we will be using the ILS for this example.

When working approach, there is a specific rule of thumb to remember to guide aircraft onto the ILS. Yes, there are different approaches and exceptions to various ILS approaches in both Infinite Flight and real life, but there is a general “rule of thumb,” if you will, if ever in doubt about an ILS approach. It works as follows:

  1. Order the aircraft to intercept the ILS within a 30-degree heading of the runway.

  2. Order the aircraft to a relative height of 3,000 feet above airport level roughly around the time of the ILS intercept. THIS IS IMPORTANT- Do NOT, and I repeat, do NOT, look at true ground level (sea level, for instance) when ordering the aircraft to the ILS intercept height. For example, Ontario airport is roughly 800ish feet above sea level. You would then order an aircraft to intercept the ILS at 3,800 feet. However, we only have 500 foot increments in Infinite Flight, so you would order an intercept at 3,500 feet or thereabouts.

Lines, Lines, Lines, and Taxiways!

Pilots, this is for you. Several controllers have been noticing instances in which pilots are unable to differentiate taxiways from maintenance roads. If any of you are ever confused on telling the difference, here are a few ways to learn:

  • If the so-called taxiway won’t fit the width of your plane, it ain’t a taxiway. (Of course, obvious exceptions come into play… For example, a 747-400 won’t fit in a class Echo airport, but you get my point)

  • A taxiway will have yellow lines. Look for them. (A few different instances vary, however… There are some rare areas with white taxiway lines, but you will nearly never encounter them, unless you look… ^-^ )

  • White strips across a narrow band of some sort of road usually indicates that it is a maintenance road. Keep your eyes peeled for those.

Clearance- A Statement

  • If you DO NOT receive a clearance of any kind for landing or the option, you MUST, and I repeat, you MUST go around. You absolutely cannot do what you are intending to do without a clearance.

  • Clearance is key to your safety. It is a “green light,” if you will. Once you get clearance, relax (you know what I mean), and enjoy the rest of the ride down. Controllers will let you know if they need something else from you.

Approach Controller Tips

If anyone is ever working as an approach controller, here are a few ways to maximize your service:

  • Assess the situation. Coordinate with the tower controller (if any) regarding runway usage.

  • Avoid giving a multitude of frantic vectors. Minimize the amount of vectors you give and attempt to get the most out of it. For example, a simple 90-degree vector can send an aircraft on a long hold downwind of Runway 27. No need to frantically give 4 or 5 that goes all over the place. However, exceptions, such as having to maneuver the aircraft to avoid terrain obstacles, may be regarded.

  • Order aircraft to descend down in increments. There is no use in telling an aircraft to descend all the way down to 3,000 from 10,000 and the ILS is still 25 miles away at the time of hitting 3,000 feet.

Runway Crossing

You must always request a runway crossing and/or be cleared to cross a runway in order to do so! Here’s how to do it, with several simple steps:

  1. Roll to a stop behind the hold short line of the runway you intend to cross.

  2. Request a runway crossing to the controller currently on the job.

  3. As you begin crossing, look both ways! You never know what might happen!

  4. Cross as quickly as you can, especially if the runway is an active runway currently in use.

  5. Make SURE that you are across the hold short line on the other side to allow traffic to resume!

(Several exceptions may apply to runway crossings. For instance, the tower controller has the possibility to clear an aircraft to immediately cross a runway upon exit from landing. This is useful in places such as MIA, SFO, and HNL. Other exceptions apply.)

Base Entry (Refresher Lesson)

I have uncovered some confusion from Playground controllers regarding this. Even in my early days as a controller on the Playground, I used to be unable to differentiate between the misnomer of base entry and turn base commands.

This was covered a tad bit in my last tutorial, but people are still having issues with this. This is an effort to clear it up even further, as explained below:

  • “Turn base” is to only be used IF a controller has told a pilot that they will call their base… OR a controller wants a pilot to turn base in the midst of incoming traffic. For example, someone is about five miles downwind from the runway and an aircraft is inbound for landing straight in on that same runway at about 13 miles out. Instead of sequencing the traffic on downwind, you could simply tell the aircraft to “turn base” (and no, you don’t need to do a “I’ll call your base” command- you can call base even without it- this sort of scenario is an example), and the aircraft would then turn base in front of the traffic coming straight in (be sure to sequence the traffic coming straight in, though!). The separation would probably be between 5 or 6 miles, if all went well and you timed it right.

  • “Enter left/right base” is an ENTRY pattern command if you wish for an aircraft to enter the pattern, not when they are remaining in it. This command is NOT to be used if you use “I’ll call your base.” The concept of “I’ll call your base” is solely based on when an aircraft is still in the pattern.

Pilot Ethics

As of late, misbehavior from pilots have been popping up here and there. I have included a friendly list of common pilot ethics that are strongly advised and recommended to follow in order to make life easier for all of us.

  • Avoid “racing” or taxiing at high speeds just to beat someone in line for takeoff. Not only can you disrupt traffic, but you will enrage other people and potentially backlog a carefully-planned sequential order of departures.

  • Avoid back-taxiing at a snail’s pace on an active runway when there is traffic on final. Move it like a Ferrari 458!

  • Don’t fly into other planes when in a traffic pattern. Keep a respectable distance!

  • Don’t run through other planes when taxiing on the ground! Not only is it rude, but you will elicit the chagrin of others and risk a ghosting on advanced if it interferes with other traffic!

Communication is Key

I cannot stress enough on how important communication is for both pilots and controllers alike. Here are a few tips regarding communication:

  • If you, as a pilot, are flying together with others as a “flight of…” group, PLEASE include a “flight of…” in your callsign. This subtlety communicates to the controller that you and several others will be “together” in all aspects, from takeoffs to maneuvers and so forth. Only ONE pilot needs to speak for the whole “flight of…” group.

  • If you are a controller, try your best to get in touch with anyone who would be “tag-teaming” with you on other frequencies. This allows for strong coordination and prevention of interlocking and/or clashing traffic.

  • There is a “misc. messages” button in your menu while controlling or flying for a reason. Use it. Thank a pilot or controller for something, or subtlety use a command to hint one or the other that you need something.

Approach- Speed

When working approach, you will notice a button that allows you to tell an aircraft to exceed or stay below a certain speed. The usage of those things follow as:

  1. Use it for spacing between planes.
  2. Use it for sequencing.



Yeah, well… That’s about it. I hope that you guys thoroughly enjoyed this and took it to heart! Thanks for reading, and I hope that you all have a great day! Tutorials of this sort will no longer be coming, but perhaps in a different form one day… I’ll leave the rest up to your imagination!


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[quote=“Rotate, post:2, topic:12199”]
taxiway will have yellow lines. Look for them. (A few different instances vary, however… There are some rare areas with white taxiway lines, but you will nearly never encounter them, unless you look… ^-^ )
[/quote] Once I wasn’t paying attention to the taxiway lines my plane was taxiing on the service roads. I was lucky my plane wasn’t that big so I taxied off and back on the taxiway I was. I wasn’t is live, I was flying a 737-700, and I was at KSFO.