Pilots, Try Pushing Your Thinking Boundaries!



I’m sure everyone’s flown into places with controllers active and all that sort of cool stuff. But did you know there is an art in flying? Did you know that communication can be the equalivalent of a Picasso masterpice or a slice of cheesy stuffed crust pizza at Pizza Hut?

Intriguied? Good for you. Give yourself a cookie and a pat on the back. To elaborate further, communicating with a controller is a handy set of skills all can master. It’s taking in observations and intepreting it that matters, especially when it comes to reading what a controller is doing.

How can you read your controller? Good question.

In order to do that, you need one thing- common sense. Those two simple words mean the difference between orderly traffic and chaos. You’d be surprised at how many people fail to take this into consideration.

I want you to try something. Draw conclusions as best as you can with the commands you are given and relative position to other traffic. Push your mind and start to question why certain commands are given.

Here are a few examples of how you can try this level of thinking:

  • Approach controller gives you a descent to 2,000.
    - Most likely you will be getting a short approach. Reduce speed and prepare for a 4-5 mile final!
  • You are told to reduce speed to 170 knots.
    - You could be going too fast and catching up with a plane in front.
    - Gap between you and another plane is closing quickly on who intercepts first.
    - Going too quickly to hit the ILS.
  • Told to hold over Red Table VOR @ 13,000 feet.
    - Airport may be busy, so expect delays.
    - Traffic could be under you below the stack.
    - You’re too high.

What do all of those have in common? Deductive reasoning. Take the commands given to you and observe. There’s a reason in what we do. Those examples given may not be related to the actual situation, but they’re examples of what you can interpret.

At the end of the day, our job is to accomodate, separate, and move traffic in an orderly manner. I don’t want pilots to have to be frightened to ask those questions.

We are here to serve you, not the other way around. If there weren’t any planes, ATC wouldn’t even exist. Remember that.

Enjoy your evening and eat some hot nachos on the house. :)



I’d like to add, pilots need to get into the mindset that aviation is NOT A RACE. It’s not about who gets to the airfield first. Use your map, visually observe traffic around you and use this in conjunction with the ATC commands. It’s all about safe, separated sequencing!


Great post, Josh! Sure it will help! :)

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One plate calls for 13,700 another calls for 12,900. 13,000 would be just fine. Good post Joshua


I’ll just keep flying into unicom airports for landings instead.

Very informative though.

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Please do for all of our sakes 🙏


Guess it depends on the source then. Well, that´s not the point either with this post.

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Excellent post, Josh. I often wonder how much easier our jobs would be if pilots excercised some common sense, i.e. is it generally a good idea to go 230 kts on a six mile final?

At the end of the day, pilots can learn a lot from a flight and interaction with ATC, which I believe the ultimate goal here is. The more everyone can learn, the more enjoyable this wonderful simulator will be for everyone.


I wish the world was perfect too


230 IAS is managable.

One can definitely slow down in time if they know how.

We can all hope that people will understand and improve. If just one pilot improves, it’s one less dumbass flying on Expert.


That’s not what I mean. I’m referring to going 230 kts behind other traffic going at a normal speed. Sure it’s manageable, but is it a good idea? No. Common sense.

@zbelle I’m going to assume you’re joking, and not publicly making a fool of yourself.

In no circumstances is 230 knots IAS on a one mile final even remotely considered ‘manageable’, regardless of any other traffic. As stated above, if that’s your mindset, please go to a Unicom airfield with no other traffic in sight of you


Breathe, Nicholas. Breathe…

With the great variety of aircraft we have. One aircraft’s final speed may be as low as 50kt, while another’s may be 180kt.
Of course it is best to use common sense while behind other aircraft on approach for the sake of seperation.

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Who said ONE mile?

The post I referenced stated SIX miles.

230KT at a 6 mile final is also too much.


Of course common sense is good, that’s my point. As long as pilots use their heads, we will have a lot less conflict between aircraft.

Thank you for your interest in my respiratory function.

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Totally dependent on the aircraft in question and flaps settings. Is it possible? Sure. Advisable? Not usually. Managable? Most definitely.

@zbelle Read this.


A 230 knot 6 mile final would be in breach of FAA regulations.
It would not be manageable for ATC
It is not manageable for a real world pilot. Configuration early is the key. You are approaching the landing gate (where you are required to have complete landing configuration and final checklists complete) at a ludicrous rate.
Your pitch would be about -5 degrees trying to maintain your 3degree approach / glideslope
Any aircraft intending to depart would be restricted due to your approach speed.
Maintaining 230 knots would be in breach of most metropolitation noise abatement procedures.

Shall I continue?


May I ask which aircraft under normal circumstances would fly 230KT on a 6 mile final? Not even the C-17 would do that