After being IFATC for roughly a month now, I have noticed that pilots frequently get mixed up between ATC controls. After thinking long and hard about this issue, I think I have found a solution. My idea is to have the pilot’s ATC menu suggest different commands, depending on the situation.
One of the largest issues I have seen as IFATC is that pilots call in to land wrong. As most of us know, when there is no approach at the airport, the pilot should say they are “inbound to land/touch and go.” If there is approach, and the pilot is cleared for the ILS/GPS/Visual, the pilot must say that they are “inbound on the ILS/GPS/Visual.” Currently, no matter if there is approach or not, the pilot must figure out which command to use. This is bad for several reasons:
1. It's confusing for many pilots.
The number of commands available to request landing can be extremely confusing to pilots if they do not know the correct way to call inbound. We, as IFATC, have stopped sending “Check Help Pages” to people who call inbound wrong because it is too vague and pilots still do not seem to understand.
2. Calling "inbound on the ILS/GPS/Visual" is hard to do when you are trying to land a plane.
When approach hands you off to tower, you must use the “inbound on the ILS/GPS/Visual” command. However, at this point you are already on final, which makes it difficult to go digging through the ATC menu to use the correct command. This is extremely difficult on visual approaches, when the pilot needs to remain concentrated on flying. For example, not too long ago, KJFK was featured on the ES and the approach used the Canarsie Approach, where you turn onto final almost directly over the runway. I found it very hard to find the “inbound on the visual” command because I was trying to perform the turn, and it was distracting me greatly.
So, how would my feature help this? Well, Infinite Flight would recognize if you were cleared for the ILS/GPS/Visual by approach. Depending on if you were cleared by approach or not, the “inbound on the ILS/GPS/Visual” or the “inbound to land/touch and go” button would show up in green on the bottom bar, where the “reply” button usually is, as shown in the picture below.
Of course, there are many other uses for this feature. Another common mistake I have noticed, which is probably even more annoying to ATC than the first one, is requesting to take off, remaining in the pattern. Remaining in the pattern means that you are taking off and flying patterns. With this feature, if the pilot has a flight plan, it will suggest “departing north/south/east/west/straight out.” I do not know if this is possible, but maybe Infinite Flight could recognize the direction a pilot’s flight plan is going and suggest that specific direction. If a pilot does not have a flight plan, however, it would suggest “remaining in the pattern.”
Now, of course some people may not have a flight plan and still want to depart, or they have a flight plan and want to remain in the pattern, so the other commands are still available in the main ATC menu. This is just an easier way to get to the command that the pilot is probably going to use.
I could list so many more examples where this feature would help pilots, but I think you get the point. Not only would this be helpful for beginner pilots, it would also make ATC commands much easier to find for even the most advanced pilots. Not only that, but this would be very helpful for ATC because we would not need to question if what the pilot is saying is actually what they want to do.
Some pilots may find that this feature may get rid of some of the freedom they had with ATC. As much as I disagree, maybe this feature could be disabled in the settings page if the pilot truly does not want it.
Thanks @Bobby for giving me some inspiration for this feature!