Question Training Series: Part 1

Hello everyone! This question training series is to help myself, as well as others, better understand the flight procedures that we must follow when in the Expert Server. The rules in the Expert Server are there to help create the most realistic flight environment. So understanding these rules is crucial in order to keep the Expert Server the way it was intended to be. Here is today’s question:

When tuning into the tower frequency to request your departure, how do you know which direction to select (straight out, north, south, east, or west)? Is this based solely on where your destination is relevant to you? Or does it have to do with your SID and what direction it was labeled under? Or is it dependent on something else entirely?

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Hi, let me try to answer this. It’s where your first turn leads you after takeoff. For example, if your departure runway heads 270 degree west: You request departure to the north 360 degree if this is set to your Flightplan / SID. If you’re still within the runway cone / airspace and you’re following the centerline, you request straight out following runway heading. Normally the ATC sees on your flight plan (if set) where you’re heading to. Hope this helped.

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S= straight out
N= departure to the north

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Hi, thanks for your response! This is very helpful. Just to make sure I understand you correctly, 360 degrees is north, 90 degrees is east, 180 degrees is south, and 270 degrees is west? In other words, you read the compass clockwise? Thanks!

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Exactly :)

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What if you were departing west, and your route continues west past the cone but at a slight angle which makes it leave the cone. Would you then say departing west because it heads west but deviates from the cone? Or would you still say straight out since it is still generally west?

Or maybe you would say departing north or south if it was sloped in one of those ways?

It’s all about where you’re departing Tower’s airspace which extends up to 5000ft AAL in Infinite Flight. If you maintain runway heading up to 5000 that’s a straight out departure. If you exit the airspace on a North heading, that would be a North departure and so on. A slight turn from runway heading would therefore not be straight out: you would have to pick a direction.

In the diagram @Black_Bird made, the Northern departure could very well be a straight out departure if your crosswind turn is at 5000ft.

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This is absolutely right. I missed to include the AAL of the aiport. As a rule of thumb and most SIDs and flightplans I’ve seen so far, I can say that the first intended heading often tells ATC which direction the plane departs to. And frankly speaking, i would love to see that most of the pilots follow as close to our conversation :) as possible. but reality differs.

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From the User Guide:

Request Departure - Departing

The pilot should request departure if they are ready to take-off from the active runway. The direction should correlate to the direction the pilot will be departing Tower’s airspace. “In Sequence” can be included when not first in line for departure.

It’s not about the direction your FPL takes you it’s the direction in which you will be departing Tower Airspace, which is the immediate ring around the airport laterally and 5000’ AAL (Above Aerodrome Level) vertically.

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Thanks everyone for your replies! Is there a way to know what the field elevation is so you can know what 5000 ft AAL would be? Or do you just make the assumption that 5000 ft AGL is close enough to 5000 ft AAL? Since you are so close to the airport, it seems logical to assume that 5000 ft AGL is fairly close to 5000 ft AAL (exceptions would be at airports in mountainous terrain). Thanks!

You can just tap the aiport icon and see the height of the aiport.

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5000 + the airport elevation.

You can get the airport elevation by picking any airport → Map → Tap on airport icon → You should see this:

You then add that number to 5000 and you get the lateral of the Tower Airspace.

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Okay, so now that I know how to find 5000 ft AAL, what is the distance from the airport where the tower’s airspace would end? In other words, how big of a circle does the tower’s airspace cover?

There is no set distance for every airport. It’s the first circle surrounding the airport:


image
image


They are all different to one another in terms of distance and size.

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Are you referring to the white circle immediately surrounding the airport or the light blue line that is different in shape for each of the airports shown? Thanks!

The white circles are VORs, I’m referring to the light blue line. I probably should have made that more clear, sorry.

Also what @lucaviness has said below, the colour depends on the airspace Class.

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He is referring to the light blue outline, though its color is based on the airspace class (e.g. Bravo, Charlie, Delta). The white circle represents a VOR. See Section 5.1 of the ATC Manual for more info on airspace colors and their properties.

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Okay, what if you were departing out of the tower’s airspace in a north-west direction? Would you say departing north or departing west? Or is either choice fine? Thanks!

West is 270º and North is 360º, so the midpoint would be 315º. If you’re between 315º and 360º, your departure direction would be considered North. With that logic, West would be between 270º and 315º. You can use that thinking to determine and state your departure direction, but really it’s not a big deal if you’re somewhere in-between. Use your best judgement—if you have a flight plan filed, controllers can see that as well so they will often know what your intentions are either way.

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