Scary Vectoring : Proving how good the ATC are

Yesterday as I was approaching MMMX in my Carholux 747-8i I was vectroed into a makeshift holding pattern. This holding pattern had me flying around and between the Volcan Iztaccihuatl & Popocatepetl mountains in the Parque Nacional Iztaccihuatl Popocatepetl National Park. I just want to express that 1, I should have never gotten this close & 2, The ATC did a great job of keeping me from hitting the mountain except for 2 instances. Overall a great approach and I loved it but it was definitely a unique experience.



Living life on the edge. What altitude where you at?

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I was between 15,000 and 11,000

So below the top at all points in time

Could you check in your replay when this occurred so we could pass it along to the controller? You’ll find the time in UTC at the bottom left of the replay.

Did a hold oval appear on the map and you entered that hold? Or what was the instruction from ATC?

Hold present position, left/right turns, hold over X airport/waypoint left/right turns?

I mean the very little tools ATC has, especially estimating the terrain. They do such a great job and I think they deserve very little critique. They try their best, especially when you have 20 other aircraft requesting vectors. Thats just what I think.

MaxSez; Interesting observation by @HadenJohnson. @Trio, your comments noted.
Seem the lack of “Terrain Shading, Spot Elevations” etc on the the Chart would solve this Pilot/Controller Conundrum. Food for thought and discussion with Staff suggested.

The reason why I ask this is, there are no waypoints or airports where you were holding, so ATC can only issue a hold in that area if they tell you to “hold present position”. If you held there and received an instruction to hold over an airport, VOR, or waypoint then that was pilot error.

It wasnat a holding pattern.

It wasnt an issue. It was more of the game not having that terrain map.

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I mean, any pilot could know when to do those course deviations to keep them from getting into a collission.

Heres the approach controller. @Trio

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Okay, I’ll message @mwe2187 so he can explain what happened. :)

Hi @HadenJohnson,

thanks for the post. Tried to the best of my ability to navigate around MMMX yesterday, except for a 19,000 foot mountain not showing up on our drag vector. Which a few people may have accidentally met said mountain, and likely came to know each other well.

Long story short, there was no approach at MMMX when myself and another ATC opened. He took final, while i took initial. We also had a tower/ground change, which worked out to help us, but just meant some work.

We decided to switch runways to the 5’s to make it easier to get people in as it was just simply chaos around MMMX when the approach before left and everyone swarmed.

I did have to put people into a makeshift hold at alternating altitudes and i think other than our friends that met Mr Mountain, i was able to get everyone in safely at some point.

We had to have 2 stacks, one north of the airport held at a position, and then an oval south of the airport that was a manual hold, appears you were in this one.

Once it cleared up, i got notice that Mr Mountain grabbed a few out of the sky from the IFATC team, and i was then able to figure out what was going wrong and correct the issue / keep people safe.

I hope you were able to get in safely, and that you didn’t mind holding for a bit.


I got in safely thanks to you mainly. Im not gonna place any of the blame on you because as you said, you didnt see it there, plus we dont have terrain maps anymore. I just wanted to note about the experience to better enrich the community on some situations that are rare but can happen.


I’ve had a very similar instance except atc vectored me into a mountain and I had to do an emergency climb and a quick turn. The controller was apologetic though

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