Stop with "Check in" when you're going to ask for approach anyway!

I’ll bet 75% of the time, pilots check in, then immediately afterwards, ask for ILS or radar vectors to an airport I’m working approach at. If you’re going to ask for vectors, don’t check in first, just ask for vectors! What happens is I have to find you, acknowledge the check in, then go back to what I was doing, only to have to start over and acknowledge your request for approach. when it’s busy, those are precious seconds I’m wasting.


It just annoys me so much when I see pilots doing this. This needed to be said.


I used to do this but stop months ago, they think that check in means to tell the controller that you are on there frequency now, but it means after a while (by while I mean 10+ minutes) you requested something and the controller has not responded that the controller knows you’re still there. Right?


I agree but you know no one that needs to read this will 😂. Always good to vent I guess.


I know a way,

When you start a flight you must read a big book about How to ATC.
Then you’ll need to write a summary for every page.
Then a moderator will have to check your summary,
If you fail you have to do it again, and again, and again until you get it right.


I used to do this until I read some Tutorials a year ago. Now, I only request vectors without “Check-in”. Maybe Mark should make a Tutorial about Approach

1 Like

No it means I’m with you on the frequency. That’s all it means. But pilots shouldn’t use it if they are going to request an approach. It’s ment for a frequency you are passing through. Example would be, N5294W, contact Socal approach on 123.45, good day. over to Socal Approach, N5294W.

Socal Approach, with you, N5294W.
N5294W Roger.


Wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong!


In all seriousness though you are some what right. If you had received a clearance for something from another radar facility, then that would be just fine. Just announcing with you after being handed off from tower however is incorrect. Unless you had clearance from clearance delivery for the route. Which obviously we don’t have. We have modified it in IF to mean your following a flight plan. However a request makes it a million times easier for the controller. Even real world controllers absolutely hate a check in.

1 Like

Then why have the check in as a call? Seems like if it’s wrong, it shoudn’t be there at all. What would be the correct usage of the “Check In” broadcast?

1 Like

For when you switch from one radar facility to the next. Or if you’re doing radar patterns, and had already been in the pattern that’s also an exceptable scenario. It saves your data tag in both cases so we know exactly where your going and what you have previously requested.


I’ve noticed that often times, a pilot says “with you” or “requesting flight following” and then expects vectors/ expects the controller to issue them an “expect vectors for”. it would make it much more efficient for both the pilots and the controllers to just start off By doing what ghamz said and just ask for vectors off the bat.

Let’s be honest, the IF commands for approach / departure / centre could be a lot better.

Anyone saying the ‘check in’ is just for if you think you’ve been forgotten about by the controller couldn’t be more incorrect.

Obviously, without clearance delivery it makes it hard, but if a Flight Plan is filed you almost have the same amount of information anyway as ATC, therefore you can actually use a lot of the commands correctly.

In the real world, you do just check in between frequencies, as the controllers have accepted the handoff and flight strip from the prior controller. Excluding an emergency, no commercial aircraft switches to approach and asks for 'vectors for the ILS approach runway 27… they can make a request, but the controller will tell the aircraft what their instructions will be prior to this.

A good example of when you would check in (I’m talking in terms of realism, IFATC probably have some other idea for IF) is if after you take off, you switch over to an approach or departure frequency for the airport you just departed from. You will not ask this frequency for Vctors or an approach at your destination as it’s a distance away and out of that frequencies area. You will not ask for a flight following as that relates to a VFR flight following through controlled airspace. Your best option is to check in, the controller looks at your flight plan, and has the brains (hopefully) to realise you are just on their frequency on-route to another destination and they simply provide radar services to you (keep you clear of terrain and traffic). The same should really apply to Center. Then, on approach frequency you can request whichever approach it is so the controller on approach can vector you in.


Does requesting flight following to any specific airport mean requesting to approach ?


If people did this there would be no issue. We’re talking about the people that contact approach say with you, you check their flight plan decide what your going to do with them hit roger. Then they ask for an approach it’s highly annoying.


IRL, aircraft to get vectored. If you have ever listened to an ATC, they will tell X aircraft to turn X heading, climb and maintain X altitude at X knots. A great example is LAX departure. That’s all they do. Check it out here:

@Ben Thanks for the hot tip, I am well aware (I hold a real world PPL with an IFR rating - I don’t need to listen to liveatc)

Regardless of that, youve completely missed my point. My point is in regards to the initial transmissions from the pilot for commercial traffic. ATC knows where they are going. They have a flightplan filed (like we can do in IF) and have received their IFR clearance from Clearance delivery prior to pushback. After taking off, a real world Commercial Pilot does not switch over to Departure after being handed off by Tower and say ‘San Diego Departure, Southwest 3344 requesting vectors for the ILS runway 24R at Los Angeles’ - They will say words to the effect of ‘San Diego Departure, Southwest 3344 with you, 3500’ (Departure already knows they are there, are already expecting them, can see them on the radar, and knows exactly what their filed flight plan is, their route, and their arrival destination and usually approach information … Departure knows where they are going. The Pilots DO NOT request vectors or provide their destination to ATC. Then yes, as you stated, they will be approved to ‘climb via the SID’ or ‘fly heading 330, climb and maintain 12,000’ etc.

1 Like

Well said Gary!it is really true, it’s a nightmare! I sincerely hope that this post helps a little!

In my understanding the check in is used when a pilot is flying thru a controlled airspace and want to follow his flight plan with a destination airport outside the area covered by the ATC (approach/center/departure). Summing: hello I’m in your airspace, my destination airport is outside your control, I will follow my flight plan and I will not interfere with your traffic. Is that correct?