Subpar IFATC service at Sydney (YSSY)

(Regulars please change the category as you see fit)

My concern

I would like to start off by thanking IFATC Lee 3440 and the approach controller at the time for dealing with the very busy YSSY airspace. I was surprised, however, that tower was unaware on two occasions that collisions were imminent. I have never experienced such a situation on the Expert server before with qualified ATC online.

I am making a topic regarding this issue as I want to reach out to the controller and hear responses from the community. Maybe controllers should be looking at airport charts before opening ATC? I feel they should be more prepared for hundreds of aircraft to swarm.


@Mavic and I had flown 2 hours from Townsville Airport (YBTL), north of Sydney. Upon arrival to the YSSY airspace, we were dealt with by approach. One thing I noticed was that commercial jets were taking off from GA-only airports nearby, which is quite unrealistic. These aircraft then proceeded to clog up the airspace, and priority was not provided to larger aircraft, nor aircraft that had flown in from destinations further away. As you will soon learn, priority was not provided to aircraft landing either. Another thing, runway 07 is rarely used in conjunction to 34L, which was occurring at the time and making things even more confusing for ATC and incoming/outgoing traffic.

I was switched over to tower once nearing the ILS triangle, and was cleared to land on runway 34R which is not capable of dealing with an A380 - when quite clearly, “Super” was in my callsign (this runway is usually only used by 767s at largest). I realise I should have been clearer about the runway I was intending to land on when I communicated to ATC. After being cleared to land on 34L, I moved forward at a normal speed which gave ATC enough time to deal with potential hazards. However, 1.5nm away from the threshold, “Qantas 11” in another A380 was cleared to take off on runway 34L. I initiated a go-around once I saw the A380 commence its takeoff roll, and ATC issued a go-around command. I thought this was perfectly fine and gave ATC benefit of the doubt by going in for a second attempt at landing as mistakes can happen. Just to let you know, at this time, an aircraft was lined up ready to take off on runway 07, and many aircraft in the queue for that runway were requesting takeoff out of order (which again, should not be happening).

After going around and making a stable approach towards 34L for the second time (after @Mavic had landed), I was cleared to land. On short final to the runway, what I think was a KLM 737 was cleared for takeoff on runway 07. Out of the 50 times I have flown out of Sydney Airport, I’m fairly sure runways 16R/34L and 07/25 have been connected every single time!? I told ATC twice I was on short final after hearing this (keep in mind I had been cleared minutes before), just to warn them that they should not be clearing an aircraft to take off on RWY 07 while an aircraft is about to touch down on 34L. I started a steep go-around regardless, and sure enough the 737 passed beneath my aircraft as I neared the runway intersection. I feel a cancel takeoff command was necessary for the departing aircraft, and over this period I was still not issued a go-around request by ATC. By this point I was fed up and quit my session.

Thanks for your concern and making it this far through my topic, hopefully this won’t happen again or at least not to this extent.

Please see the screenshots below for reference. They should be in order of time.


(I know I was a little high here on approach, it is a little difficult to take screenshots on my Android. That still should not have warranted a takeoff for Qantas 11.)

After being cleared to land ⬇


This long and detailed thread, however I suggest to put it in a private message with the controllers


I know privately messaging the ATC is the usual method to resolve issues but I think sometimes highlighting any issues like this for everybody to see and learn from is great for both pilots and ATC.

Not sure if your post will be taken down however thanks for sharing.

I think this should be an acceptable thing to do and do get confused when others frown upon this and close the thread - some moderators seem to be okay with it whereas others aren’t.

There’s no harm in highlighting issues like this in a respectful manner which everybody can learn from.


I appreciate your reply, this is exactly what my topic is for. Hopefully controllers are better prepared for this sort of situation in the future, especially on expert. Can anyone find “Lee 3440”?



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Great, I’ll PM him and see what was happening on his end :)


If it does end up being dealt with completely via PM let us know how it concluded!


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Getting back to you regarding this topic: The controller was unaware that 07 is not used in conjunction with 34L in real life at Sydney. As for the mishaps involving my aircraft, the aircraft on the runway were cleared when I was 3NM away from the threshold (for efficiency) but took too long to respond and start takeoff roll. @IFATCLee3440, I just thought maybe “cleared for immediate takeoff” may help IFATC controllers get aircraft moving when at minimum safe distance to an approaching aircraft, and at busy airports as Sydney was at that time.

As for aircraft taking off from nearby GA airports just to get in the pattern, they will be less of a priority and possibly redirected to other capable airports. Hopefully all IFATC controllers can learn from this and make their service even better - remember to check charts before controlling in airports that already have plenty of aircraft. Hope to see you in the IF skies :)


This has always been a big bear of mine. As a pilot I research the correct SIDs and STARs and do my best to fly them. I think with the high level of traffic that is experienced, if IFATC, and pilots, followed the correct procedures rather than make them up, it would help everyone to have a stress free and enjoyable flight.

However have to say that not aware of A380’s flying from Townsville? Don’t normally see anything larger than a B738 Operating from there.


We are encouraged to make ourselves aware of the approach plate for the airport we control, however the traffic in IF is a lot higher than real life, and so there is more traffic than these procedures are designed for. When traffic allows for it radar controllers often try to follow real life procedures.
As for aircraft size it is at a controllers discretion whether to allow it, based on traffic.


Yes I do realise that A380s don’t fly out of Townsville, I used the aircraft for a higher cruise speed.
I’m normally more realistic (such as now, 50 minutes away from Shanghai with the accurate approach procedure in my FPL).

Good day,

There are two separate discussions here. I won’t respond to the initial post as that is up to the controllers. What I will respond to is your point about the STARs. When in touch with approach, request flight following. If it isn’t horribly busy we will look at your fpl and if it matches the stars we have reviewed we usually will allow a proceed on course. It is up to you to maintain altitude, we will try to vector aircraft around you. You will also be released to tower sooner than normal so they can sequence you in based up when we think you’ll arrive. Please stick to STAR speeds when you do, please don’t slow down to 160kts and not expect us to intervene, we will have to. If you stick to the 220 to 210 they recommend followed by 180 entry onto the instrument approach all will be good with the world. This will not always be the case but we will try to satisfy your needs if we can.

Happy flying,


Thank you for your advice, I appreciated your approach service.

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Closed by request from the OP