Unicom to ATC mixup...

I finally made it to the advanced server, and was having a good time shooting landings, making full stops and taking off again. Then the tower closed, and I continued on my last pattern, and was gonna land and call it a day. I was about 3/4 of the way on my downwind leg when the tower became active again. I got the message that I was in an active airspace and needed to contact the tower. I contacted the tower and indicated that I was on a downwind leg for the runway I was working. I got another active airspace message, and to contact the tower. I checked the frequency, and I was on the tower freq. by now I was on the base leg, so I indicated that. Then I got another message to read the help messages on how to interact with ATC. What should I have done? I have no clue… :(

I’m not sure either. They probably bumped ‘Send the On Guard Message’ again. Maybe they bumped the ‘read help messages’ button too, or your/their internet connection disconnected for a few seconds.

What’s the on guard message?

Telling a pilot that they are in an active airspace/on an active airport.

The ATC didn’t like my responses… What should I have done?

No idea, did you get a screenshot of the controller? Then you would be able to figure it out with them here on the community.

Nope, not that proficient yet… :( how would I get a screenshot of the controller?

Get a screenshot of the controller’s name

if you have the controllers name PM them here. Or if you don’t know let me know where and when it was and I’ll try and find out.

Since you’re on advanced, controller should have come up and said they’re “Sorry.” In your situation I’m clueless on why that happened.

What should happen when the tower transitions from Unicom to ATC?

Are the ATC’s expected to look at the Unicom log (if one exists) and continue from there, or is everyone supposed to declare intentions as if they were not already in contact with the tower?

Declare intentions allover please, we have no way of seeing the unicom log

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Issue the inbound message again? Since I was already in the pattern, I was Leary of sending the inbound again.

What happens sometimes is that if a controller has been active for a while and they disconnect and reconnect again without exiting the game, sometimes it’ll allow them to give out commands but the pilots himself cannot response.

Also to add to some of the comments above: An ATC controller has no clue what your intentions are if you only send that to unicom. Many pilots are under the impression that if you send an inbound command to unicom and Tower all of a sudden becomes active that the controller should know. You need to request inbound again with the tower controller so that they can vector you into the correct runway.

Lastly, the reason you might of got a “check help pages” answer from ATC is because you ONLY reported that you were on downwind. That only tells the controller your current position but doesn’t identify what your purpose is. The controller might have a specific runway he wants to use for patterns and a different one for inbounds and outbounds. Report inbound intentions (landing/touch and go) and then report position Only if you have not been acknowledged. If you have been cleared for the option or to land, theres no need to report your position again because you’re already cleared. You’ll end up getting a “You’re already cleared to land, avoid unnecessary reports” answer.

Let me know if you have any additional questions. I hope this helped.

IFAE-Art Martinez
Advanced ATC Specialist

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Thanks! That’s the conclusion I came to.

I had it happen again today, but this time I sent the inbound message, and no problems this time. The only interesting thing is I was on final about 20s from touch down! It was hectic to get the inbound message out and land at the same time. Luckily, there was no wind.

Thanks again for your time!

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