Howdy! I come to you today with a feature request that I promise you’ll be glad to have seen. Without further ado, I’ll get straight to the point.
Have you ever flown patterns at a controlled airfield? If so, you’re probably like me and have had a little trouble juggling talking to ATC and controlling your speed, altitude, flaps, gear, heading, etc. This is where my idea comes into play. Currently, you, as a pilot, have one of two options when replying to ATC:
- Option one is to tap on the lower left-hand corner headphone icon and press “REPLY.” This covers up the majority of your screen, especially on a phone, with a big black box. The box has only one thing you need to see! The relatively small “REPLY” button.
- Option two is by far the better option and very close to my idea. You can hold down the headphone icon for three seconds to send the same reply message you would if you follow option one. However, a few things are still missing, namely timeliness and familiarity. Maybe it’s just me but I didn’t know about this shortcut until just recently. As to timeliness, those three seconds really add up. One pattern calls for a pushback clearance, taxi clearance, takeoff clearance, sequencing, landing clearance, exit instruction, and a taxi to parking instruction. At the bare minimum! For one pattern! Now, if we choose, say ten patterns and we don’t repeat the use of pushback, taxi, takeoff, exit, and taxi to parking, we would have two instructions times ten, plus the five “one-time-use” instructions. This adds up to 25 total instructions, all of which require the pilot to reply! 25 instructions x 3 seconds per reply = 75 seconds of wasted time! For ten patterns! I think you get my point - time adds up.
I’m actually pretty curious how many of you all actually knew about option two. Here’s a poll to find out:
- Yes, of course I knew about option two!
- What?! Since when is that a thing?
Now, for my feature: Option Three
- Instead of having a vague way to respond or having the response obtrude on our flying, why not have a “REPLY” button appear on screen, when needed. We would see it, quickly tap it to get rid of it, and continue our flight. My guess is this would take less than a second per reply. So, to recap, this solution is timely, familiar to all pilots, unobtrusive, easy to use, and simple.
Here are two mock-ups of my idea:
If you somehow made it all the way to the bottom of the thread, thank you for your time. I hope you’ll consider voting for this, as it would help tons of pilots.
Again, thank you and safe flying!