What’s the point of the request button?

Honestly what is the point of the request button if it never gets granted. The runways available in the ATIS so I set up my flight plan to that runway. Now I have to change the flight plan. 😐 I’m no expert aviator, am I doing something wrong?

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As IFATC, I can tell you we try to send planes to the closest runway, at least I do. If you request a different runway included in the ATIS dep. runways, we give it unless there’s a lot of traffic or another thing preventing it. You always have to be prepared for another runway you weren’t expecting.

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I understand when the airport is busy, but there were only 4 planes. I just don’t like redoing the flight plan.

If you use an SID, it should take less than a minute knowing that you can remove the previous SID and move waypoints through the FPL

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Still frustrating… I as a fellow IFATC can say that some should really look up the airport they’re opening before they do so. Most controllers in Munich have both runways open despite only the northern runway being operational irl atm. This isn’t the issue, but it’s so frustrating if you try to be realistic at your home airport and the ATC sends you to the closer runway despite there not being any traffic and it not being the realistic one…

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It is a bit frustrating if it’s empty. If the airports busy I understand the controllers are busy so I hardly request a runway. I don’t want to bash the controllers I’m thankful that they’re providing atc services but if it is empty can we just get our request granted.

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You also have to think about the winds etc, a controller might find another runway more suitable for what direction you are taking off, so would put you to the runway.

I would’ve had headwind if I had taken off 28L and it would’ve been a left turn south. If there’s faster ways to replacing flight plans I’ll take advice.

Looks like your controller was @Crcoli737. You can always DM him and see why he sent you to 1L instead of 28R as you requested.

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I would’ve done the same.

It probably has to do with the ATC intentions of working with realistic procedures. If you’re a small plane of a US airline, you should use runways 1L / 1R. If you’re a 787 of Japan Airlines for example, you should be given runway 28 R/L.

Another thing to keep in mind is atc cannot physically force you to takeoff or land on a runway you deem unsafe.

If I were in your shoes I would have called for taxi once again requesting 28L, and if the point was not taken, then a quick glance at the RW D-ATIS, taxi out of the way, shut down and send a PM to the controller advising of my intentions.

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No runways are unsafe for a 738 at KSFO when the winds are at 5 knots

Not true, 1L is only 7000 feet and depending on conditions and destination, 1L can absolutely be to short for a 738.

For instance United and Alaska always take the 28s for Hawaii regardless of what aircraft type they are using

And that’s still beside the point. Like I said, no controller can physically force you to take a runway, especially if another one is advertised also.

You can be persistent in your requests, or shut down and get new takeoff numbers, shut down and send a PM, or just return to the gate and wait for the controller to leave

  1. I bet he would’ve had several problems if he was flying to Hawaii with just 30% of fuel

  2. As far as I know, ATCs at Expert server can force you to taxi to an specific runway at some specific conditions.

  3. Not all controllers check their IFC PMs while controlling, so sending a message to the ATC while they are controlling wouldn’t be the best option.

Yeah I can see that being upsetting, that’s why I always check Flight radar for the active runways before I start a session.

  1. Yes, in this case sure, but I’m speaking generally.

  2. They absolutely cannot. Ground does not have the power to move your throttles and taxi you to a runway of their choosing. You should never disregard IFATC instructions and do something else, but you can certainly deny it and make your intentions of returning to the gate clear.

  3. Agreed, and that’s a problem, Since we are limited by the number of commands, a quick dialogue in a PM explaining yourself works wonders.
    That’s why I wish we had some message that either a pilot or controller could send to alert the other to check their IFC PM when able.

Answering your question, you’re not doing anything wrong by planning a runway that is published on ATIS. However, ATC isn’t wrong either. As per manual, we are expected to use all available runways in order to provide most efficient service possible; I assume that the controller wanted to expedite your departure by giving you the nearest runway that was suitable for your aircraft.

In the future, just comply with the instructions of the ATC and then once your airborne or parked, you can PM the controller about the situation and they will be able to give you an explanation about their reasoning. If you require further assistance, you can always send a PM to an ATC Supervisor to take a second look.


Since you’re IFATC, you know that we don’t work under real life operations and that we must adhere our controlling to the ATC Manual. If you can recreate real world operations when you control without providing an inefficient service, I’d say go ahead; but you can’t expect that +450 controllers are familiarized with every airport procedures or that they actually want to control with them.


We will always be open to feedback from pilots and fellow controllers, that’s the base of IFATC; so don’t hesitate to let the controller know about your concerns and discussing respectfully about other options you feel may have worked better.

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“Suitable for your aircraft”

I agree with everything else except that line.

That is not IFATC’s call to make. Nor should you take off without verifying that you are comfortable with it, and have the required performance.

As you correctly mentioned above, we lack of effective/quick ways to establish a direct communication between ATC and pilots, so ATC can’t really know that you’re not suitable for that runway based on weight, but only on aircraft size. It’s not the ideal, but it’s the best we can do with the information we have.

(By “suitable” I was referring to the aircraft size)

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Agreed the Pilot-controller comms are abysmal.