What’s the point of unable?

What is the point of the ATC phrase “unable• (in expert server)
A cuplw weeks ago my friend was approaching PHNL in expert. He was about the turn final Welshmen atc tells him to slow to about 135 or 140. He was in a heavy loaded 717 and he said unable. Next IFATC gave him a warning message. So he slowed down because he didn’t want to get a level 2 violation. He then start to get a to a unrecoverable Spin towards the water. Then atc tells him to turn a heading for final. He says unable bc, well he is fallig out the sky. ATC then give him a level 2 violation. What is the point of having the button if you just get warmed for using it.


Your friend should contact the controller afterwards then contact @appeals for it to be reversed.

I’m not sure why it’s there either, as yes ATC wants you to follow all instructions, but in your friends case I would side on their side.


If this was the case have your friend contact @appeals

Unable is not a bad word. Sometime ATC may ask something that cannot be done and unable is a response for everyone to reevaluate the situation. Sometimes mistakes happen but ATc can see your speed and such.

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Hey there! I’m very sorry that this happened to your friend. It’s unfortunate when things like this occur. I would recommend that you share the information above with your friend.

If I may chime in, I highly recommend that both you and your friend check out the feature request I’ve linked below. It would be super helpful in situations like these.


Well this happened a couple weeks ago so there is probably no point any more because this happened the last time PHNL and NZZA has OFAtc. That’s also the same day I got my only level 2 violation.

Oh ok I’ll vote for it.

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how about just do not say unable. it is like saying “NO I am not doing it”
If I got told a command, and I could not do it, I would just wait until I could, IFATC will not give you a warning unless they are sure that you are doing there thing. So I would just wait untill I could instead of saying “Unable”

Yeah, this is dreadfully horrendous advice. As the pilot in command, they have every right to reject an ATC command if it jeopardizes the safety and integrity of their flight.


Except in this case waiting wouldn’t work?

If you/they don’t contact the controller or appeals, you might never learn why the report was given (either controller mistake, or something else you did that isn’t apparent). That leaves the door open to it happening again and then you’ll be even more frustrated.

I’ve had to say unable when an aircraft is 1nm out & I got cleared for takeoff…

im pretty sure you cant respond with unable to takeoff clearence.

Well I wouldn’t have commented on this thread if I hadn’t of used that command in the past. Thank you.

TakeoffYou can’t say unable for

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This is terrible advice. You should never feel pressured to not use the unable response.

IFATC are human and are still able to make errors, like asking to to decel under your L/S, or even vector you towards terrain. You are supposed to respond to ATC requests as quickly as possible and an “unable” response will alert the controller to their error and correct.

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Yep, unable means unable and will make ATC re evaluate the situation, it does not mean no.

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That is amazing the point of unable is to say it’s not safe to pull of that command and a lvl 2 violation is just sad.

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