What should I have done?

Hi everybody, I have a quick question about IFATC on the expert server. Quick disclaimer: while I was given a warning, I was not reported. I also understand that IFATC was super busy at the time, so this topic is purely meant for personal learning purposes, and not to jump to negative conclusions about IFATC.

As I was on approach to SFO airport earlier, the controller on frequency instructed me to slow down from my present speed, to around 180-190 knots if I remember properly. I was flying a 747-8F, and while I was under the MLW, I felt as though slowing to his requested speed would have possibly reduced my (already limited) control. I said “unable,” to which he responded with a “please follow instructions” warning. In the end, I was able to slow down to just a little over what the controller requested (I dumped out 20* of flaps), but I am just a little concerned that I might have been reported had I not the opportunity to slow down (say, if I had been a little heavier). If any of you could help me understand what happened, I would really appreciate it!

To be honest, in a real-life situation, ATC cannot force you to reduce your speed to something you think isn’t safe.

However, since it’s a game, and a very busy one, for that matter, the controllers probably thought 180 knots was fast enough to maintain stable flight, and I would have to agree with them. 180 knots is NOT an unflyable speed.

Obviously if it unsafe for you to reduce your speed to the assigned one you can say unable, however as long as it is flyable you should try to follow instructions as much as possible as IFATC has a big workload.


In many cases something similar to this has happened to me, but because there’s no way you can explain it to them they will just expect you to follow what they tell you.

Reduction to 180-190 kts is a completely reasonable request. You should be able to handle the flap transition, airbrakes and slowing of decent to accommodate that. (I don’t do ATC btw).

On the Expert Server such a transition would likely be a basic skill expectation. But it does need practice, and also such expectation should be clearly stated separately to prevent misunderstanding before encountering such a situation.

btw, IRL I was once in an aircraft approaching San Jose where they clearly used the gear early to accommodate an aggressive decent. (It must have been near max gear extension speed)

Ah, ok. I really appreciate all of y’all’s advice! I can also PM the controller as well. Thanks everybody!

1 Like

I do believe utilizing the flaps is a good way to increase control ability under lower speeds. A 747-8 with MLW should be able to make it approach within 160kts - to my experiences, so 180-190 is at a quite reasonable range. Probably the ATC on guard was a bit impatient, so I encourage you PM the ATC

180-190 kts is a completely safe and reasonable speed(obviously depending on the altitude) in IF even for a giant like 747-8, also most of the ATCs are themselves IF pilots and i assume many of them have had the experience to know what is a safe manuvering speed, but still if the speed request is totally unreasonable like speed below 140 on a 747-8 you can obviously ‘unable’ it but until such extreme situations your best bet is to follow ATC instructions, and just looking at the fact that you were flying into SFO which i assume would have been super busy (for you to be requested to go fo such low speeds), i can pretty confidently say that the controller in charge would have been extremely experienced!(handling such crazy traffic that we saw at SFO yesterday is not an easy task!) And hence you can take their word for it!
Thank you.


yay I dont know what ATC are thinking when they tell you go go 180 like seriously that’s like to the point the aircraft cant fly it starts to turn and stall when ATC tell me to go 180 I will not go 180 when I went into landing KSFO from VHHH for UPSVA and the ATC told me to go 180 and I did to the point were I almost crashed so I went to 215 and landed the butter and why they give you clearance why on earth do you say make a right/left 360 so the person behind you can land and you cant that happened today also and I was triggered like you tell me to land then I am landing let the person behind be do a spacing and another thing is why on earth do small jets want to park were big jets are meant to be in the International terminal and not a CRJ-700 pushing back and holding up the line for everyone its like park in the other 200+ parking spots I wish there was a thing were you spawn in it does not let you if you a certain aircraft so that is my day at KSFO went really bad

This would be your best answer to reference.

Another thing to keep in mind is if ATC is assigning you speeds that simply aren’t practical and they unfortunately do report you, please reach out to the appeals group so that they can investigate and remove this for you. The appeals team will then relay to us that there was an issue with the controller issuing impractical speeds and action may ultimately be taken on said controller for that abuse.

Controllers are expected to recognize aircraft sizes and issue speed restrictions for their given size category