When to contact (and not contact) approach

@Joe did an excellent post about how to use the approach frequency recently, I’d like to add to it by appealing to pilots NOT to join an approach frequency just because it happens to be open.

I’ve just finished a short session as Gatwick approach (remember that’s GATWICK approach). In that time I had 8 aircraft contact me, only one of which wanted an approach at Gatwick ! Others requested approaches at Heathrow, I had two asking for vectors to Birmingham when they were only 20 miles from there, others departing London City heading north and saying “with you” and so on.

Please people use some common sense - if I’m operating Gatwick approach I will provide services to Gatwick (and will help aircraft departing Gatwick if not too busy). If you ask for services to another airport you will be ignored, it doesn’t take a genius to work out.
Don’t join an approach frequency just for the sake of it, if the airport you’re heading to doesn’t have an approach controller active then just stay on a unicom, enjoy the flight and contact the tower when in range.

I hope this makes sense to everyone.


Well said! Thank you for putting that out there

If you are departing from Gatwick you still request vectors from approach right?

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You should. If you are VFR you can request flight following. You might be denied vectors, but that’s what you should request.

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