Aviation In Canada

Monday, October 24, 2005

Pet Peeves

Time to share some pet peeves. I hope you'll participate.

Here are some things that pilots do that can become interesting, if not irritating:

1. Ask for "direct FIIXX, the IF for runway 05" when their at least two ATC units removed from the destination aerodrome, some 500 NM away. All for a 1° course change, when the controller their talking to doesn't even know (nor does he care) if the runway will even be available by the time the aircraft gets there. My suggestion? The only one who can tell you for sure your desired runway is available is the controller on the frequency marked "ARR" on the top of the approach plate. Maybe waiting until you talk to him to make the request would be a good idea, unless you know otherwise.

2. Change frequency without telling us. This is more so for VFR flight following than for IFR. Many VFR pilots call for flight following and then disappear into the ether. I can't provide you with any services if you're not listening to me.

3. Pilots who won't acknowledge a frequency change. "Contact Gander on 132.3" should be acknowledged somehow, even if it's a quick "see ya", or a double mic click. If you don't acknowledge it, I have to keep looking for you, even bothering the controller I told you to call to see if you did check in.

4. Back to the IFs, request a clearance direct to an IF, acknowledge it, and then project a waypoint off to the side. This means that you're aiming at a point 4-5 NM away from what I'm expecting you to do. With your RNAV abilities, I'm expecting a nice, straight track to the fix, and I could be putting someone on a parallel vector beside you, only to see you two converge. If you want to do this, all you need to do is ask. But at least let us know what you intend to do.

5. Accept a clearance for "the straight-in ILS runway 03 approach via URVAM", then see the airport and conduct a visual approach instead. By doing this, you're no longer adhering to the IFR clearance you were issued and acknowledged, and it may affect separation with other traffic. If you want to do the visual, seek approval from ATC (either directly or relay through FSS), or cancel IFR and do your own thing. If you take a turn to the airport earlier than expected, it may affect separation with departing traffic, both in terms of you getting closer to the departure's outbound assigned track, as well as shaving a minute or two off the separation that ATC believes exists.

Alright. Now that I've spouted off some stuff here, have a go at me. What sorts of things do ATC do to you that twist you out of sorts?