February 2013 Issue

Five Tips From ATC

Controllers generally aren’t unreasonable, but they have a job to do and rules to live by. Meet their expectations with these tips from an active controller.

We bow to no one in our willingness to reject ATC clearances and forcefully but politely seek what we want and need from a controller. Since our chair usually is moving faster than their’s, we cop the attitude that our needs are more important than ATC’s. At the same time, we certainly understand controllers often have little flexibility in responding to our needs, whether due to their own requirements, conflicting traffic we know nothing about or high workload. But they also need things from us: basic airmanship, concise communication and the ability (willingness?) to follow instructions. To put it another way, both sides of the pilot/controller relationship have expectations. We know what ours are; What are their’s? To find out, we asked a controller-friend working in an ARTCC in the Midwest U.S. to share with us his top five pet peeves. Here’s what we learned.

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