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In an effort to help the simmers here operate a little more realistically (and cut down on my nerve grating), I just wanted to make a quick post about requesting lower.

 

First, "top of descent" is not something you would hear out in the real world. If you want proof, there are several LiveATC feeds out there that listen in on Center and Approach positions. If you have any real world controller friends, ask them and they'll tell you they've never heard it. It's only something that's come out of the newer generation of simmers with their complex payware add-ons that calculate and depict an optimal location to begin your descent.

 

Second, the correct phraseology (or at least that listed in any phraseology guidebooks out there - the AIM doesn't specifically address it) for a descent request is "Washington Center, Cessna 49486 requests lower." Any real world controller you talk to would say the same.

 

Third, accusatory tones get you nowhere. Controllers can't see where your aircraft is going to calculate its optimal profile, so don't get snippy as if your aircraft is communicating with us telepathically telling us to descend you now. Normally, at the center level, we overestimate and give descent instructions slightly early and leave it up to you to cross a fix at a set altitude (How many of you can shove that into your FMC for the proper profile? How many of you did that even before I told you in anticipation because you read the chart?). Basically, if you [Mod - Happy Thoughts]ume we forgot about you, a polite reminder is just fine.

 

[/soapbox]

Kyle Rodgers

 

The content of this post, unless expressly written, refers only to those procedures in the United States of America,

following the Federal Aviation Administration Regulations thereof.

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Great post, Kyle.

 

A tag-on, if I may.... I sometimes get requests for lower from aircraft when I'm working an Approach sector, possibly just because the aircraft sees he's 30-40 miles from the airport. However, if traffic is light, and you'll either be on a STAR route or a vector to the other side of the airport because we're using those runways (and so you may actually have 60-80 miles to go) I may consciously choose to leave you above 10,000 so you can keep your speed up. It's no big deal -- I let the pilots know to expect lower in x miles, and they generally can then appreciate that I really didn't forget about them. But I figure it can't hurt to explain -- sometimes ATC leaves you high so you can keep your speed up and we can expedite your arrival, which may be beneficial to the pilot, to ATC, and many times both.

Don Desfosse
Vice President, Membership

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But I figure it can't hurt to explain -- sometimes ATC leaves you high so you can keep your speed up and we can expedite your arrival, which may be beneficial to the pilot, to ATC, and many times both.

 

Good addition, Don!

Kyle Rodgers

 

The content of this post, unless expressly written, refers only to those procedures in the United States of America,

following the Federal Aviation Administration Regulations thereof.

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...

Second, the correct phraseology (or at least that listed in any phraseology guidebooks out there - the AIM doesn't specifically address it) for a descent request is "Washington Center, Cessna 49486 requests lower." Any real world controller you talk to would say the same.

...

[/soapbox]

I thought the proper phraseology was "Washington Center, Cessna 12345 requesting descent.". I thought "requests lower" was slang, kinda like if a controller tells me to climb and maintain fl200 i reply "up to FL200"

 

edit typing error

Edited by Guest

Somehow rated s3

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Second, the correct phraseology (or at least that listed in any phraseology guidebooks out there - the AIM doesn't specifically address it) for a descent request is "Washington Center, Cessna 49486 requests lower." Any real world controller you talk to would say the same.

...

[/soapbox]

I thought the proper phaseology was "Washington Center, Cessna 12345 requesting descent.". I thought "requests lower" was slang, kinda like if a controller tells me to climb and maintain fl200 i reply "up to FL200"

 

...though what you said is more formal. You'll hear both.

Kyle Rodgers

 

The content of this post, unless expressly written, refers only to those procedures in the United States of America,

following the Federal Aviation Administration Regulations thereof.

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Second, the correct phraseology (or at least that listed in any phraseology guidebooks out there - the AIM doesn't specifically address it) for a descent request is "Washington Center, Cessna 49486 requests lower." Any real world controller you talk to would say the same.

...

[/soapbox]

I thought the proper phaseology was "Washington Center, Cessna 12345 requesting descent.". I thought "requests lower" was slang, kinda like if a controller tells me to climb and maintain fl200 i reply "up to FL200"

There is no such thing as "proper pilot phraseology" as ATC has. The AIM specifies nothing as on how you have to say something. All the pilot has to do is get his message across on what he wants to do. Request decent would fine and if somebody tells you otherwise they are over analyzing it.

VATSIM Supervisor

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should probably add this applies to US only somewhere.

 

its actually pretty standard for the pilots to call for their descents in many areas of the world. one way you will know of what you can expect, the controller may say "report ready for descent" or similar.

 

that probably has morphed into something on VATSIM where some pilots may continue doing that even when not in areas that do that, other pilots piggy backed on the habit and wammo

 

edit: make your sigi bigger!

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should probably add this applies to US only somewhere.

It's all over my signature

[EDIT: I guess I could make the text a little bigger...haha...but then it's no longer irritating "fine print"!]

 

I agree to the rest. I've seen pilots in the US saying "Line up and takeoff, runway 22" from time to time on UNICOM, as a carryover from the other side of the pond.

Kyle Rodgers

 

The content of this post, unless expressly written, refers only to those procedures in the United States of America,

following the Federal Aviation Administration Regulations thereof.

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Just to note, that while you don't hear it regularly real world, pilots do talk about their tops of descent. i.e. "We're going to be coming up on our TOD in 15 miles or so, request lower at your convenience." Hear it plenty of times. Normally, however, we descend pilots before they request it or before reaching their TOD (or issue pilot's discretion descent), so you actually rarely hear either, at least out here on the left coast.

Bryan Wollenberg

ZLA!

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Those that ask, no matter what phraseology they use, is much better than those that just descend on their own without saying a word.

Fair enough, and very true. My point here is to just put the information out there for those who wish to take it.

Kyle Rodgers

 

The content of this post, unless expressly written, refers only to those procedures in the United States of America,

following the Federal Aviation Administration Regulations thereof.

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In the US we have left coast (west coast, CA OR WA), south coast (TX, LA, MS, FL) and right coast (east coast, FL to Maine).

 

Now Daniel, you know that is a "U.S. Navyism". The majority of people call it the West Coast, the East Coast, and the Gulf Coast.

 

I have this image of a group of Admirals standing around a chart table looking at the chart/map on the table and the poor guy standing up by Canada says "Wait, Left Coast is over there", (pointing at the Eastern Seaboard), the guy on the Eastern Seaboard side says no it's not, it's there (pointing at the Caribbean), while the guy over by LA is pointing at the Barent's Sea...

 

Go Air Force...

Randy Tyndall - KBOI

ZLA I-11/vACC Portugal P4

“A ship is always safe in the harbor. But that’s not why they build ships” --Michael Bevington ID 814931, Former VATSIM Board of Governors Vice President of Pilot Training

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In the US we have left coast (west coast, CA OR WA), south coast (TX, LA, MS, FL) and right coast (east coast, FL to Maine).

 

Now Daniel, you know that is a "U.S. Navyism". The majority of people call it the West Coast, the East Coast, and the Gulf Coast.

 

I have this image of a group of Admirals standing around a chart table looking at the chart/map on the table and the poor guy standing up by Canada says "Wait, Left Coast is over there", (pointing at the Eastern Seaboard), the guy on the Eastern Seaboard side says no it's not, it's there (pointing at the Caribbean), while the guy over by LA is pointing at the Barent's Sea...

 

Go Air Force...

 

That's not Navyism in any form, rather, that's what Bryan Wollenberg called it and I was just explaining it. In the Navy, we call it West Coast, East Coast, Gulf Coast and OCONUS.

 

If it was really a Navyism, there wouldn't be a left/right. We don't have a left/right, we have port/starboard. So it'd be port coast, starboard coast and aft coast.. So don't be p[Mod - Happy Thoughts]ing this off on us.

 

Boo Chair Force.. get up and do some real world for once. XD

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In years gone by, from the final cruise level, we asked for "initial descent" then when already in the descent either approaching the cleared level or level at the cleared level used to "request further descent".

 

What I have found on Vatsim virtually speaking, is that if you are one like me who uses a variety of aircraft that have different performance capabilities, the vast majority of controllers appreciate and allow for this, and the older prop type airliner will be given an early descent. Should that not materialise, pilots shouldnt be afraid to ask

David James

VATSIM Screenshot Contest Coordinator

Intel Core 2 Quad CPU Q6600 2.4gig, RAM 3.25gig, ATI Radeon HD4800, XP Pro SP3, FS9.1 FSnav FSinn VRC

EXS_3.jpg

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In an effort to help the simmers here operate a little more realistically (and cut down on my nerve grating), I just wanted to make a quick post about requesting lower.

 

First, "top of descent" is not something you would hear out in the real world. If you want proof, there are several LiveATC feeds out there that listen in on Center and Approach positions. If you have any real world controller friends, ask them and they'll tell you they've never heard it. It's only something that's come out of the newer generation of simmers with their complex payware add-ons that calculate and depict an optimal location to begin your descent.

 

Second, the correct phraseology (or at least that listed in any phraseology guidebooks out there - the AIM doesn't specifically address it) for a descent request is "Washington Center, Cessna 49486 requests lower." Any real world controller you talk to would say the same.

 

Third, accusatory tones get you nowhere. Controllers can't see where your aircraft is going to calculate its optimal profile, so don't get snippy as if your aircraft is communicating with us telepathically telling us to descend you now. Normally, at the center level, we overestimate and give descent instructions slightly early and leave it up to you to cross a fix at a set altitude (How many of you can shove that into your FMC for the proper profile? How many of you did that even before I told you in anticipation because you read the chart?). Basically, if you [Mod - Happy Thoughts]ume we forgot about you, a polite reminder is just fine.

 

[/soapbox]

Yea, but I guess we expect you to know your airspace well enough, and be experienced enough with PD descents in your airspace to know when aircraft typically start down. Ideally we should have already been given a PD descent or crossing restriction well before, and should never have to ask for lower!

 

And a similar annoying thing is controllers in approach airspace who keep stepping us down even though there's no traffic. We ask for lower and get 8,000. Then 6,000. 5,000. 4,000. How about just give us all PD to the lowest altitude you can and save those 10 extra radio transmissions?

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And a similar annoying thing is controllers in approach airspace who keep stepping us down even though there's no traffic. We ask for lower and get 8,000. Then 6,000. 5,000. 4,000. How about just give us all PD to the lowest altitude you can and save those 10 extra radio transmissions?

 

Because sometimes we have MVAs to worry about, traffic you can't see, shelves that we can't through because it's not our airspace to descend you through, we want to simulate having to worry about the departure corridor needing to be left unimpeded, etc. A lot of times it's because there is a piece of airspace we cannot descend you through because we don't control it so it's not ours to send you through, or MVA related.

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The last few posts are missing the point:

 

The main point here is phraseology, and the secondary point is tone. A simple reminder goes a long way. Normally, Center is staffed by several people at the very least (granted, they also generally have a lot more traffic in the real world), but the point still goes for busy nights on Center, when I'm also running the role of TRACON. If I'm engrossed in vectoring for an approach, among five or six other things (clearances and so on), a quick reminder would be very helpful.

 

I'm not annoyed that people occasionally point something out to me. I was simply offering guidance on phraseology, and requesting that, in the case you do need to remind us, you do so politely.

 

 

[...]

Third, accusatory tones get you nowhere. Controllers can't see where your aircraft is going to calculate its optimal profile, so don't get snippy as if your aircraft is communicating with us telepathically telling us to descend you now. Normally, at the center level, we overestimate and give descent instructions slightly early and leave it up to you to cross a fix at a set altitude (How many of you can shove that into your FMC for the proper profile? How many of you did that even before I told you in anticipation because you read the chart?). Basically, if you [Mod - Happy Thoughts]ume we forgot about you, a polite reminder is just fine.

 

[/soapbox]

Yea, but I guess we expect you to know your airspace well enough, and be experienced enough with PD descents in your airspace to know when aircraft typically start down. Ideally we should have already been given a PD descent or crossing restriction well before, and should never have to ask for lower!

 

And a similar annoying thing is controllers in approach airspace who keep stepping us down even though there's no traffic. We ask for lower and get 8,000. Then 6,000. 5,000. 4,000. How about just give us all PD to the lowest altitude you can and save those 10 extra radio transmissions?

Don't get so edgy/accusatory. Attitudes like this are one of the reasons I posted this. First, you can see in my post that you quoted, a reference to pilot's discretion descents, so clearly I know my airspace well enough to know when to descent people. Even if I don't normally have a certain spot to send people down at, I have a quick mental formula to run that overestimates the one pilots normally use.

 

While you're right that - ideally - you wouldn't have to ask for it, people aren't infallible, and when we're running Center, plus Approach, and several towers, things can get lost in the process. A nice reminder that gives us the benefit of the doubt ([Mod - Happy Thoughts]uming we simply forgot, not that we're idiots) is what I'm asking for here.

 

Your approach comment is somewhat valid, but Daniel addressed most of what I'd mention to you, so I'll leave it at that. We can see a lot more of what's going on around you than you can, despite what most think.

Kyle Rodgers

 

The content of this post, unless expressly written, refers only to those procedures in the United States of America,

following the Federal Aviation Administration Regulations thereof.

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And a similar annoying thing is controllers in approach airspace who keep stepping us down even though there's no traffic. We ask for lower and get 8,000. Then 6,000. 5,000. 4,000. How about just give us all PD to the lowest altitude you can and save those 10 extra radio transmissions?

 

...A lot of times it's because there is a piece of airspace we cannot descend you through because we don't control it so it's not ours to send you through, or MVA related.

 

If you don't control the airspace, you should be making a point-out to whoever does control it so we can keep our descent or climb going. (Or if that sector is offline, do a "look and go" -- if you see no conflicting traffic, go!). That's much more realistic than stepping us down or making us level at the top of your airspace when there's no traffic above. Point-outs or look-and-go happen all the time in the r/w, so I think it's realistic to do it here.

 

And I do know all about MVA's, but those weren't relevant in my examples.

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