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I just finished a flight where I took off from what I thought was an uncontrolled airport while on unicom. I announced all my actions on unicom. I then saw a text message from a center controller, asking me to contact him on frequency. I did, and was told that it was not okay to just take off on unicom in controlled airspace.

 

I've read in many beginners' guides that it is important to check if the relevant airspace is controlled or not. However, I've read nowhere how to do that.

 

So - If I want to fly though some airspace, how do I know if it's controlled or not?

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Steen, as the other gentlemen outlined, there are a couple of apps that will [Mod - Happy Thoughts]ist you in knowing who is online.

 

That said, shame on the controller for being arrogant and grandstanding. He/she certainly observed you taxiing out and could have contacted you and advised you need clearance.

 

Michael


 

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Mike, although that might be true, particularly if the airspace were rather empty, I'd offer another perspective. If there is a Center controller online already working 20-25 aircraft all alone, and someone is taxiing around some airport, particularly around some Cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] D that's not a "prime time" airport within that Center's airspace, it's certainly possible that the taxiing and takeoff could have gone unnoticed, and the controller was simply trying to educate the pilot, and certainly not being arrogant or grandstanding. The truth is probably somewhere in-between

Don Desfosse
Vice President, Membership

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Thank you for all your kind replies!

 

The controller who lectured me was neither arrogant nor grandstanding, just - stern. He made me feel like a fool, which I was, so that's only fair

 

As for your fine suggestions, VAT-Spy is Windows-only, and I'm running Linux. Accomeap and VATtastic look nice! I'll definitely check with those next time!

 

And - sorry I have to ask this: If I want to take off from an unmanned airport within a controlled area, I contact that area controller for IFR clearance, taxi, push&start and departure, right?

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VATSIM ATC works on a top-down basis. To depart, first you look for DEL/GND, TWR, APP/DEP and finally CTR. If there's any of those covering the airport (in that specific 'order of priority'), then contact them. If no ATC, UNICOM, as you already know .

 

You might have a look at VATSIM Pilot Resource Center where all this and many other stuff is explained.

 

Let us know if we can help you with anything else

Néstor Pérez
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I just finished a flight where I took off from what I thought was an uncontrolled airport while on unicom. I announced all my actions on unicom. I then saw a text message from a center controller, asking me to contact him on frequency. I did, and was told that it was not okay to just take off on unicom in controlled airspace.

 

I've read in many beginners' guides that it is important to check if the relevant airspace is controlled or not. However, I've read nowhere how to do that.

 

So - If I want to fly though some airspace, how do I know if it's controlled or not?

 

Hello Steen,

 

It's very nice to see that you are using our forums for one of its primary purposes; asking questions.

There are multiple ways of checking for nearby ATC in your area.

 

The first method is using your controller client by looking in the list of nearby controllers. This method doesn't always work as some stations are not named after the area you are flying in. I therefore recommend using one of the other alternatives below.

 

I would personally recommend VATSpy, you can download VATSpy from: http://www1.metacraft.com/VATSpy/ VATSpy is an application that's easy to understand and use. I will show you a map of the world no it's easy to find yourself and relevant ATC. If you are going to use VATSpy then I would highly recommend you to update it via https://vatspy.vatcar.org/ with updated airports and sectors.

 

If you don't want to download anything, you can for example use http://www.vattastic.com/ which is web-based and does the exact same thing as VATSpy.

 

Please let us know if you have any more questions!

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Andreas Manum - 1352448

VATSIM Scandinavia - Norway

VATSIM Network Supervisor

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Can I also offer one further suggestion to rookie pilots out there: if in doubt, ask!

 

If you are unsure if your airport is controlled, but your pilot client lists a nearby online controller, send them a quick text asking if they control XYZ airport.

 

If they are busy, their reply may be short out of necessity. But as a controller, I would rather field this question a hundred times over having pilots log in and depart an airport in my airspace without calling.

 

We are all friendly, and were all rookies once upon a time. So we are all willing to help out, as far as our current workload allows.

 

This goes for pretty much anything. If in doubt, ask!!!

 

Rob

Rob Nabieszko | VATCAN3

Director of Training, VATCAN

[email protected]

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