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When the center closes...


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5 hours ago, Stephen Pelly said:

As someone new to VATSIM I was wondering what happens when the center controller signs off and the center closes. Should I then contact the nearest airport approach controller (even though I am out of their circular control area), or am I on my own at that point?

They should advise you to switch to 122.8.

Then you are responsible for ensuring you contact the next ATC unit as your flight progresses. If you were close enough to APP for them to work you, I would hand you to them even if it might be slightly out of their airspace, talking 50nm or so, I would imagine other people out there would follow suit.

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Kirk Christie - VATPAC C3

VATPAC Undercover ATC Agent

Worldflight Perth 737-800 Crew Member

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Either is acceptable.  And, honestly, during the enroute portion, there's not much you'll really need to say unless you have it on good authority that your path will conflict with someone else's.  Once in the destination terminal area, a few "standard" reports are usually customary.

And, side note, in case this is useful advice: I recommend you try to make those reports as generic as possible ("737 thirty miles north of the field descending thru 12,000, will be joining approach for runway 28R" is better than "737 inbound via BLUFI4 approaching DALOO," for example).  If I'm getting ready to taxi out for a departure from 28R at KFLL, I'm sure as heck not going to have all nine STAR charts open just in case someone decides to make a position report inbound.  A generic distance and altitude will tell me enough to make a decision as to whether I have time to depart prior to your arrival or hold short for landing traffic.

Cheers,

-R.

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On 9/26/2020 at 7:39 PM, Stephen Pelly said:

or am I on my own at that point?

To paraphrase Dave van Ronk:

"and each one knows

They're NOT alone

When the sacred Center closes"

Sorry, couldn't resist that :)

Alistair Thomson

===

Definition: a gentleman is a flying instructor in a Piper Cherokee who can change tanks without getting his face slapped.

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On 9/27/2020 at 1:39 AM, Stephen Pelly said:

As someone new to VATSIM I was wondering what happens when the center controller signs off and the center closes. Should I then contact the nearest airport approach controller (even though I am out of their circular control area), or am I on my own at that point?

The way it's usually done is that a controller who is about to close stops accepting control of new aircraft arriving on frequency for a while (5 minutes or so), hands over everyone who is about to enter other controlled airspaces, as well as everyone who will be under the responsibility of some other controller after they close shop, and then makes a call like "All stations, all stations, XYZ center is closing, monitor unicom 122.8".

You should *not* contact the APP controller unless you're in their airspace (both laterally and vertically), or about to enter it, or explicitly been handed over; stay on Unicom until entering or approaching controlled airspace, or until a controller sends you a contactme (which sometimes happens before you enter controlled airspace, e.g. because a controller is currently not very busy and might as well pick you up early). Then again, if you're unsure whether you should contact or not, the worst thing that can happen when you do is that the controller tells you that you're not in their airspace, and who to contact (if not unicom).

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