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Direct to waypoint


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Hi pilots,

I've been wondering something and couldn't find a clear answer to it: 

Whenever we fly we could potentially receive a "direct to" by ATC for any given reason. Those "direct to" are monitored and calculated by ATC so not really something we have to worry about, indirectly. 

Say you're to fly alone and feel like a shortcut because it would simply save up to 30min, what's the longest "direct to" allowed by own initiative and how does one determine that?

 

Can't wait to read the answers!

 

- Alex

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I suppose on longer routes atc prefers airways rather then drct waypoints because it keeps traffic uniform, however you can ask for a re route to a waypoint..They can say yes or no but if you don,t ask you dont get..lol

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4 hours ago, Alexander Streumer said:

Hi pilots,

I've been wondering something and couldn't find a clear answer to it: 

Whenever we fly we could potentially receive a "direct to" by ATC for any given reason. Those "direct to" are monitored and calculated by ATC so not really something we have to worry about, indirectly. 

Say you're to fly alone and feel like a shortcut because it would simply save up to 30min, what's the longest "direct to" allowed by own initiative and how does one determine that?

 

Can't wait to read the answers!

 

- Alex

AFAIK, there are no constraints, just "apply common sense". It's not like you'll be sanctioned for doing something wrong here, you can give yourself a direct straight onto your FAF if you want; but as a rule of thumb, try to keep it "realistic", as in, "something that a controller might do if they were online". If you get it "wrong", and ATC comes online while you're on your direct course, then the risk is that they may give you a lengthy re-routing to get you back to sanity, and that could be more work for you than the couple miles you saved by going direct.

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5 hours ago, Tobias Dammers said:

AFAIK, there are no constraints, just "apply common sense". It's not like you'll be sanctioned for doing something wrong here, you can give yourself a direct straight onto your FAF if you want; but as a rule of thumb, try to keep it "realistic", as in, "something that a controller might do if they were online". If you get it "wrong", and ATC comes online while you're on your direct course, then the risk is that they may give you a lengthy re-routing to get you back to sanity, and that could be more work for you than the couple miles you saved by going direct.

Obviously I'd never take it that far, to make it uncommen. Nice to know there aren't restrains but just commen senses. Thanks for the reply.

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The question is, how do we define common sense? I know how the UK airspace works as this is where I control, but if I was flying out of JFK or CPH, I have no knowledge and might do something that to me is common sense, but to someone who knows what they are doing in this bit of airspace is nonsensical, to say the least. I have seen several examples of this while controlling, including directs that pass through many FIRs that they wouldn't normally do... Also, when giving directs, controllers know what the traffic situation looks like and can plan accordingly. One could argue that VATspy or other maps of VATSIM give somewhat of a situational awareness, which is true. However, I find this to work mostly for approaching an airfield and not when you are in the air on an airway and I can not say that I will give myself a direct ever, while on unicom, purely as I do not have enough information.

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NICK MARINOV
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Nav aids e,g vor and ndb also intersections are there to use drct..but you just need the ok from atc..its yes or no, but if there is no radar you can take it on yourself and  re file change of route in flight so everyone can read your new plan..

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  • 3 weeks later...

Alex, if no ATC is online, I would suggest to fly "direct to" the that ATC's border. When flying long-hauls and there is not much traffic, one usually gets such direct to clearances from the ATC as well.

This can be repeated, and you don't infringe with other ATC airspace.

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On 1/3/2022 at 12:58 AM, Nick Marinov said:

The question is, how do we define common sense? I know how the UK airspace works as this is where I control, but if I was flying out of JFK or CPH, I have no knowledge and might do something that to me is common sense, but to someone who knows what they are doing in this bit of airspace is nonsensical, to say the least. I have seen several examples of this while controlling, including directs that pass through many FIRs that they wouldn't normally do... Also, when giving directs, controllers know what the traffic situation looks like and can plan accordingly. One could argue that VATspy or other maps of VATSIM give somewhat of a situational awareness, which is true. However, I find this to work mostly for approaching an airfield and not when you are in the air on an airway and I can not say that I will give myself a direct ever, while on unicom, purely as I do not have enough information.

There are certainly situations where you can give yourself directs on Unicom.

There is always a small residual risk that when ATC comes online, they will reroute you, but if you're cruising at FL380, and there's nobody around in 100-mile radius, giving yourself a 50-mile DIRECT within the same FIR is rather unlikely to cause any problems. Likewise, if I'm flying a trombone-style approach transition, and I'm the only one flying into that airport, then I'm most definitely not flying the entire thing, but rather I will cut the legs short with DIRECTs, much like ATC would probably do.

It's not 100% of course; ATC might come online and have other plans, but compared to some other situations that a fresh controller often needs to sort out, like two flights approaching the same IAF at the same time, and failing to coordinate, leading to half a mile of "separation" on the approach, some conservative self-initiated DIRECTs aren't going to be a problem.

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