Air Traffic Controller Discussion With a Global Perspective
By Robert Shearman Jr 1155655
#507942 I feel like this belongs in Pilot Talk, not Controller Talk...

When you say you must obtain paper charts, those charts don't necessarily have to be on actual paper. I do my flying with charts pulled up in PDF or other online form on a second monitor.

As far as informing Air Traffic Control -- when you file a route that includes an IFR departure procedure and an IFR arrival procedure, and you are cleared on that route, that is how you have informed ATC what charts you will be using.
By Andreas Fuchs 810809
#507946 Hi Art,

one important detail: while your FMC may contain the correct routing for a given SID, it may not contain the initial climb clearances for these procedures. Even if it shows you step climb profiles, you better consult digital or paper charts to check for this. There are quite a few airports with departure procedures that ask you to climb to a certain altitude or flightlevel only. If you cannot find charts for your airport of departure or arrival, your first stop should always be the website of the vACC that the airport is part of. For example when flying to or from an airport in Germany your best guess will be to look for charts at http://www.vatsim-germany.org .
By Erik Wachters 815026
#507981 Hello,

An important thing I want to add is: when you can't fly it, don't accept it.
A lot of pilots read back a clearance correctly but don't/can't fly the cleared route/SID/STAR.
If you can't do it, just tell the controller. He/She will help you out without disturbing other traffic.

https://www.belgocontrol.be/html/belgocontrol_static/eaip/eAIP_Main/html/index-en-GB.html

Erik
By Robert Shearman Jr 1155655
#507992
Erik Wachters 815026 wrote:An important thing I want to add is: when you can't fly it, don't accept it.

Even moreso, don't file it in the first place. If you include a procedure as part of your filed route, it should mean not only that it's in your FMC, but that you've looked at it & know what pilot-managed steps are included in its proper execution.

Erik's point is well-taken though in cases where a controller requests to amend your route -- they will always phrase that as "Can you accept {xxxxx}" and "unable" is an acceptable response if applicable. It is also critical knowledge in Europe & other places where the arrival (STAR) is not part of the initial filed & cleared route but instead is assigned by the Approach controller.
By Bradley Grafelman 1242018
#508001
Robert Shearman Jr 1155655 wrote:they will always phrase that as "Can you accept {xxxxx}"

Not always - especially not if we're talking about changing a SID/STAR and you already filed one. If it's slow and/or the controller is bored and wants to have a friendly chat, then sure. :) Otherwise, it's not impossible that they'd skip straight to issuing a clearance/amendment to cut out a couple of unnecessary transmissions. (Even then, though, you're right - it's not only acceptable but advisable to say you're unable to accept the new clearance if you believe that's the case.)
By Brad Littlejohn 811975
#508014
Bradley Grafelman 1242018 wrote:
Robert Shearman Jr 1155655 wrote:they will always phrase that as "Can you accept {xxxxx}"

Not always - especially not if we're talking about changing a SID/STAR and you already filed one. If it's slow and/or the controller is bored and wants to have a friendly chat, then sure. :) Otherwise, it's not impossible that they'd skip straight to issuing a clearance/amendment to cut out a couple of unnecessary transmissions. (Even then, though, you're right - it's not only acceptable but advisable to say you're unable to accept the new clearance if you believe that's the case.)


Agreed. Pilots and ATC need to remember that a clearance is an agreement between the pilot and controller. This does not mean that whatever the pilot has filed (including spending all of the time it took to program their FMC) will be accepted by the controller and issued as their clearance.

There are other possible things to consider for the pilots clearance, and whether what they filed will be issued:
  • weather-related runway configuration.
  • noise abatement.
  • "self-inflicted" runway configuration. For example, runway closure, taxiway closure, runway shortening, etc.

A lot of these may require a different SID/STAR to be used altogether, because the SID/STAR the pilot spent their time on programming their FMC may not be used for that particular runway. So if a pilot files the STAAV7 departure out of KLAS, and either runways 1L/1R or 7L is being used for departures, their clearance ATC is going to give them will be different, throwing that time they programmed out of the window.

My point: pilots should not depend only on what they have spent their time programming into their FMC only for that flight. They should have multiple plans programmed, and locked and loaded in case their primary one will not be used.

BL.
By Andreas Fuchs 810809
#508017 The bottom line is: we are supposed to work as a team here. It does not matter WHO made a mistake or WHO is not able to follow an instruction/clearance. It is imperative that such problems get solved in a factual way. No ATC should be annoyed with a pilot reporting "unable SID/Departure Procedure", but rather be happy that the pilot was honest and needs to receive alternative instructions. Honesty is one of the most important things in aviation, otherwise ATC and pilots are not on the same page. There's nothing wrong about not being able to follow a procedure as long as your counterpart knows about it.

Both sides need to have situational awareness and for this honest information is vital. Rather report "say again" or "unable" than readback something that you are not sure about. Work together, we are a team.
By Robert Shearman Jr 1155655
#508065
Robert Shearman Jr 1155655 wrote:they will always phrase that as "Can you accept {xxxxx}"

Bradley Grafelman 1242018 wrote:If it's slow and/or the controller is bored and wants to have a friendly chat, then sure. :)

Brad Littlejohn 811975 wrote:Agreed. Pilots and ATC need to remember that a clearance is an agreement between the pilot and controller. This does not mean that whatever the pilot has filed (including spending all of the time it took to program their FMC) will be accepted by the controller and issued as their clearance.

Andreas Fuchs 810809 wrote:The bottom line is: we are supposed to work as a team here. It does not matter WHO made a mistake or WHO is not able to follow an instruction/clearance.

Geeze, guys. I didn't mean to spark so much controversy over the simple observation that when amending a pilot's route, ATC will generally -- and I initially said "always" but will amend that to "generally" if it makes you all feel better -- make sure it's something the pilot is able to accept before forcing it down his throat. This ain't the real world, we ain't all pros, and we ain't all flying PMDGs -- and in the six or so years I've been flying here I've nearly always heard ATC ask the pilot if they were able to accept the amendment.
By Robert Shearman Jr 1155655
#508068 There are many pilots online who fly with the default MSFS aircraft. While these have GPS units simulated, there's no method for editing the route once the sim is started from the options screen. That makes it difficult to switch procedures after they are filed & the route imported.

Ultimately it's best if such pilots acquire add-on tools which allow them to fly more realistically -- but while they're in the learning stages, ATC has to work with them as best they can to find a solution that works for both. So it's not always reasonable for the controller to simply assign a new departure or arrival and assume the pilot can accept it. That's why they typically ask. I'm not sure why my stating that fact stirred up so many passionate responses, but, it's true in my experience here, and it's a good thing -- it fosters the cooperative learning environment and acceptance of users of all skill & knowledge levels the network seems to strive for.
By Andreas Fuchs 810809
#508074 Hi Rob,

as you know in respect of aviation I do come from the real world, but especially in our hobby I am patient and tolerant towards non-real world pilots/controllers, everybody needs some time to get up to speed. The only that I am trying to tell everyone here is that it does not matter who made a mistake, the most important thing is that mistakes get corrected and that nobody needs to feel ashamed for having made a mistake, as long as they are honest about it. We need to operate based on facts, we need to be solution-minded, not blame-minded. And I see people who like to blame others, "because they have no clue".

So, let's work as a team, that was the bottom-line.