Air Traffic Controller Discussion With a Global Perspective
By Zafar Ballard 1021575
David Zhong 1027224 wrote:My question, was of course, rhetorical, but interesting to see the variety of replies from overseas!

In Australia, at least, "cleared visual approach" is used frequently for VFR aircraft. Hard levels can be given and the onus is on the pilot to advise "unable", although generally radar controllers will issue "not above" or "not below". It is usually tower controllers managing aerodrome traffic that will issue hard levels given that they don't have many levels available to use.

In the UK you can issue vectors, but it's very restricted. From CAP493 (the ATC "manual");
Approach radar controllers in particular should exercise extreme caution in vectoring VFR flights – a geographical routeing instruction is preferable. Prior to vectoring, the controller must establish with the pilot the need to report if headings issued are not acceptable due to the requirements to remain in VMC, avoid obstacles, and comply with the low flying rules. Controllers should be aware that pilots of some VFR flights may not be sufficiently experienced to comply accurately with vectors, or to recover to visual navigation after vectoring.

Essentially, the end result is in the UK we give a geographical routing (points to fly to and report over / nearby / hold at that are visible on the ground). The reason being that the pilot has to maintain VMC and safe separation, so the controller giving headings takes some this ability away. The UK is also slightly odd in that most airspace is Class A (TMAs and airways), so no VFR. Class D is used around aerodromes at low level, so it's generally a case of integrating them visually with the arriving IFR stream.

In terms of GA aircraft arriving, controllers should be able to adapt to most things. I've flown a few IFR flights in a C172 on VATSIM, and whilst controllers may be a bit rusty, and if it's busy you might get a long delay, they will usually accommodate as best they can. Certainly makes for interesting flying!

Having said that, familiarity with the aerodrome is a must, as is getting the charts. In terms of instructions etc., as a controller all I need to know is that you will follow a clearance or tell me you're not able. If you aren't able, we'll figure out something that will work, even if it's not a standard route (e.g. vectors or VOR-to-VOR etc.)
By Josh Glottmann 1275389
#509044 Here's a good video of a pilot flying his Cessna into ORD real-world. Disregard the part about him calling the TRACON 12 hours earlier (since there's no one actually online 24/7). What the video does a good job of showing is how he's really prepared to flying in. He has all his charts, an extra person (optional :mrgreen:), and is really ready to fly anything. When it comes down to trying to keep up with the jets and help ATC out, he says a few times that he'll keep his speed up, which does and will help ATC. Hope it helps.