Divide the altitude you need to lose by 300

October, 16, 2021 by Kyle Boas

When to start descent is probably one of the most asked questions I come across on a day to day. A comfortable descent rate is 3 degrees, but when do you start your descent?

One way to calculate that is by dividing the altitude you need to lose by 300. For example, if you’re at 11,000ft, and you need to get down to a pattern altitude of 2,000ft, you need to descend 9,000ft.

9,000/300 = 30 miles.

If you start a 3-degree descent 30 miles out, you’ll hit pattern altitude as you reach the airport.

This doesn’t apply for all aircraft but for most you may fly it should do the job.

Kyle Boas is the Founder of the IFATC Education Group. He is an IFATC Supervisor and Infinite Flight Appeals team member. — More

Should you report position

October, 15, 2021 by Kyle Boas

Reporting position should only be used if your intention is to inform the controller of your new intentions.

Cleared for the option but intend on doing a full stop landing, report full stop. More of a nice gesture to report full stop since the controller already cleared you for a full stop landing in the option clearance. Cleared to land but want to do a touch and go, report touch and go.

We do not need reminders and we cannot ask you to report position on a specific leg, so reporting position randomly only wastes the controller’s time, we can’t unsee you.

Kyle Boas is the Founder of the IFATC Education Group. He is an IFATC Supervisor and Infinite Flight Appeals team member. — More

How-To: Filing a Flight Plan

October, 14, 2021 by Daniel Steinman

Filing a flight plan may seem difficult, or maybe even overwhelming at first. No need to worry, because in this post I will be explaining everything you need to know about how to make a basic flight plan from start to finish.

Let’s go over how to file a flight plan. First, think about your route. Will it be in a jet, will you be flying VFR (Visual Flight Rules) or IFR (Instrument Flight Rules)? Which runways will you be using, and which type of approach will you be utilizing? All of these factors might affect how you’d need to file your flight plan.

For an example, let’s say we were flying from KJFK (John F. Kennedy International) to KLAX (Los Angeles International) IFR. We’ll use a Jetblue A321 and our cruising altitude will be at FL (Flight Level) 340 (34,000ft).

On the expert server (If ATC is present), your departure and arrival runways will be based upon controller discretion. This will be based on factors like the wind, traffic flow and/or the preferences of the specific controller. All information will be published for you in the ATIS. If ATC is not present, your runways of choice are up to you! You must be mindful of other traffic and make sure that the runway that you will be using is free of traffic and is the current active runway at the specific airport.

Once all information regarding your route has been decided upon, making your flight plan shouldn’t take long.

KJFK 120238Z 1203/1306 19004KT P6SM SCT035 BKN250

This is the current METAR for KJFK. The wind is currently blowing heading 190 at 4knts. Therefore ideally, you will want to use 22R and 22L, because you will take off into the wind (headwind).

You’ll be departing from T5 (JetBlue’s terminal) towards the NE (North East) of the airport, and Runway 22R is usually used for departures since departing Runway 22L would require many runway crossings, it would be best to select Runway 22R for your departure.

Now that we’ve picked our departure runway, it is now time to select our SID (Standard Instrument Departure). Since KLAX is located on the West Coast, you’d want to select a SID to the West. Bear in mind that this is not a requirement, as you may select a different direction if factors like weather and traffic need to be taken into place. To select a SID:

  1. Tap on the world symbol at the bottom left corner of the status bar.
  2. Tap on your departure airport. When you first click on it, you will be prompted to the INFO (Information) section of the page.
  3. Tap on PROC (Procedures – this will be located 3 spaces to the right of INFO).
  4. Press “Select Departure”, located on the bottom of the page.
  5. There, you will see a bunch of options of SID’s that you may select. When picking a SID, you want to make sure that it matches your direction of flight, along with your departure runway. In our particular situation, the only available SID with a departure to the West is DEEZZ5 (North-West).
  6. In order to load it into your FPL, select the SID (in our case it is DEEZZ5).
  7. Then select your transition. In this case, we have three options: DEEZZ, CANDR, and TOWIN. We will select DEEZZ for our transition. The reasoning for this being that it best directs us toward the direction of KLAX (West) rather than the Southwest (which is where CANDR and TOWIN will direct us).
  8. Once the transition has been selected, you will now have to inform the system of the runway you will be using. For our case, it will be RW22B (Runway 22R, our departing runway).

Hats off to you, you’ve just completed the departing portion of filing a flight plan!

The next step would be to create a full flight plan that follows the real-world high and low IFR airways using the native navigation aids made available in Infinite Flight. A simple and quick way to do this is to use fpltoif.com. Follow the instructions on their website to copy and paste the flight plan it makes into Infinite Flight.

The final part of our flight-plan will be our STAR (Standard Terminal Arrival Procedure) and approach procedures. Note, controllers will not assign you a STAR but there will likely be preferred STARs in use when you arrive so you must be prepared to change your flight plan upon arrival. You will want to pick the STAR that best lines up with your direction of travel upon arrival To file this:

  1. Tap on the world symbol at the bottom left corner of the status bar.
  2. Tap on your arrival airport.
  3. Tap on INFO (Information)
  4. Tap on PROC (Procedures).
  5. Tap “Arrival”
  6. We will be landing on runway 25L, and that STAR ANJLL4 (North East, All RWYS) is ATC Preferred. Since it matches all of our criteria, that will be our STAR of choice for our flight plan.
  7. Just like the SID, we will need to select our transition. In our case, we will be using transition DNERO.
  8. Add to flight plan

Congratulations, you’ve just filed the departing (SID) and arrival (STAR) for your flight-plan!

Lastly, we will work on our approach, along with the types of approaches in Infinite Flight. For our case, we will be using the ILS (Instrument Landing System) Approach for runway 25L.

  1. Head back to the procedures, but this time, click on “Select Approach”.
  2. Once clicked, select procedure I25L (ILS R25L).
  3. Our Transition will need to be CRCUS (IAF – initial approach fix), since that is where we will connect with our STAR.
  4. Press “Add to Flight Plan”, and the system will automatically load the respective altitudes into your flight plan.

Yay, you have completed your flight plan! When you’ve touched down, you will hear the pilots on the ground at KLAX clapping for you, as you’ve not only filed your very own flight plan, but you’ve used all aspects of it perfectly!

Daniel Steinman is a contributor for IFATC Education Group and loves to control the skies of Infinite Flight! He also loves flying to various airports on many aircraft throughout the world! He is always open to chat about aviation or to answer any questions you may have!

Teardrop Procedure Turn

October, 13, 2021 by Kyle Boas

When a teardrop procedure turn is depicted on an approach procedure and a course reversal is required, unless otherwise authorized by ATC, this type of procedure must be executed.

The teardrop procedure turn consists of a departure from an IAF (Initial Approach Fix) on the published outbound course followed by a turn toward and intercepting the inbound course at or prior to the intermediate fix or point. Its purpose is to permit an aircraft to reverse direction and lose considerable altitude within reasonably limited airspace. When no fix is available to mark the beginning of the intermediate segment, it shall be assumed to commence at a point 10nm prior to the FAF (Final Approach Fix).

We’ll use the ILS or LOC RWY 18 approach into KLNX, as an example to practice on. When you reach the LINCOLN (LNK) VOR, enter a standard-rate turn for 30 degree change of heading. Time one minute from LNK to JUSAM. At JUSAM, enter a standard-rate turn for a 210 degree change of heading, rolling-out on the reciprocal of the original entry heading.

If you are a visual person, here is a lengthy discussion about Procedure Turns.

References: Quote from altairva, BoldMethod Video

Kyle Boas is the Founder of the IFATC Education Group. He is an IFATC Supervisor and Infinite Flight Appeals team member. — More

Use the separation given to you, trust your pilots

October, 12, 2021 by Kyle Boas

Holding patterns can be a great way to tame down and control high traffic areas without having to use huge swooping lines. You issue each aircraft a holding instruction on initial contact, which includes an altitude to maintain while flying in the pattern. Done.

Holding pattern altitude instructions in Infinite Flight can be issued for 3,000ft to 18,000ft MSL. No higher, no lower. I usually use in most scenarios, 7,000ft to 18,000ft MSL. You’d normally stack these holding patterns, meaning you’d have multiple aircraft in one holding pattern.

In the past, I didn’t have enough trust in the pilots. As you know or may not know, on Infinite Flight, aircraft must have 3nm of horizontal or 1000ft of vertical separation at all times. So, I would have one aircraft at every level of the stack. One aircraft at 4,000ft, one at 5,000ft, one at 6,000ft, and so on. By doing that, the max amount of aircraft I could hold would be 15. That’s not very scaleable, as more traffic comes that strategy will become unusable. I didn’t trust the pilots to maintain separation within the hold.

Just recently though, I tried out holding two aircraft at each altitude, maintaining the minimum 3nm horizontal spacing. To my surprise, it worked. I can now hold twice the amount of aircraft in the hold now! Then I tried out three, then four, still worked. I was amazed, why did I never try this before?

Now I can condense the holding pattern down. Instead of having this huge stack usually from 6,000ft to 18,000ft MSL, only holding 12 aircraft. Now I can hold the same amount of aircraft in a stacked hold from 6,000ft to 9,000ft MSL.

This change will drastically improve the time required to stay within the hold, and allow me to use holding patterns more in high traffic.

The main thing to take away is that I need to not overthink things, trust the pilots, and use the separation given to me.

Kyle Boas is the Founder of the IFATC Education Group. He is an IFATC Supervisor and Infinite Flight Appeals team member. — More

How to become a good radar controller

October, 11, 2021 by Sunjin Beak

I’m going to ask you simple question. How can you become a good radar controller when you’re just starting out? My thoughts are to gain experience and a lot of meticulous planning.

It is also absolutely important to start small on the radar.

After training and passing your Radar practical, you are then put into a check ride phase phase for a period of 30 days. Moderators and/or Supervisors will receive automatic notifications when the Controller opens, and those that are available will attend the Controller’s current session and monitor their performance.

For my check ride, I controlled EGLL radar at a time when there was a lot of traffic because I didn’t know my limitations. I made quite a lot of mistakes and after receiving feedback, I went back to a small place and took control. As a result, I have made a lot of progress. Know your limitations!

Every moment you control the radar develops you.

SunJin Beak is a contributor for the IFATC Education Group. He likes to eat, fly and control on Infinite Flight. He plays a lot of baseball on the weekends, and he usually likes to exercise! He also likes to watch baseball!

Don’t sequence too early

October, 10, 2021 by Kyle Boas

If you sequence too early you might as well not sequence at all. You can’t not sequence at all, so don’t waste the pilot’s time and your time.

Say there’s three aircraft in the pattern, all sequenced, cleared. All good. Then incomes a pilot 22 nautical miles away. What do you do? Do you ‘A’, issue a pattern entry with no sequence, or ‘B’, issue a pattern entry with a sequence. To sequence or not to sequence, you should not sequence.

Waiting is never a bad thing, it allows for you to assess the situation and not confuse the pilot. If you sequence too early you will likely just need to resequence again later, which adds to your workload and the pilot’s workload, unnecessarily.

You need to find that happy medium when the aircraft is close enough for the sequence to matter and make sense.

Kyle Boas is the Founder of the IFATC Education Group. He is an IFATC Supervisor and Infinite Flight Appeals team member. — More

Putting aircraft at clearance altitude on base

October, 8, 2021 by Kyle Boas

As a radar controller, it’s best to try to make the pilot’s life easy by reducing their workload whenever possible.

One way you can do this is by having the aircraft at the altitude you intend on clearing them at, on base. So if you are going to clear at 3000ft MSL, have the aircraft at 3000ft MSL on base.

Now this isn’t always possible either due to terrain or a more rare case, to avoid conflicts with other aircraft in the area.

Doing so reduces the pilot’s workload because when you clear them they simply just need to change heading and intercept. Some controllers believe through experience that this may even decrease the chance the aircraft could go missed.

Kyle Boas is the Founder of the IFATC Education Group. He is an IFATC Supervisor and Infinite Flight Appeals team member. — More

How To Start Off On The Expert Server As A Controller

October, 4, 2021 by Eoghan Collins

Upon joining the IFATC you will receive a very warm welcome from many people but most importantly you will gain access to controlling on the Expert Server. We will be giving you some advice on how to start off on the Expert Server and what to avoid.

You will firstly be promoted to an ATC Apprentice, this means you can only control Class Charlie and Delta airports.

This is the perfect opportunity to get prepared for controlling bigger and busier airports and also picking up on some skills.

Remember, do not rush. If anything, the best bit of advice that myself and many other controllers can give you is to start small. Although it is indeed tempting to rush into a busy hub once you join, the results can be poor.

Think of it like building a house; in order to build a house you need the foundation first, without a foundation the house will fall apart.

Be open to feedback and criticism. In IFATC, we have a handful of supervisors who have been carefully picked to help maintain order in IFATC and the Expert Server and also to help new and older controllers. A supervisor may swing by one of your sessions and message you a few things. Take this feedback positively, we all make mistakes/do things that can be done in a better way. If it wasn’t for the help from the amazing supervisor team I would not have improved my ATC skills.

Ask questions. If you are not sure of something then ask. We are all here to help!

Finally, a message from Tyler Shelton, the Infinite Flight ATC Manager:

“It’s a marathon, not a race. Take your time in the process and focus on developing a strong ATC foundation. This means being reasonable with your airport selection, picking skillsets to focus on each session, and really putting in the effort to improve without rushing the journey.”

Eoghan Collins is an IFATC Officer and a member of the IFATC Testing Team. In the real world, he enjoys spending time on the rugby pitch or with his dog.

Get them off your frequency

October, 3, 2021 by Kyle Boas

The goal of controlling is to get the aircraft off your frequency as quickly as possible, and as safely as possible. Don’t prolong things, try to find the fastest route into the airport.

The less aircraft on your frequency the better. For every one aircraft that calls in, one aircraft should be cleared and done. Don’t delay things unnecessarily.

Kyle Boas is the Founder of the IFATC Education Group. He is an IFATC Supervisor and Infinite Flight Appeals team member. — More