We’ve all been there one time or the other: you just spawned into an airport which is staffed by an IFATC member, and you tune into their ATIS. You listen to the remarks and wonder, “I wonder what that one means.” Let’s go over what each ATIS Remark means and when it is normally used. All remarks can be found in Section 4.2 of the ATC Manual.
No Intersection Departures:
Intersection departures are always allowed unless the use of intersecting departures will block the flow of traffic going in/out of the airport or it will block the only taxiway for aircraft to get the full length of a runway.
No Pattern Work:
This remark is used whenever traffic levels may cause a drop in service standards, weather doesn’t promote safe pattern work, or if terrain prevents a standard pattern to be flown. If either of these conditions is met then the No Pattern Work remark is mandatory.
Usually when aircraft are heading to the same destination, a controller may choose to limit departing traffic, which may mean that aircraft in their airspace can expect a delay.
Used whenever the runway(s) in use are filled there may be a long taxi to the runways till departure.
Gate Hold typically is used if taxiway space is very limited. Usually the Hold Position command is preferred but if traffic levels are not favorable then this remark is used. It is preferred to be used for a max of 10 minutes.
No Light Aircraft:
This remark is normally at the controller’s discretion at most airports based on airport accommodations, traffic levels, and airport staffing but is not used at typically General Aviation focused airports. Most staffed airports may or may not use this remark based on if airports irl support General Aviation planes. “light” aircraft are defined as the C172, SR22, XCub, Spitfire Mk VIII and P38.
When this remark is in use, an aircraft cleared to takeoff is expected to line up and begin their takeoff roll immediately. Line Up and Wait commands may still be used if applicable.
Flight Plan Required:
If weather doesn’t permit or SID/STAR use is required, an aircraft is expected to contact a ground frequency with a flight plan ready.
Straight Out Departures:
When departing, an aircraft is expected to fly runway heading until they have reached the altitude specified by tower and there is no conflict present.
Multiple Frequencies In Use:
This is usually used when there is more than one of the same frequency present at an airport. Some airports have the ability to be staffed by multiple ground, tower, or radar frequencies. This will almost always noted in the ATIS with this remark.
This is used only when there is special instructions on IFC pages for events. An example of this could be the IFVARB Summit.
SID/STAR Use Recommended/Required:
Not every airport has Departure and Arrival procedures, but they are present at any major airport which pilots regularly fly to, so, depending on traffic levels, a controller may ask pilots to file these departure and arrival procedures into their flight plans. Recommended is used for light to medium traffic while required is used during heavy traffic levels.
Used only when events are sponsored.
If aircraft cannot be accommodated because their size may restrict the flow of traffic on the ground, a controller may use this remark to restrict which aircraft are allowed to enter their airport.
This is typically used when there is visibility less than 400m or 1/4sm.