What Each ATIS Remark Means

June, 24, 2022 by

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.

Flow Control:

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.

Long Taxi:

Used whenever the runway(s) in use are filled there may be a long taxi to the runways till departure.

Gate Hold:

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.

Rolling Departures:

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.

Check Forum:

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.

Event:

Used only when events are sponsored.

Size Restrictions:

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.

Low Visibility:

This is typically used when there is visibility less than 400m or 1/4sm.

Kush Shelat (Adventures), is a high school graduate with an associates degree in General Studies. He is an IFATC Specialist who will start college at Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology majoring in Commercial Aviation. He enjoys spending time talking about Aviation and Aviation news and flying in Infinite Flight exploring new places.

Planning An Efficient Radar Session

March, 18, 2022 by

When you enter radar training and are assigned a radar airport, it’s required that you plan before your session. When planning a session, it’s essential that you know how to implement inbounds from all sides. Let’s go over how to efficiently plan a radar session.

For our example we’ll use Nellis AFB (KLSV) Runway 21L to plan our session. When planning, you should always ask yourself these questions:

  • What’s the airport elevation?
  • Will terrain affect my inbounds and patterns?
  • Can I avoid that terrain?
  • How will I know where the terrain is once on my screen?

For KLSV, we’ll be planning to implement ILS, GPS, VIS, and RV. With this in mind, we want to ensure we’re not planning just for the airports in a given radius as that’s not what we want to do. You need to plan for inbounds coming from different directions, as that’s what you will see on expert; not only aircrafts departing on a 50nm radius.

It’s better to rather plan for inbounds so they can be in a familiar pattern. Such as Downwind, Base, or Final. Though, this might not always be the case. During peak times like say during the ATC Schedule, you may have to use holding patterns or an S pattern.

It’s also recommended to use SIDs and STARS as they can help greatly when organizing inbounds. Many airports will have SIDs and STARs. You can highlight your preferred SID/STARs in the Airport Information menu if you are open on a Center frequency. Otherwise, a SID or STAR will show up on a pilot’s user information if they have filed one.

We also want to avoid terrain. In this case, Runway 21L for KLSV has a 6K MSA on base, but the GS altitude is 5K. In this case, we would keep the pattern tight. ILS downwinds are recommended to be 6-7NM and not any farther as it could mean a bust or crash when turning a pilot on base. This way no pilot is farther out and may crash into a mountain.

 

Kush Shelat (Adventures), is a high school graduate with an associates degree in General Studies. He is an IFATC Specialist who will start college at Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology majoring in Commercial Aviation. He enjoys spending time talking about Aviation and Aviation news and flying in Infinite Flight exploring new places.

How to use IFATC Maps

March, 16, 2022 by

If you’ve entered radar training, chances are you’ll work with a feature in ifatc.org called map. This feature allows a trainee to see the terrain, airports, and fixes around an assigned airport. However, not many people know how to use all these features and how IFATC Maps can be very helpful.

We’ll discuss each individual feature and MSAs. Usually the map will show the airport and surrounding terrain in a 70NM radius.

Features
Going into the main features, we’ll use KSFO with runways 28L and 28R for our example airport.

There’s four main features, but there are a few key abbreviations you need to know:

  • MSA: Minimum Safe Altitude. This is the lowest altitude a plane can go before a busts or crashes into terrain.
  • LOC: Localizer
  • GS: Glideslope

Let’s get into our first tab which is called, “Explore.” In this category, you can see the NAV Points, airports, and terrain of the airport. To view airports, simply click/tap, “Airports.”

Click/Tap once for controlled airports, twice for ICAO codes, three times for uncontrolled airports, and four times for VORs. When you click/tap, “NAV Points,” you’ll see every available NAV point within that radius.

Using the slider labelled, “Min Safe Alt” can show which altitudes are above the given altitude. So in our case, if we slide the slider to 4K, we can see MSAs where the altitude is above 4K around 5 and 6K. Using the slider labelled, “Distance” shows a circle surrounding a particular area.

The slider goes up to 100NM, and will always have a radius of the given NM. So if we set the slider to 70NM, the circle will have a radius of around 70NM from KSFO to the edge of the circle.

Moving our next tab labelled, “Approach,” this gives us the option to show our GS. For runway 28L, nearing the end of the visible LOC, or as many trainers refer to it, cone, we see that our GS altitude is 3510.

Typically, we want to ensure that a pilot is below that given altitude as we want to ensure that a pilot intercepts the LOC before the GS. So, in this situation, we’ll keep a pilot at 3K so they intercept the LOC before the GS here. As many trainers will tell you to imagine that the cone extends farther out if needed, which is why you’ll see 4-5 points with altitudes and distances (in nautical miles) out from the airport.

Moving to our final tab labelled, “NAV Points,” this is where you can plug in Fixes, VORs, and airport ICAO codes, if you wanted to, you could plug in your flight plan and see it there. So for instance, we’ll make a flight plan from KSFO to KLAX. We’d plug that into the NAV Points tab and click/tap, “Apply.” Once the page refreshes, we’ll see our flight plan going to the airport and the intercepts.

Kush Shelat (Adventures), is a high school graduate with an associates degree in General Studies. He is an IFATC Specialist who will start college at Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology majoring in Commercial Aviation. He enjoys spending time talking about Aviation and Aviation news and flying in Infinite Flight exploring new places.

Don’t Lose Hope

March, 11, 2022 by

One thing that I would always recommend for people in or just starting IFATC is to not lose hope. I know it can be hard. Both the written and Practical tests for both local and radar may seen difficult, but I guarantee that it isn’t if you practice and ask questions. As my recruiter Wesley Henrich puts it, “Think carefully before answering and use a pen and paper to drawl out some questions and help you visualize them if necessary”.

I remember when I started my recruitment process. I failed all three with my last attempt being 76%. I was so upset and it felt like I wasn’t meant for this, and I almost quit. However, I gained new motivation and pushed further, eventually passing my written and entering IFATC training. There I met my first trainer: Cole (AsternAviation). He taught me everything I know and before I knew it, I passed my practical and entered IFATC. From there I passed my Specialist check ride. Once I met the requirements I then entered Radar Training with Nico Pizarro later on.

My point is, it can seem like it’s a daunting task, but it’s possible to do anything you wish as long as you put your all into it. If you want to do your first long haul, go for it! If you want to control as IFATC, go for it! It’s all up to you! As long as you put your 100% into it.

Kush Shelat (Adventures), is a high school graduate with an associates degree in General Studies. He is an IFATC Specialist who will start college at Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology majoring in Commercial Aviation. He enjoys spending time talking about Aviation and Aviation news and flying in Infinite Flight exploring new places.

Choosing The Perfect Airport

March, 7, 2022 by

I know what some of you may be thinking. “There’s so much activity here. I can handle it.” The question now goes: can you?

When choosing an airport, always ensure you’re positive you feel you can handle the traffic flow which goes in and out of the airport. You never know when the traffic can unexpectedly increase and you’ll find yourself with several planes requesting at the same time. “Don’t get overwhelmed with all these requests. Attend one at a time so you don’t forget any” (Nico Pizarro). If you feel that an airport is too difficult or has too much traffic, you can always choose something different. Nobody is going to judge you for not opening KLAX because it was super busy.

When choosing an airport, ask yourself this:

  • Is the airport manageable?
  • Will the terrain be a problem for me?
  • How busy is it? Will it get busier?
  • Can I handle the traffic?

If you feel you’re unsure of this, you can always test out how much you can handle. Knowing your limit on how much traffic you can handle will keep you out of situations you feel overwhelmed in more times than not. Remember, controlling should be enjoyable, not painful.

Kush Shelat (Adventures), is a high school graduate with an associates degree in General Studies. He is an IFATC Specialist who will start college at Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology majoring in Commercial Aviation. He enjoys spending time talking about Aviation and Aviation news and flying in Infinite Flight exploring new places.

Respect Your Trainer

March, 4, 2022 by

When you enter IFATC recruiting for local or radar training, chances are you’ll end up getting a trainer for assistance. These trainers help you on your merry way into your role within the team.

When you do end up getting a trainer or asking for one, please be respectful of them as they do go out of their way to take time out of their day to teach you and your peers how to control professionally and efficiently.

Be open to feedback from them as their feedback makes you a better controller and as a famous person once said: “Use your words.”

Kush Shelat (Adventures), is a high school graduate with an associates degree in General Studies. He is an IFATC Specialist who will start college at Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology majoring in Commercial Aviation. He enjoys spending time talking about Aviation and Aviation news and flying in Infinite Flight exploring new places.