Departure Etiquette

October, 31, 2021 by

Picture yourself in this scenario: It’s Friday night at London Heathrow. Ground is packed, each runway has a queue of 10 departing aircraft and approach is swamped with arrivals. How can you help yourself and the controller to make your departure easier, and most importantly, report- free? Here’s how:

  • When taxiing to the runway on a parallel taxiway and you have another aircraft next to you, don’t race each other to the threshold at 35kts. This will cause an increase to the workload of the controller. Let the other aircraft go first, it will only delay your departure by a few minutes.
  • Always stay on the ground frequency until you are second in line to depart. This will keep the tower frequency clear of clutter. Don’t switch right after you have recieved your taxi clearance. Ground may not be done with you.
  • Request take off once. Do not spam the controller, he can see you. He may have tight arrivals coming in or could be planning a crossing on your runway. While you are waiting, do not loose focus and start doing other things. In peak traffic time everything must be done expeditiously. So be aware and ready to depart the moment you recieve a clearance.
  • Once you have been cleared please do not take your time. When it is not busy then sure, you can do things in a more relaxed way. But in peak times you need to move. Even though rolling departures may not be in Atis, please try your best to do so to make your controller’s life easier.
  • Once you are airborne and stable, there’s no need to request a frequency change, unless you can see the controller has really forgotten about you. You will be given a frequency change or handed over to the appropriate frequency.

If you do this then there is almost zero chance you will be ghosted and you will make your departure faster as well!

Juan Oosthuizen is a contributor for the IFATC Education Group. He is an IFATC Supervisor and real-world PPL student pilot.