An ounce of kindness makes a huge difference

September, 14, 2021 by Matt T.

A short while ago, I received a message from someone who I had reported on the Expert Server, and though I receive violation appeal messages on a regular basis, this particular message was unlike many of the others I have received. This particular user, who will remain anonymous, immediately acknowledged and apologized for their mistake, asked for clarification, and thanked me for my services – all while maintaining a kind, understanding, and professional attitude.

Now, while this may sound self-explanatory, being kind to others is one of the moral foundations of any society on this planet. However, it isn’t always the case. I’ve run into my fair share of pilots who didn’t handle the situation calmly, understandably. No one likes getting removed from their flight and controllers do not enjoy reporting pilots.

Going back to the example I provided, in that instance, because this pilot was so willing to learn from their mistake I in exchange personally contacted the appeals group to have that user’s violation removed. Just because you are nice doesn’t mean they will approve the appeal for that violation, but it definitely goes a long way.

I want to use this post as a motivation for both pilots and controllers alike, to demonstrate the openness of this bridge between the pilot and the controller. But, more importantly, I want to spread the message of kindness and the impact it has – not only for a flight simulator, but also in our day-to-day life.

Matt T. is a writer for the IFATC Education Group. He is an IFATC Officer that resides in Orange County, California.

What is wind shear?

September, 13, 2021 by Kyle Boas

Wind shear is a change in wind speed and/or direction over a short distance. It can occur either horizontally or vertically and is most often associated with strong temperature inversions or density gradients. Wind shear can occur at high or low altitude.

Four common sources of low-level wind shear are—

  1. Frontal activity
  2. Thunderstorms
  3. Temperature inversions
  4. Surface obstructions

Wind shear is currently not implemented in Infinite Flight but it has a very big role of course in the real world.

Airplane pilots generally regard significant wind shear to be a horizontal change in airspeed of 30 knots for light aircraft, and near 45 knots for airliners at flight altitude.

References: ”Wind Shear” by the FAA. [PDF]

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

The LA Special Flight Rules Area

September, 12, 2021 by Kyle Boas

If anyone knows me, they’d know I love stuff like this.

Of the 40 designated blocks of Class B airspace in America, only a few approve VFR flyways adjacent to the major airport. VFR flyways offer a more direct path for VFR traffic to navigate through. KLAX is one of them.

The FAA established the LAX Special Flight Rules Area (SFRA) directly above LAX, a VFR corridor with two designated altitudes, 4,500 feet northwest bound and 3,500 feet southeast bound. Visual

In the real world, standard procedure is to announce position and direction on 128.55 MHz, a frequency specific for the flyway, flying at 3,500 feet southeast bound and 4,500 feet northwest bound. The route is further defined by the Santa Monica VOR 312/132-degree radial. Aircraft are instructed to operate with all lights on and to squawk 1201 while in the corridor. To keep traffic reasonably in trail, speed in the corridor is limited to 140 knots.

I discovered this in this awesome video of someone flying the route. It’s very cool.

You could do this procedure in Infinite Flight if you requested a transition, being that transitions would be approved from 2500ft MSL to 5000ft MSL. Also, with the update to the navigation, you can tune to the Santa Monica VOR.

References: Plane & Pilot Magazine

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

Question Of The Day, a new daily Discord event

September, 11, 2021 by Kyle Boas

Today we are announcing the addition of a new daily event we are adding to our public Discord to help broaden and test your ATC and flying knowledge so you can apply it to Infinite Flight.

The question of the day will be posted every day at 1700Z. It will quiz you on advanced topics covered in the Infinite Flight User Guide, ATC Manual and from real-world aviation.

So if you are someone who may be struggling with the initial IFATC theory test or just want to learn more about the ATC side of things, this might be something you will be very interested in to enhance your ATC knowledge.

For the pilots who aren’t interested in ATC, questions will be pulled to help broaden your knowledge as we cover more advanced topics that you can apply to your flying in Infinite Flight.

Members within our Discord will have 60 minutes to submit their answer, discuss with other members, and ask questions. Once the 60 minutes are up, at 1800Z the answer will be posted.

Simple concept, should be a ton of fun! The first question will be posted today at 1700Z. If this is something that you would want to be a part of, join our Discord and answer today’s question of the day.

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

Send expect progressive taxi in the pushback

September, 10, 2021 by Kyle Boas

One thing to note with the new progressive taxi instructions is the fact that you need to send “expect progressive taxi” before you send any progressive taxi instructions.

2.2.2 — Before it’s used, controllers should send ‘Expect Progressive Taxi Instructions’ to the aircraft in question (although this may not always be possible) […]

In order to get ahead of this, a good way to be proactive is by sending the ‘expect progressive taxi” command after telling the aircraft to pushback, if you know you will need to send progressive taxi instructions to that aircraft.

If you were to wait till you needed to send them taxi instructions, you’d need to send potentially in some cases, three commands. ‘Expect progressive taxi’, ‘Taxi to runway X’ and a progressive taxi instruction ‘turn left next taxiway’, for example. By sending it in the pushback you cut those commands down to only two, the taxi instruction ‘taxi to runway x’ and the eventual progressive taxi instructions ‘turn left next taxiway’. This speeds up the process.

Use progressive taxi sparingly, but if it’s needed, be proactive not reactive.

Resources: 2.2.2 of the Infinite Flight ATC Manual

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

Whippage

September, 9, 2021 by Kyle Boas

Ever heard of “Bend it like Beckham”? Whippage is a football (soccer) term, used to describe the amount of curve you put on the ball when shooting.

It’s also the word I use to describe this Radar frequency technique, primarily used when clearing aircraft for an ILS/GPS Approach.

It’s required that you clear an aircraft on a heading where they would intercept the localizer on a 10 to 30 degree angle. Nothing more nothing less.

So if you have N632KB on left base for runway 35R, you’d need to clear N623KB on a heading of 360 to 020. If you know the aircraft will be cleared too late though, then you can then whip them around. Instead, you could clear N623KB at heading 320 to 340. Still the required 10 to 30 degree angle.

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

Unicom Usage

September, 8, 2021 by Suhas J.

You’re never truly alone in the Infinite Flight skies, so communication is essential, especially at uncontrolled airfields. This is where Unicom comes in handy.

Unicom, or Universal Communications, is a type of facility at non-controlled airports in the real world. It is simply a frequency to announce traffic advisories  such as when traffic is inbound, taxiing, departing, or crossing and clearing runways. If you don’t already, always use Unicom when you can for all your communications, even if nobody else is present at the airfield. Long time Infinite Flight user and IFATC Supervisor GHamsz summed it up perfectly in a post from last year: “I use the same logic I use while driving. I use turn signals even when I don’t see other cars. After all, you don’t typically see the car you hit!”

Be like Gary, and use Unicom.

Suhas is a writer for the IFATC Education Group. He is a long time Infinite Flight user, IFATC Officer and Tester. In the real world, he’s a student pilot on both glider and powered aircraft. He's also an IFVARB Board Member.

Immediate Takeoff

September, 7, 2021 by Suhas J.

When a controller clears a pilot for immediate takeoff or asks them to expedite, they are placing their trust in the pilot. So, how can you make your controller’s life easier?

If you’re a pilot at a controlled airport and you are cleared for immediate takeoff, that mean’s you’re cleared for IMMEDIATE takeoff. Oftentimes, when this command is used, there is either a long takeoff queue or a small window where you can depart, so don’t ruin it for everybody by lining up, stopping, and then rolling. Line up at a reasonable speed and start rolling as soon as you’re lined up. If you don’t, there is risk of your takeoff clearance being cancelled, an arriving aircraft having to go around, or both. To make your controller’s life easier and your fellow pilot’s trips more efficient, if you’re asked to expedite, please do so.

Suhas is a writer for the IFATC Education Group. He is a long time Infinite Flight user, IFATC Officer and Tester. In the real world, he’s a student pilot on both glider and powered aircraft. He's also an IFVARB Board Member.

METAR cloud heights messured in hundreds

September, 5, 2021 by Kyle Boas

You are presented with the following METAR reading. KCLS 31008KT 280V350 8SM FEW 55 22/11. It’s seems rather unremarkable, but notice the ‘55’. That leaves you puzzled.

Cloud measurments are always measured in hundreds of feet, so the 55 is not being displayed in the correct format. Why is it not in hundreds?

It is supposed to be showing the clouds at FEW 055, not FEW 55. The National Weather Service uses the 55 format in an example on their for Aviation Weather Products, as seen here. An incorrect format according to the FAA.

Sky condition group is used to report height of cloud bases, tops, and cloud cover. The height of the base of a layer of clouds is coded in hundreds of feet MSL. The top of a layer is entered in hundreds of feet MSL.

Resources:
1. Reference AC 00-45H Aviation Weather Services page 3-15, especially 3.2.1.6.
2. ”Pilot’s Guide for Aviation Weather” from the National Weather Service.

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

Transition Altitude

September, 4, 2021 by Suhas J.

Whenever you open a tower frequency at an airport, do you take note of your transition altitude?

 

Often overlooked, transition altitude is still important to know off the top of your head for your specific airfield. One of the first things I do before or when I open is determine my airfield’s transition altitude by using the well-known transition altitude formula: 2500ft AAL rounded up to the nearest 500 feet. Why? A transition is when an aircraft flies through your tower airspace, or innermost circle on the map, but above your pattern. Pattern altitude is 2500 feet AAL at a minimum so that transition aircraft are 1000 feet above pattern aircraft at either 1000 or 1500 feet AGL, so that they still maintain separation with pattern aircraft. This is then rounded up to the nearest 500, as it is rare to have an airfield be at a perfect 0 or 500. For example, if your airfield’s elevation is 542ft MSL, your transition altitude would be 3500ft MSL.

 

Always know your transition altitude every time you open a tower frequency.

Suhas is a writer for the IFATC Education Group. He is a long time Infinite Flight user, IFATC Officer and Tester. In the real world, he’s a student pilot on both glider and powered aircraft. He's also an IFVARB Board Member.