New ATC Communication Guide

October, 18, 2020

Exciting news to share! Infinite Flight just came out with a new ATC Communication section in their Flying Guide. As communication is an essential part of flying the Infinite Flight skies, the section covers all stages of flight, from pushback to parking on stand.

Be sure to check it out and thank the community contributors, PlaneGeek and Babacar, for their hard work and dedication to the project.

Importing a flight plan using a fpl file

October, 17, 2020

Coming in the Infinite Flight v20.2 update will be a feature many may not notice but one that needs to have your attention because it is incredibly useful. You now have more options on how to import flight plans into Infinite Flight, including the ability to import Garmin .fpl files directly into the app.

This option to import will only be made available to those on iOS, in this first iteration, but Android users will be able to export flight plans. There are various websites and services that create the compatible Garmin .fpl file type including ForeFlight, SkyVector, and many more.

You’ve seen in a recent work-in-progress video how easy it is to import a flight plan from ForeFlight, but maybe you are one of many who can’t afford ForeFlight. Here’s how you can do this using skyvector.com, for free.

  1. Create a flight plan on skyvector.com
  2. After finishing the flight plan, click the share icon
  3. .fpl
  4. Download Garmin .fpl file
  5. Spawn in to the airport ready to go
  6. Share the .fpl file you downloaded
  7. Either choose to “Open in Infinite Flight” or you can AirDrop the file to your separate device running Infinite Flight
  8. The flight plan will then automatically be imported into the app

Simple as that. It makes flying so much more enjoyable and takes all the hassle out of flight planning in Infinite Flight if you rely on third party flight planning tools. Currently v20.2 is in open beta so you can give this a go now to test it out. I’ve been using it on almost all of my recent flights since using the feature, you have to give it a go.

Organised Track System (OTS)

October, 16, 2020

Ever wonder why there are currently only two North Atlantic Tracks available on Infinite Flight? Well, there are actually multiple track options in real world aviation. My aim for this brief synopsis is to try and assist aviation enthusiasts, student pilots, current pilots, future ATCs or anyone who wants to know why there are Organised Track Systems around the world.

In real world aviation, there are multiple North Atlantic Tracks available to pilots from which to choose. Much of the North Atlantic Track (NAT) air traffic have two major alternating flows: a westbound flow departing Europe in the morning, and an eastbound flow departing North America in the evening. This system of organised tracks are used to facilitate as many flights as possible within the major flows on or close to their minimum time tracks and altitude profiles. Because of the sometimes very chaotic weather conditions of the North Atlantic, consecutive eastbound and westbound tracks are seldom identical. In real world aviation, there are separate organised track structures published each day for eastbound and westbound flows. These track structures are referred to as the Organised Track System or OTS.

The use of an OTS is obviously not mandatory, but rather, a more fuel efficient and often faster means of getting from point A to point B. Pilots may choose to fly on random routes which remain clear of the OTS or may fly on any route that joins or leaves an outer track of the OTS. There are no rules preventing a pilot from planning a route which crosses an OTS. Re-routes or significant changes in flight level from those planned are highly discouraged under most conditions.

Figs 1-3) Provide examples of Day, Night, and what a combined NAT OTS look like.

Fig 1) Example of Day-Time Westbound NAT Organised Track System:

Fig 2) Example of Night-Time Westbound NAT Organised Track System

Fig 3) Combination of both Day & Night, East/West NAT Organised Track System:

Lastly, to help promote and hone your NAT navigational plotting skills, I’ve included two printable charts that you can use to create your own NAT OTS. First chart, second chart

New departure sequencing teaser explained

October, 15, 2020

Infinite Flight’s v20.2 update will come with the new departure sequencing commands, seen in a new video here.

In the video, you can see from the perspective of the pilot that they will be able to request departure in sequence. The Tower controller then sequences the pilot, letting them know that they are number 2 for departure.

3.2.2 — Controllers can utilize the Departure Sequence menu if they wish to provide sequence information to aircraft that are ready for departure (particularly useful when aircraft are confused who is next due to factors such as taxiway layout). The use of “Hold Short” must always be used if the aircraft is number 1 for departure, or if the Controller is unsure on the sequence number – however in any other circumstance the Controller can elect to inform the aircraft of their departure sequence if they want to. In addition, aircraft do not need to be first in line to announce “ready for departure” (and may also utilize the “in sequence” message) – this is useful for planning purposes and especially when Intersection Departures are in use (see 3.2.5 below).

This change also comes with the removal of the “Request departure only when first in line” Broadcast message, since pilots will now be allowed to request departure when they are not first in line.

A proof in concept with ATIS

October, 14, 2020

I recently wrote a post outlining why I though Ground should always be in control of ATIS, over Tower. Well here’s a proof in concept, courtesy of Shane H, an IFATC Officer.

“When deciding to take ground, I had remembered Trio’s post, which can be found here, about how ground should take ATIS, and boy, he was right. With how busy Heathrow was, ground had the least of worries with all of the controller changes and directions with approaches, it really makes the most sense if ground has it, thanks for the tip Trio!“

I’m glad to hear someone actually put that into practice, I was moderately surprised. Nice going Shane! He managed to capture a great time-lapse of his session that you should check out.

What is an AIRMET?

October, 13, 2020

AIRMET stands for “Airman’s Meteorological Information”. AIRMETs are issued for weather that may be hazardous, other than convective activity, to single engine, other light aircraft, and Visual Flight Rule (VFR) pilots. However, operators of large aircraft may also be concerned with these phenomena.

They are typically issued for:

  • IFR conditions
  • Mountain obscuration
  • Moderate Turbulence
  • Icing and freezing levels

It’s something you can check up on in the United States via NOAA, daily. AIRMETs are routinely issued for 6 hour periods beginning at 0145 UTC during Central Daylight Time and at 0245 UTC during Central Standard Time.

*References: NOAA, Think Aviation

Military Callsigns list

October, 12, 2020

This list barely scratches the service on the vast amount of military callsigns used worldwide, but it’s a great resource to reference when choosing a callsign for a simulated military mission.

There are certain limitations as to how much is shared online when it comes to callsigns. For example, certain countries use encrypted comms over VHF signals to communicate so getting specific callsigins from select countries like Iran’s RAF or DPRK’s NKAF would be quite difficult because historically encounters with these nations have been kept under wraps within Western countries.

Planning your Training Sessions

October, 11, 2020

Planning is important to ensuring you get the best result from your session. If you’re training for tower, take a look at the airport and decide which directions you will use for traffic patterns and how you could handle inbound and transitions. For Radar, try printing out a map from ifatc.org and drawing some routes and altitudes on it.

Consistency and Policing Each Other as Controllers

October, 10, 2020

It’s important as controllers that we maintain consistent across all messages. Other then the strategies used, there shouldn’t be any procedural differences between each controller change.

Helping each other is the key to achieving such consistency. With the help of some friends you can easily maintain standards through feedback.

Sidestep Maneuver

October, 9, 2020

The sidestep maneuver is typically used when only one parallel runway has a working ILS but it is preferable to have traffic land on the other one(s) when possible.

In real life, ATC may authorize a standard instrument approach procedure for either one of parallel runways that are separated by 1,200 feet or less followed by a straight-in landing on the adjacent runway.

Aircraft executing a sidestep maneuver will be cleared for a specified approach procedure and landing on the adjacent parallel runway (e.g. “cleared ILS runway 7L approach, sidestep to runway 7R”). After the runway environment is in sight, pilots are expected to commence the sidestep maneuver as soon as possible.

A sidestep to land approach is flown down to the published circling minimums and is considered to be a circle to land procedure. If circling is not allowed (due to terrain, an obstacle, etc.), neither are sidestep procedures.

In Infinite Flight, ATC does not yet have the ability to authorize sidestep maneuvers. However, the pilot may imitate the real-world procedure by tuning to the ILS of either one of parallel runways, flying that down to the published minimums (found on the approach plate), and moving to the adjacent runway when in sight.

Note: Sidestep maneuvers should not be executed within ATC controlled airspace as to not disrupt traffic flow, as we do not currently have the commands accommodate this type of procedure.

References: SKYbrary, CFI Notebook