What to do when a tower controller first comes online

August, 31, 2020 by

The first few minutes just after a controller comes online can be a bit hectic at times. In this post I’ll give you a few tips on how you can make your controller’s life a bit easier.

In the case of a controller change, if you were already cleared for the option or to land there is no need for you to report your position or to call inbound for landing again. Controllers can see all previous ATC communications in the communication log. If you have yet to receive your landing clearance, give the controller a few minutes to attend to you, otherwise report your position. If you are on short final with or without a landing clearance you can continue to land on unicom. Controllers are trained to never on guard aircraft on short final and to give everything a chance to settle down before they commence their session. Land, exit the runway as fast as possible and contact ground.

If you are on the ground, if you have already recieved your clearance, whether it is to taxi or for pushback, there is no need to request again. If you are first in line for takeoff or if you want to cross a runway, rather wait a few extra minutes and proceed with ATC clearance. At a busy airport there is many things you can miss on unicom which can result in a violation being issued to you.

If you have yet to receive your clearance request it only once. Do not spam your controller, he will get to you as fast as he can.

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