ATC Procedures

Advice on refining technique with ATC after I finished my instrument rating....

94/08/29 11:08

From: E-Pilot To: DIPLOCAT Judith Bradt

Glad that you're reading High Performance IFR Flying -- especially now that you're out of training for the instrument ticket. Most people make the mistake of stopping what (little) they did for the instrument ticket (or any other certificate/rating/etc/etc, for that matter). I'm glad to see that you at least have that much common sense to keep learning.

Regarding diagramming holds, the procedure is a useful habit to get into. If you'll someday follow my advice to get into a sim (and, later, an airplane) equipped with an HSI/RMI combination, you WON'T believe just how easy holds (and approaches, for that matter) really are. (I wouldn't fly a sim with ANYTHING LESS, if I were you, Judy.)

Regarding clearances, the ATC facility should prepare you by declaring that they have holding instructions, and instruct you to 'say when ready to copy instructions'. That is at least a courtesy, though I'm not certain if such a prepatory statement is mandated by 7110 (the ATC Controllers Manual). You should be prepared, any time you make initial contact with a new facility, to copy instructions. Shame on you! ;)

Remember the format? CVMRS

Verify any clearance if you're not perfectly satisfied that you understand it. I did the same yesterday: the controller was a little peeved, but then again, the previous controller -- acting on an old ATIS -- had issued an "expect visual" clearance for the opposite flow of traffic currently in use. I verified -- and not just for lost comm -- what EXACTLY it was he wanted or expected me to do by clarifying HIS intentions. When he responded somewhat gruffly, I said sorry, but there was a little conflict between information issued by 2 controllers, the old and new ATIS for SJC: I wanted to know exactly what HIS intention was, and to verify that HE had the new ATIS. He finally had to laugh.

Being configured for approach prior to making the approach: the idea of a stabilized approach depends upon being in the proper configuration prior to beginning descent on the approach. That's the way the airlines teach it. Period. Doesn't matter what airline. So the idea MUST have SOME merit, wouldn't you think? Of course, when you're flying a multi-engine airplane, the configuration is dependent upon how many engines are running, of course. I am literally amazed that ANY flight school would teach you anything but a stabilized approach. The idea of making a configuration change after the FAF is mind-boggling.

The VDP:

I didn't glance at the DME to see what it was saying about groundspeed.

Hmmmmmm. You and I need to sit down and have a serious talk about life insurance and/or whether you're going to continue flying in the future. Let me get this right: you're flying a non-precision approach, the TIMING of which is directly proportional to GROUNDSPEED -- and you're NOT monitoring whether your assumption about groundspeed is correct (or accurate)? Isn't that a little like not checking to see if your altimeter is correct prior to doing an ILS?

THE RULE IS: if you have it in the airplane, use it! The more complex the airplane, the more redundancy there is -- and the more you should be using to verify position and performance. Anything else is like getting kissed on the lips by your grandmother.

DON'T worry about ATC clearances and copying proficiency: as you get into a good working relationship with an instructor in a sim, the more proficient you'll become in getting (and copying) clearances.

"N62536, turn 160, intercept the localizer, cross MOROZ at 3000 and intercept the glideslope; cleared for the approach ILS 16L..."

Some of this clearance is overly redundant and superfluous. Better yet:

"N62536, heading 160, intercept the 16L localizer; cross MOROZ at 3000, cleared ILS 16L." (Clearance for the ILS gives you clearance to descend upon intercepting the glideslope.)

Readback is the same, but shorter.

"Heading 160 to intercept; MOROZ at 3; cleared ILS 16L (airport name), Cessna 536."

You've told him how you're going to get there, what crossing restriction you've been given, and acknowledged the approach clearance.

Next: Approaching the NDB

Judy & JJ
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