Ever wondered how to sound like
you've never seen the sunlight an air traffic controller? Wonder no more, this is for you!
Most of this information is taken out of the 7110.65 (The U.S. ATC bible).
As an air traffic controller, your job is to make sure goons get to where they need to go without hitting themselves or the ground.
Closed Loop Communication
As a refresher, closed loop communication is the practice of reading back the sender's message. This serves as a double check to make sure you received the message correctly, and gives the sender the opportunity to correct you if your read back was incorrect.
ATC: Goon 420, turn left heading 300. Goon 420: Turn left heading 30, Goon 420. ATC: Goon 420, Negative. Turn left heading 300. Goon 420: Turn left heading 300, Goon 420.
As a general rule of thumb, all ATC instructions should be read back. Advisory information such as the weather does not have to be read back.
Correcting yourself or others
It's highly likely that at some point you or someone else will say something wrong. If you make a mistake in a call or readback simply stop, say "Correction", and repeat the wrong section again with the corrected information (Ex. Goon 420, Climb and maintain FL290, correction, climb and maintain FL300).
If someone else reads back your transmission incorrectly, respond "Negative," and repeat your transmission again. The entire transmission is repeated in case the receiver missed some other part of the message.
Once the entire flight is ready to taxi to the runway, lead should call ATC and report "ready to taxi." The response will be of the form "(Runway), taxi via (Route)." Example: Wiggum, Smithers, runway 12L, taxi via A. Flights may also be instructed to follow behind other flights. Ensure you have the correct flight in sight before accepting a follow instruction.
The flight should hold short for the target runway and report when they're next for the runway.
Once next for the runway and takeoff checklists are complete, the flight should call "ready for departure" Note: The word takeoff is not used EXCEPT for takeoff clearances to prevent confusion.
If the runway is not ready for another departure, flights may be instructed to line up on the runway with the phrase "line up and wait." (Example, Wiggum, runway 12L, line up and wait) This gives the flight permission to taxi onto the runway and line up. If there are departing aircraft in the way, it is implied that the flight can wait for them to move before lining up.
The takeoff clearance is of the form: "(Flight), Wind (Wind), Runway (Runway), cleared for takeoff." (Example: Wiggum, Wind 320 at 7, runway 12L, cleared for takeoff). Additional instructions may be given at the end of the message if needed to maintain separation (e.g. Wiggum, Wind 320 at 7, runway 12L, cleared for takeoff, fly heading 090).
At the en route phase the controller will be more concerned about their AWACS duties, but the controller should still attempt to maintain separation between flights by adjusting altitude/speed/heading, especially in low visibility conditions.
- Changing speed - (Flight), Increase/Decrease/Maintain (speed) (Example: Wiggum, maintain mach .8; Wiggum, increase speed to mach .9)
- Changing altitude - (Flight), Climb/descend and maintain (altitude) (Example: Wiggum, climb and maintain Angels 34)
- Changing heading - (Flight), turn left to/turn right to/fly heading (heading) (Example: Wiggum, fly heading 300)
- As a controller, reports are your friend for controlling lots of aircraft. Asking people to report reaching altitudes, report reaching initial, report holding short, etc. pass off some of the responsibility onto the pilot.
- If a flight gives you an advisory message, nothing is required for a response except "(Flight), Roger."
We don't do this yet, will fill out later