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– Kyle Boas (Trio), ATC Education Group Manager and Founder
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Flight following is a service a pilot can request from a radar controller (approach/departure) and is a provision of an ongoing surveillance information service to VFR flights in class E and class G airspace (Surface to 18,000ft).
This service can provide improved situational awareness and assists pilots in avoiding collisions with other aircraft. It should be only used when flying VFR and when flying a general aviation aircraft. Any airline transport aircraft are not allowed in real life to fly VFR when carrying passengers, so you should refrain from doing so.
Bringing aircraft onto downwind instead of directly onto base can give you alot of extra time depending on how far out on the downwind you tell them to go. For example in the picture, if you tell the aircraft to turn to a heading of roughly 340 then turn to a heading of 110 degrees left so that they arrive on more of a downwind, you will gain alot of time.
This method is extremely good and efficient for times wen you have a high arrival queue but want to keep aircraft close to the airport. For even more organization, you could assign altitudes for each leg of the arrival to keep track as to which leg the aircraft is on.
By bringing aircraft to the base before entering the final, it can give you some spearation which might be needed. Certainly good when a straight in approach is not possible, for example when the aircraft is too high
The purpose of this post is to outline the reasoning why an expert ATC controller would include flow control in the ATIS remarks.
Flow control is a traffic flow management technique used in order to regulate the rate at which aircraft enter congested resources such as airport airspace to a level no greater than the resource can accept. It can be added in the ATIS remarks for any period of time at any time.
Aircraft will be delayed at their departure airport in order to manage demand and capacity at their arrival airport, if the airports’ demand exceeds capacity for a sustained period. Flights will be delayed primarily at the gate, which in turn regulates their arrival time at the impacted airport.
Controllers will primarily use reminders in-app for each aircraft to keep track of the specific aircraft’s delay dependent on when they spawn at the gate.
Flow control is not to be to be confused for a gate hold, as a gate hold is not known as a traffic flow management technique because you are simply holding all traffic at the gate and not allowing any aircraft to push back.
An example of when flow control could be used is during a flash flight, to mitigate the bottlenecks that type of traffic would create at the destination airport.
As a pilot, keep in mind the following, which applies to Infinite Flight:
FAR 91.103 – Preflght action
Each pilot in command shall, before beginning a flight, become familiar with all available information concerning that flight. This information must include–
(a) For a flight under IFR or a flight not in the vicinity of an airport, weather reports and forecasts, fuel requirements, alternatives available if the planned flight cannot be completed, and any known traffic delays of which the pilot in command has been advised by ATC;
So when you hear flow control in ATIS, expect delays and be patient.