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– Kyle Boas (Trio), ATC Education Group Manager and Founder

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The 3 Types of Visibility in Metars

The visibility portion of the METAR can be coded in many different ways.

Statute miles:
CYPO 150200Z AUTO 36014G23KT 1SM -SN VV013 M12/M14 A2965 RMK SLP047

ZWWW 150100Z 08002MPS 040V200 1600 BR BKN006 M03/M05 Q1026 BECMG TL0150 1300 BR

Runway Visual Range (RVR):
KPIT 151124Z 28016G20KT 2 3/4SM R28R/2600FT TSRA OVC01OCB 18/16 A2992 RMK SLPO13 T01760158

All of the above airports are in IMC (Instrument Meteorological Conditions).

What is Flight Following?

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.

Source: Infinite Flight Tutorial, FAA, Airservices Australia

Approach Method: Downwind

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.

Approach Method: S-Patterns

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.

Approach Method: Base Before Final

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

What is Flow Control?

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.

How to Back Taxi Aircraft at EGLC

If you are landing runway 09 or taking off runway 27 at London City Airport (EGLC), here is the steps you would follow as a controller to get aircraft to the gate or the runway:

Landing Runway 09

  1. Land
  2. Exit runway right (The aircraft will hold short of runway 27)
  3. Back Taxi Runway 09, contact ground when off the runway.

Taking Off Runway 27

Aircraft is holding short of the runway requesting takeoff, you have two options. The holding point for runway 27 can hold 3 aircraft at a time.

  • Back taxi runway 27, contact ground when off the runway (They’ll hold short of 27).
  • Back taxi runway 27, line up and wait.

Anticipated Separation: Departure / Departure

Takeoff clearance needs not be withheld until prescribed separation exists if there is a reasonable assurance it will exist when the aircraft starts takeoff roll.

The first aircraft must be airborne before the second aircraft commences the take-off roll (in addition, aircraft type should be taken into account).

For example, if aircraft A (B737) is above 100knts GS and aircraft B (A320) is holding short, simply clear aircraft B for takeoff. No need for a line up and wait instruction.