3.3_ Example Flight

Welcome to frankfurt, where FreeWorld 1029 is about to depart for London Heathrow. This is an example flight containing most standard ATC communications on a European flight..

Audio transcript of Pilot / ATC communication available here (mp3 format, 1mb).

Pilot communication ATC communication What's going on
Clearance ___________________________________________________________________________
Frankfurt delivery hello, FreeWorld 1029 at gate D9 requesting radio check. Pilot makes initial contact with the Clearance Delivery facility, and checks that communications is working adequately.
FreeWorld 1029 good afternoon sir, read you 5 by 5. Controller reports that he can hear the transmission. 5 out of 5 is perfect, 1 out of 5 is very poor quality voice connection. If too poor, you may need to use text rather than voice.
Read you 5 by 5 as well, thank you. Requesting IFR clearance to London Heathrow as filed, FreeWorld 1029. Now we know we can hear each other, pilot needs to request permission to make the flight for the flight-plan he just filed.
FreeWorld 1029 cleared to London Heathrow as filed, SOBRA1S departure, squawk 2136. ATC gives permission, and includes an extra information (in this case the Standard Instrument Departure) and gives any changes to the flight-plan which are necessary. He also assigns you a squawk code (-> Transponder)
Roger, cleared to Heathrow, SOBRA1S, squawk 2136, FreeWorld 1029 Pilot acknowledges the message, repeating it so that the controller can verify it was received correctly
FreeWorld 1029 Read-back is correct, contact ground 121.7 for push and start. Clearance delivery has given us everything we need, so he passes us to the next controller. If we initially contacted GND, TWR (or somebody else) they will most likely keep us on their channel for the next part of the process.
Roger, 121.7 for Push and start, FreeWorld 1029.
Ground _____________________________________________________________________________
Frankfurt ground hello, FreeWorld 1029 at gate D9 requesting push and start. We're ready to get pushed back from the parking position and start our engines, but need to ask for permission first.
FreeWorld 1029, Frankfurt Ground. Push-back and start-up approved. call ready to taxi. We can go ahead with the push/start, but have to call back before taxiing away from the parking position.
Roger, push and start approved, will call for taxi, FreeWorld 1029 As with all instructions/clearances we repeat what the controller has said so that he knows we have understood him, and add the call sign on the end.
FreeWorld 1029, our push and start is complete, requesting taxi. Our Push and start is complete, we now have to request taxi.
FreeWorld 1029 taxi runway 18 via November. QNH 1009 The controller clears us to taxi, and provides the routing to be followed to get to the runway. He also gives us the Local QNH (Altimeter setting in Canada and the US).
Roger, we'll taxi runway 18 via November, QNH 1009, FreeWorld 1029  
FreeWorld 1029 holding short of runway 18. Ground may instruct you to 'contact the tower holding short' while taxiing, if not we tell him we're at the runway. Never taxi onto an active runway without permission from the tower controller.
FreeWorld 1029 contact Frankfurt tower on frequency 119.9 Ground hands us off to the tower....
Roger tower on 119.9, FreeWorld 1029 And we acknowledge by repeating at least the frequency.
Departure __________________________________________________________________________
Frankfurt tower hello, FreeWorld 1029 holding short runway 18. The first contact with tower is much the same as the first contact with Ground...
FreeWorld 1029 good day, after departing Lufthansa A320 line up and wait runway 18 The tower is instructing us to to position ourselves on the runway after departing traffic (LH A320). This is the time to complete final take-off checks, and set the transponder to mode Charlie (-> Transponders)
Roger, after departing A320 line up and wait 18. FreeWorld 1029 We acknowledge the instruction. Notice how our reply is somewhat brief... this is so as not to congest the radio when there is lots of traffic.
FreeWorld 1029 winds 200 at 11 knots, cleared for take-off runway 18, after takeoff contact departure on 120.8. The Lufthansa A320 is well clear, the tower now gives us take-off clearance, and a wind check. He also instructs us to call the departure controller on 120.8 after take-off. If this hand off is not received with take off clearance you would report airborne.
Copy winds, cleared take-off runway 18, we'll contact Departures 120.8 when airborne, FreeWorld 1029  
Frankfurt departure hello, FreeWorld 1029 with you climbing through 700 for 5000ft on the SOBRA1S. When making contact with the Departure controller state your current altitude, your target altitude, and the SID you are flying. In the US and Canada also state the runway which you departed from. (e.g. 18)
FreeWorld 1029 good day sir, Radar identified 1000ft. Climb FL90. Departure controller confirms he has us on radar and may give further climb instructions. If not maintain the initial altitude/FL (contained in the SID) until cleared to climb higher.
Roger FL90, FreeWorld 1029.  
FreeWorld 1029 climb FL140, contact Langen radar 127.5 ... Further climb clearance, and the Departure controller hands us off to the center controller (radar)
roger, FL140, and Lagen 127.5  
En-route ___________________________________________________________________________
Langen radar hello, FreeWorld 1029 with you 6 miles inbound SOBRA climbing through FL125 for FL140. On first contact we provide altitude and position to the oncoming controller. (-> Radio communication 1)
FreeWorld 1029 Langen identified, climb FL300 proceed on flight planned route. Langen Radar confirms he has radar contact, and clears us higher (in this case to our final cruise altitude), he also clears us to proceed according to the route we filed.
roger climb FL300, proceed as filed, FreeWorld 1029.  
(time gap) (Now we have made a time gap, no need to sit the 20 minutes before the next hand off)...
FreeWorld 1029 contact Brussels control now on frequency 131.1 We are now leaving Frankfurt airspace, Langen radar hands us off to the Brussels center controller.
roger, over to Brussels control 131.1, FreeWorld 1029  
Brussels Control hello, FreeWorld 1029 with you 7 miles inbound BITBU, FL300. Again, first contact with Brussels. (-> Radio communications 1)
FreeWorld 1029, Brussels, radar identified, proceed as filed.  
proceed as filed, thank you. FreeWorld 1029.  
(time gap) (time gap)
FreeWorld 1029 turn left 20 degrees descend FL240 We are instructed to turn left by 20” (not to a heading of 020) we are also instructed to descend to FL240
Turning left 20” - new heading 260, descending to FL240 FreeWorld 1029 When instructed to turn left/right by XX” it is common practise to report your new heading, we also acknowledge the descent instruction.
FreeWorld 1029 report heading to London 119.77 Brussels control is handing us off to the London controller with the instruction to report our heading.
London control, FreeWorld 1029 with you heading 260, passing FL267 for FL240. Our first contact to london will include our present heading, as we are not flying to a navaid we can't say that we are XXnm inbound anything, so that is omitted.
FreeWorld 1029 hello. Resume own naviagation direct SABER, descend to FL150 Lots of things in that last transmission: 1. We are instructed to fly direct to SABER (fix) and continue along our original route from there. 2. We are instructed to descend to FL150
roger direct SABER, FL150. FreeWorld 1029 Notice how the reply is short, but contains all flight information...
FreeWorld 1029 descend FL90 level by Lambourne, Contact Heathrow director 119.72 Now we are told to descent to FL90 and to be level by LAM. time your descent to be level (at FL90) between 2 and 5nm before the fix (LAM VOR). Also we are handed off to the Heathrow director.
Flight level 90 by Lambourne, director 119.72
Arrival _____________________________________________________________________________
Heathrow director hello FreeWorld 1029 with you FL100 for FL90 6nm inbound LAM.
FreeWorld 1029 hello. Enter the hold over Lambourne, left hand turns, descend to FL70 in the hold. Heathrow director instructs us to enter the hold over the LAM VOR, turns to the left only, and to descend to FL70 in the hold. (see NAV-Holds for more ifo on holding procedures)
Roger hold over LAM, left hand, descend FL70, FreeWorld 1029
FreeWorld 1029 leave Lambourne heading 260, speed 220 knots. the Controller has instructed us to leave the Lambourne VOR heading 270, and speed 220.
leave Lam heading 260, speed 220. FreeWorld 1029
FreeWorld 1029 descend to altitude 3000 feet, QNH 999 millibars. ATC instructs us to descend to Altitude 3000ft and provides us with the Local QNH (Altimeter setting in Canada and the US) (see Altimetry)
3000 feet, QNH 999. FreeWorld 1029
FreeWorld 1029 turn left heading 180. Slow by 40 knots. Here ATC is instructing us to 1) turn left heading 180, and 2) slow our airspeed by 40 knots. As we are traveling at 220 knots our new speed is 180 knots. If ATC wanted us to reduce to a specified speed he would say reduce speed to 180 knots.
left heading 180, slowing to 180 knots indicated, FreeWorld 1029 when acknowledging this type of speed reduction always say what speed we will reduce to.
FreeWorld 1029 turn left heading 120. report localizer established 09L. ATC is now turning us to intercept the ILS, he has not cleared us for the ILS approach, just told us to intercept the LOC (see Nav-ILS) we will maintain assigned altitude until cleared for the ILS approach. (terminology may vary) In other cases ATC may clear us for the ILS with the last vector, using the phrase 'Turn left heading 120, cleared ILS approach runway 04L' He has also requested that you report when your autopilot locks on the ILS.
left heading 120 we'll report established 09L, FreeWorld 1029
FreeWorld 1029 established on the Localizer 09L We are now fully established on the Localiser (not necessarily the Glide slope)
FreeWorld 1029 roger, descend on the ILS, maintain 160 knots to 4 DME. Now ATC clears us to descend on the Glide slope, he also enforces a speed restriction.
Descend on the ILS, 160 knots to 4 DME, FreeWorld 1029.  
FreeWorld 1029 contact the tower 118.5 Once established on the ILS the APP controller hands us off to the Local tower (if he is online)
Landing ____________________________________________________________________________
Tower hello, FreeWorld 1029 established on the ILS runway 09L, 8 miles. On first contact with the tower state your situation (on the ILS for 09L) and you distance to the threshold (8nm)
FreeWorld 1029 hello, number 2 for landing, continue approach. winds 090 at 7 The tower can not clear us to land because there's another plane between us and the runway. We are told to continue our approach. If you do not receive a clearance to land when reaching the approach minimums initiate a missed approach. NEVER LAND WITHOUT CLEARANCE.
Copy winds, continue approach. FreeWorld 1029
FreeWorld 1029 runway 09L cleared to land, winds 095 at 11. The tower has cleared us to land, we may proceed on a normal landing.
copy winds, cleared to land 09L, FreeWorld 1029 when acknowledging a landing/take-off clearance there is no need to read back the winds. On the other hand the QNH/Altimeter setting must always be read back.
FreeWorld 1029 vacate right, contact ground 121.9  
We'll vacate right and contact ground 121.9, FreeWorld 1029. Once on the ground the tower may give us instructions on how/where to exit the runway. This is sometimes included in the landing clearance.
If Tower doesn't hand us off to Ground with the vacating instructions it is mandatory to report to the tower once you are clear (by 200 ft) of the runway. 'FWA344 clear of runway 23 on Victor'
Ground _____________________________________________________________________________
Ground hello, FreeWorld 1029 09L vacated Alpha 9 west. On first contact with ground we report our position on the apron.
FreeWorld 1029 welcome to Heathrow. Taxi Link 12, Bravo, Papa, to stand 236. Ground assigns us a parking gate, and tells us how to get there. It is very important to follow these instructions, you wouldn't want to find yourself nose to nose with another plane.
link 12, Bravo, Papa to stand 236 FreeWorld 1029.
FreeWorld 1029 shutting down stand 236. Once the aircraft is at the gate we have to let the controllers know we are shutting down. Somtimes Gorund will say 'call for shut-down' this means we have to request permission to shut down the engines.
FreeWorld 1029 roger, flight plan closed 12:55 zulu, have a good evening.
copy, thank you, FreeWorld 1029.

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