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Title Type Date Words
WRONG WAY FIRST. Oct 1, 2021 1955
THREADING NEEDLES: Adjacent airports bring special challenges, requiring controllers to bring their A-for-angles game to keep everybody safely separated. Aug 1, 2021 2023
UNPLEASEANT SURPRISES. Jun 1, 2021 2377
TURNING AROUND: A runway change done right relies on situational awareness and clear communication between controllers and their traffic. Apr 1, 2021 2164
CLOSURE CONUNDRUMS. Feb 1, 2021 2330
PAPER STOPS: Stop-gap, just-in-case instructions help controllers continue working normally, even when they're not sure what you're going to do. Mar 1, 2020 2401
DIARY OF A DESCENT. Dec 1, 2019 2094
ATC SAFETY NET: ATC has multiple systems and procedures designed to keep the traffic flowing after the system suffers various levels of inconvenient to catastrophic failures. Nov 1, 2019 2209
THE PAYOFF: As January 1, 2020 with its mandated equipage deadline rapidly approaches, how is ADS-B reshaping the way ATC does business? Travel narrative Sep 1, 2019 2387
SNEAK IN THE SIDE DOOR. Jul 1, 2019 2326
CIRCLING UNCERTAINTY: Missing from a circling approach can leave you in limbo, but ATC and the AIM can help get you back on track to a safe missed approach. May 1, 2019 2308
EXPLORING EVERY ANGLE. Mar 1, 2019 2459
SITTING IN LIMBO: If something is amiss with your clearance--and you know it--it's your responsibility to speak up, even if it's ultimately an oversight or mistake by ATC. Jan 1, 2019 2406
COMMUNICATION CLARITY: Navigating an unpredictable sky requires ATC and pilots to effectively get each other's messages across--even if it sometimes means stating the obvious. Oct 1, 2018 2048
ONE IN OR ONE OUT: The flexibility of flying IFR into a non-towered airport can sometimes seem at odds with ATCs separation requirements. Sep 1, 2018 2312
WHEN YA GOTTA DEVIATE: Need to deviate around weather or change your course for some unplanned reason? Don't wait to the last minute to tell ATC, and always keep your options open. Jul 1, 2018 2141
FIXING OUR FOULUPS: When ATC misses their mark; correcting the course may require some quick-thinking and flexibility on both ends of the frequency. Jun 1, 2018 2466
TAKING A LAP: While go-arounds can change ATC's immediate traffic flow, quick thinking and action can minimize the impact to the overall traffic situation. May 1, 2018 2266
CONSIDERATE CONTROL: Working effectively with ATC--and ATC with you--requires the give-and-take of timely information and a healthy dose of patient perspective. Mar 1, 2018 2311
GETTING THE RUN AROUND. Jan 31, 2018 2628
MINDING YOUR SPACE. Jan 1, 2018 2386
Working the problem: when the unusual happens or something goes wrong, keeping it to yourself is often the first step in the wrong direction. Oct 1, 2017 2208
Approach clearance: sure, approach clearances are an earful for pilots and a mouthful for ATC, but each element contributes to situational awareness and a safe landing. Sep 1, 2017 2323
Echoes of errors past: ATC's equivalent of a running start, "Line Up And Wait" balances oft-needed efficiency with some serious risk management. Jun 1, 2017 2972
Flight data controller: the unsung hero of the ATC radar room works hard behind the scenes to keep the system running smoothly. May 1, 2017 2237
In the hot seat. Apr 1, 2017 2434
Rotary revelations: managing helicopter operations around fixed-wing aircraft demands a little finesse and a lot of clarity on the part of pilots and controllers. Jan 1, 2017 2113
Where your PIREPs go. Dec 1, 2016 2155
Reducing the ruckus. Nov 1, 2016 2005
Lettin' you down easy: on those occasions when ATC isn't saturated with traffic, controllers can let you hang back and take your sweet time getting up or down. Oct 1, 2016 2124
Talking back. Sep 1, 2016 1966
On the beat. Jul 1, 2016 2169
Out of the blue: when unexpected threats affect the safety of flight, ATC can deliver the right info to the right people, as long as you can help fill in the details. Apr 1, 2016 2102
Head on a swivel. Mar 1, 2016 2083
Weather multitasking. Feb 1, 2016 2209
Indirect effects: fluctuations in airspace and traffic mean your wish for direct isn't always at ATC's command. But, we do what we can. Jan 1, 2016 2083
Radar contact. Dec 1, 2015 2197
Gettin' in the door: a highly-skilled air traffic controller is the product of a rigorous selection and training program, requiring the right aptitude and a good attitude to pass hurdle after hurdle. Nov 1, 2015 1925
Filling in the gaps. Oct 1, 2015 2288
Revere the runway: for ATC, protecting the most precious real estate in all of aviation requires close attention and a big pile of rules, with increasing assistance from technology. Sep 1, 2015 2175
Fibbing on frequency. Aug 1, 2015 2109
This way or that-a-way. Jun 1, 2015 2252
Not so fast: if the sky is full of airplanes threatening to run each other over, it's time for ATC to apply the brakes bringing some order from the chaos. May 1, 2015 2190
Calling for help: teamwork and sound decision-making by both pilots and controllers can turn a sketchy situation into a smooth save with no remnants other than "there I was" stories. Apr 1, 2015 2338
Loud, clear, no fear: getting a handle on radio communications takes a little bit of confidence, but it can make a world of difference in your dealings with ATC. Mar 1, 2015 2088
Against the flow. Feb 1, 2015 2173
Behind the scenes: all pilot requests are important. Some are just more time-critical and can demand some off-camera teamwork. Jan 1, 2015 1964
Big sky theory: when you're flying ifr and sharing the sky with vfr aircraft, keep your eyes open. vfr traffic may get closer than you would expect. Oct 1, 2014 1911
Close, But not too close: controllers work under very strict separation standards that can be a mystery to pilots. Understanding those requirements, though, helps you work with the system. Sep 1, 2014 1844
Gaming the system: nasty reroutes and swamped controllers can put you in a bad spot. through creativity, persistence, and compromise, you can--sometimes--get a break. Aug 1, 2014 2261
More than one way: Snagging an IFR clearance at a nontowered airport isn't a big deal, especially when you know the variety of ways to make it happen. Jul 1, 2014 2165
Playing nice together: if you aren't giving ATC the whole truth or playing nice with fellow pilots, don't expect ATC to bend over backwards to accommodate your requests. May 1, 2014 2241
ATC routing realities. Apr 1, 2014 2255
Nextgen signs of life: the FAA's high-tech NextGen baby is on its way. While critics may still claim it'll be stillborn, it's strong and kicking, if gestating a bit longer than planned. Mar 1, 2014 1789
ATC's side of special VFR: reduced weather minimums mean increased restrictions on ATC. Sometimes Special VFR can help you out, but sometimes it gets in the way and means long delays. Feb 1, 2014 2212
Pop-up clearances: weather's gone to pot? No IFR flight plan on file? Don't worry. ATC can usually work with you on the fly. But, you must take care of yourself until they can take care of you. Dec 1, 2013 2367
ATC sees weather, too: there is no shortage of preflight weather. But in the air, ATC may be your best source of current updates. Knowing what they see can help you make informed decisions. Interview Oct 1, 2013 1974
Long way around: asking ATC for a shortcut is a gamble. You hope for the best, but if ATC can't give you what you want, you need to make sure you've got other options to keep you flying. Sep 1, 2013 2183
Well structured ATC: mysterious and complex as it may seem from the outside, on air traffic controller's job relies on only three simple concepts: teamwork, organization, and communication. Aug 1, 2013 2242
No tower, no problem: what keeps IFR planes flowing in and out of nontowered airports? Good teamwork, specialized phraseology, and reasonable expectations. Jun 1, 2013 2120
The invisible hand: making tough decisions from behind the scenes, the Air Traffic Control System Command Center brings balance to the entire National Airspace System. Apr 1, 2013 1675
On the visual: the world's most common IFR approach requires nothing but two eyes and common sense. Feb 1, 2013 1763
When ATC says "unable": most controllers want to grant pilot requests. When they decline, it's not just for amusement or out of lassitude. There can be a lot going on backstage the pilot can't see. Oct 1, 2012 1453
What drives tower nuts: pilots and ATC may not always get along, but they all agree that "special" pilots can ruin everyone's day. Don't be that loose gear in the big machine, especially in the pattern. Sep 1, 2012 1946
NexGen's missing link: The FAA's track record on revamping air traffic control is not exactly stellar. Now some of the lessons learned are being ignored. Will we ever learn?. Mar 1, 2012 1804
Navigating the nasties: when you're asking ATC for deviations around weather, it's useful to know where they can easily bend and where it'll take some negotiation and planning. Oct 1, 2010 1655
You're so busted: you messed up and didn't comply with ATC. Will the FAA come knocking on your door? That depends on what you did and how you handle it. Jul 1, 2010 2235
Declaring the big "E"; when the excrement hits the oscillator, ATC is your best friend. How con you help them to help you? start with "Mayday," and then ask for exactly what you need. Jun 1, 2010 1788
Say more with less: short and sweet phraseology keeps ATC informed during the critical transitions of your flight. Top form comes in both what you say and how you say it. Mar 1, 2010 1941
What is minimum fuel? The fuel may be running out, but your options aren't. How ATC handles you, however, depends on exactly what you say, as well as how you say it. Feb 1, 2010 1809
I have your request: is that terse phrase ATC's version of "don't call me, I'll call you"? Not at all, but there may be more going on than you realize. Oct 1, 2009 1974
Standards of separation: while you're IFR, controllers guarantee certain distances from stationary objects or other flying machines--unless you step in. Sep 1, 2009 1672
ATC's bag of tricks: when a controller's instructions make no sense to you, it might be because he didn't let you in on his secret plan. Jun 1, 2009 1537
ATC doesn't have to fly; a controller's job is separating aircraft, and he doesn't have to be a pilot to do that well. Flying the airplane is your problem. May 1, 2009 1875

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