View Full Version : Squawking Ident

27th Nov 2004, 10:27
Will pilots please STOP sqwauking INDENT on making your initial call and first contact with LONDON ATC sectors! You may think it's all routine and that you're being helpful, but if you do so you will invalidate the sequence we are expected to follow to positively indentify new contacts. We have MANY ident pulses going off all over the radar screen from aircraft on different sectors and we must be sure that YOU are the one who has selected that code AND is sqwauking ident coming onto our frequency. Please wait to be asked to sqwauk INDENT. Many thanks.;)

27th Nov 2004, 10:37
Can't find the INDENT button on my ATC Transponder panel?;)

The Nr Fairy
27th Nov 2004, 10:38
Hotdog - is that because it's pushed in ?

FO Janeway
27th Nov 2004, 10:57
Finally somebody picking up on that.
Always thought: "wise guy, squawking w/o being asked"; must be so annoying.

also there's the guys who barge onto a new frequency w/o listening out first, trampling all over others. What's wrong with waiting a second or two, before you give your whole spiel?

Barry Cuda
27th Nov 2004, 11:23
I have no problems with pilots identing before I've asked.

I have a bigger problem with pilots who don't give me the passing altitude or who check in with only the callsign...

27th Nov 2004, 11:36
Probably because a few weeks ago a LATCC controller said on this forum, "don't worry if you can't get a word in when you arrive in my sector, just ident to let me know your still OK" or something to that effect.

Where are we now?
27th Nov 2004, 11:52
Indent or Ident? Always thought it was ident, but London ATC are always sharp!

PPRuNe Radar
27th Nov 2004, 12:31
Oh you bunch of pedants !!!

(PS it's 'squawking' not 'sqwauking') :}

I have a bigger problem with pilots who don't give me the passing altitude or who check in with only the callsign...

There are ways around that one. You let them level off and then once they have made that level check you clear them further and tell them if they'd given you all the info on first call then they could have had continuous climb/descent ;)

Few Cloudy
27th Nov 2004, 13:04
I am surprised to hear that pilots squawk anything new. least of all ident, without orders - sounds like a very bad and non - standard habit if it is really happening.

Maybe a visit to the ATC room is in order...


180 Too Fower
27th Nov 2004, 14:15
Also when ATC ask you to squalk ident, do just that and don't read back "Squalk Ident" (CAP Fower Wun Tree):ok:

27th Nov 2004, 15:02
180 too fower,

The problem with that is :

1) It is an ATC SSR instruction and therefore should be read back.

2) If it doesn't work the controller doesn't know if you didn't hear the instruction or if the facility is not operating.

Turn It Off
27th Nov 2004, 17:29
If people insist that the transmission must be acknowledged. Rather than the rather Verbose " Squawking Ident on 1234 " Hows about "Wilco"??


Barry Cuda
27th Nov 2004, 19:20
PPrune Radar, you are pure evil, but I like your style fella!!!:cool:

180 too fower, humour us and do the readback, please!:hmm:

27th Nov 2004, 22:27
If you are asked to ident just reading back "ident" is ok, no ? But who does it without being asked ? I have trouble remembering all the stuff i have to do let alone stuff i dont...

27th Nov 2004, 22:29
For what it is worth, if an aircraft tells me his callsign and idents and it is an aircraft I am expecting, then I am quite happy.
I believe that the main reason for the ident is so that the computer can find the aircraft and update all its bits and pieces.
If we say it it keeps SRG happy.
I think that if an aircraft uses a callsign that I see on the radar using code/callsign, then that is good enough for an ident.
No doubt lots of Controllers are now going to disagree with me.
Pilots, on first call please give your current altitude so that I can verify your mode 'C'

27th Nov 2004, 23:32
Point taken Mr Top of the stack...answer me this, why do your buddies in Scotland want every one to ident when checking in? ex on 123.77 etc.

27th Nov 2004, 23:55
Hi all,

Do you always want a passing altitude/level when we check in?
I believe there is this idea that you only give your passing level when youre checking in to a new area for the first time. eg London to Maastricht or vs. I just like this clarified.

Discovery Man
28th Nov 2004, 01:03
...and did you know that the 'ident' goes off when you release your finger off the button...not when it is initially pressed.
Have seen some pilots give ATC a really 'loooonnnnnnggggg' ident when in actual fact they have not given one at all because they are holding on to the button.

28th Nov 2004, 02:21
...mentioning passing altitude when contacting a new sector controller has NOT been an ICAO requirement, and IF the new controller wants this information, the previous controller should have said so in the first place, when he issued a frequency change.

It would indeed appear that some ATC folks are not all that familiar with ICAO procedures....UK folks in particular.

In addition, the new controller can positively see the passing altitude now, as all transponders in use by large aircraft have this facility...Charlie mode.

So, ATC folks, get your knickers out of a twist.

Pilots have enough problems trying to read the newspaper without being bothered all the time...:p :p :E


Heard by yours truly many years ago, on the LAX ground control freq:

Clipper 56, contact ground 121.6
(as he was taxying northbound on runway 34...yes, I told you this was a looog time ago)

PA56: Hey ground, why do we have to change freqs so much, it interrupts our ah...reading Playboy.

Ground: You are a dirty old man.

PA56: Yes, we are all old enough up here, and she ain't bad looking either.

Ground: Ah...no comment, but can you bring it up to the tower so we can all have a look?

PA56: Positively NO.

From another acft:
Not only old, stingy as well.

28th Nov 2004, 08:20
Of course, the whole *point* of reporting your passing altitude/flight level is to *verify* that your Mode C information that the controller sees is correct! It would be a bit of a problem, expecially in these days of RVSM if it was complete garbage, wouldn't it? Not likely, I know, but it's doing the little things like this that could save our necks one day when the 'not likely' occurs.

28th Nov 2004, 09:42
180 to fower -

CAP413 instructs you to readback a "Squawk Ident" instruction, as well as obviously pressing the button.

180 Too Fower
28th Nov 2004, 11:06
Will read back from now on, I was always under the impression that we were not meant to. Can't find my old CAP 413 any more but I bow to your knowledge.:ok:

Sleeve Wing
28th Nov 2004, 11:31
>It would indeed appear that some ATC folks are not all that familiar with ICAO procedures....UK folks in particular.<

What is it with you, 411A ?
If you'd spent any appreciable time "over this side" , you would know that UK controllers are as good, if not better, than any in the world.

I've spent over 40 years talking to them, amongst many others, and I know who I would prefer to be talking to on a dark and stormy night!

Sleeve. :yuk:

28th Nov 2004, 13:00
CAP 413 can be found on the caa website.

28th Nov 2004, 13:13
It would indeed appear that some ATC folks are not all that familiar with ICAO procedures....UK folks in particular.

No offence intended, but if you were to look into it a bit more, you'd find that the Chicago Convention is based on the principle of State sovereignty. Sure, the idea is that all States would employ the same rules in their national laws, but the "ICAO" system, as you put it, is just basically standard international law. The only way it differs from "normal" international law is that a standard in an Annex becomes binding on a State unless that State has notified of a difference. In a way this means that signatories to the treaty have committed themselves to following future changes to any Annex unless they positively say they're not going to implement the change.

This is why we have national variations in the way of doing things, and that's why the AIP is ever so important as you have to comply with the rules of any State that you're flying in/over.

So as far as the UK is concerned, they could have a requirement to report altitude/level passing when reading back a heading instruction if they so chose.

28th Nov 2004, 14:27
I do a lot of long haul flyings and I believe London ATC is one of the most professional ATC in the world. Even when they are busy, they sound very calm and relaxed. Flying into the major airports like LAX, ORD, JFK in the US could be very stressful.

28th Nov 2004, 14:31

Real MATS (manual of air traffic services) it tells you what you should and should not do. Many states have filed excemptions to ICAO.

Few Cloudy
28th Nov 2004, 15:51
Letīs not forget that other folks are trying to keep a picture of the traffic situation too - ie. other pilots.

Calling your FL / Alt when you check in immediately informs another pilot whether he might be affected by your flight.

Every little bit helps.


28th Nov 2004, 16:31
Would agree completely Cosmo, individual states do indeed have differencies/exemptions from ICAO.

Now, IF the UK does in this instance, perhaps you would like to give a reference to same, and a link if at all possible.

And, yes, I have probably spent much more time flying on the eastern side of the great devide...about thirty years worth.
My first ops to LHR were in 1974, in a B707.
And yes, they are indeed nice folks...but then again I have a personal preference for the ATC folks in AMS, and the Netherlands in general...which are certainly just as professional (if not better) than in the UK.

28th Nov 2004, 16:50
For the benefit of 411A and any other regular visitors to the UK's excellent ATC services, 'kishna' has kindly provided a link (a few boxes up) to CAP413 which defines UK SID procedures, and other filed exceptions/differences to ICAO, and from Chapter 6 (1) of which I quote:-

"1.1.2 Pilots of all aircraft flying Instrument Departures are to include the following information on first contact with approach control/departure radar:
a) Call sign;
b) SID Designator where appropriate;
c) Current or passing ALT/FL; PLUS
d) Cleared ALT/FL. For Standard Instrument Departures involving stepped climb profiles, state the initial ALT/FL to which the aircraft is climbing."

28th Nov 2004, 17:00
Would agree, BOAC, and indeed thus is indicated on additional Jep pages in the LHR section....for the FIRST call only.

But it says nothing about descending aircraft reporting passing altitudes, nor does it address climbing aircraft once they have left the standard instrument departure (DP in the USA), so I would maintain that mentioning passing altitudes/flight levels is otherwise not required (unless specifically requested to do so) and further, adds to frequency congestion.

28th Nov 2004, 19:16

Sorry, I don't know about the specific practices in the UK as I don't fly there.
I just thought I'd present the strict legal side of things, but I now see that that was somewhat superfluous as it wasn't news to you. :ok:

28th Nov 2004, 22:24
On the en-route radar side of ATC in the UK.

When being transferred to a London ATC radar control service from another radar control service be it inside or outside the UK FIR then all we need reporting is the cleared or cruising flight level.

If you are transferred to London from any other service (ie still outside CAS) then you will need to be verified as well as validated, therefore the passing FL will also be needed on first contact. The only exception I know to this rule is when transferred from many of the military units to London radar as the military units are deemed capable of validating and verifying Mode A/C.

Please acknowledge the instruction to Squalk Ident when requested even if its just a 'roger'. If we know you have acknowledged then we can be confident the ident we see is you and then the ident has been successful.

30th Nov 2004, 15:38
My understanding is that you do not report passing Altitudes/Flight levels, unless requested. The only exception to this is when making first contact once airborne, at which point you should give the details posted by BOAC earlier.

Something that I often find strange is a controller telling you to contact the next frequency with your heading. It is my understanding that you should always give cleared altitude and assigned heading when checking in, so why the need for the instruction?

30th Nov 2004, 16:05
Because we often forget to tell them we're on a heading!

4th Dec 2004, 13:32
My understanding is that you do not report passing Altitudes/Flight levels, unless requested.
My understanding was the other way round - you should always give level information on first call on a new freq.

Seems to be borne out by this bit in the last few pages of my old home copy of Aerad Europe & Mid East Supplement, Air Traffic Control, United Kingdom, para 8.1.2

When changing frequency between any London or Manchester Sector pilots are required to give callsign and Flight Level (when not in level flight, the level through which the aircraft is passing and the level to which cleared)

"required" ...

Hope that helps, 411A and GS-Alpha.


FE Hoppy
4th Dec 2004, 17:09
will enhanced mode s transponders put an end to all this?

Barry Cuda
4th Dec 2004, 18:36
Blimey, I appear to have stirred up a right old fight here....:O

When I said that I was more concerned about people not reporting there passing altitude I was alluding to departure procedures, as that was the point of the discussion on the Ident feature.

With regards to first call on a new frequency I have no problems if you do or you don't report your passing altitude, just as long as you report your cleared altitude and any headings and speeds that have been assigned.

Now, if we can all calm down and relax maybe people will be able to get things right.... :ok:

Hudson Bay
5th Dec 2004, 09:54
Not sure why Pilots need to depart from the regulations laid down by the authorities. I guess the Pilots know better!!! I heard a comment the other day from a student come 500 hour Jet First Officer that the books were written years ago and we have moved on since then! Oh dear.

If we fly by the book no-one can touch us when there's a mess-up. Besides that, the procedures laid out have been tried and tested for years and THEY WORK. If you have a problem with them get them changed.

What were we talking about? Oh yes. Ident should NEVER be given unless asked by ATC. 24 - 7. The correct response is Willco followed by the FULL CALLSIGN. Not just the number.

As for alltitude reporting, if the passing level is not given in the initial contact then you DO NOT HAVE A RADAR SERVICE. The transponder is NOT verified and in a court of law you wouldn't stand a chance.

No more passing levels are required unless asked for.

When changing frequencies, the level you are climbing too should be passed along with either your heading or routing and FULL CALLSIGN.

Is that really too difficult?

Oh and just one more thing, Stop calling your mates name between transmissions. And thats not me being a stick in the mud although I do find it very unproffesional. The CAA are considering tracking down the culprits which will result in a written warning from your company. Now that's sure to stir things up!!

6th Dec 2004, 00:31
Hudson Bay - I agree 100%.

If this is a PROFESSIONAL Pilots Forum why should anyone be questioning whether or not Transponder operating instructions should be read back when this is clearly spelt out in CAP 413?

7th Dec 2004, 11:02
As for alltitude reporting, if the passing level is not given in the initial contact then you DO NOT HAVE A RADAR SERVICE. The transponder is NOT verified and in a court of law you wouldn't stand a chance.

Just to clarify this: Mode C is only considered as verified when it has been cross checked on the radar display with a level report from the aircraft. This is usually the first radar unit on departure, but may also be an en route sector if you are joining airways from an airfield outside. Once this has been done, the Mode C is considered verified for the rest of the trip unless there are suspicions that it may be incorrect.

Thus, there is no need to give passing level on EVERY new frequency because they are not using that information to reverify your mode C.

However, a 'level passing' report can sometimes be a good trigger for further climb/descent clearance.

7th Dec 2004, 19:21
As for alltitude reporting, if the passing level is not given in the initial contact then you DO NOT HAVE A RADAR SERVICE. Rubbish. The only thing that determines whether an aircraft is getting a radar service is whether the controller says RADAR CONTROL/RADAR ADVISORY/RADAR INFORMATION SERVICE, perhaps but not necessarily preceeded by a request from the pilot. No amount of pushing buttons on the aircraft, saying where you are or your level or hoping someone is watching you does it!

At least that's the way it's supposed to work in the UK.

8th Dec 2004, 08:20
Good thread with valuable contributions. It has cleared up some issues in my mind. This information is not easily available to the line pilot and non standard practices seem to become established quickly in some airlines. My latest CAP 413 is pretty thin on the ground on these topics and appears to be aimed at PPL level.

While we are on this subject can anyone throw light on why crews from one or two UK airlines call " maintaining FL XXX " when they reach their assigned level, have already been radar identified and no change of frequency has taken place? UK controllers tend to respond with a polite "roger" but the response from a few European agencies is becoming less patient to these seemingly unecessary calls.

cargo boy
8th Dec 2004, 09:28
why crews from one or two UK airlines call " maintaining FL XXX " when they reach their assigned level, have already been radar identified and no change of frequency has taken place?Perhaps it is because they have requested a higher level and it is just a polite 'hint' to give the controller a 'nudge' that you are waiting for further climb. I know that I've done it in the past. Controllers have been known to 'forget' about you from time to time.

Agree that there is no need to 'announce' your arrival at a FL whilst under radar control just for the sake of it though.

Big Hilly
8th Dec 2004, 16:38
The correct response is Willco followed by the FULL CALLSIGN. Not just the number. Sorry, but if we're being really pedantic here ;) the correct response is just the squawk code followed by the c/s and not wilco. Here's the extract from CAP413 (http://www.caa.co.uk/docs/33/CAP413.PDF) :ATC: Fastair 345 squawk 6411
A/C: 6411 Fastair 345
ATC: Fastair 345 squawk ident
A/C: Squawk ident, Fastair
ATC: Fastair 345 squawk 6411 and ident
A/C: 6411 and ident, Fastair
ATC: Fastair 345 confirm squawk
A/C: Alpha 6411 Fastair 345
ATC: Fastair 345 reset squawk 6411
A/C: Resetting 6411 Fastair
ATC: Fastair 345 check altimeter setting
A/C: 1013 set Fastair 345
ATC: Fastair 345 confirm transponder operating
A/C: Fastair 345 negative, transponder unserviceable And as to those controllers who say "Recycle squawk ****" when they should be saying "Reset squawk ****" well, the CAA should seek out and severely punish these hardened criminals for their blatant abuse of CAP413. . . . :O


Giles Wembley-Hogg
9th Dec 2004, 09:26
JAMMIR and cargo boy

Unfortunately, at one large airline in the UK it is company policy to report reaching the cleared level. I don't think this is a very good policy because 1. It is not required and thus adds to RTF loading with no gain and 2. It means that reporting level as a "nudge" if you are expecting climb no longer has an impact.

Just my view, of course.


9th Dec 2004, 10:56
I thought it was sufficent to just push the ident button when asked to ident, but from now on I will comply with CAP 413

A previous post referencing 413 said we should state the initial SID required level when checking in on a stepped climb SID along with the passing level and SID designator. I thought that this was only required when ATC have modified the SID...ie maintain 3000'. How else do we communicate the difference when the two levels are the same (they usually are in my experience).

Hope this makes sense:O

9th Dec 2004, 11:13
tishka - my recollection is that it came in a part of the campaign to avoid departure altitude busts so that ATC know WE know the SID limit and that we have 'reminded' ourselves with the call?

9th Dec 2004, 11:47
BOAC- OK that makes sense, but i guess I'm thinking of the following situation-

Tower ask you on lining up to "maintain 3000'on reaching". The SID requires 3000' as well and we check into the sector saying "Callsign passing 1700' BPK 1A cleared 3000". Same call in both cases but very different clearances. It could be quite easy for ATC to think we know we are held down when WE don't....maybe we didn't get the message from tower or even worse maybe we have forgotten!!(helped along by making the same call in both cases)

banana head
9th Dec 2004, 13:25
With regards to calls of 'maintaining FLxxx', or 'reaching FLxxx' I think you may find that these calls are an SOP at the particular airline(s) and are therefore a required call from the crew whether ATC expect or require them or not.
To not give the call would leave a crew open to accusations of operating outside their SOPs ( Yes some companies are THAT pedantic), regardless of what the crew may individually think.
Now I can fully understand how this may drive an ATCO insane after a while - but the answer is to put it in writing to the CAA who should request the particular company(s) to review their SOP in compliance with the CAP 413, or if the operator is registered outside the UK will write to the national authority of registration of that carrier.
Getting short with the crew over the RT helps no-one:rolleyes:

CarltonBrowne the FO
10th Dec 2004, 00:38
I haven't been to work for a few days, so I don't have the materials to check at hand... but don't the notes for many, if not all, UK SIDs include the exact details required for the initial call to Departure? I know the GLA and EDI plates do...

Cartman's Twin
10th Dec 2004, 09:34

It's the same for all SIDS from London TMA airfields. Clearly states what to include. Doesn't seem to do much use though. Apart from the regulars who get it pretty much spot on each time, it's quite frightening how many don't seem able to read the instructions....

My girlfriend's the same though.....