View Full Version : REPORT YOUR HEADING TO..........

4th Jul 2001, 19:13
This is just a plea really.

PLEASE, when asked to "Report heading to..." or, to a slightly lesser extent "Report speed to...", ensure that you DO.

We down below are basing our separations, formulating plans of action etc., etc., on what an aircraft has been asked to do.

Thanks for listening :) :) :)

4th Jul 2001, 19:31
Always do. ;)

Motion coming on!

5th Jul 2001, 03:03

I understand your plea. And so from now on I will never make another mistake or omission while flying the A/C in the same way that you very fine controllers (Honestly I do think you are generally excellent) will never make another mistake or omission.

However back to the real world again and no matter how hard I try I just cannot get it 100% right 100% of the time. We do not set out with the intention of making errors, as I'm sure you appreciate.


5th Jul 2001, 17:58
Dear exeng

What you have replied to me, I find a trifle worrying. The information I refer to is, perhaps, the most important information that you will ever be asked to pass on. It seems fairly simple to me ?

Not really sure that I like the snipe at ATC anyway. Got anything to say, then air it - get it off your chest.

But please, no snyde coments eh ?

Max Angle
5th Jul 2001, 19:48

To be honest it's your attitude that is worrying, your PPruNe handle perhaps says more than your message. Exengs comments were not a swipe at ATC anymore than your original post was a swipe at pilots. I think maybe it is you who has something to get off your chest.

5th Jul 2001, 19:53

I have to say you do sound as if you are at that.

"It seems fairly simple to me?" Yes well I'm sure it does. The point I was trying to make, at the risk of repeating myself, is that we all make mistakes and omissions sometimes. To err is human and all that. We pilots do make mistakes and that will not change. We are generally hanging on your every word but there are times, even on modern A/C, that other interuptions cause us to err. Can you not accept that? I hope you can because it is not going to change.

As for your comment, <Not really sure that I like the snipe at ATC anyway.> Well my friend there was no snipe intended but if you wish to interpret it as such then that is your problem. To repeat myself again I said, <in the same way that you very fine controllers (Honestly I do think you are generally excellent) will never make another mistake or omission.> If somebody described my colleagues and I as generally excellent I would be very pleased at the complement.

Anyway, enough said as I'm getting very fed up with it all!


5th Jul 2001, 20:31
Dear Mr. Fedupwithitall and all your extremly supporting colleagues,

we, a bunch of well overpaid and not so much hard work doing drivers of all these bloody expensive high-tech-never-to-fail subsonic cruisers, are trying really to cope with your requests.
Yes, if asked to report whatever you demand, we should comply.
Yes, we are sitting most of the time in an airconditioned environment watching the sun and gossip about all the poor lads "downstairs" while the coffee and the crew meal is served on a push-buttons request.
Yes, there is absolutely nothing, which destracts our attention despite the little discussions about the time we want to spend after landing...

Reality is slightly different. Also most of us enjoy FSM GNS FMC and however these push to go systems are called. But....a lot of us are still unable to follow any GPS based approach / departure below 10.000 ft, all in a sudden a re-routing occurs because the ATC system accepted two different flight plans for the same Flight number (a second plan was filed to improve slot situation), and last but not least we are all obliged to use the most economic flight procedures available (i.e. absolute minimum fuel, highest possible level, APU use to essential minimas....).
Beside this, imagine please following situation: Nice and sunny day, boarding on time, passengers are in the bus outside the aeroplane, cleaners in the aeroplane not ready yet as the turn-around is simply too short, first pax collapses in bus due to extreme conditions, when passengers board the wardrobes on wheels (never fitting luggage http://www.pprune.org/ubb/NonCGI/frown.gif ) is taken off them, and eventually, while closing doors ATC announces a slot....
Beside the fact that you have a load of very upset people on board, you deal with ATC not understanding or questioning your navigation system, re-calculating your fuel situation, double-checking with OPS for any plan B in the drawer, thinking of all the rest your duty will provide today you eventually make it in the air.
On some airports you have to change 3 times frequency during the first 10.000 ft, this while you are busy re-configuring your aeroplane several times to follow the manufacturers ideas, adhearing to some of the most interesting and sometimes challenging departure procedures -speed restrictions-noise restrictions-turn restrictions-climb restrictions....beside this you do some checklist work, answer questions of the cabin crew, try to avoid weather and make it as comfortable as possible for all in the plane.
Now there is one controller who asked for something to report...my sincere apologise if I missed that one, but at that moment I actually tried to sip on my coffee....

Please, we understand your job and the importance of these orders. May I kindly ask for some understanding in return?
And isn't it one out of a thousand who forgot this order and did not comply?

Guess I can talk for most of my colleagues who all try to be as professional as possible, if it happens, it is not intentionally.

5th Jul 2001, 20:41
Just one comment!!

"XXX123 Climb FL 290, Heading 320, Speed 280kts report that to London on 123.335"


5th Jul 2001, 22:17
Sorry guys......must have been a bad day at the office !

And Jonty......you are quite right to complain. It should only be one, max two, executive instructions at any one time.

And yes.......Fedupwithitall is an apt description I'm afraid. Not aimed at the actual job, but at the piss-poor management of it.

But then again, aren't we all ? ;)

5th Jul 2001, 22:21
Easy, Jonty - the reply to that is:-

"290310280123335123" - and let HIM work out if your readback is correct or not! :)

5th Jul 2001, 22:43
Poor old FL310! It would be a good idea for you to visit a busy en-route ATC unit so that you might just get some idea of what a controller has to put up with.

5th Jul 2001, 23:54
310, you're actually SIPPING COFFEE below 10,000'! Superhuman or what? Seriously guys, get real. Fedup was making a very simple point, that a lot of us forget to pass on headings when checking in on a new frequency. Let's not forget that we're all supposed to be on the same side here.

6th Jul 2001, 00:04
...."pass your heading and speed to London on..."
Have not noticed this poor intra-sector communication in the USA or for that matter, the rest of Europe. Is this something UNIQUE to London? Maybe better ATC equipment is necessary. Maybe the ATC guys can explain?

6th Jul 2001, 00:09
411A - lets hope when the nice new building near Southampton eventually comes into service all these reports of speed haeding (and yesterday Destination!!) will disapear, that about as likely as early goes going ....

6th Jul 2001, 00:10
FL310, I think that was the most eloquent argument for ATCO fam flights, and ATC fam visits for aircrew I've ever read!


6th Jul 2001, 02:56
As you said "And yes.......Fedupwithitall is an apt description I'm afraid. Not aimed at the actual job, but at the piss-poor management of it."

Well you and me both mate, at times it is enough to give you the creeps isn't it. I can't claim to understand all the problems you have down there but I've been given a clue by friends of mine. Our problems may be different in some ways but I'll give you a penny to a pound that the root cause of both is the short-termist attitude of penny pinching management. (Apologies to all for hopping on my soapbox yet again!!)

And Fedup, a person who apologises on this forum is very rare. I have done it but not as often as I should if I'm honest. You have my respect. I welcome the exchange of views and hope that in the future we might better understand each others problems.

Best regards

6th Jul 2001, 03:22
Thanks exeng.......and the same to you :) :) :)

Yes......the world would be a much better place (and maybe a safer one too) if money didn't rule our lives. But hey-ho, someone's got to pay for the beer :)

Cheers to you :)

6th Jul 2001, 03:39
Hey Fedup,

Let's not forget that you, I, and loads of other people play one of the biggest team games known to mankind; and yet most of us have never met each other!

Not a lot of footballers know that!

Send me an e-mail at [email protected] and I'll organise a beer or two. (Channel 4 not invited)


6th Jul 2001, 12:48
411A, just for info, we at Maastricht often ask aircraft to report heading and/or mach number to the next sector. And I've heard it when flying over France, Germany and the Scandinavian countries to name but a few. It's certainly not exclusive to LATCC. IT's actually quite a common ATC procedure. Furthermore, we do inform the next sector/unit if you're locked onto a heading or given a speed restriction. The idea of you stating the fact on initial contact with the next sector is to effectively confirm that you are adhering to these instructions.

6th Jul 2001, 13:12
Inconvenient as it may be, the reporting of heading or speed is in fact the only guarantee the next controller has of your separation against other traffic. That, most of the time, is why the restriction is given. In order to reduce time spent coordinating, it says in the MATS for LATCC (and most units I believe) that the next controller must be informed if the aircraft is on a heading, either by telephone or by asking the pilot to report the fact. So by not doing so you increase R/T and your own loading because we have to check.

Don't get me wrong, I do appreciate that you are not always sitting up there with your feet on the coaming, but these are important instructions which guarantee your separation so they should have your attention. They are not done for the fun of it.

Also agree with the multiple instruction transmission problem, but would point out that most controllers will/should not give level instructions at the same time as a frequency change.

"Take-off is optional, Landing is mandatory"

6th Jul 2001, 13:40
JuicyLucy, sorry to disapoint you but it will still apply at Swanwick too, we can't transfer any restrictions or headings on the computer, and phoning through every one is just too time consuming. You certainly need to visit a centre to see the operations. As for destination, this can occur from a number of reasons. If your details are late coming out of the printer from the last ATCC, or haven't even been sent, we ask for it to give you an initial routing. Another common one is where your flight plan is different from the one sent by the message, and our computer cannot decide which it is, so we check to be sure (AAL and Brussels???).

As to the original thread, it is getting all to common for an a/c to check in with just callsign, we have to check the cleared FL and and vectoring instructions, normal if exitting the London TMA. Some people check every one as a rule, others will let a few go by if there is no conflict around. I as one always reply with 'pass your message' which has thrown a few so far, but its what your supposed to do, and we do need to know. Past threads on this have been replied with, 'but if its busy, the last thing we want to do is clog the RT'. Actually if it busy, the last thing we want is for you not to check in properly, saves time going back and checking.

On a side note, congratulations to all who flew yesterday; in my bit the weather was appauling, well increasing my workload, but everyone knew the situation and helped out brilliantly, thanks guys and gals.

6th Jul 2001, 23:01
I don't often get hot under the collar (Mrs NorthernSky doesn't like it - she has to give me one of her Indian head massages afterwards, and we usually end up opening a more costly bottle than we normally would...) but some of the remarks here do not indicate a professional attitude to our work.

Aviate, Navigate, Communicate, in that order. However, where ATC have applied separation, there is a definite need under all three headings to communicate details of that separation to the next controller.

Often, that separation is applied just prior to transfer in order to ensure that the presentation of traffic to the next sector is correct, so electronic transfer would not be fast enough anyway.

We should be sufficiently aware of this to give priority to this important task. Too many of us miss the basics of good RTF - and this leads to incidents and accidents. Read the transcripts of the Tenerife tragedy, for example, to see the effect of dubious communication.

Many very senior pilots, training staff included, don't know or don't bother with the elementary stuff, such as reading back instructions which require a mandatory read-back.

Let's all take the original post as a reminder to be clear, concise, correct, and professional.

We are all shovelling hard at the coal face, and we don't need a tragedy caused by sloppy personal discipline.

Now, down to the cellar!!

'Brighten my Northern Sky' Nick Drake R.I.P.

10th Jul 2001, 04:44
Avman's first reply hit it on the head. Every pilot should include a pilgrimage to arrival/departure control or class 1 twr to their list of things to do.
fedup, to suggest that we DO as we're told is to "imply" that we DON'T . Some of what you're hearing is simply defensive. You folks do a bang-up job though.
My beef with ATC is keeping me under control in the terminal environment long after I've reported the field and my traffic in sight. I've had them vector me to a high tight base, AND then clear me for the visual. Now it's a**holes and elbows trying to make it work. Just my one gripe.

10th Jul 2001, 18:59

Glad to hear you need the "readback". We always speculated that the London ATC guys were paid by the vector. "....heading 295, now heading 300.", or if you were just trying to see if the Americans could follow instructions at 2am EDT. :D ;)

10th Jul 2001, 22:35

The thing to remember with Americans is that they usually ask you to repeat an instruction, so you might as well give two anyway.

10th Jul 2001, 23:06
I hate it when controllers give me a five part clearance in one breath speaking at the speed of heat and then get the beak when you ask for it to be repeated. On top of that, in the US at least, controllers are not responsible for verifying your readback as correct. If the ATC system is so saturated that it's come down to that kind of abuse on pilots and controllers, then the airspace is too damn saturated. I know I'm preaching to the choir.

11th Jul 2001, 01:34
Those damn yanks. The world would be a better place without em I tell ta. :D

Chip Lite
11th Jul 2001, 02:33
310. Get a life. :cool:

Bally Heck
11th Jul 2001, 02:44
Of course, USA air traffic control is the best in the world! And...Americans don't undertand irony. Isn't that great! :cool:

11th Jul 2001, 02:52
Really can't see what the fuss is all about! London Airways' vectors are always for expedient reasons, "Turn left 10 deg, report new heading to London on 123.455" is hardly terribly difficult. And my - some poor lamb finds changing frequency 3 times in 10 000 ft challenging? What a good job there are 2 of you and an autopilot to cope with that enormous workoad!

11th Jul 2001, 04:05
Half of the vectors in my sectors are due to the inadequate amount of controlled airspace available to us. Try ramming seven or eight 777's, 747's and A340's through a 18 mile wide corridor at the same time at the same level providing 5 miles separation between each. It don't go!
And why do we do it? Because military agancies have an 80 mile swathe of airspace to the north, reserved for their single Tucano doing some stall recoveries. Mmmm.

We are expected to shift 5 to 10% more traffic each year with less controllers and a finite amount of airspace. Maybe our airspace policies need rethinking.

Not Long Now
11th Jul 2001, 12:49
Good point. There's an awful lot of open FIR out there. Would it really ruin anyone's day if say everything above FL100 was turned into class A or B?
The mil. can still play at war in places, but why do we insist on trying to cram about 5000 movements a day into narrow corridors when there's so much space out there never really used by anyone except the mil. who are receiving a service from their own guys anyway!
Just where do the priorities lie? :confused:

11th Jul 2001, 13:58
Bit late for a reply now, but it's a shame that early on in this topic there appeared to be an antagonistic attitude towards "fedup" for the fairly reasonable prod made by him to driving community. Just a reminder to adhere to this simple instruction was not I believe amiss. Listening to a fairly busy sector a couple of days ago at a half northern ATCC , on 3 consecutive first contact calls, the poor ATCO had to ask the familiar question "are you on a radar heading" - to which the reply was "affirm it's .....". The headings were all assingned to assure continuous climb & help pilots do thier job to the best of thier abilities. I feel that had the poor chap known that he would have had to suffer the subsequent extra R/T (resulting in several crossed calls as others tried to get in too !) he would have just asked the previous sector to apply standard routes & vertical separation & therefore less happy pilots.

And just one other thought - sometimes we ATCO's do make mistakes & leave you on a heading unnecessarily on transfer. If you don't tell us on first contact, It could be some time on perhaps a less expeditious routing before we notice & ask

But as others have said - none of the whole "team" is above realising where we can refine our technique.....

[ 11 July 2001: Message edited by: fragul ]

11th Jul 2001, 15:15
WOW some of these replies are kindda funny considering multi crew, FMS, 3 Axis full coupled autopilots...

i'm single pilot IFR in the good 'ol Shed (no FMS, no AP) and when ATC hands me over with a "report your heading to ...." i'll just do that ..

i mean how multi tasking capable do you have to be ?


[ 11 July 2001: Message edited by: Meatbomber ]

11th Jul 2001, 18:53
Of course when the "foreign" guys show up at ORD and are issued the rapid fire instructions that are followed by a keyed mike and a misreadback.....I begin to not feel so bad about asking twice in Euro airspace.

I do have a pet peeve when departing it helps to have the legs page showing on the FMS so as to pick out the waypoints that may be issued as a "direct to" clearance. It amazes me as so many of our pilots have not a clue as to where the controller was referring to. Sure the annunciation is not US english but if you have the legs page showing you can usually decipher where he is referring to. So to all you LATCC guys please accept my apologies for the "say that fix again" questions. Often it is just laziness on the part of the guys flying.

13th Jul 2001, 23:58
OK I admit it.
I forgot to pass on my cleared heading to director after leaving the hold at LHR. The way he replied suggested that it pissed him off royally! I do normally read back though... honest!
Oh, and thanks to all the guys who helped out with the pan call today. ;)

It's a Joke
14th Jul 2001, 02:02
What's_it_doing_now..........first off, I LOVE the nick !!!!!! :) :) :) :) :) :)

Secondly.......and this HAS been said before...........passing your heading is part of the separation criteria we use "downstairs".......so please try NOT to forget (but well done for admitting it !)

brain fade
16th Jul 2001, 06:53
I've read all this thread and i'm bored.
Can people really be bothered to argue about whether they should/or should not, readback
ATC stuff? errr. 'we should, except when we forget' seems correct. employ humans, expect mistakes. employ machines expect casualties! :D :D :D :D :D