APRON NORTH – General reference to northern parking area APRON SOUTH – General reference to southern parking area DO NOT CROSS UNLESS EXPLICITLY CLEARED
Start up: In order to be given start-up clearance by ATC, there’s a few things ATC wants from you first. First call should always be what is known as an “Initial Call”. This is simply calling who you’re trying to talk to, then saying who you are. If you want the man in the tower to become your friend, first step, introduce yourself! Example:“Kobuleti Tower, this is Hornet Flight.” Tower will then simply respond with the same, and prompt you to “go ahead”. Example: “Hornet, Kobuleti Tower. Go ahead". What our friend in the tower wants now is your location and your intention for the flight. At the very least, as far as he’s concerned. If you have a premade plan (this implies you have either told tower before or, for game purpose, one of your pilot-friends is acting as tower and knows the plan) you simply state you intend to follow The Plan. If this is not the case, you inform ATC about what your general intentions for the flight is. You do not have to be super detailed, the tower does not really care what you do when you leave his airspace.
Example wo/plan: “Kobuleti tower, Hornet. Parked at Apron South, intentions are Visual departure northbound for Aerobatic training.”
Example W/plan: “Kobuleti Tower, Hornet for Visual flight as planned.” This will usually only be confirmed by the tower with a “Copy” or maybe a read back, depending on the mood in the tower.
Now our friend in the tower is really starting to warm up, he knows who you are, where you are, and what you are doing. The time has come to ask for something back, and you can ask for a clearance to start your engines. Before this you can have everything set up, you can have all electrics and systems up and even your APU running. This is for the engines only.
Example: “Tower, Hornet. Request Startup.” You will then, if you did everything right, be given “Cleared Startup”. This is a clearance, so you will have to read this back to your friend. Example: T:“Hornet, you are cleared to startup.” H: “Cleared Startup, Hornet.” NOTE: As indicated by tower saying “Cleared” this is a CLEARANCE, when you receive a clearance you should read it back to the tower!
Taxi You should now have your engines running, and most of your things set up. You can now leave the tower alone until you are all set up, planned, checked and ready to depart. It is advised to make yourself as ready as possible for take-off at this point. While you do not have a time limit for this, your friend in the tower will be very happy if you execute this promptly once you get the clearance. Before you get the clearance, it’s helpful to tell the tower what your status is. This is especially important if you are ready for departure, because then you will be on the fast-track to get airborne. To get the clearance, simply say your status and ask for what you want.
Example: H:“Kobuleti tower, Hornet Flight. We are ready for departure, request taxi to runway.” T:”Hornet, cleared taxi to holding runway 26”. NOTE: This means you are cleared to the HOLDING POINT, you are NOT cleared to enter the actual runway. This is because there could be traffic inbound to land, or someone is in front of you in the cue to take off.
At this point you can go ahead and taxi to the point next to the active runway, when you get there tower will usually get back to you automatically but sometimes they might forget you.
Departure You are now standing next to the runway, your engines are running and systems are all green. If you’re a real good friend of the tower, he will at this point give you a clearance to take off. If you’re best buds, you won’t even have to say anything! Ex. “Hornet, runway 26, cleared for take off!” This is a best case scenario, if Tower is either busy or not quite as good a friend as you would like you will have to remind them. You can also go straight out and request a departure, but it’s nicer to simply remind the Tower and let them feel nice by giving you what you want.
Example: H:”Tower, Hornet flight holding short for runway 26.”
The tower will then give you directions, either to continue to hold, line up on the runway or straight to Take Off. NOTE: The words TAKE OFF is not to used except for the CLEARED TO TAKE OFF call. Any other references to taking off should be DEPARTURE. NOTE: A “Line Up” or “Take Off” clearance is a clearance to enter the runway.
If you are cleared to hold, sit patiently until the tower gets back to you.
If you are cleared to Line Up, you taxi onto the runway and wait.
If you are cleared to Take Off, you taxi onto the runway and take off as soon as safely possible. Again you don’t have a time limit but there could be people coming in to land, so Tower would very much appreciate that you depart as soon as possible!
NOTE: Again, all of these are CLEARANCES, they should be read back to the controller!
Example: H:”Tower, Hornet flight holding by runway 26.” T:”Hornet, hold short. We have incoming flight to land." H:”Hold short, Hornet flight.” [Take note, reading back and finish with callsign] [Some time passes and a flight lands] T:”Hornet flight, Runway 26, Line up and wait.” H:”Runway 26, Line up and wait, Hornet Flight.” [Hornet now taxi onto the runway and waits patiently while the landing flight gets clear of the runway. Good time to do some final checks if you figured out you forgot anything] T:”Hornet flight, the runway is clear. Runway 26 Cleared for take off, northbound departure.” [Remember back when we told our intentions? This comes back here!] H:”Runway 26 Cleared for Take Off, Northbound departure.”
And there you have it, you are good to take off and have fun flying your airplane!
Post Script The radio calls written here are very standardized, you can expect to hear variations depending on the situation or mood of the Tower. A lot of these things can be combined with each other, when used on the field the phases can easily meld into each other. You can request startup when you call your intentions, for example! Remember the Tower is actually your friend, if you forget something, or do something wrong and he corrects you, it’s to cover your back!