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Robert McDonald

Flying in Europe Squawk Code Help Needed for VATSIM

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I built a flight plan and filed it on VATSIM after connecting to UK network when starting up Squawkbox 4.I departed from Brussels (EBBR) where there was NO ATC and reported my actions/position on Unicom 122.8 all throughout the flight.I flew all the way to England and was on Base leg to the final for rwy 27L (the active) and NO ONE advised me to contact ANY ATC controller. I flew Unicom until I acquired the localizer at which point I spoke with EGLL (Heathrow) tower and he was with me to the ground and taxiways. NOTE: I was the one who initiated the conversation with EGLL tower. Once I had acquired I came on and gave my callsign and informed I had acquired the localizer. Controller informed me I was #2 to land. I could see an aircraft ahead of me on the GLS.Is this usual for Heathrow? Would someone run solely as Heathrow Tower with no one handling the aircraft approaching the pattern?I had my squawk set last night to 2200 same problem. Tonight 2000 and same problem.It all turned out OK but was FAR outside my comfort zone and nothing like my normal VATSIM experience whereby the controllers greet you at least 25nm from the airport... no such luck tonight or last night at Heathrow.I'm trying to determine if I'm doing something wrong (e.g. wrong squawk code) remember no one 'assigned' me a code when I departed Brussels (NO ATC SERVICE) but I did file my flight plan on VATSIM when I connected to them before taxiing at Brussels (EBBR).Thanks for any suggestions.


 R. Scott McDonald  B738/L   Information is anecdotal only-without guarantee & user assumes all risks of use thereof.                                               

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Nothing went wrong, this is normal. It just means there wasn't a controller working approach at that time which happens a lot more than it doesn't, you've been lucky until now.As far as you're squawk code is concerned, if you're IFR it really doesn't matter(*see below) what you squawk when there's no ATC as long as it isn't VFR (1200 most places). If you're flying VFR make sure you're squawking VFR. The only reason I say this is because if a controller does log in and sees you, if you're squawking 1200 they wont necessarily contact you if you're not in an airspace that requires communication with VFR aircraft.Of course ALWAYS make sure you're squawking normal (mode C) if you're not on the ground.Why do you think you did something wrong?Edit: Just to be clear, I know there local rules for what you should be squawking at certain times, I'm just saying it doesn't matter in that it wont effect whether a controller contacts you.


Noah Bryant
 

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Robert - it was me who sent you the Unicom message re contacting EGLL Twr once you get established. During your flight there was no control above Heathrow Twr so you would fly the approach on Unicom and then contact the TWR once established since TWR can't control anyone until they're on final approach. For your IFR flight in Europe on Unicom a squawk of 2200 is exactly right.EDIT - you would normally find one of the Approach controllers on at Heathrow but you were unlucky at the time you came in.


Bill Casey

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VFR squawk is 7000 in Europe normally.If you set squawk 2000, IVAO software will recognise it as standart, non-assigned code and will handle you so, that means, a controller or observer will only see your position and altitude, although full flightplan can be accessed by the way of context menu.Not having a approach controller while having a tower controller is common. Tower is less complex and actually a step you more or less have to pass on the way to London Approach.If tower ATC on VATSIM contact you before you enter their actual zone or responsibility, is their choice. Some ATC on IVAO do so, some dont.


--Peter Fabian 
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Robert - it was me who sent you the Unicom message re contacting EGLL Twr once you get established. During your flight there was no control above Heathrow Twr so you would fly the approach on Unicom and then contact the TWR once established since TWR can't control anyone until they're on final approach. For your IFR flight in Europe on Unicom a squawk of 2200 is exactly right.EDIT - you would normally find one of the Approach controllers on at Heathrow but you were unlucky at the time you came in.
Nothing went wrong, this is normal. It just means there wasn't a controller working approach at that time which happens a lot more than it doesn't, you've been lucky until now.As far as you're squawk code is concerned, if you're IFR it really doesn't matter(*see below) what you squawk when there's no ATC as long as it isn't VFR (1200 most places). If you're flying VFR make sure you're squawking VFR. The only reason I say this is because if a controller does log in and sees you, if you're squawking 1200 they wont necessarily contact you if you're not in an airspace that requires communication with VFR aircraft.Of course ALWAYS make sure you're squawking normal (mode C) if you're not on the ground.Why do you think you did something wrong?Edit: Just to be clear, I know there local rules for what you should be squawking at certain times, I'm just saying it doesn't matter in that it wont effect whether a controller contacts you.
VFR squawk is 7000 in Europe normally.If you set squawk 2000, IVAO software will recognise it as standart, non-assigned code and will handle you so, that means, a controller or observer will only see your position and altitude, although full flightplan can be accessed by the way of context menu.Not having a approach controller while having a tower controller is common. Tower is less complex and actually a step you more or less have to pass on the way to London Approach.If tower ATC on VATSIM contact you before you enter their actual zone or responsibility, is their choice. Some ATC on IVAO do so, some dont.
Thanks to all who took the time to clarify this. The past 2 days were my first real foray into VATSIM in Europe. I have flown into Degaulle but not using Squawkbox4. I especially thank Bill Casey - for taking the trouble to help me when I was worrying about entering the glideslope in what I thought was a controlled airspace without ever being instructed to do so. I also recognize that VATSIM is at the discretion of the fine folk who take the role of controller, and they do a bang-up job, and make flying the simulator much more 'real' and instructive. I have a devil of a time with my 62-year-old ears and comprehending the wonderful British accent which I dearly love (but can't always understand). Just one more challenge when simming! Again, thank you all for helping me out.

 R. Scott McDonald  B738/L   Information is anecdotal only-without guarantee & user assumes all risks of use thereof.                                               

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Any time. Feel free to visit us in Prague.PeterIVAO-CZ Flight Operations Coordinator


--Peter Fabian 
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I also tried VATSIM recently. I'm having something strange. Always when I connect, there are barely any frequencies online, even when I go to KJFK, or KLAX. There's almost nobody. While I'm hearing other talk about TWR, GND, APP, etc. What am I doing wrong? I need help with VATSIM. Just also did my first IVAO flight today, went well, and there were plenty of controllers online for every airport.


Arjen Vandervelde

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The amount of ATC online depends on the time of day, whether or not it is the weekend or if an event is going on, and what part of the world your flying. Something to keep in mind is just like you all these people have a life outside of FS. Most are either in school or at work during the day hours.With currently 7,478 hrs on VATSIM I can tell you the following from my experience.North America and Europe are the busiest and have the most Controllers.Then you have South America, Asia, Austraila, and Africa.The best time to fly is in the Evening Hours for whatever country your flying in.The best days to fly are on the Weekends.If you want the Ultimate ATC experience flying in a planned Event will give you that. At most events you can expect Center, Approach, Departure, Tower, Ground and Delivery.You also might want to download your free copy of VATSPY. With this program you can see all the pilots and ATC who are online. This is a helpful tool if your looking for busy controlled airports to fly into.http://www.metacraft.com/VATSpy/


Paul Deemer

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Just want to say. Never squawk 7500!!! Insta ban or so am I told...


Manfred G.

 

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You cannot fly a circuit pattern at EGLL (without express permission of ATC!!!! Next time you must fly down the ILS beam.vololiberista
actually I mis-spoke, I should not have said "base leg" I was following the IFR flight plan which was approaching EGLL from the East (westerly heading) and a gentle left turn from the marker to the glideslope was where I was referring to as "base" leg - which of course it was not. I meant the last portion of the approach before intercepting the GLS and going FINAL. not a true 90 degree turn, more like a 45 from the marker. The LAM approach for EGGL was what I was flying.

 R. Scott McDonald  B738/L   Information is anecdotal only-without guarantee & user assumes all risks of use thereof.                                               

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Click Here for my YouTube channel 

 

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is that what they call a dog leg? or base / dog legs are just terms used in visual circuit patterns? Sorry about the OT by the way

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also, when using unicom, make sure you type in your calls regardless of whether you're on the unicom voice channel or not as you don't know if others are. Typing in chat notifies everyone on unicom in the area.I had a bad experience once flying into NZAA (Auckland, NZ) in a B738 - I made my calls from about 30 nm out - there was a guy taxiing out in a B744 to the active (he took off on the wrong inactive rwy, but thats another story). Anyway, I'm in the downwind leg and concentrating on my approach (eg. gear, flaps, etc etc) when suddenly I see his B744 looming up right in front of me and I actually 'collide' (would have if I had damage on) - freaked the hell out of me and I didn't have time to react. Morale of the story is....keep an eye on traffic in the pattern, esp if there's no atc available.


J Thomas YBBN

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