In today’s episode of VATSIM Guide, we will take you through the very first ATC facilities – Delivery and Ground. These are the two facilities you contact when you’re on the ground. We will tell you the basics of how to communicate with them.
Delivery and Ground is more likely one facility which is called Ground (ICAO_GND), however, on some occasions, you can meet a delivery facility and ground facility split (ICAO_DEL and ICAO_GND). Always remember, when there is any kind of ATC facility at the airport (ICAO_TWR, ICAO_APP, ICAO_CTR) you have to contact them, and they’ll give you clearance. This tutorial can be used on any facility during requesting clearance and pushback.
Please note, that we use European phraseology, and American can be a lot different from this one. This tutorial is for voice use, but it can be used for text as well, but you don’t need to say your callsign at the end of the sentence if the text communication is used.
Let’s start off with the airport Delivery and clearance request. Keep in mind, that during clearance, in some countries you’ll have to tell more information, like gate and aircraft type (mainly in the UK). Let’s say you’re flying from London Heathrow to Madrid as Speedbird 11 flying A321 (BAW11). The first thing you need to ensure, that you have filed your flight plan. Make sure to know which gate you’re at, and what aircraft type you fly.
Sometimes, ATC may send you a PDC clearance (only in UK). Which is sent to you by private messages and it contains everything you need for your flight. You won’t have to read it back, and you’ll need only to request push and start sequence from the ATC.
Let’s say, you didn’t get any PDC clearance, and you need to request it on your own. Here is an example how to do that.
PILOT: Heathrow Delivery, good morning, BAW11 (you say Speedbird 11. No need to say this if you use text) with information B (ATIS information, check ATIS only if there is any) at gate 544, type A321, request IFR clearance to Madrid.
ATC: BAW11, good morning, information B is correct, you’re cleared to your destination Madrid, MAY2G departure runway 27L, initial climb 5000ft, squawk 1723, QNH1019.
PILOT: Cleared to the destination Madrid, MAY2G departure runway 27L, initial climb 5000ft, squawk 1723, BAW11
ATC: BAW11, readback is correct, call me when ready to push and start.
During clearance, it is very handy to have a piece of paper as it may be really helpful. If you didn’t catch anything, ask the ATC to “say again”. It is better to ask five times rather than making a mistake.
At this stage, just prepare your aircraft for pushback as usual. After you’ve finished everything, ask for push and start clearance.
PILOT: BAW11, Ready to push and start
ATC: BAW11, contact Ground on 121.925 have a nice flight, bye-bye.
PILOT: Ground on 121.925 bye-bye.
PILOT: Heathrow Ground good morning, BAW11, type A321 at gate 544, ready to push and start
ATC: BAW11 push and start approved, facing south
PILOT: Push and start approved, facing south, BAW11
You need to check the charts and find which direction you should push to when you need to end up with aircraft facing southbound. From gate 544, the south should be on your left side.
When you pushback, you need to request a taxiing route to the active runway.
PILOT: BAW11, request taxi
ATC: BAW11, taxi to holding point (ATC may or may not say the holding point) N3 runway 27L via C, second left turn to A and LOMAN (taxi point in EGLL)
PILOT: Taxi to holding point N3 runway 27L via C, second left turn to A and LOMAN, BAW11.
Now, you can taxi through the dedicated route towards the holding point, during approaching the holding point, the Ground will contact you to switch frequencies.
(in case of no further coverage)
ATC: BAW11, no further ATC available, monitor Unicom 122.800, bye-bye
PILOT: Unicom 122.800, thanks for the service, bye-bye
If there will be a Tower or Approach, Ground will tell you which facility and frequency to contact.
ATC: BAW11, contact [Facility] on [Frequency], have a nice flight, bye-bye
PILOT: Contact [Facility] on [Frequency], thank you, bye-bye.
Then you just report the next facility which holding point you’re at, then, they’ll give you clearance. If you are on Unicom, you can continue on your own.
To simulate an arrival Ground facility, we will skip straight to the arrival in Madrid. If there is nothing but ground, you’ll contact them when you vacate the runway, as the runway is not controlled by ground.
PILOT: Madrid Ground, good morning, BAW11, at holding point Y2, request taxi.
ATC: BAW11, good morning, taxi to gate 552 via N10 and NY11.
PILOT: Taxi to gate 552 via N10 and NY11.
When you arrive at the gate, you don’t need to do anything special if you aren’t flying back. If you are, the delivery and ground cycle repeats. We hope you found this episode of the VATSIM Guide helpful. In the next episode, we will talk about the Tower and Approach facilities.