andyinpit
Topic Author
Posts: 147
Joined: Fri Sep 14, 2007 10:45 am

Question For Pilots...best ATC?

Sun Jun 06, 2010 9:17 pm

For all those that fly out there (for a living or hobby) what are the best ATC facilities you deal with on a regular basis? IE friendliest, will go above and beyond, stuff like that. And on the reverse end of that, what facilities do you just dread flying into/through?
 
PGNCS
Posts: 2249
Joined: Sun Apr 15, 2007 5:07 am

RE: Question For Pilots...best ATC?

Mon Jun 07, 2010 2:37 pm

I like Cleveland and Minneapolis Center. I find Memphis Center to be routinely the rudest, and Indianapolis Center to be the most frustrating to deal with. New York and Washington are good, but so busy that I can't say they are especially friendly, while Atlanta and Chicago Centers are normally great in the slack times, and obviously less accommodating during really busy times. Albuquerque Center is always pleasant, and LA and Jacksonville are a mixed bag. I don't really care for Miami Center.

I don't dread flying through any Center airspace, but if I had to pick my least favorites they would be Miami, Memphis, and Indy Centers. Favorites? Minneapolis, Cleveland, and Atlanta Centers overall.
 
e38
Posts: 400
Joined: Sun May 04, 2008 10:09 pm

RE: Question For Pilots...best ATC?

Tue Jun 08, 2010 7:58 pm

Andyinpit, I have to be honest with you that I think this is a very unusual post, because I don't think there are specific ATC facilities in general that are friendlier, or provide better service, or treat pilots nicer/less nice, etc.
Naturally, every ATC facility may have individual controllers who are friendlier, or like to chit-chat with the flight crews, but my impression of the U.S. ATC program--ARTCC, TRACON, Tower/Ground/Clearance Delivery, etc is that they all provide a very consistent, professional level of air traffic control services. I think the Federal Aviation Administration does a magnificent job of standardization and quality control. The quality (including friendliness) of service I have received has been the same be it Miami Center or Seattle Center (or Boston Approach Control or Tucson Approach Control, or Kennedy Ground or Des Moines Ground--well, they seem to talk a little faster in the Northeast).

Of course a controller at Bismarck Approach Control may have more time to chat than one working Potomac Approach Control, but in general, even at 3 a.m. cruising over Montana, I don't engage in much conversation with the controllers. I'll do my job, I'll let them do their jobs, and I'll try to keep the whole pilot/controller exchange 100 percent professional, regardless of the time or location. Sometimes a controller at Philadelphia Approach Control may sound more "frenzied" or abrupt than one at Little Rock, but that's only because he/she is working a higher volume of aircraft and not because they are rude.

Also, keep in mind, in any given facility, for example Houston Center, one controller may be working high density traffic climbing and descending into and out of IAH and HOU, while another controller in the same facility may be working very few aircraft over West Texas. It all depends.

In reply number 1, PGNCS mentioned that , "I find Memphis Center to be routinely the rudest,"
but does he mean every controller who works there? or everytime he checks in?
I have worked lots of flights through Memphis Center and have never found any of the controllers to be anything other than professional, helpful, courteous, and completely standardized. I didn't really understand his answer.

I hope this helps you understand the U.S. Air Traffic Control system.

(P.S. I've also flown all over the world and have found foreign controllers to be professional, helpful, and courteous--sometimes a little difficult to understand at times--but professional, helpful, and courteous nevertheless).

All over the world, I think the goal of ATC and flight crews is to move aircraft safely and efficiently.

There are no ATC facilities that I dread flying into or through. I like flying through all of them.

e38

[Edited 2010-06-08 13:01:37]

[Edited 2010-06-08 13:04:31]
 
PGNCS
Posts: 2249
Joined: Sun Apr 15, 2007 5:07 am

RE: Question For Pilots...best ATC?

Wed Jun 09, 2010 12:51 am

Quoting e38 (Reply 2):
In reply number 1, PGNCS mentioned that , "I find Memphis Center to be routinely the rudest,"
but does he mean every controller who works there? or everytime he checks in?
I have worked lots of flights through Memphis Center and have never found any of the controllers to be anything other than professional, helpful, courteous, and completely standardized. I didn't really understand his answer.

I generally agree with you e38, and perhaps I should clarify. Most controllers I have contact with are professional and polite, which is why I said I didn't dread flying anywhere. Compared to other centers, though, my opinion of Memphis is lower on average. Most Memphis controllers are fine, though they are less helpful, less courteous, less inclined to check on rides (or give one word ride reports even when they don't seem busy; maybe they are busy, but I generally know when someone is busy and when they aren't,) and are far, far less likely to say "good morning" (etc.) than other centers even in slack times. This is my highly subjective opinion, and nothing more.

I absolutely do not think Memphis controllers are unsafe, nonstandard, or bad people, I just don't enjoy talking to most of them as much as other, more helpful center controllers. Feel free to disagree, it's not a scientific poll: the OP specifically framed it as a question of opinion, and I gave him my honest views on the subject.
 
ATCtower
Posts: 472
Joined: Mon Dec 10, 2007 1:46 am

RE: Question For Pilots...best ATC?

Wed Jun 09, 2010 4:04 am

Facilities have nothing to do with it. Controllers make the difference. I know controllers that will tell you it is too busy to get you in to DEN at 2 AM, and others that will work you in the mix at 8 AM Monday morning.

As far as facility morale, the smaller the facility generally the better.
By reading the above post you waive all rights to be offended. If you do not like what you read, forget it.

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