After a long day of flying to new places, there’s a reassuring feeling about entering a familiar airspace. There’s nothing like the initial descent back home. That being said, there are times when our familiarity with our home airport leads to a dangerous state of expectancy.

After flying for some time in our home airspace – we develop a comfort level with the landmarks and procedures. (There’s no place like home, there’s no place like home.) Well Dorothy, don’t get complacent.

Even though we get used to flying the same routes and profiles into our home base, from time to time, ATC may change the picture up on us. We might be asked to do something we haven’t done before.

When we get the ATIS, and are preparing for arrival, it’s a good idea to make a mental note that today is a new day – and the ATC environment is ever-changing. There may be a test flight going on, or a medical emergency that is going to alter what needs to be done on your end. We might be asked to do something out of the ordinary.

Once we take off, the goal is always to return safely home. Staying alert to the changing world around us, and avoiding complacency is one of the best ways to ensure we get home safely.

 

James Marasa and Edward Lee are air traffic controllers in Edmonton Centre and Calgary Terminal.  You can ask them aviation-related questions at www.facebook.com/atcreadback and get more tips on how to work with air traffic control.

“Ask ATC” Blog