With ATC but no contact. I'm good if you are?

This morning I was in mid-flight when ATC came on. I tuned into their frequency and boy howdy they were busy with the big boys (I fly low and slow). I did file IFR. The whole time in flight ATC was busy. I never contacted them and they never contacted me. I’m just fine with that when they are so busy. Is ATC ok with it? I will add that I was never a factor to other traffic.

If he needed you on the frequancy he would have contacted you probably. When I come online as ATC I also put priorities on traffic that I immidiately need. Later on, when I have the whole picture of the situation I start calling the other pilots.

Totally fine. At least in the US. Unless you’re in or wanting to get into Class A, B, C, or D airspace, you’re not really under any obligation to call ATC, so long as the weather mins are suitable for VFR flight in E or G.

Technique-wise, as a controller, if you’re below FL180 and not near any other positive controlled airspace, I won’t ping you unless you’re squawking something besides 1200.

Interesting. So if ATC comes online, it’s best I wait for them to contact me I shouldn’t make the first contact?

Not at all; in fact I prefer it when aircraft call me first without me having to ping them. In fact, I wish more VATSIM pilots utilized pop-up IFR clearances because that’s one thing that’s highly underutilized on VATSIM. All you do is call ATC with your callsign, approximate position, and say, “with a request.” ATC will know what “with a request” means and will get back to you when they have the time based on their workload.

Most folks don’t use this because they’re in Class A airspace (in the States, that is) and there’s already an implication that they took off with an IFR clearance and are just asking for enroute services. If you’re not at or above FL180, though, you can totally do a pop-up IFR.


I don’t quite understand when ATC is busy like that why some controllers continue to clog up the frequency with vector and altitude assignments instead of assigning published approaches to everyone (with maybe a reporting point or two), vector as needed for sequencing, and focus on clearances.

The ATC system is designed to not fall to pieces if the radar goes out now and then, why doesn’t ATC leverage that?

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I mean to be fair there’s a good chance that that’s exactly what the controller was doing.