Movie Night with ATC

In my house, every Friday night is “Movie Night.” While the movies are rarely educational (I don’t think I learned anything from the Lego Movie), we look forward to the weekly opportunity to spend time together. Why not use the same concept for your Flying Club (with the addition of education, of course)?

A communication-themed movie night is made simple with the use of ASI’s popular “Ask ATC” video series ( It’s a clever way to get a firsthand glimpse of how air traffic controllers handle common pilot requests during VFR and IFR flights. In the videos, controllers explain the benefits of ATC services that improve our situational awareness in the air and on the ground, and what we can do to avoid unnecessary mishaps by knowing how to use and when to ask for services—from basic transponder operations to IFR flight plan filing to declaring an emergency.

For example, when you file a VFR flight plan will controllers know your route? Do you know how to request and receive “VFR on Top”? What should you expect when transitioning through different airspace while you are receiving flight following? “Ask ATC” answers these questions and more.

If you don’t have an Internet connection where you hold your safety meeting, no problem! Download the videos onto your computer and bring them with you. ASI’s Safety to Go downloads ( include two “Ask ATC” videos –Progressive Taxi and When to Ask for Flight Following. Both are important topics for all pilots, and they serve as conversation starters for your club.

Review the videos during your next Safety Meeting so your club members will be well equipped to work with ATC anytime they need to ask for their help. Whether it’s a routine flight or they’ve encountered a potential problem, the reassuring voice at the other side of the mic will provide assistance and help guide you through the situation.

Developed in collaboration between the Air Safety Institute and the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA), “Ask ATC” offers a perfect opportunity to venture beyond its radar scopes. Visit the website at for your next flying club “Movie Night.” Oh, and popcorn is strongly encouraged!

Safe pilots are always learning, and the Air Safety Institute’s goal is to ensure pilots have a wealth of information to keep flying safely. Our educational programs are funded through donations from pilots dedicated to forwarding that mission. Show your support by donating to the AOPA Foundation today (

Topics: FAA Information and Services, ATC, Flying Club

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