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Thread: Easiest way to work out what ATC frequency a flight is on?

  1. #1
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    Question Easiest way to work out what ATC frequency a flight is on?

    Hi there,

    I wanted to step up my efforts when following 7700's and wondered if there's any Google Map or website that shows what ATC channel a flight will be on? Especially when it's a channel that's available on LiveATC.net.

    I guess the information would be hard to collate, but it would be amazing. Any tips or hints you can send my way?

  2. #2
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    I'm not a pilot, so this is purely speculation, but I would bet that if a flight starts squawking 7700, it first contacts the center control for whatever region it's currently in. There are 20 of these regions in the US, and tons more throughout the rest of the world (unfortunately, though, each center has multiple frequencies).

    So you might be able to catch the traffic first on the regional control frequencies, but those control centers would probably pass the traffic off to an airport station or some other channel in the case of emergencies. And AFAIK the only way to know that information would be to hear the conversation happen in real time.

    Again, that's just speculation. If any pilots are willing to chime in, I'm curious as well!
    Last edited by aesoprrp; 2019-01-10 at 16:20.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by aesoprrp View Post
    I'm not a pilot, so this is purely speculation, but I would bet that if a flight starts squawking 7700, it first contacts the center control for whatever region it's currently in. There are 20 of these regions in the US, and tons more throughout the rest of the world (unfortunately, though, each center has multiple frequencies).

    So you might be able to catch the traffic first on the regional control frequencies, but those control centers would probably pass the traffic off to an airport station or some other channel in the case of emergencies. And AFAIK the only way to know that information would be to hear the conversation happen in real time.

    Again, that's just speculation. If any pilots are willing to chime in, I'm curious as well!

    Thanks for this. This is in line with what I was thinking. Is there a decent Google Map overlay or similar that shows the different ATC zones?

  4. #4
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    AFAIK there is no free map that shows the different ATC zones, except from each country's AIP (which you can find if you do google). But, the frequencies is not used all at the same time, and the same area. When there is less traffic they expand the area for a particular ATC, and he usually uses the same frequency for a larger area. Even in the approach phase there is more frequencies in use when the traffic is at peaks. When we approach major airports in the peak traffic period we are often changing frequencies, and may use 3-5 frequencies from 10.000 feet and down to landing. But when there is less traffic we sometimes are only using approach frequency or the tower frequency from 10.000 feet and until parked at the gate.

    Usually if we get an emergency, we are using the same frequency as "normal traffic" (personally I do not usually squawk 7700 either, unless the ATC tells me to do so). But sometimes if you are in a REALLY traffic heavy airspace you get your own frequency and ATC.

    Also, more and more of our communication is moved from voice type radio (aircraft band) to CPDLC. Which is like sending SMS to the ATC. Finally the aviation industry (which most people think is state of the art regarding technology etc., HE HE) is moving away from the AM radio communication which the rest of the world stepped away from in the 60s.

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