announcing position
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when pilots announce their positoin to ATC and say example i am 8 miles northeast of airport
is northeast the heading of plane or is it the reverse heading of plane

for instance if you flying to or from the airport and you say i am 8 miles north of airport
can someone help
thanks
5 Replies
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when providing a position you should describe your location as if you were looking at a map. So a person on the airport wanted to see your airplane the person would look (direction) and (distance) from the airport. If it is busy add the altitude also. 
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1147 Posts
Antoine Faraj:
so lets say airport is behind me i am flying north heading, based on my position the airport is located sw of me do i say sw or the reverse to ATC
since if you stand at airport looking ahead, it would also be NE

I say again...

"Position" is your location relative to the airport. So, if you are located 8 miles north of the airport (i.e., someone standing in the middle of the airport would have to face north to see you), that's what you tell them, and it doesn't matter which way you are going.

So if the airport is southwest of you, then you are northeast of the airport, and that's what you tell them -- "Cessna 123 is x miles northeast of ABC airport."  If you're headed north, then you would add "...northbound."
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so lets say airport is behind me i am flying north heading, based on my position the airport is located sw of me do i say sw or the reverse to ATC
since if you stand at airport looking ahead, it would also be NE
this is my confusion
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1147 Posts
The airplane's heading is irrelevant to the location you announce.  "Position" is your location relative to the airport. So, if you are located 8 miles north of the airport (i.e., someone standing in the middle of the airport would have to face north to see you), that's what you tell them, and it doesn't matter which way you are going. You should also give them your direction of flight, i.e. your heading -- the direction your nose is pointed.  So if you are located 8 miles north of the airport on a heading of 270, you would tell them you are "8 miles north, westbound, [altitude]."  If you are proceeding to the airport and intend to land there, you can say "inbound" instead of your heading.
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Antione - when pilots announce their position to ATC they as you mention they are indicating their position in relation to the airport.  That is - if you were flying away from the airport - 8 miles north in your example - they would see a heading indicating north.  If instead they were flying toward the airport - 8 miles north - they would see a heading indicating south.