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IFR enroute: late turn after DCT new waypoint

During enroute IFR phase, I was assigned a HDG and then a little later “proceed direct [waypoint]”, which I programmed into the G1000 (DCT function) and it was about a 20° right turn from my current heading. ~1 minute later, I realized that I forgot to press the NAV button, so I was still in HDG mode flying on the old heading. After realizing my mistake, I press NAV. But of course, now it doesn’t go DCT to waypoint from my current position, but intercepts the magenta line created 1 minute before when I programmed the DCT.
I get raised by ATC “HB-XXX confirm DCT waypoint” and I realize I made it only worse by letting the AP intercept. I just go DCT waypoint now and all is good.

So just to confirm, based on ATC’s reaction, if I ever have a similar situation again, I should go DCT waypoint from where I am currently, right? Somehow I had this brain-fart like “but they cleared my DCT back then, so that line is cleared for me, I should probably get back on that line”. And either way, at a certain point I should let ATC know that I screwed up and what my intentions are. But when is that point reached? A few seconds? 1 minute? I guess it depends on the flight phase, too, right? During an approach, 1 minute is an eternity, enroute maybe not so much? I also thought 1 minute at 20° is maybe not so much of a cross track error as if it was 90° and 1 minute.

Switzerland

HBadger wrote:

So just to confirm, based on ATC’s reaction, if I ever have a similar situation again, I should go DCT waypoint from where I am currently, right?

Yes, just do DCT again so go direct from where you are. And no, I wouldn’t recommend telling ATC – they have RADAR. Obviously if the mistake means you blow through the final approach track let them know you are coming back in from the other side.

This happens to us all. Just try to remember DCT then NAV and confirm that NAV is selected.

Last Edited by JasonC at 08 Sep 16:06
EGTK Oxford

JasonC wrote:

This happens to us all.

Certainly been there and done that….

ATC cannot see your magenta line. But they can see you FLOWN track and heading. If you are trying to get back on the magenta line they will see your track as being off.

EKRK, Denmark

Yes it’s clear now. It’s all about predictability, and intercepting the outdated magenta line makes ATC think I am not flying to the cleared waypoint, as it cannot be predicted from their perspective if and where I will start flying DCT to the waypoint.

I’m still wondering though at what point I should fess up and let ATC know that I didn’t follow their instructions and remained on my old HDG for too long.

Switzerland

There is no “confession” phraseology in ICAO doc 4444.

EKRK, Denmark

HBadger wrote:

I’m still wondering though at what point I should fess up and let ATC know that I didn’t follow their instructions and remained on my old HDG for too long.

They will usually call you and remind you to go direct XYZ or ask you to confirm you are DCT as they did you. As I said, I wouldn’t typically call them and “fess up” to anything. Just fix it.

EGTK Oxford

Quite. Never confess anything over the radio, even if you very obvious did something wrong.

Frankfurt (EDFZ, EDFE), Germany

Exacly. Just get back on the DCT ASAP.

EKRK, Denmark
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