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Officially a "Scramble" is a Security Flight. This can either be an Alpha-Scramble (Actual Scramble) and a Tango-Scrample (Training Scramble). The idea is that a military jet (e.g. multirole combat aircraft, interceptor etc.) on the ground takes off with the goal to intercept another aircraft for defense of the airspace. For ATC the goal generally is to reduce time loss on ground and give the aircraft priority. A-Scrambles have this priority during the entire flight and are the second priority just behind emergencies. T-Scrambles also receive priority (like government flights) but they are a lower priority than A-Scrambles (also lower than Search and Rescue and flights carrying sick/ill passengers).

Remember that A-Scrambles and T-Scrambles are only permitted on VATSIM if all pilots involved are members of a VSO and agree to the procedure.

General notes:

  • During Departure ATC is in control of the aircraft, however, especially HDG and level would have to be given from the responsible defense authorities. Otherwise it is a normal military departure with priority.
  • Headings are called "Vector" and Flight Level are called Angels -> Vector 050, Angels 22 means HDG 050, FL220
  • Enroute the Military jet would be handed over to the responsible defense authority. However, ATC needs to know where the scramble is heading and has to keep all other traffic away from the scramble (maintain separation, especially in case of an A-Scramble!)
  • For the return the scramble is again under control of ATC. An A-Scramble is then degraded to a T-Scramble and should be allowed to fly the shortest possible routing.