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Tobias Dammers

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Posts posted by Tobias Dammers

  1. 9 hours ago, Jim Rish said:

    Special snowflake, umm, huh  (?), even back umm, when, dude? The beautiful Concorde is special alright. It's one-of-a-kind beautiful. Period. Speaking of special, though, how about that now defunct airbus' A380? LoL. Actually, not funny though. Without doubt, the biggest financial blunder. An absolutely hideous concept, right pout of the proverbial starting gate.. The biggest disaster of a concoction, and design,  in aviation history.  

    The A380 is a special snowflake too. Both aircraft require procedures that differ from your standard airliner, though for different reasons (for Concorde, those reasons are noise, fuel burn, and speed; for the A380, it's size, weight, and wake turbulence). The reason the A380 procedures are still available is because the A380 is still flying; Concorde was decommissioned in 2003, and the type-specific procedures were scrapped IRL.

    I was making absolutely no comments about the merits of either aircraft - depending who you ask, either type is the best aircraft ever, or a horrible failure; I don't have a strong opinion on this, and it's also completely irrelevant in discussing why current procedures don't meet Concorde operational constraints.

  2. On 12/1/2020 at 2:30 PM, Jim Rish said:

     Your basic arrival procedures might be good for you in your Boeing and airbus air frames. It's NOT good for me flying the Concorde. I'm flying faster than you are, and the turns required for your basic arrival, are drastic, for me, and I have to bleed off quite a bit of speed. Departure isn't really an issue because of the work I have to do in order to get to cruise alt.  Eastern Russia, or starting at UKBB @ Kiev, and heading east, is the best area for what I fly. Otherwise, I would beat you, in the Euro sector via transocean routes, or to going to JFK & Miami from Heathrow and LFPG.

    Who exactly are you yelling at? Eurocontrol, for publishing procedures that are challenging to fly in an aircraft type that last flew 17 years ago, and that was a special snowflake even back then?

    VATSIM for using official real-life procedures?

    People who fly normal airliners for being insufficiently compassionate about your self-inflicted problems?

    I don't understand what your problem is, what you want changed, and who you expect to make those changes.

    • Like 3
    • Haha 2
  3. Indeed - the idea is that when a controller issues an instruction, the pilot should either do whatever it takes to make the aircraft do the correct thing and read back the instruction, or reject it (saying "unable") and negotiate an alternative instruction with ATC.

    Controllers should accommodate the latter: that is, if you're flying on MSFS2020, and cannot accept a STAR or approach that is different than what your flight plan says, then you can say "unable", and ATC will vector you onto a visual approach, or figure out some other way of getting you down. You can not, however, accept the instruction and then make a 180 that's not on the chart, even if it's due to MSFS messing up. Know your aircraft, know your sim, know what you can accept, and don't accept what you can't do.

    As someone who's been flying some rather buggy Flightgear aircraft on VATSIM, here's a protip that might help: when you're flying in LNAV mode, and you have to change something in the FMS, synchronize the heading bug with your current heading and switch to HDG mode before making the change. This will give you a chance to review the updated flight plan before allowing the autopilot to actually fly it. For example, one aircraft I've flown would sometimes rewind the flight plan all the way back to the departure runway when changing the approach while already on the STAR; doing this while LNAV is active would then turn the aircraft around towards the departure airport, which is wrong in 99% of cases. By switching to HDG first, the aircraft will instead keep flying straight, which is usually the right thing to do for the next couple minutes, and then I can just delete all the waypoints I don't need, or insert a DIRECT, or whatever, to fix the flight plan, and *then* switch back to LNAV when I'm confident that it will do the right thing. And nobody else will know.

  4. Well done you!

    If you like the King Air and feel comfortable flying it, I'd just stick with it for a while.

    Remember that to ATC, you are no less important than those tubeliners, and it is their job to make it work. You most certainly shouldn't need to maintain 250 knots on final. In fact, that would be pretty fast even for a large jet - typical speeds for intercepting the localizer are 180-210 knots, and most jets will be able to slow down to 140 knots or so at least.

  5. 13 hours ago, Patrik Kovacs said:

    I am using X-Plane 11 and xPilot together, which makes me able to connect to the multiplayer mode. Well, if I am about to connect to the network, I have an option to connect as an observer. In this case, I've checked the Vatsim map and I was not visible. Well, not a surprise, this is what I wanted. However, my question would be in connection with this: am I allowed to move/fly in observer mode? Won't I disturb anybody by doing that?

    Connecting as observer is fine, especially when you do it for learning purposes. The COC states that being connected as an observer for "excessive" amounts of time is not allowed, but in practice, as long as you don't keep the connection unattended or use vatsim as a "screensaver", you'll be fine. Observers are not visible to others as traffic or active ATC (though some clients do list observers as such), so you're not disrupting anyone, even if you move / fly around. You are essentially invisible. The only thing to keep in mind is that an observer connection still uses bandwidth and server capacity, which is the reason for the "no excessive observing" rule.

    13 hours ago, Patrik Kovacs said:

    As I am a newbie, when I will firstly connect to the network with the goal to fly and communicate with ATC, it can easily happen that I misunderstand some things, can't do perfect readback and so on. In this case, am I risking that my account will be suspended? I have zero intention of ruining realism or the gameplay of other people, and I am a bit scared of that if I am being honest.

    You will never be suspended for making honest mistakes. Even very experienced pilots will sometimes mess up, and radio communications are notorious for being hard to understand, which is why we have all this phraseology and readbacks and all that in the first place. Do your homework, familiarize yourself with the relevant phraseology, make an honest effort, but most of all, don't panic, a single mistake will never cause a disaster, all procedures are designed with several safeguards. Even gross mistakes, such as taxiing onto the active runway without clearance, will not get you banned (unless you're obviously doing it on purpose), though you will most likely get a rather stern call from ATC.

    A couple tips to make your first vatsim flights easier and more likely to succeed:

    • Come prepared. Have all the charts you need laid out in order; the last thing you want is frantically look for the approach plate to find your minimums when you're already on short final.
    • Anticipate. When you ask for your IFR clearance, you know that the answer will most likely be your clearance, and that it will contain a lot of information - so have pen and paper ready before requesting clearance, and ideally, already have the expected clearance written down in shorthand. Now instead of frantically scribbling down everything the controller says, you just read along, check the parts that you guessed correct, and quickly change the parts you guessed wrong or didn't know. Quite often, all you need to add is your squawk code. And the same goes for other things. When you report "ready for taxi", expect taxi instructions, so you want to have a taxi chart at hand. During descent, expect a STAR and landing runway, so you may want to ready your STAR charts and open the relevant NAV page on your FMC. When zooming down your STAR, expect vectors, so it helps to keep the heading bug aligned with your current heading. After landing, expect a gate number and taxi instructions, so have parking and taxi charts ready.
    • Fly what you're comfortable with. This goes for the aircraft: fly a type you are deeply familiar with, something you can fly in your sleep. You don't want to frantically look for the APPR button while being vectored to final - talking to ATC, turning the heading knob, and managing your speed, flaps, landing gear, etc., will be enough to task-saturate you. Same for the airport and route: don't file anything you can't comfortably fly, and don't accept any instructions that you don't know how to follow. The only instructions you absolutely must be ready to follow are radar vectors: flying an assigned heading, altitude, and airspeed.
    • Use the magic phrases. They are: "say again", "unable", and "request vectors". It's a million times better to use "say again" than to wing it (and guess wrong). It's a thousand times better to say "unable" than to attempt something you can't do. It's much much better to request vectors to final than to frantically type a complex procedure into your FMC and hope you got it right. And each of these three phrases can reduce your workload and stress by a lot.
    • Make time. There are only a handful of moments during your flight where time is absolutely critical: takeoff / departure, short final, landing. Any other flight situation offers the possibility to buy yourself more time. On the ground, you can always hold: e.g., after vacating the runway, you usually don't have to keep rolling (just make sure you have fully vacated, tail past the bar) - just come to a full stop, set parking brake, and then calmly turn off landing lights, retract flaps, reset autobrake, and whatever else you may have on your After Landing checklist, before taxiing to your gate. And in the air, you can always ask for a hold or delay if you need time to figure things out, and, as that irritating song goes, "you can always go around" - even if it's just task saturation, any reason at all that makes you doubt a successful landing is a good enough reason to go around. Just hit that TOGA button, establish yourself in the missed approach climb, and call ATC.

    This is considered good airmanship, and will most certainly not get you kicked or banned.

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  6. Yeah, best bet is to look at something like vatspy or simaware to see where there is ATC, and make your pick.

    Your best bet is probably a local hop between minor airports when CTR is staffed: you'll get top-down coverage for the entire route, and by avoiding the major hub airports, you avoid things getting overly busy on the ground and through the approach.

    And don't worry about getting in the way: that's for ATC to figure out, and AFAIK most controllers actually enjoy a bit of a change of pace between all the tubeliners.

  7. So, with a couple days to let things sink in, some constructive feedback from my end, as a first-time CTP pilot (and also a bit of professional perspective from a programmer of 30 years).

    First of all: this was by far the best and most impressive event I've been part of in my (relatively short) VATSIM career so far. Great work from everyone involved - organizers for making it happen, controllers for providing excellent service, the tech people for setting up all the infrastructure and software the event needed, and fellow pilots, with and without slots, for making this an incredible experience. Please take all the criticism to follow as minor things against an overwhelmingly positive backdrop.

    With that out of the way, things that I think could be improved:

    • Communicate more clearly what the procedures will be for each oceanic sector. There was quite some confusion about these up to the day of, and conflicting information being distributed was part of that. If at all possible, make it clear beforehand where, when, and how people should request oceanic clearances, in what situations posreps are required, how those posreps are to be made, and how/when one should call in with oceanic control.
    • Refrain from deploying brand new software mere days before the event. The new nattrak tool would have been great to have, but decades in programming have taught me that "less than a week before showtime" is not the moment to deploy anything that hasn't been thoroughly tested. In fact, it's probably not the moment to do any deployments at all.
    • Make a safer mechanism for slot trading. Both sides dropping their slots at an agrees moment and then picking up the other one probably works fine when the first round of slot allocation is "first come, first serve", but the lottery changed the dynamics of when and how people acquire and drop slots and when people "camp" the booking site, and as a result, many people lost their slots entirely in trading attempts. Maybe this is intentional, with the risk involved disincentivizing trading, but still, this is pretty heart breaking, especially when it happens on a larger scale.
  8. Also maybe worth noting that contacting the wrong controller isn't the end of the world - they'll tell you to contact someone else, or monitor UNICOM, and that's that.

  9. 2 hours ago, Ulrich Karp said:

    Finally the lottery: I must admit it may be fairer to do it this way but it probably has caused a lot more frustration than the first-come-first-take we have had in the past. But luckily we have two CPTs, so why not make it both ways? So next time 'first come', then lottery and so on.

    My $0.02 on that matter: the lottery is hands-down the better system; what caused this "frustration" was mainly this quirk of the human psyche where anything you receive repeatedly will be perceived as a habitual right, and changing it feels like something is taken away from you. And so any CTP veteran who got used to just grabbing a slot ASAP when the booking opens would get this subtle feeling of being "cheated" out of "their" slot.

    Apart from this weird psychological effect, the bottom line is the same in both events: some people get a slot, others don't, and those who don't will feel disappointed or frustrated. This cannot be helped; but the lottery at least avoids unfair advantages.

    • Like 3
  10. 1 hour ago, Magnus Meese said:

    Clearance recieved: Continue the crossing, if deemed safe by pilot. Clearance not recieved: Do not enter the OCA, squawk 7600 and divert domestically. The whole purpose of the OCA clearance is to provide you with separation against every other aircraft currently in or entering at any point during your entire crossing, in case of a radio failure.

    I didn't mean that as a question that I need answered here, but rather, that answering these questions clearly beforehand would have helped reduce the confusion around Gander when technical problems got in the way of radio comms.

    • Like 1
  11. First-time CTP pilot here.

    Big shout-out to the organizers and controllers, you folks pulled off an incredible operation.

    Professional ATC, great job handling the rude, the impatient, the incompetent, and the uninformed. Awesome planning and logistics - I expected to be delayed at least 30 minutes on the ground, and an hour or so in the air, but actually got out of KBOS and into LSZH with zero delay. Absolutely amazing.

    AFAICT, the lottery did a great job too; painful for those who didn't get a slot, but IMO the best, sanest, most respectful way of going about it. Please keep.

    Some ideas for future improvement:

    • Communicate oceanic procedures earlier and more clearly. Where, when, and from whom do I get my oceanic clearance? Do I need to make posreps? How do I deal with loss of radio contact over the ocean?
    • Would be nice to have controllers at the departure airports, especially Delivery, log on a tad bit earlier.
    • Make slot trading less risky. I've seen several people lose their slot entirely when someone snatched it away under their noses while they were trying to swap it. I know, it's part of the "fun" that trades are risky, but still, it sucks for those who lose their slots this way.
  12. 2 hours ago, Simon Kelsey said:

    Naturally that can happen occasionally, but if it is happening regularly then your SA could probably be improved (or you have a very buggy addon 😄)

    I think this was in reference to the ideas outlined in the famous "Children of the Magenta Line" lectures, especially how he emphasizes that the first response to unexpected automation behavior should be to drop to a lower level of automation.

    If the FMS doesn't fly where you want to go, don't try to fix the FMS - switch to HDG mode, turn the knob until the aircraft goes where you want it to go, and THEN fix the FMS.

    If the autopilot does weird things, don't try to fix the autopilot - disconnect it, hand-fly the aircraft, regain stability, and THEN assess the situation and fix the autopilot.

    This isn't something you should need to be doing all the time, but it's nonetheless a good idea to make this your first reflex: something isn't doing what it's supposed to -> drop down to a lower level of automation.

    • Like 1
  13. 17 hours ago, Jon Hagen said:

    when things are just not working and i am getting into a spiral of panic, what is the correct way to say (sorry ATC i cannot proceed) was i ok to disconnect or can i be a little more professional (i would like to be) to say sorry ATC i will clear the airway and try again another time?

    The four most important phrases: "Standby", "Say again", "Unable", "Request vectors".

    And the two most important rules:

    1. Aviate, Navigate, Communicate. If you're too busy flying the aircraft (aviate) and figuring out what's going on (navigate), push the communication to the bottom by saying "standby".
    2. Never accept / readback instructions you are not comfortable executing. Saying "unable" when you can't comply is 100 times better than trying to wing it and messing up.

    And finally: task saturation is real, and cockpit workload is a perfectly valid reason to reject or postpone instructions. When you notice that you're about to enter a "spiral of panic", calm down and fly the aircraft. Level the wings, maintain altitude, maintain airspeed. THEN start worrying about navigating: figure out where you are, where you're going, and where you're supposed to go. Then finally, once you have regained situational awareness AND calmed down to the point where you can think straight, pick up the radio and resume communication. But fly the aircraft first.

    • Like 2
  14. 8 hours ago, Alexey Wasilevsky said:

    And let the atc give that unicom track to non-slot pilots, when they ask for the oceanic clearance.

    AFAIU, this is pretty much what's going to happen. If you fly without a slot, you will have to wait longer for your oceanic clearance (event traffic is prioritized in oceanic clearance delivery), and when you get it, it will contain a massive re-routing onto what amounts to an unofficial non-event track, where no ATC is provided.

    On top of that, non-slot pilots should also be prepared to hold a lot, both on the ground and in the air.

  15. 7 hours ago, Alex Ashley said:

    Seems a bit abrupt to close Tegel to IFR entirely on VATSIM, even due to conflicting procedures. If a pilot wants to fly to Tegel, it can't be that difficult to potentially make room in a sequence for them - or even vector them? 

    The London TMA is full of conflicts between dozens of airports and that survives fine in real world and on VATSIM - I don't see why an airport should be closed for IFR entirely especially when it's most likely to be a handful of flights every year!

    The reason it works in London airspace is because the real-world procedures are all designed to make it work. Berlin's new procedures however won't be, so just taking the updated procedures for EDDB and the old ones for EDDT won't work as well as using real-world procedures over London.

  16. This is a somewhat inevitable consequence of model mapping.

    You see, people use all sorts of simulators on VATSIM, and not everyone has the same set of aircraft models and liveries installed. Hence, the pilot client will perform "model mapping": it takes the standard ICAO aircraft and airline codes sent over the network, and tries to find a matching aircraft in your local model set. If the other person flies a sensible combination (e.g. a KLM 737-800), and you have a matching model and livery installed locally, then the model mapper should find it and use it, and everything will look OK. But if you encounter someone with a combination that doesn't exist IRL (e.g. a KLM A320), or an aircraft/airline combo for which you don't have an exact match, then the model mapper will have to make an educated guess, and that guess will of course be wrong, but still better than showing nothing at all. For example, today someone flew an An-124 in Antonov house livery out of EHAM, and I don't have any model for that, so it showed up as a China Airlines 747.

    This can happen even if you have the right livery, but for the wrong aircraft, because liveries aren't generally compatible between aircraft models, so if, for example, you have both an A320 and A321 model installed, but you only have a Lufthansa livery for the A320, then a Lufthansa A321 will probably not show up as Lufthansa, but as an A321 of some other airline.

    • Like 1
  17. 4 hours ago, klaus legrand said:

    Me too Andreas ! I was just wondering if the other airplane would have the appropriate RA as in the real world , as for me yesterday i crossed a WIZZ air flight over Austria, my RA was telling me "descend" i just hope the other aircraft had "climb" advisory.

    Something maybe to try and check online 🙂

    As has been discussed earlier, the VATSIM protocol has no facilities that would allow transponders to talk to each other, and even if it did, it would be quite difficult to hook this up with the various TCAS systems in all sims and aircraft models. Hence, TCAS on VATSIM behaves like a real-world TCAS encountering traffic equipped with a Mode-C, non-TCAS transponder - it will figure out a best guess at a deconfliction path, but it won't know what the other side will do, and it won't be able to tell it either. The way TCAS rules are written, this should still lead to successful deconfliction in most cases, but it's certainly not guaranteed.

  18. Considering that:

    • ...the booking system only registers CID's, and doesn't even ask for a callsign;
    • ...slots are issued to accounts, and come with a routing;
    • ...CID and callsign are equally available to any clients, and equally easy to extract automatically;
    • ...the clearance request tool (nattrak or whatever will be used) probably also uses VATSIM SSO;

    ...I am fairly confident that it will indeed be based on CID, not callsign.

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  19. 2 hours ago, Oscar Berenguer said:

    For someone who has never controlled, that's quite some optimism on human's capability to multitask.

    Not at all. No multitasking is required, just automation. And as someone who's been in that particular field of work for 30 years, I'm telling you that that's perfectly doable.

    Note that flights with a slot still need to obtain an oceanic clearance, and that this is done through an automated tool - meaning that all the filtering can be done before a human even gets to look at the request.

    And from here, things become fairly straightforward: without an oceanic clearance, domestic won't hand you over to oceanic control, so you just don't get to enter controlled oceanic airspace. At this point, you can try and wait it out until you do receive an un-slotted oceanic clearance (which, I believe, is either not going to happen at all, or only for a slot after the event is over, or with a massive re-routing), or you can divert (i.e., not cross the ocean after all), or you can ignore ATC advice and face the VATSIM equivalent of a fighter escort, .wallop.

    For event airfields, I bet they have similar tooling so that whoever plans the departures automatically gets to process event traffic first, sorted by slot time.

    None of this is difficult from a technical perspective, and none of it requires human multitasking, just a bunch of relatively straightforward automation.

  20. 4 hours ago, Bill Casey said:

    As asked on Page 1: How will the en route controllers know who to "ignore"?

    Frankly, since I've never done any controlling, I don't know exactly, but I'm sure that can be sorted out.

    For starters, in order to enter controlled oceanic airspace, you need an oceanic clearance, which means that whoever schedules those would be the one to do the check, rather than the oceanic enroute controllers. Since routes are assigned with the slot, and linked to the vatsim member ID, automating the "is this event traffic" check at this stage is going to be straightforward, and I bet someone has already prepared the necessary software.

    So what I would expect here is that when you request an oceanic clearance, and you don't have a slot, two things will happen: first, your request will be processed with low priority; and second, if you requested anything that conflicts with the event, you will be rerouted.

    19 hours ago, Eric Fisher said:

    Pilots wanting to fly without a booking should do the up and over route via BGGL and BIRD airspace and then down via SCO airspace staying north of Gander, Shanwick and domestic Shannon airspace. 

    Out of curiosity: will the northernmost city pairs still be routed entirely through Gander and Shanwick, or will some of the ESSA traffic pass through Reykjavik airspace? A direct routing from CYYZ to ESSA, for example, passes over both Greenland and Iceland, and in fact bypasses Shanwick airspace entirely. So without knowing the planned routings, flying via BGGL and BIRD may still conflict with CTP.

  21. 34 minutes ago, Jason Thompson said:

    I can't even find the link for the bookings. Which by know are probably all filled.

    When they say they will give priority to ones who have missed out next time, how are they going to do this???. In previous years they have had specific tracks for no slotted traffic, shame they can't do that again.


    Go to https://ctp.vatsim.net/, log in, and there will be a heading "Reservation" in the menu.

    The slots aren't filled yet, because the lottery hasn't even started, and there is no limit to the number of people entering the lottery, just how many slots will be allocated. Reservations can be entered and changed until November 4th.

    Also read https://vats.im/ctpinfo2020, which explains the new process, the rationale behind it, and why there will not be any non-event support this year.

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