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Can we get lower please?


Kyle Rodgers 910155
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And a similar annoying thing is controllers in approach airspace who keep stepping us down even though there's no traffic. We ask for lower and get 8,000. Then 6,000. 5,000. 4,000. How about just give us all PD to the lowest altitude you can and save those 10 extra radio transmissions?

 

...A lot of times it's because there is a piece of airspace we cannot descend you through because we don't control it so it's not ours to send you through, or MVA related.

 

If you don't control the airspace, you should be making a point-out to whoever does control it so we can keep our descent or climb going. (Or if that sector is offline, do a "look and go" -- if you see no conflicting traffic, go!). That's much more realistic than stepping us down or making us level at the top of your airspace when there's no traffic above. Point-outs or look-and-go happen all the time in the r/w, so I think it's realistic to do it here.

 

And I do know all about MVA's, but those weren't relevant in my examples.

 

I know all about point outs and APREQs, trust me, I deal with shelves on a daily basis in the rw. However, at the same time, we may chose to treat it as an unresponsive controller when we call for a point out and opt to keep you in our airspace so we're not technically breaking any rules. That's why you'll sometimes here "Expect lower in 10 miles" or w/e. Let us enjoy our simulation, after all, we're here to enjoy this as well.

 

When I control, I do not control in other controller's airspace whether they are online or not unless an LOA or SOP allows me to. If you're within a few minutes of the boundary, I won't call for a point out either (by the time the point out is approved and instructions issued, it's almost worthless).

 

In the end, if you want lower, ask. If we're not able, we'll tell you.

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I agree with Daniel here. We're not here to serve you. You're not here to serve us. We're simulating ATC, and you're simulating flying. I see your point of sidestepping the rules because we normally don't have the traffic to justify holding you back, but at the same time, simmers don't have to pay for fuel and they still use low CIs to simulate what an airline would also use. Similarly, controllers simulate avoiding other controllers' airspace even though that controller may not be there.

 

Let us have our fun, too.

Kyle Rodgers

 

The content of this post, unless expressly written, refers only to those procedures in the United States of America,

following the Federal Aviation Administration Regulations thereof.

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Another thing to consider for the larger cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] B airports, we have to step you down in order to keep you in the cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] B. if you go all the way down in one swoop you will be under it and not using the cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] B for what it is designed, keeping you in and other out.

The above pertains to United States

 

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Another thing to consider for the larger cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] B airports, we have to step you down in order to keep you in the cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] B. if you go all the way down in one swoop you will be under it and not using the cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] B for what it is designed, keeping you in and other out.

 

In slow airspace, that's completely unnecessary and against one of the primary duties of ATC (safe and expeditious flow of traffic).

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7-9-3. METHODS

 

a. To the extent practical, clear large turbine engine-powered airplanes to/from the primary airport using altitudes and routes that avoid VFR corridors and airspace below the Cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] B airspace floor where VFR aircraft are operating.

 

b. Vector aircraft to remain in Cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] B airspace after entry. Inform the aircraft when leaving and reentering Cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] B airspace if it becomes necessary to extend the flight path outside Cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] B airspace for spacing.

 

NOTE-

14 CFR Section 91.131 states that “Unless otherwise authorized by ATC, each person operating a large turbine engine-powered airplane to or from a primary airport for which a Cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] B airspace area is designated must operate at or above the designated floors of the Cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] B airspace area while within the lateral limits of that area.” Such authorization should be the exception rather than the rule.

 

 

In slow airspace, that's completely unnecessary and against one of the primary duties of ATC (safe and expeditious flow of traffic).

 

Is that nessisary for spacing?

 

I also dont see how clearing an aircraft to 10k then 5nm later clear to 6k, over just clearing them strait down to 6k is expediteing the flow of traffic. Rather i think the only way to expedite would be to keep them at 10k for as long as possible so they may keep thier speed up above 250.

Edited by Guest

The above pertains to United States

 

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Another thing to consider for the larger cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] B airports, we have to step you down in order to keep you in the cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] B. if you go all the way down in one swoop you will be under it and not using the cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] B for what it is designed, keeping you in and other out.

 

In slow airspace, that's completely unnecessary and against one of the primary duties of ATC (safe and expeditious flow of traffic).

 

I don't understand what you mean. How does keeping IFR arrivals and departures inside Cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] B airspace go against the primary duties of ATC to provide safe and expeditious flow of traffic? I was under the impression that what William has said, is exactly how it works for primary Cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] B airports.

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Another thing to consider for the larger cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] B airports, we have to step you down in order to keep you in the cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] B. if you go all the way down in one swoop you will be under it and not using the cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] B for what it is designed, keeping you in and other out.

 

In slow airspace, that's completely unnecessary and against one of the primary duties of ATC (safe and expeditious flow of traffic).

 

I don't understand what you mean. How does keeping IFR arrivals and departures inside Cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] B airspace go against the primary duties of ATC to provide safe and expeditious flow of traffic? I was under the impression that what William has said, is exactly how it works for primary Cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] B airports.

 

When not necessary for spacing/traffic, how is it not efficient to descend them directly to 6000?

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7-9-3. METHODS

 

a. To the extent practical, clear large turbine engine-powered airplanes to/from the primary airport using altitudes and routes that avoid VFR corridors and airspace below the Cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] B airspace floor where VFR aircraft are operating.

 

b. Vector aircraft to remain in Cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] B airspace after entry. Inform the aircraft when leaving and reentering Cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] B airspace if it becomes necessary to extend the flight path outside Cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] B airspace for spacing.

 

NOTE-

14 CFR Section 91.131 states that “Unless otherwise authorized by ATC, each person operating a large turbine engine-powered airplane to or from a primary airport for which a Cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] B airspace area is designated must operate at or above the designated floors of the Cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] B airspace area while within the lateral limits of that area.” Such authorization should be the exception rather than the rule.

 

 

In slow airspace, that's completely unnecessary and against one of the primary duties of ATC (safe and expeditious flow of traffic).

 

Is that nessisary for spacing?

 

I also dont see how clearing an aircraft to 10k then 5nm later clear to 6k, over just clearing them strait down to 6k is expediteing the flow of traffic. Rather i think the only way to expedite would be to keep them at 10k for as long as possible so they may keep thier speed up above 250.

 

 

Right, but you can keep them high and step them down to the final altitude in one blow instead of what the OP was referring to by descending them to 10, then 7, then 4, then 2.

 

Look at your own quote... emphasis mine.

 

a. To the extent practical, clear large turbine engine-powered airplanes to/from the primary airport using altitudes and routes that avoid VFR corridors and airspace below the Cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] B airspace floor where VFR aircraft are operating.

 

b. Vector aircraft to remain in Cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] B airspace after entry. Inform the aircraft when leaving and reentering Cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] B airspace if it becomes necessary to extend the flight path outside Cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] B airspace for spacing.

 

If the airspace is slow, neither of these would apply... because, well, the purpose of the Cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] B is meant to help [Mod - Happy Thoughts]ist in traffic separation. If there is no other traffic, you have nothing to separate from beyond ground clutter.

 

Where would the efficiency be by giving step climbs/descents just to keep an aircraft within the Cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] B 90% of the time on VATSIM outside of say LAX, and the N90 area? Yes, ATL gets busy sometimes on VATSIM outside of events but even then there is rarely enough non-ATL traffic to warrant such requirements.

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Would you all come off it already?

We're welcome to simulate packed airspace procedures as much as we want. Stop with the criticism and get over it. I find it funny that as soon as a controller points out a pilot doing something unrealistic, everyone comes to the pilot's rescue and criticizes the controller for being a jerk (realism snob, etc), yet when the controller wants to simulate some of what you'd see RW, pilots attack them, other people criticize the controller, and that's okay.

 

If I only want to give you 2000' for a descent, what's the problem? It's helpful with students until they get the hang of the flows through the airspace, so that they don't descend someone straight down to the MVA without considering other flows as well.

Kyle Rodgers

 

The content of this post, unless expressly written, refers only to those procedures in the United States of America,

following the Federal Aviation Administration Regulations thereof.

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If I only want to give you 2000' for a descent, what's the problem? It's helpful with students until they get the hang of the flows through the airspace, so that they don't descend someone straight down to the MVA without considering other flows as well.

 

There are several problems: you're teaching scripts.. that is all the student will know and won't know how to think and improve on the fly. I encountered this at ZDC where one controller doing all of Potomac thought it was efficient to handle a departure off of IAD for SWANN by vectoring them through Charlie gate and doing step climbs with no other aircraft in their airspace. Their reason, "That's how I was taught to do it." ZDC isn't the only place where controllers learn scripts and stick to them. Two, it's not realistic. When traffic is light, you can bet no approach controller is going to "step them down" just because standard procedures say to do that. They will coordinate where necessary and follow one of ATC's primary duties of expeditious flow of traffic.

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If I only want to give you 2000' for a descent, what's the problem? It's helpful with students until they get the hang of the flows through the airspace, so that they don't descend someone straight down to the MVA without considering other flows as well.

 

There are several problems: you're teaching scripts.. that is all the student will know and won't know how to think and improve on the fly. I encountered this at ZDC where one controller doing all of Potomac thought it was efficient to handle a departure off of IAD for SWANN by vectoring them through Charlie gate and doing step climbs with no other aircraft in their airspace. Their reason, "That's how I was taught to do it." ZDC isn't the only place where controllers learn scripts and stick to them. Two, it's not realistic. When traffic is light, you can bet no approach controller is going to "step them down" just because standard procedures say to do that. They will coordinate where necessary and follow one of ATC's primary duties of expeditious flow of traffic.

 

We are not teaching scripts, and our students are not blindly giving instructions. Our training staff is responding to what our students want. The Potomac is designated as major airspace on VATSIM. One of the reasons that many controllers come to ZDC is to simulate operating the Potomac (3 Cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] B's in close proximity) per SOP. The simulation is for both controllers and pilots. We are teaching students how to operate the Potomac for event level traffic; we are teaching students to operate the airspace as if it was separate APP/DEP airspace, and we are teaching students to operate the Potomac as if the three TRACONs were separate vs. combined. While it is true that traffic is not very high on a daily business as usual basis, I much rather have the student controller practice his craft regularly vs. improvising on a daily basis only to find out that he does not know/remember how to execute SOP in a high traffic situation. If the pilot does not want to participate in the simulation to that extend and requests something outside of SOP, our controllers can coordinate with surrounding controllers and attempt to accommodate the request.

Manuel Manigault

Division Director

VATUSA

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I much rather have the student controller practice his craft regularly

 

Also known as a script. When all they do/know for IAD departures to bring them out Charlie gate for SWANN or PALEO, that's a script that they run through. And it's inefficient.

 

vs. improvising on a daily basis only to find out that he does not know/remember how to execute SOP in a high traffic situation.

 

I disagree with you. Practicing your craft is the same as improving on a daily basis. You can ask any controller, both virtual and real world, how much they learn after they get certified. Even months after getting that ticket, there is ample opportunity to learn even more. It's a continual process for people who have been controlling one day to 30 years. You'll never stop learning in ATC whether it be from finding something you never learned before (different ways to vector for separation, short cuts, etc) or even just things the FAA adds/changes to the 7110.65, 7610.4, AIM, FARs, etc.

 

You should never forget your SOPs, but this is where the luxury of VATSIM comes into play. 90% of the time, you have a heads up on busy events that require execution of SOPs to the T and have the ability to re-read/brush up/skim the SOP to ensure your departures are exiting the correct gates at the correct altitudes. To fix this at ZJX, our departure gates are considered "Inactive" by default and must be activated by Center or TMU utilizing our IDS and/or voice/text communications. This way, it's standard procedure to push aircraft direct to the first point on their route OR the fix closest to the boundary of the airspace, which ever is closer to their destination and get them to their destination safely and expeditiously.

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But where do they start? Learning the script and memorizing charts (also a form of scripting). Everyone does it. Student pilots do the same. They learn the checklists and you shouldn't interfere with that learning. Once they've grasped the concepts, then and only then do you move into creating contingencies interrupting their flows. That's something you'd learn in fundamentals of instructing or a similar cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] on proper teaching methods.

 

The teaching of scripts isn't the issue, it's the lack of teaching beyond the scripts that's the issue.

 

 

...and the thought that giving incremental descents affects the expeditious flow is a fallacy, provided it's done correctly. If I give you 4000' of your descent and then about 1000' above where I cleared you down to, I give you higher, you can dial it in and continue the descent as if I'd never given you a stopping point. I can see why people think it is (the controller is setting themselves up for failure or inefficiency in the case they forget to give the pilot higher/lower), but to say it's less efficient all the time, is just plain wrong.

Kyle Rodgers

 

The content of this post, unless expressly written, refers only to those procedures in the United States of America,

following the Federal Aviation Administration Regulations thereof.

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I much rather have the student controller practice his craft regularly

 

Also known as a script. When all they do/know for IAD departures to bring them out Charlie gate for SWANN or PALEO, that's a script that they run through. And it's inefficient.

 

vs. improvising on a daily basis only to find out that he does not know/remember how to execute SOP in a high traffic situation.

 

I disagree with you. Practicing your craft is the same as improving on a daily basis. You can ask any controller, both virtual and real world, how much they learn after they get certified. Even months after getting that ticket, there is ample opportunity to learn even more. It's a continual process for people who have been controlling one day to 30 years. You'll never stop learning in ATC whether it be from finding something you never learned before (different ways to vector for separation, short cuts, etc) or even just things the FAA adds/changes to the 7110.65, 7610.4, AIM, FARs, etc.

 

You should never forget your SOPs, but this is where the luxury of VATSIM comes into play. 90% of the time, you have a heads up on busy events that require execution of SOPs to the T and have the ability to re-read/brush up/skim the SOP to ensure your departures are exiting the correct gates at the correct altitudes. To fix this at ZJX, our departure gates are considered "Inactive" by default and must be activated by Center or TMU utilizing our IDS and/or voice/text communications. This way, it's standard procedure to push aircraft direct to the first point on their route OR the fix closest to the boundary of the airspace, which ever is closer to their destination and get them to their destination safely and expeditiously.

 

I agree that there is ample opportunity to learn more. One thing to keep in mind is that a typical VATSIM controller will not be online day in and day out. It's a hobby with the purpose being for many to learn and execute real world procedures. In the case of TRACON if a controller is S3 rated, then they should possess the knowledge to deviate from SOP as necessary/practical to meet the pilot's special request. The concept of major airspace on VATSIM recognizes that there is complex airspace which requires additional instruction before being able to provide ATC services in that airspace. The instruction is over and beyond basic S3 competencies. It is reasonable to expect that if a student controller invests the extra time to learn such procedures that they are going to want to practice/execute those procedures when online -- especially if they are not real world controllers and they only control a few hours a month. If controllers did not want to execute the complex procedures, they would probably pick a less complex airspace to control with fewer or no SIDS/STARS, fewer sub-sectors,etc.

Manuel Manigault

Division Director

VATUSA

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I agree that there is ample opportunity to learn more. One thing to keep in mind is that a typical VATSIM controller will not be online day in and day out. It's a hobby with the purpose being for many to learn and execute real world procedures. In the case of TRACON if a controller is S3 rated, then they should possess the knowledge to deviate from SOP as necessary/practical to meet the pilot's special request. The concept of major airspace on VATSIM recognizes that there is complex airspace which requires additional instruction before being able to provide ATC services in that airspace. The instruction is over and beyond basic S3 competencies. It is reasonable to expect that if a student controller invests the extra time to learn such procedures that they are going to want to practice/execute those procedures when online -- especially if they are not real world controllers and they only control a few hours a month. If controllers did not want to execute the complex procedures, they would probably pick a less complex airspace to control with fewer or no SIDS/STARS, fewer sub-sectors,etc.

 

I still disagree with you. When there is 1 controller controlling all the areas of PCT, there is no reason that they need to simulate the Charlie gate just because that's what the SOP says. If traffic level is low, there is no reason beyond "I want to practice as if it were busy".

 

Say IAD is a south flow, what purpose would it serve to have the PCT person turn them north, then north east, then south east through the gate, then direct PALEO when the shot from IAD southbound to PALEO is pretty much directly east/south east? It doesn't mess with their arrival stream, because well, they'd already be talking to them by that point. I know the purpose of Charlie gate, and it's used for separation from DCA. But if 1 controller is controlling all of PCT (IAD, DCA and BWI for those unaware), then Charlie gate should effectively not exist unless necessary for traffic flow [and even then, if DCA/IAD is 1 controller there really shouldn't be so much traffic that it is still required].

 

That's all I'm saying. When controllers think/learn that they must /always/ use Charlie Gate, they aren't really learning how to effectively manage their airspace. They're trained to only work with the script. Great, they know the script. Now anyone who gets on should know the script for when [Mod - lovely stuff] hits the fan, but, as they get on and control, there should be ZERO reason they shouldn't learn something new [unless there is no traffic, then it's hard to learn new things about ATC when staring at a blank screen unless you happen to be reading one of the many ATC pubs]. This is why I pushed out the amendment to our LOA that covers twilight hour routings and the LOA specifically allows for direct to points. RW gives short cuts pretty much all the time, when practical, to push traffic quicker. Why shouldn't we?

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Now anyone who gets on should know the script for when [Mod - lovely stuff] hits the fan, but, as they get on and control, there should be ZERO reason they shouldn't learn something new [unless there is no traffic, then it's hard to learn new things about ATC when staring at a blank screen unless you happen to be reading one of the many ATC pubs].

 

That's just it, this is VATSIM and most of the controllers are learning something new, even if that new knowledge happens to be the "script" you speak of, it's still very new to them. Once they master that, then they can move on to improvising and learning beyond the "script".

 

You have to learn to crawl before you can run.

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I still disagree with you. When there is 1 controller controlling all the areas of PCT, there is no reason that they need to simulate the Charlie gate just because that's what the SOP says.

 

Despite my 'joined date', I'm a bit new to VATSIM here, so please forgive the ignorance, but I must ask you, "Why?"

 

You said there is no reason, but isn't the reason exactly what you said immediately following that statement, that is, to simulate because it is standard procedure.

 

I thought I signed up for a Virtual Air Traffic Simulation Network. Whether as a pilot or controller, being new, I would fully expect to learn to control and to fly the standard procedures. If that means controlling through the Charlie gate... Okay. If that means flying through the Charlie gate... Okay.

 

What is the obsession with short cuts? I signed up for a "Simulation Network" and, personally, I would like to simulate standard procedure - not only to learn the procedures that are flown real world, but to have fun "playing pretend" (in other words, simulating).

 

RW gives short cuts pretty much all the time, when practical, to push traffic quicker. Why shouldn't we?

 

Ah, here's the rub, and likely the real question that is being debated here. Before getting into the Catch-22, let's try to answer the question. Why shouldn't we? My answer is because we don't know what each person's individual motivation is for being on this network. For me, I would be disappointed as a controller or a pilot for not learning, teaching, following or being directed by the standard operating procedures. Giving or receiving instructions contrary to those, in some way, feels like cheating (emphasis: this is my feeling / my opinion, your mileage may very).

 

Then there is the Catch-22, in regards to simulating real world. You seem to be arguing that since short cuts are given in the real world, our simulated world should follow. However, I think we must first consider why short cuts are given in the real world, and then check whether they apply in our simulated world. I've thought of a few possible reasons, there is likely to be more, but how many, of these few, apply to an online simulation? (Is it to save fuel? Is it to save time? Whose time? Is it to make up for lost time? Is it to keep on published schedules? Is it because traffic is light?) The way I figure, most of these don't apply on VATSIM. The last, though, is the tricky part. Unlike the real world, from what I've seen thus far, the majority of traffic on VATSIM is light. So, in lines with your argument, and if this is indeed a real world reason, does this mean short cuts should be used in light traffic situations (in other words, most of the time)? Honestly, I think that would break from the spirit of the simulation environment; generally, for all the reasons I stated above as to why I joined this network.

 

What then would I suggest. To me it would be simple: follow procedure first. If there are no complaints, then proceed. If that's not what you want to do, request an alternate. That seems simple to me.

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I still disagree with you. When there is 1 controller controlling all the areas of PCT, there is no reason that they need to simulate the Charlie gate just because that's what the SOP says. If traffic level is low, there is no reason beyond "I want to practice as if it were busy".

 

The ultimate reason I suppose is for the controller's entertainment and learning. VATSIM is a hobby and entertainment for the controller and pilot alike. For many, taming the complex is a large attraction to VATSIM. That is why most new pilots start out on the heavy iron and perhaps complex payware aircraft vs starting out in a C172. Simulating complex SOP is an attraction for many controllers. That is why a lot of controllers gravitate to the Cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] B's vs the Cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] C's, D's, and E's. No one on the ZDC training staff teaches that the SOP is the bible and must be followed at all cost. It is very natural in my opinion for newly minted S3s working in a Cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] B to desire to simulate the procedures they spent so much time learning.

 

That being said, I do not disagree with you , Daniel. I think for a lot of controllers (and perhaps pilots), what you are talking about is an evolution in thinking. Working towards simplicity and efficiency in response to VATSIM level traffic comes later. The attempt to immerse oneself in the simulation of the complex and heavy traffic is the initial reaction. Speaking only for myself, I have 631 pilot hours and 870 controlling hours. I started my virtual pilot career on the PDMG 737. I joined a virtual airline, bought payware airports, and flew in many events to surround myself with traffic. As the novelty of flying the heavy iron wore off some, I started flying a Carenado B58, and I started flying into satellite fields of the Cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] Bs. I later became interested in flying a Bell Helicopter. The vast vast majority of my virtual controlling career has been at ZDC. The quirkiness of the River Visual 19 Approach into KDCA and the proximity of three cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] B's combined with the smaller size of ZDC vs ZNY or ZLA were the attractions. As time has p[Mod - Happy Thoughts]ed, however, and I have worked my way up through the ranks, I have become much more interested in the efficient flow of traffic vs. the complexity of the SOPs for SOP sake. When I am working CTR now, I have no qualms about giving direct shortcuts to facilitate a more efficient flow of traffic. Working the Cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] C's is an attraction for me in the hopes of attracting more traffic to the Cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] C's due to staffing. Everyone's motivation for being on the network is different and should be respected as long as it does not go against the CoC. If pilots do not enjoy what the controller is simulating, they have the option of asking for something different. The controller should be able to accommodate if the request is reasonable and does not interfere with the overall traffic flow.

Manuel Manigault

Division Director

VATUSA

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What then would I suggest. To me it would be simple: follow procedure first. If there are no complaints, then proceed. If that's not what you want to do, request an alternate. That seems simple to me.

That's the problem we're talking about, though. I agree that's how it should be handled. But we are in fact requesting something different, and it's being denied for no reason other than their "SOP." That's unrealistic in the real world and makes things frustrating. I get climbed to the top of a controller's airspace and leveled off. I request higher and get told unable. I ask where's the traffic? And he says there's no traffic, it's just our standard procedure. I ask can you hand me off to the controller above you then? And he says there's nobody online. Well WTF?

 

Though I agree with you, James, we do want things somewhat over-controlled here to help create a simulated environment of a much busier real-world situation. But where's the line? I don't think delaying us (including our climbs and descents) for pretend traffic is a good reason. Direct routes are a little different. If I file a route and the controller doesn't give me a shortcut, he's not delaying me. (In fact I've given unsolicited direct routes in the real world, only to have the pilot refuse it... sometimes they're already running early and the gate's not going to be open when they get there anyway).

 

But, and I agree with Daniel Hawton on his idea of realism, specifically if a pilot requests something, Vatsim controllers should always approve it unless there's specific traffic or sequencing reasons! "It's our standard procedure" is not a reason in real-world and shouldn't be here. SOP's and LOA's are only meant to reduce coordination, not eliminate it. If you look over and that other position is totally down the tubes, then it's a valid reason to deny it because you're trying to reduce their workload. But with normal, non-event VATSIM traffic levels? Not a reason. If I'm approaching the top of your shelf and request higher, make a point-out to the other sector and keep me going. If there's nobody online, [Mod - Happy Thoughts]ume the point-out is good and keep me climbing. If I request direct CAMRN and the LOA says "all aircraft shall be on so-and-so route," call that sector with an appreq (approval request) for me to go direct CAMRN. That's part of your duty as a controller, to keep traffic moving and approve pilot requests unless there are reasons of safety or traffic.

 

 

Now anyone who gets on should know the script for when [Mod - lovely stuff] hits the fan, but, as they get on and control, there should be ZERO reason they shouldn't learn something new [unless there is no traffic, then it's hard to learn new things about ATC when staring at a blank screen unless you happen to be reading one of the many ATC pubs].

 

That's just it, this is VATSIM and most of the controllers are learning something new, even if that new knowledge happens to be the "script" you speak of, it's still very new to them. Once they master that, then they can move on to improvising and learning beyond the "script".

 

You have to learn to crawl before you can run.

That's not how we train ATC in real-world. In r/w you learn the fundamentals (point-outs, appreqs, expediting traffic) and they make sure you know that and aren't just going by some rote "script." Scripts may be good for flying, but are really bad in ATC because there will always be situations slightly different than expected, and your rote "script" solution won't provide effective separation. That's probably the #1 cause of separation loss in the U.S. anyway, and you read it time and time again in the reports ("I always give them that altitude, and they always climb fast enough... except this time").

 

All your controllers should be thinking, "he's getting close to the top of my airspace, I should be handing off or pointing him out for higher" and then think "except on this route, where we level them at 10K per SOP". But they should always have that first impulse, since it's true in other similar situations. That's how you need to teach them.

 

And certainly if the pilot requests something, you should be granting it. It's just dumb to deny it, and have no reason, just because you're "trying to make things more realistic." Denied requests for no reason are not realistic.

But where do they start? Learning the script and memorizing charts (also a form of scripting). Everyone does it.

Except ATC! See above. In fact you're constantly trained and reminded not to go by rote/script. Instead, you learn how to control in "generic" airspace or airports with minimal LOA's and no SOP's. You learn there are areas you need to coordinate a lot and spend a lot of time on the interphone. That's how you come to understand why you have LOA's and SOP's, to minimize that workload for everyone. But, you still know how to make the coordination if you need to do something different than the SOP.

 

...and the thought that giving incremental descents affects the expeditious flow is a fallacy, provided it's done correctly. If I give you 4000' of your descent and then about 1000' above where I cleared you down to, I give you higher, you can dial it in and continue the descent as if I'd never given you a stopping point.

Well, no. You're increasing your workload, and the pilot's workload. You're adding extraneous, unneeded transmissions (since now you have to descend them again, and they have to acknowledge again). That impedes the sector, and just the fact you're adding to your workload makes it poor controlling technique. And from a training/instructor point of view it indicates you may not see traffic in your sector, because why would you stop them at that altitude if there's no reason?

 

But back to "requesting lower" in the terminal environment. Controllers, if we have to ask for lower, you've probably messed up somewhere. You need to keep us below the glideslope, unless it's in specific airspace that needs aircraft above (probably for traffic corridors to nearby airports).

 

The reason is the glideslope descent angle is generally the maximum angle modern jets can descend at and still hold their speed in semi-clean configuration. That's why it's 3 degrees or less, and not 5 or 10.

 

If you keep aircraft above that descent angle, even with 100% professional r/w pilots here, your sector will still go to hell, well firstly because everybody will complain, and secondly many of them won't be able to slow and you'll never be able to sequence them effectively.

 

Keep aircraft below the glideslope! Use your range rings (I hope you depict). They're not there to make it look like a radar, they're there so you can use them to determine proper altitude at a glance. The basic rule is three times the distance equals altitude. 20 miles out, 6,000. 30 miles out, 9,000. (If they're coming in perpendicular, add about 1,000. If they're coming from the departure side, maybe 2,000.

 

But that's maximum. They need to be below that so you can slow them for sequencing, or just so they can slow for landing even. If you got an aircraft at 9,000 30 miles out, straight in, that's too high.

 

And the reason arbitrary step-down altitudes are annoying when you request lower, is because no it's not realistic. In a realistic environment, a controller wouldn't forget an aircraft and keep him above the glideslope like that. And now you step him down and are you just going to forget him again? Pretty likely here, and now he's still too high.

 

If you get us low enough, you may also find you can now do proper speed control on final and run us more like real-world distances. Maybe the reason why "nobody can fly [Mod - Happy Thoughts]igned speeds anyway" on here and you don't bother, is because you keep them too high?

 

Keeping them at 10,000 and faster than 250 to "expedite" the sector can be good, as someone explained above, as long as again, they're still below that glideslope, and they have enough room to slow to 250 while still remaining below.

 

On the other hand, you don't want them too far below the glideslope for fuel and noise reasons. But it should be enough they can slow 20 knots or so before descending and still stay just a little below. Until you have a good feel for the proper altitudes, I think you should be using those range rings and constantly making those calculations, It'll make it more realistic and fun for everyone, I think, and you may find we "pilots" aren't as bad at holding speeds as you think.

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Now anyone who gets on should know the script for when [Mod - lovely stuff] hits the fan, but, as they get on and control, there should be ZERO reason they shouldn't learn something new [unless there is no traffic, then it's hard to learn new things about ATC when staring at a blank screen unless you happen to be reading one of the many ATC pubs].

 

That's just it, this is VATSIM and most of the controllers are learning something new, even if that new knowledge happens to be the "script" you speak of, it's still very new to them. Once they master that, then they can move on to improvising and learning beyond the "script".

 

You have to learn to crawl before you can run.

 

Right, but if you continue to crawl you're not learning .. right?

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