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Position... please?


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For those folks who fly in the US, you've no doubt been flying when a center controller signs on. Sometimes, the airspace is really busy, and control information has to be disseminated very quickly, routes have to be corrected, and aircraft have to be identified.

This means blank call ups, or call ups with just altitudes, like "Boston, Delta 2, with you at FL290," don't help unless you're being handed off.

When the sector's busy, and a controller signs on, they send contactmes almost robotically. I hardly look at the callsign before they get a contactme instruction. When a contactme is sent, the best way to handle it is to tune to the frequency, and listen for a couple seconds, get your bearings, and call in like so:

"Boston Center, Delta 2, about 20 miles (approximation is fine) to the west of Kingston (or India Golf November, we'll know what you're talking about), out of FL240 for FL320"

With this, we accomplish three things. Callsign is verified, position is correlated and thus you're radar identified, and altitude is confirmed, the holy trinity.

This is just a friendly missive to those who might be offended when it's busy, and they don't get the response they're looking for. Please help make our lives easier! We don't need laser focused position reporting, just please help us get an idea of where you are so we can radar identify you.

Regards,

 

Matthew Spencer (SP)

vZBW Training Administrator emeritus

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Well, we are already in fantasy land, since a center controller is signing on and the uncontrolled airspace suddenly turns into controlled airspace in an instant and the controller is magically sending text messages to all the planes in his airspace. Surely it would be possible to continue in fantasy land until all the targets have been identified and tracked

Somehow rated s3

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Well, we are already in fantasy land, since a center controller is signing on and the uncontrolled airspace suddenly turns into controlled airspace in an instant and the controller is magically sending text messages to all the planes in his airspace. Surely it would be possible to continue in fantasy land until all the targets have been identified and tracked

 

So you have a better way to get aircraft to call you then? All he pointed out is that .find is not a form of radar identification. Yes it can help, but still OP is correct is in request. Its the same practice as if a pilot departs VFR out of a non towered airfield and decides to call up Enroute for FF or Pop up IFR. Who you are, where you are, "how high"(haha), and what do you want. If you want to make practice where all pilots monitor guard frq on comm2 then sure a controller can make his call over that for pilots to change frq. Bottom line is, you simulate what you can. Some things are out of the VATSIM realm that cannot as we all know..

VATSIM Supervisor

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Dont you got a find command in your atc client?

.find DAL2

 

.find only works to highlight VORs, NDBs, and Intersections. It does not work for aircraft. so not only is it not a Radar ID method, it is not even a command.

 

 

Matthew is your procedure VATUSA wide?

 

If you have not been Identified on the radar you are suppose to report your position. Once you hear those lovely words "Radar Contact" you may discontinue position reporting. This includes when you join a LOC or established on a GS. Reaching an [Mod - Happy Thoughts]igned altitude etc.

The above pertains to United States

 

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Dont you got a find command in your atc client?

.find DAL2

 

.find only works to highlight VORs, NDBs, and Intersections. It does not work for aircraft. so not only is it not a Radar ID method, it is not even a command.

Okay, thats not how .find works in Euroscope

 

Well, we are already in fantasy land, since a center controller is signing on and the uncontrolled airspace suddenly turns into controlled airspace in an instant and the controller is magically sending text messages to all the planes in his airspace. Surely it would be possible to continue in fantasy land until all the targets have been identified and tracked

 

So you have a better way to get aircraft to call you then? All he pointed out is that .find is not a form of radar identification. Yes it can help, but still OP is correct is in request. Its the same practice as if a pilot departs VFR out of a non towered airfield and decides to call up Enroute for FF or Pop up IFR. Who you are, where you are, "how high"(haha), and what do you want. If you want to make practice where all pilots monitor guard frq on comm2 then sure a controller can make his call over that for pilots to change frq. Bottom line is, you simulate what you can. Some things are out of the VATSIM realm that cannot as we all know..

Wat I am saying is that why not use the tools we have at our disposal until we got a situation which is similar to real life. When we got a situation similar to real life we switch over to normal radar identification methods. When we got 30 unidentified planes in our sector we use a practical method instead of messing around with a "realistic" method, which isnt really that realistic at all, because of the artificial situation that caused us to have 30 unidentified targets on the scope in the first place

Somehow rated s3

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Matthew is your procedure VATUSA wide?

 

I asked this because I have been told sooooo many times that the whole of the USA is covered by Radar. If an ATC can send me a 'contact me' then I'm guessing that he has some idea where I am.

 

We give position reports in Australia until we are identified, because like in real life, radar coverage is not 100% of the Controlled Airspace.

 

Just seems to me like you are trying to have it both ways. Yes we have 100% radar coverage, yes I did ask you to contact me because I can see you, BUT please give a position report.

 

Maybe you could send instead of 'contact me' a 'I think you may be in my airspace, cou

D you let me know if you are!'.

Sean

C1/O P3

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I asked this because I have been told sooooo many times that the whole of the USA is covered by Radar.

 

Except for where terrain effects radar coverage. Yes on VATSIM this is not a problem but it depends on how that facility simulates this. This would be the same for Australia as well and if your statement is correct than it appears that they do.

 

If an ATC can send me a 'contact me' then I'm guessing that he has some idea where I am.

 

to send a contact me message you press and slew select. If a controller is simulating a radar as real as possible they only see a ID.png

The message gets sent to you but who are you is still a big question. Unfortunately there is a method to basically make your screen look like VATSPY where you see everyone's data tag, but many who enjoy simulating a realistic radar do not use this method.

 

Just seems to me like you are trying to have it both ways. Yes we have 100% radar coverage,

 

just because there is radar coverage does not mean the radar knows who you are. The radar only knows that the radio beam reflected off of a piece of metal and bounced back. It does not know who's piece of metal it is. This is why the controller has to Radar ID you via position reporting methods or transponder methods.

 

yes I did ask you to contact me because I can see you, BUT please give a position report.

 

I asked a target to contact me, but i don't know who that target is.

 

Maybe you could send instead of 'contact me' a 'I think you may be in my airspace, cou

D you let me know if you are!'.

 

You will have to ask the software developer to change the message.

 

 

Despite all of this i partially agree with you. I do not feel that this crutch of a tool should be used, of which everyone is so dependent upon. I think may people have become so dependent upon it that they have been nurtured into thinking that they will get it all the time and it completely replaces the oh so difficult method of looking at a line and actually knowing where you are when you are navigating

The above pertains to United States

 

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I agree with pretty much everything Will has said here. Further, I hardly see how it's a huge imposition to ask people to know where they are. Isn't that part of A-N-C?

 

As far as a "practical" method, again, I proposed a practical method. If you tell me you're 10 miles west of GDM, but I only see a target 20 miles west of GDM and 5000 above the altitude reported, is that positive radar identification? No. But for VATSIM, it's close enough. Unfortunately, when five people check in all at once, interrupting each other and saying "With you at 5000" as a purportedly valid check-in, then yes, we have a huge, m[Mod - Happy Thoughts]ive problem that will not be fixed with practicality. This was almost directly in response to what happened early during my shift last night, when I had to tell all the pilots calling in to just monitor the frequency and wait for a call, because none of them had any sort of position report or any information except altitude and callsign. That's fine, if radar identification is transferred, but it's impossible to establish radar identification at all doing that.

 

Just one more thing, if you just start tracking everyone in the sector, it's impossible to individually check and validate FPs, ensure altitude/mode C compliance, ensure aircraft are on appropriate altimeters, or even, more fundamentally, ensure the pilot is even there. Part of realistically [Mod - Happy Thoughts]uming aircraft in the sector isn't some method of pushing some huge burden on pilots, it's more about trying to individually [Mod - Happy Thoughts]ess everything that's going on while still trying to keep some semblance of realism. If anyone disagrees, I'd really like to hear their opinion.

 

Also unfortunately this was moved to the US forum where it will have a significantly smaller audience, and thus, I don't think this discussion will have any tangible effect. This started as a US-centric conversation, but I fail to see how it is solely a US-based problem. Position correlation is just as much a problem anywhere in the world, we have just approached it from a US perspective because that is what we know.

Regards,

 

Matthew Spencer (SP)

vZBW Training Administrator emeritus

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Dont you got a find command in your atc client?

.find DAL2

Dont you got a nav radio? Dont you got a GPS?

 

We have an innumerable number of tools to use if we really want to find out where you are. But we've also got a couple hundred or a couple thousand square miles of airspace in them, and the least that pilots can do to help us out is let us know where the heck they are.

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Here's another worthwhile thread criminalized like all the others. Quit picking at the controller and get the point:

Matt is asking people to act like pilots. I don't understand why when controllers point out ways to make our lives easier everyone has to jump on him to tell him how to do his job. Chances are, we know better how to do our job better than you do. What's so wrong about asking people to check in with their position when they aren't currently under radar service?

 

Why is it okay to tell a controller how to do their job, but it's the end of the world if a controller tells a pilot how to do theirs?

 

...and that's not even what's at stake here. As I mentioned earlier, Matt is providing a quick tip to pilots so that they may better fit into the NAS.

 

Try this on for size: You're welcome to continue what you're doing and not check in on freq with a position report, but before I do anything else, I'm going to ask you where you are. Why waste my time and yours?

 

Check in with your position. It's really not that hard. Most add-ons have some sort of FIX feature. If you've never seen it, there's a new feature for you to learn.

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 didnt think this was about checking in on the frequency. I thought this was specifically when a controller logs on and he has 30 planes in his sector. Why would you try to use "real" procedures for a situation that never occurs in real life? There is no real procedure for this particular situation.

 

Why not just use the tools that are available until you got the situation under control so it resembles real life, instead of asking for a position report? I dont get it.

Somehow rated s3

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Had this happen over a US ARTCC once. The controller logged on and sent out "Contact Me's" to a bunch of aircraft. I noted my position and kept waiting for a break in the comms to report but there were so many people I never got the chance. My "position" kept getting farther and farther from my "reference" so I found a new one. By now, people who did get through and identified were getting "controlled" and reading back, and vectored and reading back so still no comm break and eventually, after picking 2 different position references I gave up and flew on. It was like pilots said in unison "ooh, ATC, let's get him guys"...and the poor guy got swarmed with reports, readbacks, and clearance requests, He never sent me another "contact me" and eventually I left his airspace and into uncontrolled again.

 

At that point I PM'd the controller and explained why I never contacted him.

 

 

So there is a drawback, at least I perceive it as a drawback, to "shotgunning" out "Contact Me" to everyone when you log on. Seems to me if you send "Contact Me's" to 20 or so aircraft you're just asking for unidentified aircraft in your airspace.

 

I keep the Hi-Enroute Chart (hard copy on paper) right next to me inflight so I know which VOR/Airport I am closest to in the event of a "contact me".

Randy Tyndall - KBOI

ZLA I-11/vACC Portugal P4

“A ship is always safe in the harbor. But that’s not why they build ships” --Michael Bevington ID 814931, Former VATSIM Board of Governors Vice President of Pilot Training

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You [Mod - Happy Thoughts]ume everyone is under radar at all times. That's not always the case.

 

I understand your point of *controllers just randomly appearing from nowhere isn't realistic* but we're actually simulating a real procedure of switching from a non-radar environment to a radar environment. With no ATC online, you're non-radar. When ATC signs on, it all goes radar within that area of coverage. In order to catch peoples' attention we have to compromise slightly and send contact messages (which would be similar to hailing an unresponsive aircraft on guard in the real world, since pilots are taught to monitor guard on the extra COM if able, in the real world). When the aircraft checks in, it's a lot easier for you to identify a flight if they call up with their position, instead of "hi, we're with you." Why? Even if I want to step back and play it easy by just re-issuing a squawk code and watching for the correlation, it's still nice to know where to look for you.

 

Furthermore, the issue extends to the thing that really gets my nerves on sandpaper:

"Center, DAL1444, requests IFR clearance to Chicago."

DAL1444 which of the 100+ airports within my Center coverage are you currently at?

"Center, DAL1444 is at Washington Dulles."

 

Save myself and yourself the trouble:

"Center, DAL1444, on the ground at Dulles, IFR to Chicago."

Center: [Clearance]

 

Now let's step back to the real issue.

More work for me (especially when I'm first logging on and trying to send contact messages to other aircraft):

"Center, DAL1444, with you at FL340."

Center [send for new squawk [Mod - Happy Thoughts]ignment]: DAL1444, Washington Center, squawk 5642."

"5642, DAL1444."

Center: DAL1444, radar contact 20nm south of the Smyrna VOR."

 

Easier for me (previously [Mod - Happy Thoughts]igned code):

"Center, DAL1444, 20nm south of the Smyrna VOR, FL340."

Center: "DAL1444, Washington Center, radar contact."

 

Easier still, but not as much (no [Mod - Happy Thoughts]igned code / from 2200)

"Center, DAL1444, 20nm south of the Smyrna VOR, FL340."

Center [send for new squawk [Mod - Happy Thoughts]ignment]: "DAL1444, Washington Center, radar contact, squawk 5642."

 

Two transmissions, max. Now, it may not seem so much to you, but you're only dealing with me for a few of them. I have to deal with you and everyone else. It would be so much nicer if you all helped us by being on your game. Realism is a factor, but not the whole story.

 

Why is it such an issue for you? That's what I don't get...

You know where you are. I don't. Help me out a little and let me know. Is that really too much to ask?

 

I keep the Hi-Enroute Chart (hard copy on paper) right next to me inflight so I know which VOR/Airport I am closest to in the event of a "contact me".

I don't think people fully understand how much I appreciate it when people give me a VOR/Airport. A while back I posted a photo of how many VORs are in my airspace versus fixes to drive the point home.

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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...

 

Why is it such an issue for you? That's what I don't get...

You know where you are. I don't. Help me out a little and let me know. Is that really too much to ask?...

Its an issue when I have to fly through somebodys airspace without being controlled because the particular controller is obsessed with the position reports instead of dealing with the situation with the tools that he has available. But tbh, its not really that big of a deal to me.

 

On another note, I dont think this topic (or most topics regarding pilot quality) are well placed on the vatsim forums, as I imagine that most of the regular posters here are probably fairly competent pilots and they do infact check in with a position report. I know I do. It seems like OP is preaching to the choir here. Of course, if posting it here is preaching to the choir, where should it have been posted instead? Its a good question that I unfortunately do not have the answer to

Somehow rated s3

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Its an issue when I have to fly through somebodys airspace without being controlled because the particular controller is obsessed with the position reports instead of dealing with the situation with the tools that he has available. But tbh, its not really that big of a deal to me.

Pray tell...what are these magical tools of which you speak?

 

Furthermore, I just showed above that it's more radio work if you don't check in with your position. So, given that, how do you think you're doing yourself a favor by not checking in with a position?

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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Easier for me (previously [Mod - Happy Thoughts]igned code):

"Center, DAL1444, 20nm south of the Smyrna VOR, FL340."

Center: "DAL1444, Washington Center, radar contact."

 

Funny enough I used to get a raised eyebrow when I do this when controlling. Usually I get a question from the pilot: "Why are you not giving me squawk code?" I usually prefer it this way.. and in the event that I will need to give him a squawk, it's going to be "DAL1444, radar contact, squawk 0500."

 

Romano Lara
vACC Philippines, Manager - Training & Standards
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Observing a target whose position with respect to a fix (displayed on the video map, scribed on the map overlay, or displayed as a permanent echo) or a visual reporting point (whose range and azimuth from the radar antenna has been accurately determined and made available to the controller) corresponds with a direct position report received from an aircraft, and the observed track is consistent with the reported heading or route of flight. If a TACAN/VORTAC is located within 6,000 feet of the radar antenna, the TACAN/VORTAC may be used as a reference fix for radar identification without being displayed on the video map or map overlay.

 

It's honestly not that hard to come up with your location as a pilot and report it to the controller upon initial contact when coming from a non-radar environment (Hmm sounds like my argument in a different thread...). It's what, a handful of extra words that you as a pilot have to mouth? Are you so opposed to this simple request from the OP because you're too lazy to figure out where you are, or because VATSIM is unrealistic and we should just use our "magic tools" to find you, which again kind of returns back to laziness or apathy (whatever you want to call it) with the mindset of "Oh I'll just let the controller do my work for me".

 

We could ask pilots to do identifying turns or turns of 30° or more as the means of radar identification. That would throw our magenta line following pilots for a loop eh?

 

EDIT: I forgot to add the following...

Inform an aircraft of its position whenever radar identification is established by means of identifying turns or by any of the beacon identification methods outlined in para 5-3-3, Beacon Identification Methods. Position information need not be given when identification is established by position correlation or when a departing aircraft is identified within 1 mile of the takeoff runway end.

 

It saves us all valuable time on frequency when a pilot calls up and can be radar identified based on position correlation.

John Muenster (MR) - Minneapolis ARTCC

Unless expressly written, my comments in no way reflect the opinions of any ARTCC I am affiliated with, they are personal opinions only.

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Its an issue when I have to fly through somebodys airspace without being controlled because the particular controller is obsessed with the position reports instead of dealing with the situation with the tools that he has available. But tbh, its not really that big of a deal to me.

Pray tell...what are these magical tools of which you speak?

 

If I am interpreting Wim correctly (and Wim, please correct me if I'm not) he is suggesting that we don't bother going through radar identification procedures AT ALL in these situations where the center controller hops online with 20 aircraft already in his airspace.

 

Wim's justification for his suggestion is that this situation does not happen in the real world. In the real world, those 20 aircraft would *most likely* have been handed off by an adjacent controller, thus obviating the need for radar identification. All that is needed is an altitude verification. The pilot can check in with "DAL123, FL350" and the controller can respond with "Roger." (Obviously, there are exceptions, such as aircraft that are below FL180 ... these could be pop-up IFR aircraft that may not have come from an adjacent radar facility in the equivalent real world situation.)

 

So, the tool Wim is suggesting we use is simply our radar client. We should configure our radar client such that it allows us to see the callsign for these aircraft (as opposed to just a beacon code and mode C report) perhaps by using the quicklook function in VRC. That way, when they check in, we know where they are, we can start tracking them and all is well with nothing more than a "Roger" coming from the controller. So the issue of saving radio time by checking in with your location becomes moot, should we follow Wim's suggestion.

 

Granted, if there are 20 aircraft in the airspace, if no location is given when the pilot checks in, it can take the controller a little longer to find the aircraft, but we're talking a few seconds here. The controller needs to scan his airspace anyway, so it's not like this is a significant issue.

 

Don't get me wrong, I'm not advocating that we all follow Wim's suggestion. There are downsides to that approach, not the least of which is the fact that it doesn't help teach pilots how to do proper check-ins when they are coming from uncontrolled airspace.

 

I don't work center very often (it's been years I think) so I'm not exposed to this issue very much. Personally, I think that if I signed onto a center position with 20 aircraft in my airspace, I would "cheat" and [Mod - Happy Thoughts]ume that any aircraft above FL180 would have come to me from an adjacent center and just confirm their altitude after finding them on my scope with the quicklook function. And if I had any trouble locating the target quickly, I'd then ask for a position report.

Developer: vPilot, VRC, vSTARS, vERAM, VAT-Spy

Senior Controller, Boston Virtual ARTCC

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  • 1 year later...

What controllers need to remember is this...

 

Aircraft on VATSIM fly all the time without ATC. They are going to get to their destinations and land with or without ATC.

Even though no aircraft has any more priority over any other, there is a priority to the controller.

 

For example, as a center controller you need not send a contact me to any aircraft within 20 miles or so from their destination. They are going to arrive before you get a chance to provide any real service.

 

As an approach controller there is no real value to be added to aircraft on final or taxiing to the gate.

 

As any controller there is no point in sending a contact me to any aircraft nearing the point of leaving your airspace.

 

Sending multiple contact me's should be done in moderation and to those aircraft that do not fall in one of the categories above. Possibly 5 at a time in a geographic area where it will be easy to locate the target. And starting with aircraft nearing the point where ATC can best serve them. Radar identification may still need to be done, and position and altitude reports on the initial call certainly cut down or eliminate additional dialog. We appreciate the pilots to provide this, but I, for one, do not scorn those that do not. I just ask the questions I need in order to meet my own self imposed rules and that of my ARTCC while making my airspace an enjoyable environment to fly.

 

We cannot control without the pilots, but the pilots can certainly fly without us. I am thankful for them every day...

 

 

 

(Yeah, a resurrection of an old, old thread.)

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Good discussion. It would be a lot faster if we could get everyone issuing position reports.

 

For example, as a center controller you need not send a contact me to any aircraft within 20 miles or so from their destination. They are going to arrive before you get a chance to provide any real service.

 

I don't know. The terminal area can be pretty dangerous. I could see conflicts happening within 20 miles. If you're addressing controllers sending multiple contact me's to pilots over the numbers, then I completely agree.

 

My .02 anyway.

ZLA ARTCC/TRACON

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