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Via Radar Vectors?


Romano Lara
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It's always a pet peeve of mine when I'm being cleared by a GND controller, with no TWR, APP, or even CTR for that matter -- via 'radar vectors' to a certain fix instead of as filed. Now why is that? So I got curious, I asked the controller this controller why am I getting cleared via radar vectors, and came back with "you filed XXXX, and my SOP says if you filed XXXX, I should clear you via radar vectors to XXX XXXX.."

 

Romano Lara
vACC Philippines, Manager - Training & Standards
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This is another one of those things were people (in this case, those that write SOPs) have to decide between sticking to real-world procedures even if some of it doesn't make sense for VATSIM and modifying procedures to make more sense for VATSIM.

 

It's similar to the question of how to handle an aircraft that arrives in center's airspace at FL350 coming from an unstaffed adjacent center. Do you radar identify the aircraft, or do you treat it as though it came from another radar controller just as it would have in the real world?

 

In the example you've brought up, I personally prefer that the DEL/GND controller issue the clearance as though there were a radar controller online. It's simply more realistic. That way, things stay as real as possible right up until the point where I switch to UNICOM.

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

Senior Controller, Boston Virtual ARTCC

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Cleared to (some place) airport via radar vectors xxxx

 

That is a personal pet peeve of mine. It's not realistic, and absolutely destroys the basics of IFR. You basically stopped the pilot from doing his filed IFR route and then didn't tell him what to expect to do after departure. There should be zero points that an IFR aircraft has that shouldn't somehow be connected to another. IE, the pilot now, technically, has no idea what to do after departure. He can [Mod - Happy Thoughts]ume fly runway heading, but, that's definitely not safe.

 

IF controllers were taught to say that, it's wrong. It should be "Cleared to (some place) airport, as filed." [Mod - Happy Thoughts]igning departure headings would still be completely valid. And not [Mod - Happy Thoughts]igning them won't break IFR.

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Just took a look at the VATUSA S1 material regarding issuing clearances.

 

"(NOTE: If there is no radar controller such as Departure, Approach or Center above you, the term "radar vectors" is not used. Substitute the word "direct" since there is no controller to issue vectors. This is a VATSIM situation and would not occur in real world aviation.)"

 

That is definitely something I never thought about, and it goes to show that there is something new to learn everyday. I will give my local controllers the "heads up".

Manuel Manigault

Division Director

VATUSA

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Just took a look at the VATUSA S1 material regarding issuing clearances.

 

"(NOTE: If there is no radar controller such as Departure, Approach or Center above you, the term "radar vectors" is not used. Substitute the word "direct" since there is no controller to issue vectors. This is a VATSIM situation and would not occur in real world aviation.)"

 

That is definitely something I never thought about, and it goes to show that there is something new to learn everyday. I will give my local controllers the "heads up".

 

Another case of VATUSA's materials being off from realistic procedures. Radar Vectors are never used without climbouts "Cleared to some airport via fly runway heading, radar vectors SUMFX, then as filed." Is okay. "Cleared to some airport via radar vectors SUMFX" is breaking IFR. I've gotten in a habit of asking clearance delivery for a departure heading when I get that because I find more times than not, I'm never given a departure heading, so my IFR plan is broken.

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Just took a look at the VATUSA S1 material regarding issuing clearances.

 

"(NOTE: If there is no radar controller such as Departure, Approach or Center above you, the term "radar vectors" is not used. Substitute the word "direct" since there is no controller to issue vectors. This is a VATSIM situation and would not occur in real world aviation.)"

 

That is definitely something I never thought about, and it goes to show that there is something new to learn everyday. I will give my local controllers the "heads up".

 

Great to hear they changed that! But perhaps "pilots discretion to SUMFX" would make more sense, since sometimes coordinating with other traffic, or terrain avoidance is necessary, and would preclude a direct routing.

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In your case, Darrol, you just don't specify anything between the runway and the first fix.

 

Good resource for all here:

http://laartcc.org/article_page/15

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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Interesting topic...

 

The company I work for provides ATC services in and around the Southern California area and just about every single airport has some sort of initial heading/routing instructions [Mod - Happy Thoughts]igned to link up an aircraft to their initial fix (generally to TEC routes or other standard routes). A regular clearance out of airports with vectored departures still will normally include initial headings (sometimes even a departure runway) [Mod - Happy Thoughts]igned by the clearance controller in most circomestances (ie: Santa Barbara CA - SBA - a typical clearance reads, "ABC123, depart runway 7, fly runway heading, p[Mod - Happy Thoughts]ing 500, turn right heading 120, vectors to KWANG, then as filed..."). If there are no headings that can legally be [Mod - Happy Thoughts]igned by said facility, then we simply revert to the ODP (Obstacle Departure Procedure) which will get an aircraft safely above terrain/MEA and usually link directly onto the initial departure fix or an airway that then will link to the route. It might be a safe bet to just [Mod - Happy Thoughts]ign that to aircraft (if one exists) when no radar control is available and a lone local/ground/clearance controller is open.

 

Places such as the Midwestern U.S. rarely have this problem and will (real world) just clear people all day long via radar vectors without [Mod - Happy Thoughts]igning an initial heading in the clearance (places like O'Hare, Midway, Minneapolis, etc). The local controllers in these areas generally have departure dispersal areas and/or arrival dump zones to avoid (giving them an approved heading range to launch departures between). It's far more efficient for these places to not be "locked down" by a heading [Mod - Happy Thoughts]igned to the pilot by clearance/ground so they can roll with the punches, so to speak, and separate departures via divergence procedures (15+ degrees between successive departures), which in turn gets aircraft on course far more efficiently (when applied correctly). I suppose you could just have the clearance controller [Mod - Happy Thoughts]ign a heading at these places anyway, then have the local controller "amend initial heading..." in the takeoff clearance, but frequency congestion is something to consider as you're then having more to say to aircraft.

 

"Cleared as filed" could work I suppose... If the pilot removes the radar vectored departure procedure from the clearance and just uses the initial fix as the first point. Then that does put navigation solely in the pilot's hands to get to that initial fix via their own discretion. If I'm not mistaken, pilot's aren't supposed to file radar vectored departure procedures anyhow, it's something [Mod - Happy Thoughts]igned to aircraft via ATC (it's not listed on flight progress strips to see ORD5 or MSP5).

 

I would place my bet safely that a majority of VATUSA pilots probably would not recognize this issue to begin with. However, there's some food for thought in this one...

Andrew James Doubleday | Twitch Stream: Ground_Point_Niner

University of North Dakota | FAA Air Traffic Collegiate Training Initiative (AT-CTI) GraduateGPN_Horizontal_-_Tertiary.thumb.png.9d7edc4d985ab7ed1dc60b92a5dfa85c.png

 

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Andrew,

 

"via Radar Vectors" isn't phraseology used in IFR clearances listed in the 7110.65. It is perfectly legal (and happens all the time) to say "Cleared to Downtown Mobile Airport as Filed." then have the local controller say "Fly heading 270, runway 7L, clear for takeoff." It reduces frequency congestion (pilots don't have to ask why their IFR route was broken, what they do after departure, etc. Clearance isn't issuing a heading to have local amend it, etc.) and it still allows the pilot to keep a valid IFR route.

 

Most major airports have a generate "Radar Vector" SID that gives departure headings as well. Orlando's departure gates are all issued as "Cleared to some Airport, Orlando 8 Departure, then as filed." Headings are listed "as [Mod - Happy Thoughts]igned" so local issues them on departure (fan headings).

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Yeah, it may not be "approved phraseology" but it is definitely in use at a number of places in reality... They're either interpreting the 7110 differently or they simply don't care how it's stated.

 

You're idea might work for most smaller airports quite well in terms of just clearing "as filed" and then issuing the heading on local...

Andrew James Doubleday | Twitch Stream: Ground_Point_Niner

University of North Dakota | FAA Air Traffic Collegiate Training Initiative (AT-CTI) GraduateGPN_Horizontal_-_Tertiary.thumb.png.9d7edc4d985ab7ed1dc60b92a5dfa85c.png

 

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Yeah, it may not be "approved phraseology" but it is definitely in use at a number of places in reality... They're either interpreting the 7110 differently or they simply don't care how it's stated.

 

You're idea might work for most smaller airports quite well in terms of just clearing "as filed" and then issuing the heading on local...

 

It's not limited to smaller airports, but rather, any airport that controllers seem to use "via radar vectors". Some kind of instruction is required to allow the IFR aircraft to remain IFR. Giving that clearance isn't valid, you're breaking the whole point of IFR. You have taken their route and modified a leg but replaced with nothing. Like having a car on a patch of dirt and telling it to go to Atlanta via the highway, but then removing the onramp and telling them to go. Where do you want them to go when they start moving? They shouldn't because they weren't given any control instructions other than "go" (clear for takeoff).

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I think we're on the same page here... I'm not indicating that they clear aircraft for takeoff at these fields without [Mod - Happy Thoughts]igning a heading, the heading just comes later in the process (from local, not in the clearance).

Andrew James Doubleday | Twitch Stream: Ground_Point_Niner

University of North Dakota | FAA Air Traffic Collegiate Training Initiative (AT-CTI) GraduateGPN_Horizontal_-_Tertiary.thumb.png.9d7edc4d985ab7ed1dc60b92a5dfa85c.png

 

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I think we're on the same page here... I'm not indicating that they clear aircraft for takeoff at these fields without [Mod - Happy Thoughts]igning a heading, the heading just comes later in the process (from local, not in the clearance).

 

We are. Problem is, most controllers in VATUSA don't understand why you can't give that clearance and NOT give a departure heading. I, more times than not, don't get one. So I try to get a SID when possible so that I don't have to [Mod - Happy Thoughts]ume 1 thing and then mess up what the radar controller [Mod - Happy Thoughts]umes I am going to do.

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The company I work for provides ATC services in and around the Southern California area...

AKA PilotEdge, online, which is procedurally not much different than ZLA on VATSIM. Sorry, but I have to call it as I see it.

 

Our facility's stance on this is to issue the clearance as "expect radar vectors" to and treating the situation then as lost comms.

That's an interesting workaround. But how is it different than "as filed," and having tower issue a heading? Alternatively, without a tower controller online, the pilot could fly an ODP or just go direct to the waypoint, whatever they see necessary to avoid terrain.

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Slightly off-topic, but still in a "radar departure" frame of mind and something I've wondered about...

 

Should flight plans with SIDs that are "RADAR Required" (which are the vast majority of SIDs) really be approved by a tower/ground/clearance delivery controller if there are no controllers available to provide radar services?

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Technically, no. However, if the PIC wants it.. they get it. Just like if they want to shoot a Localizer approach with Wx minimums of 500 feet and 3SM but the airfield is reporting VV001 and 1/4SM vis. We'll tell you the weather and that it's below minimums, but if you really want it, it's your ticket.

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And to add to the details, I thought it might be mistaken as a SID that I filed. No, I didn't filed an SID because there was no controller at the time. I filed a direct to a fix. In case you mistaken it as a clearance in a radar required SID that has no overlying radar control. The controller at the time, a student, actually told me that its in their SOP that if a pilot files SMFIX (non standard departure gate), they should amend it to.. via radar vectors to SMFIXA JXXX SMFIXB. Which I of course declined knowing there was no overlying controller. Just saying..

Romano Lara
vACC Philippines, Manager - Training & Standards
04819c_4181f294a6c34b5aa4d8a82c0fb448c5~mv2.webp

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And to add to the details, I thought it might be mistaken as a SID that I filed. No, I didn't filed an SID because there was no controller at the time. I filed a direct to a fix. In case you mistaken it as a clearance in a radar required SID that has no overlying radar control. The controller at the time, a student, actually told me that its in their SOP that if a pilot files SMFIX (non standard departure gate), they should amend it to.. via radar vectors to SMFIXA JXXX SMFIXB. Which I of course declined knowing there was no overlying controller. Just saying..

 

Best thing to do, leave feedback.

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Exactly... no division standardization on the matter, nobody cares, nothing changes... The apathy-train continues across the division on the subject... Great isn't it?

Exactly WHAT division standardization are you expecting? Can you show me where it is specified that training in such minutia is required by the GRP?

 

Again and again I hear this cry for ever and ever greater compliance with FAA standards on a HOBBY network. Gents, we're working with a very widely-disparate population here...and please do not quote the VATSIM Mission Statement to me here. Like any such statement, it can be interpreted any number of ways. Your interpretation may not be mine or any anyone else's...and that is as it should be.

 

Many levels of expertise are reflected on this network worldwide. The single most important guiding factor I and other VATSIM managers have to follow is ensuring the network remains widely-amenable to the broadest number of individuals who wish to participate. This means the procedures we implement, the training we provide and the operation of the network in general cannot and will not be tailored to the whims and beliefs of a small cadre of individuals. We are NOT the FAA; we are not here to train future professional air traffic controllers; nor are we here to provide a pre-CTI educational experience. If anyone's experiences on this network adds to a members real-life efforts, then great! Consider it to be a moment of happenstance not a matter of intended consequences.

 

Got the questions above answered yet? Here's a hint, there is a well advertised project underway to rebuild the VATUSA Training System...perhaps your concerns could be addressed in that (a wildly more appropriate) venue?

Gary Millsaps

VATUSA1

 

"I knew all the rules but the rules did not know me...

guaranteed."

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Gary, I've addressed this on page 12 (the very last post) of the ARTCC Consolidation thread. My thoughts are posted there as to what could be done to improve things such as standardization. Posted earlier this afternoon.

Andrew James Doubleday | Twitch Stream: Ground_Point_Niner

University of North Dakota | FAA Air Traffic Collegiate Training Initiative (AT-CTI) GraduateGPN_Horizontal_-_Tertiary.thumb.png.9d7edc4d985ab7ed1dc60b92a5dfa85c.png

 

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