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Huh?? What in the world does Europe have to do with any of this? My point is that we can expand coverage at time when coverage normally doesn't exist, and actually offer services to pilots. What's wrong with that? We shouldn't do it because it's not realistic? Oh my! That's terrible!

 

I was referring to the amount (or lack of) coverage in Europe. You looked at our airspace when a large majority of VATUSA controllers are asleep. If you look at Europe when a large majority of Europe is sleeping, even a majority of their "super" Centers are offline. It's not a good comparison to look at manning at off peak hours.

 

The only issue you guys are citing is realism. That's it. No, it's not realistic. Are there going to be issues with people not knowing who to call at first? Of course! It would take some getting used to. But so what?

 

How about pilot confusion? As I have said in EVERY post I have made on this thread, the pilots in the US have enough problems as it is with knowing who to contact and how to fly. I absolutely loathe controlling center positions on VATSIM because I, on every single session, get no less than 2 pilots who depart a Cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] B airport within my airspace and don't contact me. Even when I was in ZDC, a pilot departed IAD and another from DCA not even 10 minutes after when I had been on for 2 hours. Now make mega centers... you think the pilots are going to understand this?

 

Perhaps the two people supporting the idea are actually looking at it objectively, and aren't concerned with running a mini-FAA 24/7. Don't get me wrong, I don't necessarily support running things like this all day long. But what would be the issue with "combining up" after say 9PM local, when coverage starts to go away? Is it really as big a deal as you guys are making it?

 

Look at it logistically, with the state of not only the controllers that generally fly in VATUSA, but also the pilots. It's complete night and day to the pilots I have controlled in Europe (for Hit Squad, etc.). Pilots generally know who to contact, aren't afraid to ask questions if they don't understand something, and only take things they understand. If I [Mod - Happy Thoughts]ign a departure to a pilot in Europe, I know 9/10 times he's going to fly it correctly. If a pilot FILES a SID in the US, 6/10 times they won't fly it correctly. And that's just in the small areas I've controlled Radar in (ZHU, ZJX, ZDC, and ZSE).

 

The issue is that in most places on VATSIM, it takes longer to get checked out to the center level, than it does being certified in the real world. It takes people years to get signed off, and by that point, most people have already gotten fed up and left.

 

In most of VATUSA, it doesn't take years to get signed off. From personal observations, more people get fed up with piloting in the US and politics than the length of training.

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I'm with the rest on that. Sure, Centers are most visible, but when I'm setting up a flight, the only thing I care about is ATC at departure and destination. The centers in between are of no consequence at all, and to be fully honest, if I know all they'll do is say "hi" and "bye" without any other instructions, I just see them as an obstacle.

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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Matthew, if we want 100% realism, then let's start dividing the ARTCCs up into the 40 or so individual sectors, running 5 or 6 local positions all the time, etc. We do not need 100% realism 100% of the time. It's a silly notion. Sometimes we depart from realism slightly to allow for more coverage, hence 1 controller covering center, one covering approach, 1 covering tower, etc.

 

John, I listed that time as an example. It can be moved to whatever. I can [Mod - Happy Thoughts]ure you, however, that 9 o'clock last night wasn't any "prime staffing hours". Let's look at right now even. Two centers online, and about 60-70 aircraft. A West Coast combined center, and we just added 29 aircraft receiving service, who would otherwise be on UNICOM. I fail to see the issue with that. How could that possibly be a bad thing?

 

I would like to see a poll of the pilots out there, Would you like to sit on one controllers frequency for an endless amount of hours during your flight?

 

Do we really need another poll? There have been all sorts of polls (including the latest one on AVSIM) in which pilots state they don't fly online because there is a lack of coverage. Pilots want more coverage. That doesn't mean staffing 30 towers or 10 approach positions. That means more enroute coverage, so 100% of their flights, or close to it, are covered by ATC. Being switched to UNICOM is exactly why they choose to fly offline, or try VATSIM or IVAO and then leave.

 

The people who took the poll made it VERY clear why they don't fly online. I'm not really sure we need another poll to tell us what we already know. It takes controllers 2-3 years to certify here on VATSIM. Accordingly, we have a lack of Center controllers, and a lack of coverage.

 

So then they can start complaining because the person running the "mega" Center had them wait 10 minutes for a clearance because 28 other aircraft were airborne and needed descent/climb/approach clearances. Center sectors split in ZJX rw around 10-12 aircraft. On an average night, ZJX itself sees more than this at a single time. Mega centers is going to dramatically increase workload to the point of people are going to be waiting a lot longer for IFR clearances, approach clearances, etc. Pilots are already impatient enough.

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Seeing that Denver Center, outside of events, becomes "Denver Breaks Facilitator," I don't see any advantage to a multi-ARTCC high altitude center. By break facilitator I mean that I just approve pilot breaks from the computer screen, and then take note when they say they're back in the deck. That and the fact that most pilots just want to go to UNICOM so they don't have to maintain a listening watch for 2 hours in my airspace, I can't see those pilots wanting to maintain a listening watch of Midwest Breaks Facilitator for 4 hours. They'll file below the controlled airspace floor or just not connect at all.

 

Harold, I have been trying to say exactly that in a few of my post, thanks for finding the words for me.

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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There's no evidence to suggest that this position is in demand by pilots.

 

There isn't, because pilots haven't been asked about that position specifically. What is in demand is more ATC coverage, and we currently aren't providing that.

 

 

I was referring to the amount (or lack of) coverage in Europe. You looked at our airspace when a large majority of VATUSA controllers are asleep. If you look at Europe when a large majority of Europe is sleeping, even a majority of their "super" Centers are offline. It's not a good comparison to look at manning at off peak hours.

 

It's not a good idea to look at off-peak hours, when that's exactly what I'm proposing? What should I look at then?

 

How about pilot confusion?

 

How about the pilot confusion when CHI_CTR is manned, but a pilot wants to depart Midway? How about the confusion when LAX_CTR is manned and a pilot wants to depart Las Vegas? Oh my! The confusion! Yes, there is always going to be initial confusion when something like this is introduced, but it's no worse than the confusion there is now. It just takes education.

 

If I [Mod - Happy Thoughts]ign a departure to a pilot in Europe, I know 9/10 times he's going to fly it correctly. If a pilot FILES a SID in the US, 6/10 times they won't fly it correctly. And that's just in the small areas I've controlled Radar in (ZHU, ZJX, ZDC, and ZSE).

 

So we're going to throw out an entire idea because 6/10 pilots don't know how to fly SIDs? Really?

 

In most of VATUSA, it doesn't take years to get signed off.

 

It sure does!

Bryan Wollenberg

ZLA!

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I think we should stop discussing ARTCC consolidation and determine a plan to start working on consolidated TRACON/tower operations. That would be a more realistic option. I think that by going down this route, we can a) get a more realistic feel and b) update the voice library and the way the system works.

Ryan Geckler - GK | Former VATUSA3 - Division Training Manager

VATSIM Minneapolis ARTCC | FAA Miami ARTCC 

Cross the Pond Planning Team

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There's no evidence to suggest that this position is in demand by pilots.

 

There isn't, because pilots haven't been asked about that position specifically. What is in demand is more ATC coverage, and we currently aren't providing that.

 

Bryan, responding to demand for more ATC coverage with super-centers makes no sense. The type of ATC in demand is arrival and departure ATC, enroute ATC is simply increasing coverage for the sack of saying "We increased coverage", without providing any tangible benefit. Can you really picture a situation where super-center controllers do more than say hello and goodbye? Worse, this idea would take controllers from where they can actually provide needed arrival and departure services, and put them on a unneeded service.

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Ryan,

 

The funny thing about it is that we recently had the discussion that VATSIM doesn't have the developers to create a new pilot client let alone re-vamp the network infrastructure... I honestly don't think that Priming on multiple frequencies will happen for a while to come.

 

Cheers!

Rahul

Rahul Parkar

"On second thoughts Nappa, catch it, catch it with your teeth" -- Vegeta

Professional Nerd. (Professionally not professional)

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If a super center controller, even at high altitudes was a fully certified and current visitor on each and every facility roster he was going to cover, I might back down. Because whomever is working airspace within my boundaries reflects on my facility.

Matt Bartels
VP: Marketing & Communication
## vpmkt (at) vatsim.net
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Unless otherwise stated, opinions are my own and not representative of the official opinion of the VATSIM Board of Governors

 

 

 

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Bryan, responding to demand for more ATC coverage with super-centers makes no sense. The type of ATC in demand is arrival and departure ATC, enroute ATC is simply increasing coverage for the sack of saying "We increased coverage", without providing any tangible benefit. Can you really picture a situation where super-center controllers do more than say hello and goodbye? Worse, this idea would take controllers from where they can actually provide needed arrival and departure services, and put them on a unneeded service.

 

That's actually completely incorrect if you read any of the surveys. Pilots are specifically tired of being switched to UNICOM, with no ATC coverage. How does having more tower controllers or TRACON controllers eliminate that? It doesn't. The only thing that eliminates that is enroute coverage.

Bryan Wollenberg

ZLA!

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If a super center controller, even at high altitudes was a fully certified and current visitor on each and every facility roster he was going to cover, I might back down. Because whomever is working airspace within my boundaries reflects on my facility.

 

I support that too, by the way, as I mentioned several pages ago. I don't see anything wrong with requiring these folk (as part of the endorsement) to have VC status in the other ARTCCs.

Bryan Wollenberg

ZLA!

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If a super center controller, even at high altitudes was a fully certified and current visitor on each and every facility roster he was going to cover, I might back down. Because whomever is working airspace within my boundaries reflects on my facility.

 

I support that too, by the way, as I mentioned several pages ago. I don't see anything wrong with requiring these folk (as part of the endorsement) to have VC status in the other ARTCCs.

 

Which then leads me to ask this question, how many people do you expect would be able to attain this "super-center" status? Some ARTCCs require you to start from DEL and work your way up. Of the years I've been on VATSIM, I only know of one gentleman who was able to learn and maintain VC status at every ARTCC and it took him years (I remember all of us congratulating him on the forums) to obtain it. Then the next question is: if Controller A is certified at ZNY ZBW ZOB, he could only control that area but when he signs off, Controller B who can control ZNY, ZBW, ZOB and ZAU signs on and confuses the pilots who 2 seconds ago thought they didn't have coverage in ZAU's airspace.

 

You think the pilots are confused now with LAX and CHI_CTR? Wait until this takes effect.

CTP Planning Team Member

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How about pilot confusion?

 

How about the pilot confusion when CHI_CTR is manned, but a pilot wants to depart Midway? How about the confusion when LAX_CTR is manned and a pilot wants to depart Las Vegas? Oh my! The confusion! Yes, there is always going to be initial confusion when something like this is introduced, but it's no worse than the confusion there is now. It just takes education.

 

Heh... a good number don't educate.

 

Instead of building these mega centers, why not look at WHY we can't keep C1s around and fix that? I've already said why I see a good number of controllers leave, I'd much prefer we keep C1s around versus spread us even thinner.

 

And you completely surp[Mod - Happy Thoughts]ed my main complaint. The heavily increased workload is HORRENDOUS. Pilots are going to leave because the quality of ATC is going to go down the tube even further than it already has. If not for lack of training, it will just solely by the heavily increased amount of work. If you let it be done by LOAs between specific areas (as Andrew said), a controller could combine positions as they see fit according to their workload. Controllers provide more services to pilots based on their workload. The more aircraft they have, the less "extra" services are provided. Why not employ something like that here instead of creating a Dixie Center (-gag- who came up with these names?)?

 

There are MANY more issues that need to be addressed before consolidating enroute facilities is even looked at... and many of these issues are just being overlooked and discarded.

 

If I [Mod - Happy Thoughts]ign a departure to a pilot in Europe, I know 9/10 times he's going to fly it correctly. If a pilot FILES a SID in the US, 6/10 times they won't fly it correctly. And that's just in the small areas I've controlled Radar in (ZHU, ZJX, ZDC, and ZSE).

 

So we're going to throw out an entire idea because 6/10 pilots don't know how to fly SIDs? Really?

 

See above. Lack of simple piloting ability drives away a good number of virtual controllers, which in turn drives away many pilots. Let's fix something basic first before doing something like this which will, guaranteed, drive away many more controllers, which in turn will create even less coverage and drive away more pilots.

 

In most of VATUSA, it doesn't take years to get signed off.

 

It sure does!

 

Got references? I have never seen a dedicated student (aka, someone not available only Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 12:00am to 3:00am) take more than 6 months to get C1. I have seen some people take years to get C1, but it was either because A) their availability didn't match with the available instructing staff, and/or B) they had little to no desire to get C1.

 

Even if I wasn't a staff member at that ARTCC, I haven't seen ANY ARTCC in the US where an even mildly motivated student has taken years to get C1.

 

I can see this idea working in an area with little to no traffic and/or little to no controllers. But in the US, this isn't the case.

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How does having more tower controllers or TRACON controllers eliminate that? It doesn't. The only thing that eliminates that is enroute coverage.

 

Yea, top-down enroute coverage. Imagine the "what would happen on VATSIM" scenario; a super center with a fair amount of planes in the air working on clearances and approaches with bad pilots and airspace, or airports that the controller doesn't know like the back of their hand

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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Which then leads me to ask this question, how many people do you expect would be able to attain this "super-center" status? Some ARTCCs require you to start from DEL and work your way up.

 

That would certainly make sense for top-down coverage. For FL240 and above, why would they ever require you to start with DEL and work your way up?

 

Then the next question is: if Controller A is certified at ZNY ZBW ZOB, he could only control that area but when he signs off, Controller B who can control ZNY, ZBW, ZOB and ZAU signs on and confuses the pilots who 2 seconds ago thought they didn't have coverage in ZAU's airspace.

 

You think the pilots are confused now with LAX and CHI_CTR? Wait until this takes effect.

 

 

It's all or nothing. You would never have a supercenter controller authorized only to work part of it. Have you seen your Controller A vs. Controller B scenario actually proposed anywhere, because I sure haven't seen it? Not sure where you came up with that, to be honest.

Bryan Wollenberg

ZLA!

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Yea, top-down enroute coverage. Imagine the "what would happen on VATSIM" scenario; a super center with a fair amount of planes in the air working on clearances and approaches with bad pilots and airspace, or airports that the controller doesn't know like the back of their hand

 

At midnight?? Yeah... I can just see the show now...

Bryan Wollenberg

ZLA!

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Which then leads me to ask this question, how many people do you expect would be able to attain this "super-center" status? Some ARTCCs require you to start from DEL and work your way up.

 

That would certainly make sense for top-down coverage. For FL240 and above, why would they ever require you to start with DEL and work your way up?

 

Then the next question is: if Controller A is certified at ZNY ZBW ZOB, he could only control that area but when he signs off, Controller B who can control ZNY, ZBW, ZOB and ZAU signs on and confuses the pilots who 2 seconds ago thought they didn't have coverage in ZAU's airspace.

 

You think the pilots are confused now with LAX and CHI_CTR? Wait until this takes effect.

 

 

It's all or nothing. You would never have a supercenter controller authorized only to work part of it. Have you seen your Controller A vs. Controller B scenario actually proposed anywhere, because I sure haven't seen it? Not sure where you came up with that, to be honest.

 

In regards to the first part, you now are going to require ARTCCs to change their policies? Why are we even further inconveniencing ARTCCs? Really creating a lot of work here when there are tons of other solutions that have been proposed in these forums.

 

Regarding second part, my mistake, I misinterpreted your post. However, it does give further credence to my question, how many people do you actually expect to get the VC status in all of the ARTCCs? That's still a fair amount of training they would have to do, or would you require the ARTCCs to also change their training syllabi to accomodate this program as well?

CTP Planning Team Member

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There's been plenty of times where I've had a m[Mod - Happy Thoughts]ive rush in the middle of the night. Remember it's always 17:00 somewhere

Matt Bartels
VP: Marketing & Communication
## vpmkt (at) vatsim.net
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Unless otherwise stated, opinions are my own and not representative of the official opinion of the VATSIM Board of Governors

 

 

 

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Got references? I have never seen a dedicated student (aka, someone not available only Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 12:00am to 3:00am) take more than 6 months to get C1.

 

Sure! In your facility, only 4 of the 20 C1+ rated controllers have taken 6 months or less, and that does not count the time to go from OBS -> S1. Adding that in would elminate 2 of those people. Would you like me to continue with other facilities, or is that good enough? Of course that doesn't mean those people were actually trained at your facility, but the 6 month figure is nowhere near being realistic.

Bryan Wollenberg

ZLA!

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Yea, top-down enroute coverage. Imagine the "what would happen on VATSIM" scenario; a super center with a fair amount of planes in the air working on clearances and approaches with bad pilots and airspace, or airports that the controller doesn't know like the back of their hand

At midnight?? Yeah... I can just see the show now...

 

 

Sure it wouldn't happen when you and I agree that maybe a super center will work. But from what I understand the proposal is a 24/7 kind of thing, so unless things change... may the show begin!

 

Another thing to consider is that at midnight all connections go down in number, including those pilots that whine about lack of coverage. So while I agree Brian that super centers shouldn't be implemented in prime time that still leaves the issues of coverage during times when the connection numbers are higher. Its during these times I feel a super TRACON or something of that nature would work better. But that requires alteration of the network's infrastructure which its already been said is VERY unlikely to happen.

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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Got references? I have never seen a dedicated student (aka, someone not available only Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 12:00am to 3:00am) take more than 6 months to get C1.

 

Sure! In your facility, only 4 of the 20 C1+ rated controllers have taken 6 months or less, and that does not count the time to go from OBS -> S1. Adding that in would elminate 2 of those people. Would you like me to continue with other facilities, or is that good enough? Of course that doesn't mean those people were actually trained at your facility, but the 6 month figure is nowhere near being realistic.

 

Have you seen their training requests? I have watched it. A number never request training for over a month until prodded. As the person who wrote and runs the training scheduler, I can tell you that a majority of time people aren't even asking for training. I have watched someone from outside the US go from S1 to C1 very quickly. He picked up C1 a few weeks after picking up approach.

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In regards to the first part, you now are going to require ARTCCs to change their policies? Why are we even further inconveniencing ARTCCs? Really creating a lot of work here when there are tons of other solutions that have been proposed in these forums.

 

I think the small inconvenience might pay off in the form of better coverage and higher pilot activity. Is it really a big deal to change the wording in some policy somewhere? Maybe that's half the problem...we have become so entranced with policy and docomeentation, that even changing wording in a policy somewhere becomes a major inconvenience. Don't get me wrong...that's from the top all the way down. I'm not going to single anyone out, as I'm just as guilty.

 

 

 

Sure it wouldn't happen when you and I agree that maybe a super center will work. But from what I understand the proposal is a 24/7 kind of thing, so unless things change... may the show begin!

 

I understood the same, and because of that, I can't really support the proposal as it stands...at least not now. With changes as vast as what is being proposed, I definitely think that 24/7 would be a mistake.

 

Another thing to consider is that at midnight all connections go down in number, including those pilots that whine about lack of coverage. So while I agree Brian that super centers shouldn't be implemented in prime time that still leaves the issues of coverage during times when the connection numbers are higher. Its during these times I feel a super TRACON or something of that nature would work better. But that requires alteration of the network's infrastructure which its already been said is VERY unlikely to happen.

 

Absolutely true, but generally during prime time, there are also the center controllers online. A supercenter really shouldn't be needed. It's really the off-peak time, where we could be providing more coverage, but aren't. I do like the super TRACON/TWR idea very much, but like you say, I don't see the infrastructure being upated anytime soon. It's unfortunate.

 

 

Have you seen their training requests? I have watched it. A number never request training for over a month until prodded. As the person who wrote and runs the training scheduler, I can tell you that a majority of time people aren't even asking for training. I have watched someone from outside the US go from S1 to C1 very quickly. He picked up C1 a few weeks after picking up approach.

 

You asked for evidence, and I'm simply telling you what the numbers show system-wide. Regardless of the reasons (I really don't care), it is taking people years to make it to the center level. Nobody is getting paid 6-figures to train on VATSIM, and accordingly, somebody with average availability, and the ability to put in an average amount of time per week, shouldn't take years to get signed off. But that's for a whole other discussion.

Bryan Wollenberg

ZLA!

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You asked for evidence, and I'm simply telling you what the numbers show system-wide. Regardless of the reasons (I really don't care), it is taking people years to make it to the center level. Nobody is getting paid 6-figures to train on VATSIM, and accordingly, somebody with average availability, and the ability to put in an average amount of time per week, shouldn't take years to get signed off. But that's for a whole other discussion.

 

In the end, you can't force someone to go C1. And creating this mega center doo-dad is going to have the complete opposite effect you're looking for.

 

You keep missing the questions I am asking. Why not address the REAL causes of us not retaining C1s before considering a move like this?

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