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ARTCC Consolidation


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Just basing off the responses from BW, I think it's safe to say that his hands are tied, likely by the decision sliding downhill from a founder, who long ago has made the decision to make this policy, and nobody wad going to be able to stop it. Notice how the only issue consistently raised by any management here is "more coverage" and no other points are addressed? That's no surprise... I've seen this happen before. Someone up top wants this to happen so the rest are simply puppets in the play. Either round the troops support or hand in your resignation... Not one of the numerous quality - oriented problems I or others have raised are being acknowledged or addressed at all. It basically is a non existent issue. Why? Because it simply doesn't matter. Just pretend you overlooked the post and ignore it all together. It will go away by itself. The 800lb gorilla in the room.

 

Very depressing indeed... Let this be a lesson to all here that none of us here have zero control over any of this. Numbers are all that is cared about by management. Quality has officially taken a back seat. Politics has already won this one.

 

In regards to trying to create a way to be active on multiple frequencies to potentially provide super-center or super-TRACON services addressing aircraft as the actual facility would involve m[Mod - Happy Thoughts]ive coding changes to the network that would likely involve m[Mod - Happy Thoughts]ive downtime and paying a programmer a lot of money. Not very feasible to find someone who will do it for free... So the easiest "band aid" solution is this super center idea that has come to fruition, much to the dismay of many of us here. I like the idea of providing coverage to a larger area as well, but the quality issues absolutely need addressing to make this have a chance at working...

 

Trying to take the "PilotEdge" solution would take a ton of work that VATSIM simply couldn't engage in the foundational programming that would be required for simultaneously broadcasting on multiple frequencies for more "realistic" coverage to this super-center idea. Yeah, I said it. What can I say? I'm a proud employee. Not to mention that PilotEdge is targeting a different market that VATSIM simply cannot support at its present state, and in many aspects that's not a bad thing (hence the reason I still spend some free time here working with personal friends at a facility that still care about quality and makes a solid effort to change the problems VATUSA faces, and in the proper order I might add). VATSIM still fills a void for me on a personal level, which is why I'm hurt when I continue to see things come down the pipe with little warning, no input. I'm glad this was "leaked" for that reason, if nothing else. These guys here... Your "Grade-A meat"... Are constantly disrespected by the actions (or lack thereof) by network management. There isn't one company that functions well without taking input of its valued employees. Oh wait... VATSIM apparently does!?!?

 

This has all the tell-tale signs of a founder that had already pulled out the founder card because he/she thinks that VATSIM should be simple and easy like the good ole days. I don't think what anyone says at this point will make much a difference. It's a shame because it is capable of much, much more. It would be great if someone could prove me wrong... I've seen this [Mod - lovely stuff] far too many times, however.

 

 

Regards,

 

 

 

Sent from my HTC Inspire 4G using Tapatalk.

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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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... I see a forecast of 100% sh*tshow

 

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

 

 

Let's not kid ourselves... It's not just going to "stop" at midnight. In 6 months, a year, it will be whenever anyone wants to work it. I get how it works, kind of like the Chinese taking over Hong Kong from the British Government... "Oh, will just take a few more civil liberties here, a few more there, slowly but surely and think that nobody will really notice if we just inch in slowly" and snatch it all away to merge it with Shenzhen and Macau. Nobody will notice a thing!

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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involve m[Mod - Happy Thoughts]ive downtime and paying a programmer a lot of money. Not very feasible to find someone who will do it for free...

 

Not necessarily true... just no one in the upper chain of VATSIM seems to care about the current state of the FSD servers and pilot client or they'd be more involved in trying to find people who care enough to do it. Or have I completely missed the requests for help from the BoG/Founders?

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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.

 

Huh? My numbers show people who quite obviously want to progress to C1 (or they would still be S3's or such).

 

 

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?

 

I'm not missing anything. The "REAL" causes have been addressed in other threads. I'm not saying the pilot quality, and all the other BS aren't affecting C1 retention, because they certainly are. If you show me anywhere in this thread I've said that, I'll eat my shoe.

 

Why the "real" causes aren't being addressed in general is well beyond my paygrade. I've supported pilot exams, CoC/CoR exams, etc. for the last 10 years. They aren't being addressed in this thread, but this is not a thread on C1 retention. Open a new thread on the "real" causes and I'll be happy to participate.

 

This thread is about increasing coverage with the C1's we do have.

 

 

Just basing off the responses from BW, I think it's safe to say that his hands are tied, likely by the decision sliding downhill from a founder, who long ago has made the decision to make this policy, and nobody wad going to be able to stop it.

 

AJ, just to note, as far as I'm aware, there is nothing set in stone that is going to force anybody to go this route...at least not now. It was a proposal introduced by a Founder, and apparently tested (??) on the network by some facilities. There has been nothing indicated to me that these supercenters will somehow become mandatory at any point.

 

And even further, while I definitely support certain aspects of this IDEA (not the proposal itself), I'm certainly not going to force anybody to go that route, unless obviously I'm forced to by somebody above my paygrade. This is up to YOU GUYS in VATUSA to figure out. As far as I know, the thread over in the VATUSA Staff Forum (started by Gary) was just to get an idea of what you guys thought of the idea.

 

Both threads should serve exactly the purpose they're serving, to garner opionions from controllers and pilots, and see what the general concensus is. If you guys don't want to go this route, then don't. I'm not going to attempt to force this on you. As far as I know, it was just a proposal to attempt to increase general coverage.

 

 

Let's not kid ourselves... It's not just going to "stop" at midnight. In 6 months, a year, it will be whenever anyone wants to work it. I get how it works, kind of like the Chinese taking over Hong Kong from the British Government...

 

That's a possibility. I don't like that, but it could certainly happen. My support of such an idea generally stops with off-peak.

Bryan Wollenberg

ZLA!

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I have known several C1s who spent a lot of time (months, if not longer) on S2 and S3 because they wanted to and felt no desire to progress further when they got to their ratings. So saying it's because of training is an incomplete look at the facts. I know most if not all facilities have at least one person like that. Do your numbers take into account the people who transfer as a specific rating that don't meet, in the opinions of the instructional staff, the requirements set forth by the GRP for their [Mod - Happy Thoughts]igned rating so require retraining and then training and certification on the major airspaces? I just looked at the C1s and can count on a couple fingers the number of them who pushed for C1 and didn't get it within a couple months. Looking purely at statistical figures of CERT isn't enough to get the whole picture of what's going on. Not everyone on this network wants to be center controllers.

 

I really hope this idea doesn't become anything more than an idea. If this thread isn't enough to show that the overall opinion of VATUSA is against it, then I don't know what else we can do to try and shape this network to be something we as users of it would like it to be.

 

[Edit]For further evidence:

 

ZJX, since you called them out, has 10 local S3s, and and 9 visiting C1 and higher that do not have center certifications. For the month of April, there were 3 requests for Center training, from 2 controllers. That is 10.5% of the eligible controllers, and well less than that for the total controllers. Of those requests, 1 was cancelled by the student. So far for this month, there are 0 requests for center training. For January, 1 controller requested training on CTR who started and was certified in the month of January.

 

There is no evidence of it taking "years" for a motivated student to get center. If there was, I'd see more people attempting to get training as a C1.

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Hi I'm just speaking as a UK C1. I'm speaking with experience of how the Eurocontrol sectors over here work and have no knowledge of how the "proposal" will work in VATUSA.

 

1) VATEUD had historically ran "Eurocontrol" sectors to cover enroute facilities. Although some have basis RW, AFAIK it doesn't extend RW across Europe but in VATSIM it did do. This being with the exception of VATSIM-UK as being a separate divison to VATEUD was excluded from the Eurocontrol Sectors.

2) About 1 year ago (therabouts) the Eurocontrol sectors were reorganised to include the UK so the sector I'm most familiar with is EURI which covers EGTT, EGPX (United Kingdom), EINN (Ireland) and BIRD (Iceland).

3) The airspace is owned by the division/VACC and a local controller can open the sectors at will and without seeking permission from the Eurocontrol controller (yes it will be coordinated but the Eurocontrol controller will give up that portion of airspace).

4)There is no compulsion that the airspace will be manned or any time of manning (opening at peak hours will likely be low traffic as local sectors will more likely be online).

5) The airspace covered (as mentinoed earlier) is FL245 and above so no top down control with local facilities.

 

How does this fit in with what I've seen in thread (and I apologise if missed certain aspects).

 

A - There is likely to be no compulsion to open certain positons. If you want to open DEN_CTR then you will be free to do so, offer top down coverage and man the airspace you do now with no problems.

B - From Bryans comments above the default will be with local ARTCC's without restiction to opening local facitlities (including CTR).

C - I know some UK based controllers who prefer enroute controlling and am sure some US based controllers will also do so. This proposition may fill a niche for those controllers and increase without taking from current ARTCC's as they will still be able to open as they do now.

D - Regarding training. Having worked as a member of staff in the UK running and instruction at a local level. I do believe we need to look to C1's and above to self train to some degree. ARTCC's will need to set a level as to how their (non-topdown) enroute controllers will need to perform, but I'd hope C1's are able to learn local procedures with referance to docomeents rather than one-on-one mentoring.

E - As mentioned earlier, even if this was introduced there would be no compulsion to open these positions. If you don't want to then don't but if enoute controlling is your metier then it may work for you.

 

Hope this external view adds to the discussion and am willing to expand on points.

 

Phillip

VATSIM UK Divisional Instructor

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BW, glad to hear I might actually be wrong about it! Again, forgive the general pessimism - past experience has resulted in bad experiences in topics like this...

 

I'd say it's safe to say that a good portion (or, at the very least, a good portion of the collective, communicative, in-the-loop portion that should be payed attention to more) of VATUSA dislikes this. They're not ready for it. Quality issues need to be resolved on a number of levels to be able to support an effective application of a super-center theory here. That and maybe even foundational network programming issues. Whether those issues are addressed here or other topics, probably worth moving on to focus on them, however... Especially if this idea can just be tabled for now.

 

Making policy behind closed doors does nothing but cause these problems... Agreed?

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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Huh? My numbers show people who quite obviously want to progress to C1 (or they would still be S3's or such).

 

 

Not necessary directed at you BW but to the entire thread here. Instead of increasing controller area and adding additional training which we have already pointed out is a downfall, why not decrease controller area into areas or sectors. Allow people to train, cert, and control on smaller areas and gradually work there way to the entire center? It will reduce controller area but increase the number of controllers

The above pertains to United States

 

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1.) Pilots are tired of being switched to UNICOM.

Yeah, so how does this help? Unless there's an airport whose elevation is FL240, I don't really know how this alleviates anything whatsoever. What are controllers tired of? Oh...

2.) People take a long time to get fully certified.

This is an objective fact. In this economy, people are taking on extra duties at work, switching jobs, joining the military, and going back to school. Those are the issues that have succinctly prevented ZDV from certifying people in the idealistic 6 months. I have 3 instructors ready to train anyone who wants it. We're hardly overbooked like we used to be. One of ZDV's newest students in S3 training remarks to me weekly how we are constantly catering to pilots on the network and how very little is done to address controller-side issues. And he didn't get those ideas from the forum or from me.

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So I did a little study on CTR tonight.. talked with 7 aircraft (obviously we are in great demand at peak hours), and 3 of them did not respond to their calls on leaving my airspace. 2 asked for "off the cockpit" requests greater than 10 minutes.

 

It's fairly clear to me that pilots don't care much for enroute ATC.

Ryan Geckler - GK | Former VATUSA3 - Division Training Manager

VATSIM Minneapolis ARTCC | FAA Miami ARTCC 

Cross the Pond Planning Team

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I have to agree with those that are saying this idea won't really serve its true goal, that being to attract and retain pilots that want more ATC coverage. ATC coverage starting at FL240 is barely ATC coverage at all, especially if it's only during off-peak hours. Personally speaking, when I look for places to fly, I look for approach facilities first, then tower, then center. The fun is in the interaction with tower and terminal radar ... enroute is boring for me as a pilot. (At least in terms of ATC interaction.)

 

I believe that for this to succeed, it would have to be top-down. And for that to work, the training standards (at least for super-center controllers) would have to be dramatically reduced for there to be any chance of anyone getting certified at all the facilities under one super-sector.

 

Perhaps it could work if super-center controllers were allowed to use a "digest" version of the SOP for each facility under their umbrella, or no SOP at all. For example, if I'm controlling Rocky Mtn Center, I wouldn't need to know all the standard departure headings given to aircraft departing KDEN. I wouldn't need to know all the preferred routes out of KSLC. I wouldn't need to know which runway is the preferred calm-wind runway at every major airport in my super-sector. I wouldn't need to know the arrival flows for after-hours noise abatement. In other words, perhaps it would be enough for me to be able to call up charts, issue workable clearances, issue reasonable departure and arrival vectors, and get aircraft to and from their cruise altitude. Let pilots file what they want, clear them as filed, and let them get on with the fun part: flying under live air traffic control. When the normal (non-super-center) controllers come online, they can uphold the SOPs to a T. All the super-center controller would need is a nice tool for quick access to charts (have you met my friend Leroy?) and they're off and running.

 

Before anyone says that my idea would cause their ARTCC's reputation to go straight down the toilet, consider the fact that it would be a simple matter to let pilots know that super-center controllers are not going to provide best-of-breed ATC for any given area. It would be much like when the World Flight team comes to control at your facility. It's understood that they are there to provide a level of service somewhere between "top-notch" and "nothing."

 

As for pilot confusion, I'm with Bryan ... it'll take some time for people to adjust, but it's really no more difficult to understand than our current (completely unrealistic) system of top-down coverage, with CTR providing taxi instructions. All we'd need to do is update the VAT-Spy and ServInfo data files to handle the new callsigns, and add a new "How controller staffing works in the USA" page to the web site.

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

Senior Controller, Boston Virtual ARTCC

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Gentlemen, gentlemen....everyone please calm down... This conjecturing without facts makes for a great study in the psychology of blind hysteria.

 

First off, the very title of the thread "ARTCC Consolidation" is absolute BS...so however this concept/idea was "leaked", it is a disservice to our division and the way we do business.

 

Now for the historical FACTS...

 

Yes, on request from a VATSIM Founder, I agreed to consider the possibility of evaluating the concept of establishing a high-center operation whereby multiple ARTCC airspace areas would be combined and controlled by a single center-level controller...similar to the EuroControl operation currently in use in the VATEUR Region. Please note my words carefully...I agreed to consider.... That is all...nothing more.

 

The Founder took it upon himself to: build a sector file of selected ARTCC areas; work out a set of frequencies that would not conflict with current ARTCC operations; develop a POF file that would work in the VRC client; and finally, log on to a position labeled as ZMW_CTR on two occasions (that I'm aware of) - each on a very early Sunday morning to "try out" the concept. I believe an area designation file showing the boundary of the combined airspace was also provided to the online reporting programs (VATSpy, ServINFO, etc.) so pilots would "see" the area as controlled when activated. I may be incorrect in this [Mod - Happy Thoughts]umption.

 

After one of these sessions, the Founder contacted me with a brief report of the results and a proposed Policy docomeent for operation of this concept within the division. I made comments and proposed several changes including its re-designation as a Guidelines docomeent - but nothing further.

 

Shortly afterward, I asked for input on this concept from the three VATUSA Air Traffic Directors (VATUSA7, 8 & 10). I will NOT discuss their thoughts in this thread. Their input WILL be taken into consideration in any decision that might be made regarding this idea.

 

I then posted the previously mentioned thread in the VATUSA ATM/DATM forum requesting input from the ARTCC front-line managers seeking their input on two levels - first, their thoughts and concerns about the concept in general and the possibility of an evaluation of the concept. Though a bit more disciplined, the discussion there has been along the same lines as this one.

 

I took this approach deliberately and, as evidenced by many of the mis-informed responses here, I believe it was the prudent method.

 

Now you have the history...here are a few operational FACTS...

 

Implementation of this operation is NOT - REPEAT NOT a forgone conclusion. Barring unforeseen "legislation" if-you-will, forcing it, I do not intend to implement the concept itself nor agreeing to an evaluation of it without careful consideration of all the information I can muster...including input from the facility managers. I intend to be as objective as possible in deliberating the issues brought forth...they are widely-varied. Rest [Mod - Happy Thoughts]ured any reasoned decision will be mine to make and no one else's.

 

I will post a DRAFT of the Guidelines docomeent as it currently exists in the VATUSA Forums. POSTING OF THIS DOcomeENT IN NO WAY INDICATES IT IS CURRENTLY IMPLEMENTED, NOR DOES IT WARRANT IT WILL BECOME IMPLEMENTED.

 

When the time comes and I feel [Mod - Happy Thoughts]ured I have arrived at the BEST decision for the division, its facilities and the membership, I will announce it.

Gary Millsaps

VATUSA1

 

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

guaranteed."

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The transparency thrills me... Glad we can have such an open culture amongst our happy USA division.

 

I still think the person that "leaked" it did a service... The behind closed doors policy making is what creates this havoc to begin with. Get some collective opinions from the guys in the trenches.

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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Just something to think about..

 

A high sector is no more realistic or unrealistic as a pilot switching to Unicom at FL380.

The point of being on vatsim is to get ATC, otherwise wouldn't you just fly on your own offline with AI traffic?

Memorizing SOPs for multiple regions is going to be a task.

 

I was going to say something else, but I'm having a brain fart. Oh well, anyway..

 

As a pilot and a controller, I'm not a fan of it personally.

Ryan Parry - 965346

VATUSA Western Region Manager

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www.pilotcentral.org | www.oakartcc.org

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This conjecturing without facts makes for a great study in the psychology of blind hysteria.

...but what can we do when everything seems to happen behind the scenes, under secrecy, and without the involvement of the very people who would be forced into whatever is decided here?

 

In the end, by not involving the very controllers who would be the face of this policy, you're bringing it upon yourself. Fact of life.

 

Bring us in, let us know what's going on, and help us help you. Blind hysteria is brought down by information. If we don't have it, expect the discussion to go wild.

 

Like my father always said, if you feel like you have to keep people in the dark, chances are what you're doing isn't in anyone's best interest.

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 agree with Kyle. When I built things for ZJX, as things were drafted everyone was informed. The senior staff were discussed with about changes, and then once the general idea was understood and it wanted to be tested or implemented, it was developed for everyone to see. In fact, even people outside ZJX could see the changes by just visiting the forums.

 

Keep us in the dark, when stuff does (and it will) leak, this is what will happen.

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While not a controller, and only a pilot,.I have to say that this, at least on my side sounds interesting. While when I fly, I 100% of the time try to do it right and by the book, I am still at heart a ATC groupy. I follow you guys around all over the US. I know I don't speak for only myself when I say that sometimes after a long flight, getting ready for TOD, getting charts out, frequencies preset just waiting to enter your airspace, the ATC will disconnect. I know everyone has lives, and it is not a complaint that they can't be online for all my flights...but to a pilot on VatSim, ATC is important....otherwise what is the point.

 

I see both sides, and couldn't even begin to understand the work and training it would take....but I think it would provide a good service to pilots.

 

Just my two cents...please don't kill me.

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