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Airport-No Contollers


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I am new to Vatsim so please forgive my ignorance.

 

I have V Pilot set up OK and that is not the issue.

 

I filed a flight plan this morning from EGKK to LYBE and connected to the network.

 

However,at Gatwick there were no contollers active or in place which is fair enough.

 

What I am trying to understand is how do I proceed with the flight when no ground ATC is in place.

 

I believe there is a text facility (unicom on 122.80) but what I need to know is what information I really need to write and how do I send this.

 

Do I first of all tune into 122.80,do I need to press the ATC key on my keyboard etc.

 

In addition once I have taken off will I eventually pick up ATC along the route where ATC is on line.

 

I really apologize if the answer is obvious but I just want to make sure that I am doing the procedure correctly.

 

Many thanks in anticipation.

 

Michael

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on VATSIM we cannot provide 24/7 ATC service, so we have 2 things in place. the first is top down service, which means even though you dont see a tower for your airport, the radar controllers overhead (approach, departure, center, etc...) will provide you with local services for clearance, taxi, takeoff, and landing depending on your airfield.

 

if they arent online as well or do not provide services to the field, then you tune to 122.80. there is no ATC on this frequency, its for pilot to pilot advisory. you are basically letting other pilots in the area know what you are doing so you can coordinate (taxiing to runway 12, departing runway 12, etc.. etc..)

 

remember your primary method to separate yourself from others are your eyes, so even if you see another aircraft and they arent texting, watch what they are doing and avoid as needed

 

after you depart on unicom, yes you may enter a controllers airspace, you can use the online maps to try and help you figure out where you are, as well as navigation charts that may have the airspaces marked. when you enter a controllers airspace, or prior to entering, give them a call

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Michael, welcome to VATSIM, and thanks for asking great questions. To add just a bit to Ernesto's good advice, there are many situational awareness tools that folks have developed, over the years, to help for you to see when and where ATC is online (e.g. VATSpy, vattastic.com, Servinfo, vRoute, qutescoop, Dolomynum, etc.). Suggest Googling a couple and trying them out. VATSpy is an example of a separate program, and vattastic.com is an example of a web-based system. Hope this helps!

Don Desfosse
Vice President, Membership

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HI,

 

Many thanks for your excellent and comprehensive replies.

 

Yes,I have Vatspy installed and that is a great tool.

 

I guess what I am trying to ask through using Unicom is when for example I am at the gate at say EGKK and there is no ATC available at all what information is required to texted into V Pilot when on the ground and how do I send that information when I have finished the text.

 

I think that this missing piece of the jigsaw would then put this post to bed.

 

Many thanks

 

Michael

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When ATC is offline, tune your radio to 122.8 , which is the pilot-pilot advisory frequency. You can then text normally on that frequency. No ATC is on this frequency, and it is to be used to comunicate and co-ordinate your intentions with other traffic in the area. Everyone has a slightly different way of using it, but the way I use it, and recommend is:

 

Before taxiing, transmit "[airport] traffic, [acft type], taxiing to [runway] via [taxiway]" using the ICAO codes. For example, if you're flying a 737-800 at Minneapolis, taxiing to runway 30R from the terminal, you might transmit "KMSP tfc, B738 taxiing to 30R via D P P1". This isn't always necessary, if there is clearly no traffic between you and the runway, it can be omitted, but it is generally a good idea, as aircraft that may be landing will know that you intend on using the runway.

 

Before takeoff, transmit "[airport] traffic, [acft type] departing [runway] [left/right] turn after takeoff". This lets traffic in the area know that you're taking off, and the runway is in use. Providing the turn direction lets others know which way you will be headed, so you don't conflict. After takeoff, it can be a good idea to announce your turn, so other aircraft know the runway is clear.

 

During climb and cruise, advisory calls aren't necessary unless you see an aircraft on TCAS that may conflict. In that case, contact them by their callsign on UNICOM, and coordinate your speeds to avoid conflicting. For example, "FLY1, TRN14, it looks we're going to conflict, what's your [ias/mach].". You can then coordinate your speeds, slow down, or speed up to keep spacijng.

 

When you get near the airport during your descent, say your altitude, distance from the airport and intended runway/approach on UNICOM. If you're on a STAR, you may want to mention that as well, and give your location on the STAR.

 

During approach, I recommend calling altitude and distance from the airport/runway at 5 miles. In instrument weather, I'll usually call the start of the approach as well.

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When I have written the text how do I send it?

From the vPilot docomeentation section Communicating with Controllers:

 

To communicate with a controller via text radio messages, ensure you have the main Messages tab selected, enter your message in the command line at the bottom of the message area, and press enter. This will send your text message out as text radio on whichever COM frequency you have selected for transmit.

The instructions above apply to UNICOM as well. More generically, they describe how to broadcast text messages on the selected COM radio frequency.

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FWIW I don't recommend using miles and or positions on a STAR.

 

I fly all around the world and usually only have my charts I need in front of me, so I'm generally not going to know were you are on another STAR.

 

Also I don't know your speed, or how you are going to slow down.

 

For this reason, I always recommend time, every one has a clock on their computer or sim, I recommend flying with your sim time synced to the real world minuets, the hour doesn't matter.

 

When arriving at a CTAF airport, your standard calls are, at 10 mins from the field, joining any leg of the curict, and transferring from one leg type to another, the legs are crosswind, down wind, base and finals.

 

Your inbound call should state, what direction you are coming from, N S E W ect, expected runway, and ETA to landing in mins only.

 

TFC EGLL, Inbound from the east, runway 27R ETA time 33.

 

If another aircraft reports inbound from another direction for 27R and his eta is time 31, to get about 3 mins on finals I know I have to slow down, so my ETA is around 34. Similarly I would expect him to do the same if I was a few mins before him.

 

When some one says 20nm inbound, I don't know how long it's going to take for them to cover that 20nm, they may have a ripper tail wind, or they may be flap happy like some VATSIM pilots that slow down way too soon, I have no way of gauging weather I'll need to slow down or speed up so that neither myself or him end up in the same plae at the same time.

 

So just keep that in mind, how much more useful a ETA is for planning your arrival.

 

As an air traffic controller, I find looking at the aircraft a ETA for a point or feeder fix is better for sequencing arrivals than using distance and speed.

 

It's what Traffic Flow Management Systems use.

Kirk Christie - VATPAC C3

VATPAC Undercover ATC Agent

Worldflight Perth 737-800 Crew Member

956763

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So just keep that in mind, how much more useful a ETA is for planning your arrival.

 

Just to give another perspective on this, I personally prefer miles over ETA. ETA requires calculations to be useful. And at a busy field, I have to remember the ETA of multiple aircraft. And the ETA reported by each aircraft is subject to change as they get closer. A distance report is useful without doing any calculation ... distance tells me where the traffic is *right now* and therefore I know where to point my Mark I Eyeball.

 

That being said, I agree with your [Mod - Happy Thoughts]essment that a 20 mile position report is not helpful. That's too far out. When I'm that far away from a field, I'm not relying on position reports to locate other aircraft ... I'm just using the standard see-and-avoid techniques that I use any time I'm in VMC. I don't start position reports until I'm within 10 miles of the field, maybe even less if I'm in a real slow aircraft.

 

I'm curious to hear from Kirk and others ... do real world pilots in your area use ETA when communicating on CTAF around an uncontrolled field? I fly into or near uncontrolled fields all the time real world, and I can't recall ever hearing an ETA on the CTAF frequency, even at the airports with scheduled airline operations. It's always a position report with miles, direction, altitude, and aircraft type.

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

Senior Controller, Boston Virtual ARTCC

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I usually report my position and altitude leaving at top of descent, again at 10,000', again when "vectoring" myself towards the IAF (or entering the approach transition), and once more when established on final.

 

 

{BAW257} tfc egll, type B77W leaving FL240 7nm east of TRIPO, LAM3A arrival, descending FL70 level by LAM
{BAW257} tfc egll, type B77W p[Mod - Happy Thoughts]ing FL100 14nm east of LAM, expecting RW27R for landing
{BAW257} tfc egll, type B77W on LAM xition to ILS 27R starting left S turn towards final
{BAW257} tfc egll, type B77W on final 27R to land

 

(or something like that)

2uo1990.png

 

You don't need Red Bull to get your wings.

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on VATSIM we cannot provide 24/7 ATC service, so we have 2 things in place. the first is top down service, which means even though you dont see a tower for your airport, the radar controllers overhead (approach, departure, center, etc...) will provide you with local services for clearance, taxi, takeoff, and landing depending on your airfield.

 

if they arent online as well or do not provide services to the field, then you tune to 122.80. there is no ATC on this frequency, its for pilot to pilot advisory. you are basically letting other pilots in the area know what you are doing so you can coordinate (taxiing to runway 12, departing runway 12, etc.. etc..)

 

remember your primary method to separate yourself from others are your eyes, so even if you see another aircraft and they arent texting, watch what they are doing and avoid as needed

 

after you depart on unicom, yes you may enter a controllers airspace, you can use the online maps to try and help you figure out where you are, as well as navigation charts that may have the airspaces marked. when you enter a controllers airspace, or prior to entering, give them a call

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Just a response to Ross' question -

 

In more than 20 years of RW airline, charter and corporate ops, I've never heard ETA used on unicom for position reports. I've always used, and still use, 10 miles out and position in the pattern if appropriate.

 

And in fact AIM 4-1-9 specifies:

10 miles out.

Entering downwind, base, and final.

Leaving the runway

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