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VFR with equipment /x (no transponder) - Older planes


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Is it possible to engage in VFR flights in controlled airspace without a transponder? The plane I'm currently playing around with is the Fairey Swordfish, which is a 1930s biplane and it of course doesn't have a transponder.

 

This link (https://www.aopa.org/training-and-safety/pic-archive/equipment/transponder-requirements) has written, under subsection "Flying into a Mode C Veil Without a Transponder" that such a flight is possible if an ATC clearance to do so is requested beforehand.

 

So, can it be done in VATSIM?

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Hi Alex,

 

you have to look at your pilot client: it does come with a transponder. As a consequence, at VATSIM you will always have a transponder and on top of it our rules (VATSIM Code of Conduct) say

B. Pilot's Conduct

 

4. Except while on the ground prior to making initial contact with ATC or upon request of ATC, a pilot should not squawk standby. A pilot should not squawk standby while flying to his destination, even when there is no appropriate Enroute air traffic control available.

So, whatever you do, you HAVE TO have a transponder and operate it. In case that you are using vPilot, there are a number of dot-commands: http://vpilot.metacraft.com/Docomeentation.aspx#dot-commands

One of them is to set a transponder code.

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In fairness, however, the CoC says should not, not must not, and in the 'spirit of the game' I don't see why simulating a vintage aircraft with no transponder should be an issue if coordinated with the relevant ATC unit.

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And I don't respond unless a controller wallops saying a pilot won't turn on his transponder because of the word "should" instead of "must" or "shall". But then again, I don't actively scan the scope and look at every target out there. As a controller, I enjoyed having no transponder guys come through as it gave a separate challenge and it's still realistic.

Edited by Guest
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the CoC says should not, not must not

I tried pointing that out once before (can't find the thread now), but was basically met with the opinion (from VATGOV, IIRC) that the verbs were simply haphazardly chosen and that the intent that will be considered by SUPs is "must" (or "shall" if you're a software requirement writer like myself).

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Correct.

 

Don't misunderstand me, nobody will get "chased to death" for squawking standby, but they will be asked politely to check their transponders.

 

The main thing is that effectively everyone has a transponder available and is able to turn it on. So, why not? We are not living in the 19th century with pre-first-world-war-equipment, but nowadays everyone is able to simply buy and install a transponder - in some countries it is even mandatory (but I won't go down that road).

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The main thing is that effectively everyone has a transponder available and is able to turn it on. So, why not? We are not living in the 19th century with pre-first-world-war-equipment, but nowadays everyone is able to simply buy and install a transponder - in some countries it is even mandatory (but I won't go down that road).

 

Still plenty of aircraft (mainly Permit to Fly rather than EASA, granted) in the UK without transponders and quite a lot of resistance from those operating such (mainly historic and/or homebuilt) aircraft against Transponder Mandatory Zones and the like (and let's not even get started on 8.33 and mandatory mode S...)

 

In any event -- why do we even have a rule on VATSIM? The average jetliner pilot squawking standby has almost always made a straightforward omission easily rectified with a message from the affected controller. Apart from that, if someone is simulating an aircraft with no transponder, has gone to the trouble of filing the correct equipment code and is not operating inside airspace where carriage of a transponder is mandatory then why do we need to over-regulate (although I know that is something VATSIM is very effective at!)? As Daniel mentions, it adds to the mix and the realism -- yes, controllers might have to think a bit more occasionally, but isn't that part of the fun?

 

And on VATSIM, of course, even squawk standby aircraft still appear on TCAS!

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In this case I do NOT care about the real world. Look, when you logon to VATSIM as a pilot, you will ALWAYS be visible to other pilots and to all ATCOs, no matter what mode you have set on your transponder. This is NOT realistic at all. So why not use it, at VATSIM you ALWAYS have one on board, it is a tool that improves safety and efficiency. Who the hell wants to fly "standard procedures" when you can get a nice radar vector onto final approach? It is a complete waste of time and when I fly in the real world I usually curse at airports that do not provide radar approach control, making us waste our time and fuel in standard procedures.

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So why not use it, at VATSIM you ALWAYS have one on board, it is a tool that improves safety and efficiency.

 

Whilst logged into VATSIM, every aircraft will have a transponder "on-board", as it is forced by the ATC client. Just because it's on-board, does not mean that we must simulate it. If an aircraft with no transponder is being simulated, the pilot, as long as it is understood by ATC, and they are following the proper procedures, is at no requirement to utilize it. This is backed up by the Code of Conduct, B4, as pointed out above, as it stated that a pilot should use it. The Code of Conduct does not require a pilot to use it, otherwise it would say the pilot must use it.

 

If a supervisor is to contact someone who is purposely simulating an aircraft with no transponder, attempting to get them to turn it to Mode C, that's the pilot's choice. The supervisor, in this case, either due to the poor wording of the Code of Conduct, or due to the intentional choice of language, has no jurisdiction to hand out disciplinary punishments.

 

If a supervisor was to attempt to discipline a pilot, operating in this way, then obviously something of it should be made known to the Vice President for Supervision, after the contact with the supervisor.

Kind Regards,

Kieran Cross,

 

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I see the internet lawyers are out in force.

 

The clients all have a transponder and pilots should/shall/must use it. Supervisors aren't going to go hunting for these but when they are brought up by ATC the Supervisor is expected to address the issue as a violation of CoC and so is the pilot. No member, including supervisors, are empowered to decide which CoC/CoR rules they will not enforce today.

 

VATSIM is designed to join ATC members with pilot members and while we do try to emulate many RW situations there are also VATSIM online adaptations that deviate from the RW. This is one of them. If you aren't here to be a members of this larger community and interact with it, why are you here?

Kyle Ramsey

 

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And honestly? The only reason I remember that experience is because it was not only challenging but extremely entertaining for me (and I suspect to some degree the pilot, too).

 

This is what it's all about.

 

Well, we agree, but unfortunately Kyle has made VATSIM's position crystal clear: there is no room for interpretation and this sort of behaviour is forbidden.

 

VATSIM, clearly, is only interested in simulating aviation that involves IFR in tubeliners with radar vectors to an ILS final. I guess next time I want to fly VFR I'll do so offline and save the bandwidth for those more deserving users.

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It is however very strongly inferred.

 

I still don't understand why there needs to be a rule. If a pilot wishes to simulate not having a transponder and the controller is happy to accommodate the challenge then why do we need to have a rule (which you have very clearly stated is not open to interpretation) banning it?

 

In fact, why do we need to enforce the use of transponders at all on the network? Why have the rule in the first place? As I said, it's either an omission easily rectified through communication or it is a deliberate simulation of a particular aircraft's equipment fit. Why the need for a CoC entry?

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The best explanation I can offer is it is an adaptation to our sim software. With the sim transponder in STBY nobody knows if the pilot meant to do that on purpose or if he made a mistake. So that starts ATC to calling SUPs to try to sort it out. If the guy is VFR why is it a problem to just put in a VFR code and be done with it; no ambiguity, no problems.

 

SUPs don't go looking for these, they respond to calls from ATC. If ATC doesn't call then there is no problem; if they do then there might be if the pilot refuses to cooperate when given an instruction to put in a VFR code, because at that point they are now violating the part that says they must comply with ATC and Supervisor instructions.

 

Airspace is not a place for ambiguity and using a VFR code when one is VFR eliminates any. Why is that so hard? For the pilot he can't see the radar return in any regard so its not messing with his experience in any way.

Kyle Ramsey

 

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Hmm, in the real world, even when flying VFR, I am very much interested in turning my transponder ON! Why? Because otherwise other pilots won't be able to see me on the traffic displays (TCAS, Power-FLARM and similar systems). I do not understand why someone would not want to install and operate a transponder. Again: we are not talking about flying in deep wilderness, but we are considering flights in a more or less busy environment. In Alaska's back-country there's also no ATC most of the time - and no other pilots. I wonder why would fly there (alone).

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  • 1 month later...

Dear Kyle,

 

The clients all have a transponder and pilots should/shall/must use it.

 

the way I understand this discussion, it is about the meaning of words. In my many years of real-world aviation, the U.S. of A. particularly maintained the following definition of words as found e. g. in the Flight Operations Manual of the Bell 206 B3 (BHT-206B3-FM-1 rev. 8, Oct 2000), approved by the U. S. DOT:

 

  • "Shall" has been used only when application of a procedure is mandatory
  • "Should" has been used only when application of a procedure is recommended
  • "May" and "need not" have been used only when application of a procedure is optional
  • "Will" has been used only to use futurity, never to indicate a mandatory procedure

 

Unfortunately, I do no longer own a copy of my FAR/AIM Handbook from the mid-90s when I did my civilian flight training in said country, so I cannot check what was written in Part 1 then.

However, there seems to be a shift in paradigm, at least as far as I understand the content of the following web page:

https://www.faa.gov/about/initiatives/plain_language/articles/mandatory/

 

The way I see it, none of these references seem to indicate that "should" ever meant "mandatory" in an aviation context. I believe that's the reason for the ambiguity expressed by some commentators her.

 

Now, how do we remedy the situation? As a quality management expert I would like to respectfully suggest an "improvement measure" in the form of a revision of the CoC, taking into account the resources in the above mentioned web page and the content linked to. In plain vernacular: Say "must" or "has to" if it's mandatory.

 

As we currently experience in this thread, ambiguity is doing nothing but wasting resources, namely your and some other dedicated members' time.

Edited by Guest

Cheers

"Hans" Schuhwerk

Chief PTD VATSIM Germany, C1 EDMM

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