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Hi folks, so I need a bit of clarification on a grey area rule.

 

So, I know you, as a controller, are allowed to deny an emergency if it causes an unneccesary workload on a controller during a high traffic period.

 

Can the same rule be applied for ILS Testing flight plans? Tomorrow night, Toronto is hosting Friday Night Ops, and I know there is someone already planning on ILS testing during the event. This is the highest traffic period during ANY FIR/ARTCC year, so i am wondering, since this FP would cause unneccesary stress on controllers, can it be denied?

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Can the same rule be applied for ILS Testing flight plans? Tomorrow night, Toronto is hosting Friday Night Ops, and I know there is someone already planning on ILS testing during the event. This is the highest traffic period during ANY FIR/ARTCC year, so i am wondering, since this FP would cause unneccesary stress on controllers, can it be denied?

 

I feel your pain. I abhor the idiots who think it's cool to ask for pattern work in a Cub at a major airport during an event.

 

I've been denied practice approaches at airports in the real world due to traffic. You can also handle this by being creative with the aircraft. Have them fly the full procedure (including the missed into a hold). Have them hold until there is a lull in the traffic and you can work them back it. There are multiple ways to skin this cat.

-Dan Everette

CFI, CFII, MEI

Having the runway in sight just at TDZE + 100 is like Mom, Warm cookies and milk, and Christmas morning, all wrapped into one.

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Jared, you misunderstand the rule slightly

 

The rule on emergencies is that the controller has complete discretion over whether or not the situation proceeds, regardless of workload.

 

Our division (VATPAC) has long regarded as acceptable to deny a clearance on the basis of workload. Clearly this means prioritising some aircraft over others and such prioritisation should obviously be in line with community expectations. In order to avoid doubt, we publish an order of priority in our procedures.

 

In the absence of such a procedure, I would suggest that most members would accept that aircraft in controlled airspace should have priority over other traffic and aircraft participating in an officially sanctioned event should have priority over non-participating aircraft.

David Zhong

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When I first read this, I was with all the other guys, especially visualizing Dan's excellent example. My first thought was to "Send 'em to Saskatchewan!"

 

I'm curious, though, maybe because of difference in phraseology.... What is [Mod - Happy Thoughts]ociated with "ILS Testing"? Is it a government function to test whether or not the ILS is working, akin to what the FAA does with it's "Flight Checks"? Or is it just some private guy looking to get practice flying ILSs?

 

In either case, I'd handle them like we do in the US as a "workload permitting" operation. Norman was right -- give them their first one, and then either vector them to the back of the line or have them hold somewhere until there's a break in the action -- which might be several hours later. If they are adding to the experience, welcome them. If they are being a pain in the rear, workload permitting is the way to go.

Don Desfosse
Vice President, Membership

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Should we really be leaving it up to an individual who happens to be controlling to decide what can and can’t be done?

 

I mean denying a flight based on “I can’t handle it at the moment.” seems to be against the CoC to me. I’ve been denied access to controlled airspace while flying a helicopter, and was told it isn’t allowed. There wasn’t an event and it wasn’t even moderate traffic.

 

If it is an event, surely the planners have considered all the possibilities, and produced an event docomeent and NOTAMS. The divisional board can approve the NOTAM, then it is clear to everyone (people flying, people controlling, and people supervising) what can and cannot be done.

 

In this case, say the guy calls a SUP, apart from his own personal judgement what does he base his decision on?

Sean

C1/O P3

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Should we really be leaving it up to an individual who happens to be controlling to decide what can and can’t be done?

 

I mean denying a flight based on “I can’t handle it at the moment.” seems to be against the CoC to me. I’ve been denied access to controlled airspace while flying a helicopter, and was told it isn’t allowed. There wasn’t an event and it wasn’t even moderate traffic.

 

If it is an event, surely the planners have considered all the possibilities, and produced an event docomeent and NOTAMS. The divisional board can approve the NOTAM, then it is clear to everyone (people flying, people controlling, and people supervising) what can and cannot be done.

 

In this case, say the guy calls a SUP, apart from his own personal judgement what does he base his decision on?

 

I don't think he can technically "deny" the IFR flight plan. The point of the OP was to minimize the impact to an event by someone who would likely be denied (or significantly delayed) those services in the real world with similar levels of traffic.

 

Now there are ways to minimize the impact, without denying the flight. And that's to employ the same techniques that are used in the real world. Holding is one of them. "Remain clear of the Cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] D" is another one. Not providing a Cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] B clearance is another. Having a clown in the pattern keep doing 360s on the downwind until you can fit them in. In the OP's case, have them fly the full procedure from the most far away IAF, and fly the missed into a hold.

 

Can this be left up to an individual who happens to be controlling? ABSOLUTELY! That's their job. They are there to prioritize and safely and expeditiously move traffic. I would argue that the dozens of other aircraft participating in the event take priority over aircraft that want to conduct practice approaches during the event. Let him call a SUP. Their flight plan isn't being denied. They are being told there will be delays due to traffic and the nature of their request. (Also, if the controller is smart, they'd offer alternatives, such as another nearby airport they can practice approaches).

 

I'm curious on one thing: What was the response from the facility when you reported the controller telling you that helicopter flight wasn't allowed in controlled airspace?

-Dan Everette

CFI, CFII, MEI

Having the runway in sight just at TDZE + 100 is like Mom, Warm cookies and milk, and Christmas morning, all wrapped into one.

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Should we really be leaving it up to an individual who happens to be controlling to decide what can and can’t be done?

 

Yeah, we should. Now that doesn't mean it's always done the best, but it's generally done the best way that the controller is trained and can take on. Sometimes you just can't fit 10lbs of potatoes in a 5lb bag. It's "air traffic control" not "air traffic accommodation". And, ATC in controlled airspace, can deny entry to VFR aircraft on a workload basis. Nxxxx remain outside of the XXX Cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] B or Cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] C airspace. Doesn't mean you can't go under, over, or around it. It's all about separation and if it can't be maintained adequately through skill or volume, then the reasonable action would be to keep em out. "Unable" works both ways and for good reason.

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It's "air traffic control" not "air traffic accommodation".

 

I'm saving and stealing this for future use.

 

And you're spot on about "unable".

-Dan Everette

CFI, CFII, MEI

Having the runway in sight just at TDZE + 100 is like Mom, Warm cookies and milk, and Christmas morning, all wrapped into one.

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It's "air traffic control" not "air traffic accommodation"

Love it! Although we do generally try to be accommodating, if there needs to be one or the other, it's control.

 

Also, if the controller is smart, they'd offer alternatives, such as another nearby airport they can practice approaches.

Exactly! Proceed direct Saskatchewan!

 

Don Desfosse
Vice President, Membership

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He could have taken a flight from Hamilton and "went missed" on approach and avoided all this. I'm sure hoping the controller(s) could have accommodated a missed approach. Or is missed approaches breaking some unheard rule?

Don, VATCAN is looking for controllers, maybe apply to be a Saskatchewan controller.

Mark Smith

1119598

Vatsim Supervisor

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I guess that’s why I’m only a C1, because I do try and accommodate everyone. It’s more about helping than controlling for me. After 30yrs as State police Officer I had enough of individuals pushing their common sense on others. Common sense is subjective, and is based on education, situational awareness, and intelligence. I can find ten people that all agree on something, but that doesn’t make it right. If commonsense is sufficient maybe we could be a lawless society.

Sean

C1/O P3

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It's "air traffic control" not "air traffic accommodation"

Love it! Although we do generally try to be accommodating, if there needs to be one or the other, it's control.

 

Also, if the controller is smart, they'd offer alternatives, such as another nearby airport they can practice approaches.

Exactly! Proceed direct Saskatchewan!

 

 

Saskatchewan doesn't deserve that! C'mon!!

 

Cleared direct Alert (CYLT) would be more like it.

 

BL.

Brad Littlejohn

ZLA Senior Controller

27

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Should we really be leaving it up to an individual who happens to be controlling to decide what can and can’t be done?

 

I mean denying a flight based on “I can’t handle it at the moment.” seems to be against the CoC to me.

 

Pardon!?

 

As others have said, in the reverse situation as a pilot, if ATC ask me to do something I'm not comfortable with or would cause me an excessive workload, I will say "unable" - which by extension would also be against the CoC.

 

Likewise, if ATC are unable to accomodate a request due to workload or for any other reason, they also reserve the right to say "unable". As a VFR pilot I was always taught -- and teach all my P3 students -- that you must [Mod - Happy Thoughts]ume that any request for a transit with controlled airspace will be denied. In the real world, if you get the transit, bonus, but you must always have an alternative up your sleeve. Event, not an event, doesn't matter.

 

Likewise, in the situation quoted by the OP -- deciding to "flight check" an ILS in the middle of a busy event, presumably entailing multiple circuits, perhaps expecting to check the back course and all the rest of it -- well, frankly that sounds to me like someone bent on creating as much havoc as possible for both pilots and controllers -- or at the very least to deliberately be an awkward sod. Why is it essential to simulate that particular flight at that particular time? It seems bizarre to suggest that a flight calculated for the express reason of causing disruption should not be against the CoC, but for a controller to make a decision to regulate the traffic flow in to their sector/airspace would be. Is issuing a hold against the CoC? If someone is insistent on landing in the opposite direction to everyone else in the middle of an event, is denying that request against the CoC or do we have to delay everybody else in order to accommodate that request? Where does it end?

 

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for helping people out and being accommodating. But for goodness' sake -- if we're going to start saying that managing the flow of traffic in or out of a sector, or denying a VFR aircraft airspace transit is against the CoC, then VATSIM really has jumped the shark.

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People seem to forget that Air Traffic Control is there to provide a service to pilots, the job of the controller is plain and simple, stop planes from hitting each other, nothing more, nothing less, just because its air traffic control, does not mean you get to police the airspace and who can and can't use it.

Kirk Christie - VATPAC C3

VATPAC Undercover ATC Agent

Worldflight Perth 737-800 Crew Member

956763

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People seem to forget that Air Traffic Control is there to provide a service to pilots, the job of the controller is plain and simple, stop planes from hitting each other, nothing more, nothing less, just because its air traffic control, does not mean you get to police the airspace and who can and can't use it.
The primary purpose of the ATC system is to prevent a collision between aircraft operating in the system and to provide a safe, orderly and expeditious flow of traffic.

In the situation presented above, these objectives would not able to be satisfied. By conducting multiple, somewhat untimely/unnecessary approaches, you disrupt the normal (event level) flow of traffic. While this may not necessarily affect the safety, an undue burden may be placed on the controllers, which does compromise safety. I believe that handling unreasonable requests during significant traffic levels is at the discretion of the controllers, at a minimum. If we say that pilots’ requests have to be unilaterally accommodated, we might as well let everyone fly on their own. The function of ATC cannot be achieved without the discretion of the controller to permit/deny workload-intensive procedures in already-high-workload situations.

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  • 2 months later...
Should we really be leaving it up to an individual who happens to be controlling to decide what can and can’t be done?

 

I mean denying a flight based on “I can’t handle it at the moment.” seems to be against the CoC to me. I’ve been denied access to controlled airspace while flying a helicopter, and was told it isn’t allowed. There wasn’t an event and it wasn’t even moderate traffic.

 

If it is an event, surely the planners have considered all the possibilities, and produced an event docomeent and NOTAMS. The divisional board can approve the NOTAM, then it is clear to everyone (people flying, people controlling, and people supervising) what can and cannot be done.

 

In this case, say the guy calls a SUP, apart from his own personal judgement what does he base his decision on?

 

I don't think he can technically "deny" the IFR flight plan. The point of the OP was to minimize the impact to an event by someone who would likely be denied (or significantly delayed) those services in the real world with similar levels of traffic.

 

Now there are ways to minimize the impact, without denying the flight. And that's to employ the same techniques that are used in the real world. Holding is one of them. "Remain clear of the Cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] D" is another one. Not providing a Cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] B clearance is another. Having a clown in the pattern keep doing 360s on the downwind until you can fit them in. In the OP's case, have them fly the full procedure from the most far away IAF, and fly the missed into a hold.

 

Can this be left up to an individual who happens to be controlling? ABSOLUTELY! That's their job. They are there to prioritize and safely and expeditiously move traffic. I would argue that the dozens of other aircraft participating in the event take priority over aircraft that want to conduct practice approaches during the event. Let him call a SUP. Their flight plan isn't being denied. They are being told there will be delays due to traffic and the nature of their request. (Also, if the controller is smart, they'd offer alternatives, such as another nearby airport they can practice approaches).

 

I'm curious on one thing: What was the response from the facility when you reported the controller telling you that helicopter flight wasn't allowed in controlled airspace?

 

 

+1

Jeff "JU" Turner

US Army Retired

http://www.skyblueradio.com

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