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Why not user more automation? I.e. instead of voice position reports, let the pilots do it via a web based form, directly into the VNAS tool.

If VNAS gets finished, this would make controlling during CTP much easier. The frequencies would essentially serve as they do in the real world, a backup. Conflicts could be resolved over voice or text and the actual recording position reports would happen automatically.

Josh Glottmann
Deputy Air Traffic Manager
Oakland ARTCC
[email protected]

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..Perhaps because simultanious traffic both ways are not as in real life. The track are normally one-way, typically west2east in the late, afternoon- evening and night, andeast2 west during morning, midday and easrly afternoon. Besides, you not only ask for twice the number of controllers, but you also need frequencies for them to work on.

 

Torben

Torben Andersen, VACC-SCA Controller (C1)

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..Perhaps because simultanious traffic both ways are not as in real life. The track are normally one-way, typically west2east in the late, afternoon- evening and night, andeast2 west during morning, midday and easrly afternoon. Besides, you not only ask for twice the number of controllers, but you also need frequencies for them to work on.

 

Torben

 

Tracks

 

A-K west

 

R-Z east

 

...?

 

yes,an enormous coordination and planning task ,yet maybe worth it

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[...] that way we'd have twice the amount of controllers [...]

I don't like to be the one who brings bad news, but this would only be true IF the controllers who came online for CTP Westbound were different than those on Eastbound and unfortunately, this is not the case.

 

It is generally the same people who are controlling oceanic on both events. Even if there may be some additions every now and then to the oceanic controllers roster, there is also some 'substractions'; meaning that there is a rather limited number of available oceanic controllers, which is already stretched to its furthest limits during CTP.

 

What I want to say with this is that having the limited number of controllers validated for oceanic we have now, I don't think an event like this is doable, as there is actually no more people to get behind the scopes and if we did it with our current number of controllers (basically the ones there was during CTP), it'd basically mean 2x workload, 2x more blocking on frequency and 1/2 time to speak.

 

Regards,

Néstor Pérez
A Random Platypus
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[Tracks

 

A-K west

 

R-Z east

 

...?

 

The westbound tracks are valid 11-19Z (time of crossing 30W) and the eastbound tracks 01-08Z, so whilst there are exceptions with a few aircraft filing random routes against (but well out of the way of) the flow, almost all the flow is unidirectional - westbound during the day, eastbound overnight.

Vice President, Pilot Training

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Here's one thought I'd offer up for the Oceanic guys. Plan and execute a very methodical "three-ish months before CTP" (i.e. July and early January, right after the holidays) recruiting, multiple cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts]room training (e.g. get 10-15 students in a cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts]room at the same time) and certification event for Oceanic, with the expectation that those folks would work CTP. You never know who you might get from where. For example, there are 90+ C1-and-above active rated controllers in the USA (and several hundred inactive that might appreciate the invitation to do something unique, even if they are not all that active these days). Twenty-five to thirty or so of those are required to man ATC stations in the USA. But what about extending a special invitation to the controllers from facilities that don't often host CTP (e.g. western and southern US, many of the other divisions/regions in the world) to train, certify, and work CTP. I can't imagine that in the hundreds of such controllers and instructors across the globe, we could not get another 10-20 to work Oceanic (and maybe also something similar for Moncton). Just a thought.

Unfortunately, Oceanic training is not quite the same as Domestic training. I only see an oceanic application p[Mod - Happy Thoughts] through my inbox every second week or so. If we could get FIRs such as Gander Oceanic more well known, maybe we would have a larger pool of controllers to pick from, but as it was for this CTP I only had thirteen controllers apply for the roster, accounting for the people that pulled out. CTP has a bad reputation within the Oceanic FIRs and many of the potential people that could volunteer simply don't because of the stories they have been told of a 'terrible' experience.

 

Cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts]room training at the scale you propose would be difficult and would require more instructors than we are able to bring on at this moment. Even so, my team trained 8-12 oceanic controllers in between April (last CTP) and last weekend, and we still didn't have the numbers required for such a large event. I believe advertisement for Oceanic is critical going forward in the future so that we can rely on a set of controllers that are keen to control for CTP.

 

Cheers,

Andrew Ogden | I3
Gander Oceanic OCA Chief
VATSIM Web Developer

Visit us: https://ganderoceanic.com
Contact: [email protected] 

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Yes, that's why next time we need to separate those sectors as well vertically, then we will be able to manage them efficiently. But for this we need to convince our estranged Gander and Moncton controllers to give it another try, it will only work with their help. May the force be with us

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I've never flown (officially) or controlled a CTP event as I simply don't want the h[Mod - Happy Thoughts]les and experiences I've read about over all of the previous ones since I started on the network. I simply believe that the event is too big and as such is probably unworkable.

 

What I'd rather see is a more controlled level event based on times when we could get more controllers - but couple this with technology. The skills are out there to produce a small app that can replicate CPDLC:

 

- read an aircraft's position, speed and flight level through SimConnect/FSUIPC/both

- fill this into a pre-set form on pressing a "prepare POSREP" button (allowing the 'Next' and 'After' fields to be completed manually (or pulled from the FP?)

- submit this to a web interface

 

Controllers then only need to use voice to issue control commands (speed changes etc) and pilots only to request "out of the norm" matters such as level changes, diversions, away from cockpit

 

This would provide a far more enjoyable experience for pilots and controllers although I appreciate that it won't be a universally welcomed proposition as there will be those who will want the full voice solution from start to finish.

Trevor Hannant

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we need to separate those sectors as well vertically, then we will be able to manage them efficiently

You can separate them six ways from Sunday or anyway you want but if you have not the personnel it matters not a jot. Moncton/Gander started the event with five people. I believe two more joined later. That was after I had collapsed in a screaming heap.

Every Single Event and 99.44% of the non-event transatlantic aircraft p[Mod - Happy Thoughts]ed through Moncton/Gander.

I don't know how Oceanic fared. God bless them and keep them. I had put my hand up there too but Moncton's need was greater.

Quig, C3, P1, VATPAC, CZQM (inact), CZQX (ret).

4200+ hrs of "Chaos, Panic & Disorder in your virtual skies!"

 

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@Trevor: we already have this CPDLC program that can send ready made POS REPs.

 

@Richard: if we plan to separate those sectors vertically, the individual load on ATCOs will be manageable. With this argument we might win back quite a few ATCOs from all over the world to help out, no matter whether they are members of VATCAN or not. This must be the goal.

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@Trevor: we already have this CPDLC program that can send ready made POS REPs.

 

Every year this comes up and every year the answer is the same; CPDLC is a text based program that actually requires more work by the controller than voice or plain text. You want text, and it would be so much more efficient in the long run, than use text, but don't hang your hat on something that creates more work for the controller.

__________

Ira Robinson

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Andreas:

I completely agree with you! The PLAN is the key. Nevertheless, unless you have the bodies to man the positions for the length of time needed the PLAN fails on first contact with the enemy!

I put it to you that VATSIM does not have enough controllers willing to expose themselves to that level of abuse.

Unless we are able to muster the required number of reasonably competent controllers we are just coming on line for four or more hours of stress in order to provide targets for pilot complaints.

As was mentioned above, planning has to begin at least three months or more before the event. Each FIR must get in touch, not through a forum post, through a personal email to each and every one of its C1 controllers and ask for a solid commitment for the date of the event. If the controllers are not willing to make a solid commitment within say 30(?) days then they are not included in a roster. Sure it's a long way out. You'll have to make allowance for newly minted C1's who wish to be led to the slaughter as well. For an event with this many participants that's the planning level required. Yes, it's a lot of work for the organizers.

I know too what will happen. You'll get about a quarter of the numbers your plan requires. The response will be disappointing. Moncton/Gander will have to accept volunteers from other FIR's. This should be a pretty simple procedure and very similar to the methodology of WorldFlight. This exception policy would have to be available to other overstretched FIR's as well.

To put this sort of operation in train for CTP the planning will have to start now.

Quig, C3, P1, VATPAC, CZQM (inact), CZQX (ret).

4200+ hrs of "Chaos, Panic & Disorder in your virtual skies!"

 

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@Ira: yes, but unlike a POS REP by, you do not need to read it back. You just acknowledge it. Saves work and time. Entering the data (points, times and levels) has to be done in either case. If handled correctly, CPDLC is not unreasonably more work, it keeps the frequency (both voice and text) open for meaningful communication and pilots can send their reports at any point in time. For me, that's a cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts]ical win-win-situation.

 

@Trevor: not yet. I discussed this with Anders Moen some time ago and he would to do it, but has not had the time to do it. I guess you know his VNAS tool. So far there's no readback needed, except for acknowledging the receipt of the message and after the last report telling the pilots to contact domestic or another oceanic unit at point X.

 

@Richard: in other words, our mission is to start recruiting NOW and to convince people that if we have enough controllers the abuse will be MINIMAL, compared to regular CTP events. Let's be positive and optimistic, at least that's my approach

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our mission is to start recruiting NOW and to convince people that if we have enough controllers the abuse will be MINIMAL, compared to regular CTP events. Let's be positive and optimistic, at least that's my approach

I'm with you there. I'm even willing to [Mod - Happy Thoughts]ist. I'm not walking away. I'm trying to contribute to improving the whole thing. Otherwise, why would I bother posting?

I have almost 4000 hours invested in scope time on this network and uncounted hours in working on sector files in my FIR. I have over a thousand dollars invested in hardware and software (for God's sake don't tell my wife!) for flight simulation. I'm not about to walk away from it all.

However, I'll not participate in another CTP unless there are significant changes. I may fly it. But I'll not be a controller.

Quig, C3, P1, VATPAC, CZQM (inact), CZQX (ret).

4200+ hrs of "Chaos, Panic & Disorder in your virtual skies!"

 

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@Ira: yes, but unlike a POS REP by, you do not need to read it back. You just acknowledge it. Saves work and time. Entering the data (points, times and levels) has to be done in either case. If handled correctly, CPDLC is not unreasonably more work, it keeps the frequency (both voice and text) open for meaningful communication and pilots can send their reports at any point in time. For me, that's a cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts]ical win-win-situation.

 

+1.

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@Trevor: not yet. I discussed this with Anders Moen some time ago and he would to do it, but has not had the time to do it. I guess you know his VNAS tool. So far there's no readback needed, except for acknowledging the receipt of the message and after the last report telling the pilots to contact domestic or another oceanic unit at point X.

 

Sounds good. I don't know vNAS unfortunately as I'm not an Oceanic Controller but if it works as you've said above then this is the sort of thing I was meaning - even if the acknowledgement is a button press...

 

Hopefully Anders and the .net web team can get together to look at this for the next CTP to help alleviate what is a widely known issue with the enjoyment of the event.

Trevor Hannant

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Good Evening Gentlemen,

 

Considering the amount of negative feedback and reviews this edition of Cross The Pond have received I think I should be entitled to share my personal opinion and give you some facts and figures where I can possibly give it out to the public.

 

I have been a member of VATSIM since January 2009 but I have only participated in most IF NOT all Cross The Pond editions since I have been granted my Controller/C1 privileges. Regardless of which vACC I was at the time I was always helping out wherever it was in Canada,Ireland o France and each year the situation have been repetitive due to the fact we are working with a workload not many people can handle.

 

Every year we are getting called ''useless'' and ''thrash'' by people that only see their own Virtual Cockpit for the duration of the event but they won't open their eyes AND ears. For all the other traffic that is flying above,below and around them throughout the event. I know that once someone steps into his imaginary world of ''I am a Captain now'' and that there is no greater pilot on the network at the moment its hard to turn them away from their miserable bubble but people need to start understanding that we are indeed pushing the tin as vATC regardless of where you control during the Cross The Pond.

 

There were many situations throughout last few years where variety of people have volunteered to control during the event but all they did was filled out their ''volunteering form'' and thrown it away or messaged their superior that they are not going to show up(if they have a good day they will message them in other cases just not show up on their own shifts) and we have to handle it and it doesn't matter that our team may be a man - two or three down we just have to pick up the workload of those that decided to let us down and play nicely with it.

 

I am sorry but what pilots do not see is what we as controllers have to go through in prior to the event. In April I have as always participated in Cross The Pond only to find myself to control Shannon Control in the Afternoon for about 4 hours and later that day once again login onto Moncton Control to provide the same wave of pilots with more Air Traffic Service for another 4/5 hours as they slowly approach their destination.

 

I have prevented myself previously from commenting on a thread in ''Controller Talk'' section of the VATSIM Forum but I think right now its the perfect time to do so.

 

Bear in mind if you are not active and rated with a current Gander Oceanic or Shanwick endorsement you cannot control oceanic for the event, no matter how desperate we are...

Of course with no offence to what Andrew say - those that have already participated in Cross The Pond throughout last few years know the reality of this statement.

 

Exactly one year ago during Cross The Pond in October about 48 hours prior to the event I received a wave of emails asking for following...

 

So, we need hard numbers. Please lets fill out the lists ASAP.

 

Ireland needs four controllers

Canada needs three to five controllers

Oceanic needs ten to twelve controllers.

 

So lets say about 48 hours in prior to the event we were in need of...17 Controllers in the minimum scenario and yet we had to either fill the gaps ourselves or find people that would be willing to actually participating in the event. This year was probably one of the best in terms of the volunteers but yet people decided not to show up which have caused havos throughout the event and gaps had to be filled out quickly.

 

There are few individuals that should be praised for their volunteering this time of Cross The Pond because they have stepped up when it was needed and thrown themselves into the deep water without any preparation beforehand..

 

Yet after 3 demanding hours of controlling with on average 30 pilots on my voice channel I receive the following message on text

 

BAWXXX: Sir I have sent you my position report and I been waiting for 10 minutes for your response what are you doing???!!

 

I'm sorry but after a rough start and a long shift and another one ahead of me I had no better response than this...

 

What Am I doing? I wonder have you thought that perhaps as a Shanwick Oceanic Controller I have approximately 27 pilots on my frequency all waiting for a position report? Additionally please consider the fact I have to coordinate with other vATCs on Teamspeak or any other Voice/Text communication source and fill out the Oceanic Spreadsheet so that the controller after me as well as my superior would know what the heck is going on within my airspace right now. I mean I guess all other people and responsibilities can wait so what Can I do for you Sir?

 

P.S - I hope I won't get told off for sharing the numbers we needed back in October 2017.

 

Regards

VATEUD ATC Department Lead | Senior Divisional Instructor [i3]

For any queries contact me on [email protected]

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Hi All,

 

Against all odds I managed to fly CTP and to be honest it lived up to my expectations both good and bad.

 

I had decided to fly KJFK-EDDF with a 744 (like many others) and thought I had planned it well enough with 40 minutes taxi time. It took 20 minutes to get clearence from one delivery frequency and by the time I was able to push back I had 30 minutes to my slot.

After pushback I spent 30 minutes on the ramp waiting before I joined the taxiway where I spent another 30 minutes. I had planned for 5000 lbs taxi fuel and burned roughly 6000 lbs.

From I left the gate to I took off (72 minutes after off block)

 

Departure and centers was great as usual, but unfortunately Moncton had to disconnect and Unicom it was. 30 Minutes prior to my NAT Entry I got Oceanic clearence without any issues.

The Oceanic part was chaos as usual. One thing I experience during the last CTP was the Oceanic controller asked for pilot to write their callsign in text and then he would call up for position report. A pratice that worked extremely well without people stepping on eachother and made it enjoyable.

 

Across the pond it was back with the normal controllers and again it worked flawless and the approach into Frankfurt was busy as expected.

 

The fact that it took quite some time and to follow a loong que of other aircrafts was fun and added to the realism to expect at JFK and all center controllers did a fantastic job and it was a pleasure to be with the domestic controllers without people stepping on eachother (at least not that much).

 

As for the Oceanic part I hope a solution can be found to make it enjoyable for both controllers and pilots without people are stepping on eachother. With the upcomming PMDG Global Flight Operation I hope that CDPLC can be implementet so position reports can be done from the FMC.

But I also wish that maybe it´s made a pratice that pilots write their callsign on text and the controller calls up.

 

Big thanks to all the controllers for a fantastic job.

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Thank you everyone for your feedback. We know that we encountered some different situations this year and we are striving to make them better for the next go.

 

We will be actively looking at ways to make POSREPs more automated and/or text based through CPDLC/vNAS. No guarantees that it's ready for W19, but we'll see what we can do.

Ryan Geckler - GK | Former VATUSA3 - Division Training Manager

VATSIM Minneapolis ARTCC | FAA Miami ARTCC 

Cross the Pond Planning Team

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@Ira: yes, but unlike a POS REP by, you do not need to read it back. You just acknowledge it. Saves work and time. Entering the data (points, times and levels) has to be done in either case. If handled correctly, CPDLC is not unreasonably more work, it keeps the frequency (both voice and text) open for meaningful communication and pilots can send their reports at any point in time. For me, that's a cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts]ical win-win-situation

 

I know you say all I need to do is acknowledge your message. And I know that will make you happy. So tell me how long until I get a complaint from someone else here because if I can take the time to acknowledge it I should be able to actually reply the proper way and read back the report. After all, that is the way it should be done.

__________

Ira Robinson

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I'm gonna repeat myself here but I believe part of the problem is that currently CTP is the only oceanic event and it's just twice a year. Since it's not possible to organize it more often or stop the non-event traffic from participating, why not have other oceanic events?

 

I believe having simple oceanic events regularly could help reduce the traffic levels of CTP and promote interest about oceanic among controllers (apart from the benefit of having a sensible event, of course).

 

We need to step away from the stereotype that oceanic ATC always goes together with full gate-to-gate service and not as a standalone event.

 

Or, cooperate with one facility on each end, e.g. Shannon and Montreal. There was the Holland-America line event which apparently was a success. Let's be creative here.

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