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When Controllers Just Log On...


Jon Wilder 1268033
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...is there any way that we can set up a policy for controllers that they have to allow something like 10 minutes from login time for flights which are already in the departure/arrival phase at login time to get out of the way before they start contacting pilots? These two phases are the most critical of the flight when you have a lot going on, and when you've already set up the aircraft for a certain runway, you may already be holding short ready to roll or already on or about to capture the localizer, you're doing all of your pre-takeoff/approach/landing checklist, etc...and they're like "Please contact me on...".

 

Some of them get huffy if you don't contact them straight away, or if you're already taxiing back to a gate after a landing there's no point in even trying to message them. Just leave them alone and give them a few minutes to get off the movement area. Some of them even act like they've been online the entire time and you didn't comply with some instruction that you should've known...but you were never given any instruction because they weren't even online until 30 seconds prior.

 

Can we please get rid of the God complex that some of these controllers have? I think waiting 10 minutes after login time to allow departure/arrival phase flights to complete is a more than reasonable request.

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Yeah, I think this is an area where common sense should, but probably doesn't always, prevail. There's always an awkward period of time between when you first connect, and when you truly have control of an airspace.

 

I normally try to look at where people are in relation to my airspace or an approach, and not bother anyone unless they're above 10K and I'll have something meaningful to tell them. Pending some sort of obvious conflict (like when you connect and people are on approaches for opposing runways), I don't see why the policy you've suggested couldn't be applied.

 

The trouble is that VATSIM probably can't make a network-wide policy on the issue. Perhaps as a starting point you might consider approaching the individual facility (through feedback) when you encounter issues. That being said, I'm interested to see what other feedback comes from the powers that be on whether this is a concept that could be disseminated more widely than your post.

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Evan Reiter
Boston Virtual ARTCC/ZBW Community Manager

 

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I am with you guys there. We just need to spread common sense.

 

When I connect and I have pilots taxiing out for departure or about to start their approach, I still ask them to contact me ASAP, but I will not impose any clearance on them that will differ from their current intentions, unless this would put them into conflict with other pilots. That normally works. As a pilot I still enjoy being picked up on final approach and receive a landing clearance.

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This falls on the various training departments, imo. On VATSIM, just as in real life, new controllers expect positive control of everyone all of the time, and anything else is confusing at first, possibly causing agitation. The notion of allowing for common sense and human factors isn't necessarily on the top of their list of priorities at first.

 

On the other hand, tuning a frequency and saying something along the lines of "ABC123 at position and level, request to continue " should only really take anyone 10 seconds, in addition to getting done with whatever you were doing previously. Barring air taxi and runway manoeuvring <2000agl, just get it done. If the freq is busy with a dozen pilots checking in, monitor while doing more important stuff.

 

10 minutes is definitely far too excessive.

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Pilot flying with ATC online, on Final approach.

APP: ABC123 contact tower 120.5

ABC123: Tower 120.5

 

Pilot flying with ATC online, approaching the departure runway.

GND: ABC contact tower on 120.5

ABC123: Tower 120.5

 

Pilot flying with no ATC, on final approach, ATC comes online.

ATC: Please contact me on 120.5

ABC123:

 

Pilot flying online with no ATC, approaching the departure runway, ATC comes online.

ATC: Please contact me on 120.5

ABC123:

Why is it both situations are very similar, but only the second station annoys the .... out of everyone?

 

You can manage a frequency change when ATC is online, but not when ATC comes online

Kirk Christie - VATPAC C3

VATPAC Undercover ATC Agent

Worldflight Perth 737-800 Crew Member

956763

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Pilot flying with ATC online, on Final approach.

APP: ABC123 contact tower 120.5

ABC123: Tower 120.5

 

Pilot flying with ATC online, approaching the departure runway.

GND: ABC contact tower on 120.5

ABC123: Tower 120.5

 

Pilot flying with no ATC, on final approach, ATC comes online.

ATC: Please contact me on 120.5

ABC123:

 

Pilot flying online with no ATC, approaching the departure runway, ATC comes online.

ATC: Please contact me on 120.5

ABC123:

Why is it both situations are very similar, but only the second station annoys the .... out of everyone?

 

You can manage a frequency change when ATC is online, but not when ATC comes online

Kirk I guess it depends entirely where they are on the approach, obviously a contact me at 5nm is going to be far more reasonable than at 1.5nm getting ready to touch down. I reckon I'd be suitably p***ed off if the APP controller handed me off to tower at 1.5nm, just as I would be without any ATC.

Andrew Ogden | I3
Gander Oceanic OCA Chief
VATSIM Web Developer

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

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I have the same opinion as Andres.

 

If I see an aircraft is already at the holding point I give them a squawk and QNH, and that's it, won't bother them with a SID and make them fiddle with their FMC. They will most likely get a direct once airborne anyway. If they're on final/turning final they get landing clearance, if on approach they get vectors to the runway they're already approaching ([Mod - Happy Thoughts]uming no conflict with other a/c). The easy-ish things that don't force them to make drastic changes to what they have planned.

 

I still give them ATC services though, I don't just let a/c below a certain altitude do their thing on UNICOM as I might have someone taxiing contact me, and then I have to guess what the guys approaching are doing.

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Pilot flying with ATC online, on Final approach.

APP: ABC123 contact tower 120.5

ABC123: Tower 120.5

 

Pilot flying with ATC online, approaching the departure runway.

GND: ABC contact tower on 120.5

ABC123: Tower 120.5

 

Pilot flying with no ATC, on final approach, ATC comes online.

ATC: Please contact me on 120.5

ABC123:

 

Pilot flying online with no ATC, approaching the departure runway, ATC comes online.

ATC: Please contact me on 120.5

ABC123:

Why is it both situations are very similar, but only the second station annoys the .... out of everyone?

 

You can manage a frequency change when ATC is online, but not when ATC comes online

Kirk I guess it depends entirely where they are on the approach, obviously a contact me at 5nm is going to be far more reasonable than at 1.5nm getting ready to touch down. I reckon I'd be suitably p***ed off if the APP controller handed me off to tower at 1.5nm, just as I would be without any ATC.

 

Yes you are right. I had a GND controller send me a contact me as I was touching down at LSGG, I ignored it, and contacted him when I exited the runway, to which the instructions he gave me were taxi to the gate of my choice, then logged off, note if you will that the controller in question only logged in while I was on final approach.

 

A number of things in that above situation, raises the eyebrow, but not enough for me to, get concerned over, worry about it, or write a forum post about it. (note this was a few years ago)

 

The solution, Ignore it, contact the controller when you can, if they call a SUP on you, advise them of the situation, a reasonable SUP will tell the controller to use more common sense.

Kirk Christie - VATPAC C3

VATPAC Undercover ATC Agent

Worldflight Perth 737-800 Crew Member

956763

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At least on Center, I always wonder how some controllers are able to send contact me messages within the first 60 seconds after log in. To be honest, I mostly need about five minutes to get some kind of picture and am happy when not too many pilots call in during that time

 

But my all time favorite as a pilot is getting frequent contact me messages from delivery or ground when I am at the gate preparing my flight

 

Alex

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But my all time favorite as a pilot is getting frequent contact me messages from delivery or ground when I am at the gate preparing my flight

Well, I controlled EDGG_E_CTR today and dealt with ground traffic at EDDF on top of a busy frequency. Out of 6 departing pilots who were still parked up at EDDF, 3 began to push or even taxi on their own, without contacting me for ATC clearance. One poor guy, who promptly reacted to my contact-request, stopped his taxi and unfortunately I took a long time to issue his clearance up to the point that he gave up and logged out. Note: this was about 1 hour into my online-session... there are many pilots who are not aware of the top-down-concept or who are not aware what ATC is responsible for what sector/airport. Hence the contact requests. One request should be enough and as a courtesy, as a pilot, I change to the requested frequency and let ATC know that I will contact them when ready (to acknowledge the receipt of the message).

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But my all time favorite as a pilot is getting frequent contact me messages from delivery or ground when I am at the gate preparing my flight

 

Alex

 

When that happens, I call them on the radio, and state that I am responding to their contact me, and ask them what they want.

 

They usually respond with, just letting you know I am here, I usually say, I know I can see you in the pilot client. I make it process to check for ATC prior to pushing back.

Kirk Christie - VATPAC C3

VATPAC Undercover ATC Agent

Worldflight Perth 737-800 Crew Member

956763

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  • Board of Governors

Agreed and actually Magnus' suggestion perhaps highlights something worth remembering which is that the default "contact me" message is quite direct and infers a certain level of urgency to comply which is not always necessary. I can see why some pilots (particularly those more inexperienced on the network) may be "spooked" a bit by it...

Vice President, Pilot Training

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