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Cross the Pond feedback


Tristan Garratt
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What an excellent event, however I do have some feedback.

This time Gander domestic kept handing off aircraft to Nat traks rather than delivery.

Now, one or two incidents if it would be fine,

But on a large scale that was Nat s, it got obstructed and I believe it happened for the entire event.

I recall flying last eastbound, and domestic was doing the same thing.

Other than that the event worked perfectly, hf sounded great!!!

I was able to depart Boston early without delay!!!

Move over schipol, #nodelayboston

Tristan Garratt

VATPAC C1

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Hi Tristan,

 

Normally (in real life) it is up to you to obtain your Oceanic clearance at a convenient moment 90-30 mins prior to track entry, normally either through box 2 or ACARS etc -- domestic ATC do not hand aircraft off to Oceanic delivery controllers, the expectation is that you will have dealt with that on your own initiative.

 

However, I can see an argument that the nature of CTP is such that a little more hand-holding may be beneficial.

 

Glad you enjoyed the HF!

Vice President, Pilot Training

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My feedback is that the CTP website didn't seem to have a link to https://nattrak.vatsim.net/ anywhere. I tried to find it there & couldn't, so, I [Mod - Happy Thoughts]umed it wasn't being used this time. I also feel that the CTP site could be a more comprehensive "media center" for the event -- with more links to resources for new participants, and to pilots and controllers live-streaming the day's activity.

 

Technically speaking, the event was fantastic. I had only two minor server drops & was able to reconnect immediately both times. There were a few human-factors issues based on heavily work-loaded controllers, but, those were eventually overcome.

Cheers,

-R.

fvJfs7z.png

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Hi Tristan,

 

Normally (in real life) it is up to you to obtain your Oceanic clearance at a convenient moment 90-30 mins prior to track entry, normally either through box 2 or ACARS etc -- domestic ATC do not hand aircraft off to Oceanic delivery controllers, the expectation is that you will have dealt with that on your own initiative.

 

However, I can see an argument that the nature of CTP is such that a little more hand-holding may be beneficial.

 

Glad you enjoyed the HF!

 

Hey Simon, when we asked for a frequency change, Moncton Centre said "No, I'll hand you off". This left us all waiting to be handed off. I did get clearance in time, but many people on track s didn't get clearance until after entering the track.

Tristan Garratt

VATPAC C1

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Another issue quite a few people encountered was the handoff between Boston and Moncton.

 

I believe the controllers in Boston tried to hand off aircraft to Moncton, but it was not accepted. Many of us ended up going beyond the range of Boston VHF without getting a handoff to Moncton.

 

The instruction ended up being "Stay on Boston when we p[Mod - Happy Thoughts] the boundary fix. If we stop receiving Boston via VHF, switch to Moncton at our own discretion."

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Monckton seemed to have some difficulty with the workload. That appears to be a running theme, both here & from what I've seen on Facebook.

 

Part of what caused it in my observation was a swarm of pilots all repeatedly asking for handoffs to Gander and/or their Oceanic clearance. Perhaps a map on the CTP site (again -- making it a repository of info for newbies) showing some guidelines and expectations for sector boundaries and checkpoints for Oceanic ops would be good. We get detailed briefings for departure and arrival, but, it's learn-as-you-go (or, "on-the-fly," lol) everywhere in between.

 

This is just a suggestion, and, I'd be willing to help put the information together. Overall I thought it was a great event.

Cheers,

-R.

fvJfs7z.png

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Monckton seemed to have some difficulty with the workload. That appears to be a running theme, both here & from what I've seen on Facebook.

 

Part of what caused it in my observation was a swarm of pilots all repeatedly asking for handoffs to Gander and/or their Oceanic clearance. Perhaps a map on the CTP site (again -- making it a repository of info for newbies) showing some guidelines and expectations for sector boundaries and checkpoints for Oceanic ops would be good. We get detailed briefings for departure and arrival, but, it's learn-as-you-go (or, "on-the-fly," lol) everywhere in between.

 

This is just a suggestion, and, I'd be willing to help put the information together. Overall I thought it was a great event.

 

I'd also be willing to help out this together as well,

Gruesome twosome?

Tristan Garratt

VATPAC C1

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Flew KORD-EKCH on NAT track Q. The only thing I found was the excessive amount of "interference" on the Oceanic voice chanel, and most of the times you couldn't make any sense of the comms. Other pilots also commented on this. Disabling Realistic ATC audio effects is the solution to clear comms in this case, but it takes away the realism. Made three Position Reports via the provided webpage which was quick and effective. Eight and a half hours firmly stuck to my chair surrounded by Aircraft and great Traffic Controllers. At one point there were 1800+ connections, Vatsim was truly alive yesterday even outside the CTP event. Excellent voice quality overall. Thanks to all the Organisers, Controllers and Pilots that made it all possible.

Best regards

Joaquin Blanco

 

 

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As it always is, it was a wonderful and entertaining event.

I read above, the many comments regarding Moncton/Gander and the issues experienced while trying to get Oceanic Clearance and later en-route monitoring.

 

I was transferred to, at least, 5 different controllers in my attempt to obtain Oceanic Clearance.

 

Having read the overall instructions and getting quite worried that I was 30NM from my entry point to the NATs, I asked for instructions on what to do and was told to continue into the NAT.

 

The nice controller who had been trying to relay the request for Oceanic Clearance for me, then decided to "just give me" the Clearance himself (I guess he p[Mod - Happy Thoughts]ed it on later to the appropriate Controller).

 

Not surprising, when I submitted my first Position Report, the Gander Oceanic controller was a bit surprised at my being there.

 

In summary, the issues of transfers to Oceanic Clearances and later to Oceanic Control, obviously need a good debrief and review and hopefully also get the right modification.

 

Otherwise, with the noted exceptions, it was a great event (even with my messed up first attempt at landing, which required a go-around in EIDW).

 

Everything, servers, new vPilot, worked famously!!

 

Thanks for the fun to all the ATC staff!!

 

Roberto Stopnicki

833576

LAB2201

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Given that the eastbound event runs with special tracks developed by the event team (because the event doesn't line up with the RW eastbound push), it would be useful to publish those tracks. We were given an amended route on a different track to what we had planned and this meant we weren't really aware which track we were on or what to expect around us.

David Zhong

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This was a great event for me. I was accompanied with a real CRJ-1000 pilot friend and he was surprised with the brutal event traffic, we saw over 1.800 connections. Is this a new record?

 

We need to leave our official book due to time problems and choose another more short fly out of the event KMCO-EKCH changed to KEWR-EGKK, via NAT U.

 

Any problems another than the yet commented oceanic clearance, we cant to obtain it. And the pos reports via web, impossible to p[Mod - Happy Thoughts] these via voice due to saturation.

 

It would be a suggestion for future editions that you would can publish a list with the exact frecuencies or controllers for each role and/or NAT.

 

Example:

 

NAT U

Clearance Delivery: 133.200

Control: 133.220

 

Or it would be reflected in the controller callsign connection: EGXX_NATU_Del, EGXX_NATU_CTR

 

Any more, the new audio awesome, great and fun event, thank for all your work!

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Awesome CTP. This was my 20+ crossing and each one gets better with unique experiences to get under the belt!

 

I'd like to add to all points made above..... the adage "Aviate, Navigate, Communicate" is ever so important at CTP. While Oceanic CLNC or FIR switchovers are critical, as far as separations are kept and pilots following as filed (plan)..... ATC almost always is able to sort out in no time. Usually, IMHO, its the multiple calls that will keep the frequency busy & bog down with a domino effect along the NAT.

 

One of my goal at this CTP (and I succeeded) was to crossing the pond with " Only One single Ping Vasili ! " and it worked on every single freq change after departure to landing! After initial contact, I just waited for a min to two till got the response!!

 

Sunny skies....

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I would like to second the suggestion that the tracks that are concocted by the morning planning meeting be posted almost like the official daily track message. I was switched tracks and couldn’t find what NAT X was defined as. All worked out in the end, was able to confirm with gander on receipt of clearance.

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First off, great event! Looking forward to participating in this more often!

 

Let me add the trouble spots I encountered (which are alot of the same ones already mentioned).

 

I was near the end of the line coming out of KORD and getting on on Track T. Moncton repeatedly told pilots not to try to get their clearances until talking to Gander Domestic. After getting switched to Gander, we were informed "all the delivery people are offline, so nothing to be done. Just fly the route". ok, I guess. Later, I saw something resembling Gander CLRNC in the frequency list, so I dialed it up, asked for a clearance, p[Mod - Happy Thoughts]ed my message and completed the interaction in about 30 seconds with a kind controller. Upon getting close to Gander Oceanic airspace, there was great confusion over frequencies for all pilots, and when I checked afv.vatsim.net almost everyone was on 122.8. When I asked the Gander domestic controller who should I call about Track T, he said monitor UNICOM because I didn't come out with a slot. Ok, fair enough. I submitted position reports through the webpage (more on that later) flawlessly. As I listened to the multiple Gander Oceanic frequencies in use, they were somewhat filled with position reports, maybe 40% frequency in use. As I got to Shanwicks area, almost no chatter on the frequency. Checked afv.vatsim again, and 95% of the people were on 122.8. I finally got picked up by Shannon, and had great ATC the rest of the way to EHAM. One question: if Shanwick/Gander controllers were so slow that the frequencies were barren, why were they not contacting aircraft on 122.8 to pick them up?

 

My takeaways:

The position report web page should have been advertised on the homepage, pinged out repeatedly on our clients, as the preferred method of position reports. Yes, the new Voice is wonderful, but apparently overwhelmed the Oceanic controllers. I only knew about the position report webpage by chatting about procedures in random conversation with someone.

Something really broke down in the Oceanic sectors by the time I came through, and never recovered. Which is really unfortunate. Aside from the sheer numbers participating, getting to actually have GANDER/SHANWICK online almost never happens, and I was really hoping to experience it. Spending hours reviewing procedures, then having the controller tell us to just keep flying without a clearance was dis-heartening. I would rather have been held in Moncton or ZBW airspace, until they could accept me, than what happend.

The domestic ATC was great on both continents.

I agree with the previous sentiment about ROUTING. Publish it in a format like the FAA (or even more user friendly) as early as possible. I get that the real routes don't line up exactly timewise, but some people don't even have ANY weather on (the guy above me way slower than me at the same Mach, and we realized his outside temp was 30c warmer than mine). If a TRACK is getting too backed up, offer me a hold or swap to another route (this is why I loaded an extra 100,000 lbs of fuel on). I HOPE for these kinds of challenges while flying.

 

I love flying on VATSIM, and am so appreciative of all the hard work that so many people have put it, to put on an event like this. I am sure there was chaos going on behind the scenes. But, the Oceanic part of it was really unfortunate. Not being an Oceanic controller, I cannot offer any suggestions for improvement. I hope there will be after action meetings to try to determine what happened, and how to improve the experience, by people who have understanding of this airspace.

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Agree with the points for the oceanic clearance.

Firstly, on handover to Moncton, every pilot including those that had been on frequency for 10 minutes were all chomping at the bit to get their oceanic clearance, which seemed annoying.

I heard the controller handing off traffic to get their clearance and, using vatsim maps etc checked the callsigns and where they were getting that handover. Seemed to be somewhere up past Nova Scotia toward Newfie, which seemed about right.

I got used to hearing the frequency change, "Contact 133.10 for clearance". After a dozen iterations of the same, I pre-selected the frequency in standby and settled in.

Soon enough I got the instruction also. Contact 133.10 for clearance. Easy.

On switching over however, the controller there was on HF doing position reports for traffic over at 40W. Anyhow I contacted them and got told to switch over to a different frequency for clearance. On switching it was immediately apparent we were back on a VHF frequency due to quality of voice. Got the clearance and switched back to Moncton, requiring a step climb to FL360 at NAT entry to make our entry point restriction (we were at FL350 due to flying Eastbound). Moncton was simply reading back "Unable" to any step climb requests so we stuck it out at FL350, despite having other traffic about 10 miles ahead of us at FL350.

Soon enough we hit the NAT entry, and were handed off to 133.10 and made a request to FL360 on entry. The controller on 133.10 granted our climb request but then figured out we weren't on the right frequency for the track we were on. I went through a 50W and 40W using the website for position reports, till at some point about 100nm from 30W the controller on my frequency (Still recieving pilots requesting clearance for track entry every few minutes) advised everyone on frequency to contact Shanwick at 30W, and if you were p[Mod - Happy Thoughts]ing 51N30W to contact (a specific frequency) and various other frequencies for other latitudes. So I contacted Shanwick at the appropriate location.

I'd wager every 5 to 10 minutes some other guy called up the Gander FSS HF radio to request clearance while I was there.

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Trent Hopkinson YMML. www.youtube.com/musicalaviator WorldFlight 2002,2008,2009, 2011, 2012, 2013 & 2015

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As someone who has done a couple of Atlantic transits within the sim, I took part, however, I was before the initial rush.

 

Got my clearance sorted, and went across on the NAT, however, the sheer amount of traffic on the network just made it impossible to broadcast your own position report, and I believe that some controllers were handling a couple of tracks each, so, the traffic would have been quite phenomenal at times.

 

The ability to fill in the form on the website, and submit your position that way was fantastic, and, I'd love it if there was some way in which the network could acknowledge receipt of that, either in an ACARS type message, or just a .msg on the client.

 

I actually enjoyed being part of a big group all having a decent time, and the network more than held up its end of the bargain.

 

Now to find another event to do.

Rob Terrace - EGCN

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