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Robert Lee

Center controllers ignoring me flying through their airspace

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Even if a controller is busy, and I am at cruise going through their airspace, why should I not be under their control? I have had that happen to me many times now in different regions. A controller handing me off to unicom even though the next center I am flying to is still online an hour after I p[Mod - Happy Thoughts]ed through is the last one to happen today. Or a center never sending a contact me that I expected and if I contact them they are not interested in me staying on their frequency. what is the point of me flying online after I depart then, I should just log off the network until I am ready to descend to my destination? I appreciate controllers but would like clarification because each flight is different, do I contact them early? Or do I not bother and hope they send a contact me? It is so confusing. Thank you. Bob

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Hey Bob, it is my understanding that the majority of controllers on VATSIM (implied policy based on forum posts) that it is up to the pilot to initiate contact. So the pilot should call with a position to initiate services. Whilst this appears to be the implied policy, there are also controllers that will be very quick to jump on you at a facility if you move an inch without contacting them.

 

Hope that helps,


Sean

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Hi Bob.

 

What Center(s) are you referring to - and where exactly where you that you expected to speak to them?


Trevor Hannant

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Hey Bob, it is my understanding that the majority of controllers on VATSIM (implied policy based on forum posts) that it is up to the pilot to initiate contact. So the pilot should call with a position to initiate services.

Or, it's specified in the VATSIM Code of Conduct.


Cheers,

-R.

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do I contact them early? Or do I not bother and hope they send a contact me? It is so confusing.

Airspace boundaries are often different than what's depicted on VAT-Spy, VATtastic, or other such apps.

Controllers still in training might only be certified to cover a sub-sector of the facility's total space. When in doubt, call them. If you're not in their airspace, they'll tell you.


Cheers,

-R.

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When in doubt, call them.
Don't do that outside the U.S., please. The rest of the world is aware of the fact that the controller has a better oversight of the situation and is capable of operating the "contact me" message.

And we recognize that opening charts in front of the sim kills the immersion much more than sending a contact me message.

 

It's usually way more workload to identify those "in doubt" pilots than to send contact me messages to aircraft entering the airspace.

 

EDIT: And also, the airspace is getting more and more complex. Impossible for a pilot to know who's controlling a certain area.

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Oliver, although I appreciate your reasoning, I do also remind you that in many cases, across the globe, and certainly not singling out individual countries (because in many cultures that could be perceived as incredibly rude), one controller just recently logging on may find him working up to 30+ different aircraft within the airspace. So it really does make sense for the individual pilot, who has between zero and one controllers to worry about, to use charts (like the rest of the real world) to identify airspace and control zones, vs. asking controllers who may log in "in a lion's den" to be suddenly responsible for all the underlying pilots. It's purely a span of control issue. That is, frankly, why the Code of Conduct is written the way it is....

 

The "contact me" message is, and has always been, a crutch. It is never required of the controller. It is, just as in the real world, the pilot's responsibility to know what airspace he/she/they are operating in, and operate accordingly. Yes, we sometimes stretch boundaries to accommodate "VATSIMisms", but the underlying foundational principles remain.

 

So, yes, regardless where in the world you are, please call the controller and ask. They may roll their eyes if they feel you should already know, but you can't see that.... Regardless, you are making an effort, as pilot in command, to do the right thing, both from an airspace/ATC/pilot perspective and as a collaborative member of the community. And by trying to establish the right contact, you are in the right, and may learn something about the airspace in the process. By waiting for a "contact me" message, you are always, technically, per regulation, in the wrong. So I encourage you to do it right, or at least to try.


Don Desfosse
Vice President, Membership

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When in doubt, call them.
Don't do that outside the U.S., please. The rest of the world is aware of the fact that the controller has a better oversight of the situation and is capable of operating the "contact me" message.

I concur with Don. One day when I'm bored I'll compile for you a list of posts on this very forum where pilots flying outside the US fell ill of a controller whose space they were in but the controller stubbornly held to the notion that the pilot was the one responsible for initiating contact. They'll number in the dozens, I can almost guarantee it.


Cheers,

-R.

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When in doubt, call them.
Don't do that outside the U.S., please. The rest of the world is aware of the fact that the controller has a better oversight of .

 

 

I like how you speak on behalf off the rest of the world. Despite what you may think, and or believe, the VATSIM rules clearly state it is the pilots responsibility, and the network rules override "popular (or unpopular) opinion"s based on the [Mod - Happy Thoughts]umptions of whats going in in some ones sim/controller set up.


Kirk Christie - VATPAC C3

VATPAC Undercover ATC Agent

Worldflight Perth 737-800 Crew Member

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When in doubt, call them.
Don't do that outside the U.S., please. The rest of the world is aware of the fact that the controller has a better oversight of .

 

 

I like how you speak on behalf off the rest of the world. Despite what you may think, and or believe, the VATSIM rules clearly state it is the pilots responsibility, and the network rules override "popular (or unpopular) opinion"s based on the [Mod - Happy Thoughts]umptions of whats going in in some ones sim/controller set up.

This specific rule is obviously from the ancient days with less traffic and less sectors.

 

I'll never understand how a "we could do it really easily since we know exactly where you are, but hey, why should we do this easy job if we can hand this over to you?" rule can stay in place.

 

I mean, every controller has a view of the sector, knowing exactly where everyone is - but still, pilots are expected to have sector charts and display tools open...

Getting tired of this lazy attitude by some controllers.

 

I know: "But it's in the CoC!!1!111"

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The "contact me" message is, and has always been, a crutch. It is never required of the controller. It is, just as in the real world, the pilot's responsibility to know what airspace he/she/they are operating in, and operate accordingly. Yes, we sometimes stretch boundaries to accommodate "VATSIMisms", but the underlying foundational principles remain.

Sure, in every aviation video I see the pilots using those charts and switching frequencies all on their own while cruising at FL350. They're never being handed over by the current controller. [/irony off]

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Let's not make it more complicated than it needs to be.

 

We have a couple possible situation.

 

1: You are handed over to another controller. This is straightforward; both controllers will have negotiated the handover before calling you, so whoever you are transferred to is expecting you. It's up to you to make the first call though. Not rocket science. And if that turns out to be wrong, the controller will tell you, and either give you the right frequency to call, or ask you to switch back to the previous frequency and sort it out there.

 

2: You are handed over to UNICOM. This is also straightforward. It may look to you as if a controller is active in the airspace you are entering, but there can be all sorts of reasons why you aren't handed over to them. Maybe the controller is about to close shop and won't take new customers. Maybe the controller is only handling traffic on some routes. Maybe they're only handling certain altitudes. Whatever the reason, [Mod - Happy Thoughts]ume that the controller who told you to switch to UNICOM knows what they're doing - if not, the controller responsible for you will almost certainly send you a "Contact Me".

 

3: You are entering an airspace *from* uncontrolled airspace. This is where a bit of guesswork on your part is required. It's impossible to be sure whether you should make contact or not, but I generally read the remarks section for the listed controller, and if it looks like they might be responsible, I'll contact them as if I had just been handed over.

 

4: A controller is coming online while you're already in their airspace. In this scenario, it's unreasonable to expect the pilot to proactively make contact - we're busy flying the aircraft, and we're not usually monitoring the ATC list in our pilot client. Hence, I'd react to "Contact Me"'s, but otherwise continue operating under the [Mod - Happy Thoughts]umption that I'm flying in uncontrolled airspace.


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but still, pilots are expected to have sector charts and display tools open...

 

The horror! A pilot having charts and having some sense of accountability as to where they are at, and where they are in relationship to a given airspace? Might have to put down the sandwich, pause Netflix, and back out of the Fortnite game to do that.

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Posted (edited)

If helpful ...

 

3. If enroute from uncontrolled airspace, "contact ATC as if I had just been handed over" ... with: callsign, aircraft position (relative to a nearby navaid, or relevant waypoint) and altitude/flight level.

4. Expectations in Code of Conduct: B3(a) - Pilots shall monitor their flights at all times. It is the responsibility of the pilot to check for, and make timely contact with appropriate air traffic controllers. This includes making prompt contact when requested to do so.

As Don reminds, when requested to do so 'contact-me' is a crutch, not 'instead of' or 'replacing' pilot responsibility to monitor their flight, check for and make timely contact.

 

If external applications may not be clear or accurate, airspace/sector information from local resources can help:

London area, Minneapolis, Los Angeles, Italy-Milano, Germany, Bremen Radar-Berlin, RG Berlin-event-sectors, etc.

and

details available in 'Controller Information':

NY_NWK_DEP: New York Departure services at KEWR, KTEB, KCDW, KCMU

EDGG_E_CTR: Langen Radar Southwest Germany including EDDF EDDS and minors.

LIMM_N_CTR: Milano Radar covering LIM- and LIP- airports

 

[Edit]

or if available, Enroute charts: EDWW, Bremen sector

© Navigraph

Edited by Guest

Mike / 811317
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In the real world we normally do not fly without radio-contact to some station, when operating IFR. So we will always be p[Mod - Happy Thoughts]ed on from one station to the other. On top of it, even in our real pilot apps we can only see a whole collection of frequencies for an airspace (enroute), so if we get lost we need to call up on 121.500 and ask for the correct station that we need to call.

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but still, pilots are expected to have sector charts and display tools open...

 

The horror! A pilot having charts and having some sense of accountability as to where they are at, and where they are in relationship to a given airspace? Might have to put down the sandwich, pause Netflix, and back out of the Fortnite game to do that.

Which part of "There's someone (the controller) who can easily push one button since he knows exactly when an aircraft enters the sector" is this hard to understand?

 

I'm not talking about low flying, crossing bravo, charlie, delta airspace where detailed charts are available. Observing airspaces is of course the duty of the pilot.

I'm talking about IFR enroute in the FL-range.

 

It makes absolutely no sense to ask the pilot to observe complex ATC sectors (not airspace cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts]) and do "guesswork" as stated in this thread.

 

Yes, I know: It's in the CoC. But stating this fact over and over again doesn't help - it doesn't make sense at all. We take a problem that's totally Vatsim related, and out of two "vatsimisms" as possible solution we choose the one that has no logical explanation and means extra workload for one side, while the other solution wouldn't mean ANY increase in workload for the other side

 

I'm sorry, but: This is totally stupid and egoistic for no reason at all.

 

And there are sectors where this "guesswork" means more workload for the controller as well. It creates unnecessary calls and browsing through flight plans, just to find out, that the aircraft will miss your airspace by 150 NM (the prefix is the same, the airspace is divided).

If I know the airspace, being 100% sure I'll be entering, I contact the controller. If I'm not or simply don't check that list (I don't have it on top all of the time), I'll rely on the controller pushing one single button.

We're a community, different people, different backgrounds, different degrees of knowledge. The only reason not to send out a contact me message as ATC is a high workload. The only other "reason" I see is arrogance. The latter should not find its place in our hobby

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I'm not talking about low flying, crossing bravo, charlie, delta airspace where detailed charts are available. Observing airspaces is of course the duty of the pilot.

I'm talking about IFR enroute in the FL-range.

 

Move along. Nothing to see here The boundaries don't change at the "J" and "Q" level either.

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I'm not talking about low flying, crossing bravo, charlie, delta airspace where detailed charts are available. Observing airspaces is of course the duty of the pilot.

I'm talking about IFR enroute in the FL-range.

 

Move along. Nothing to see here The boundaries don't change at the "J" and "Q" level either.

I'm so impressed... Which working position do you talk to when there's more than one controller online for one of these FIRs (the info comes from this chart, doesn't it?)?

 

Where in this area do you call EDWW_A_CTR and EDWW_B_CTR? Yes, the division is real and there for a reason.

FIR is not the same as a sector.

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To be clear: This is nothing a pilot needs to know or should try to get right. The only ones who want this to happen is some of the lazy/ignorant/arrogant (you name it) controllers, overwhelmed by observing their airspace and scared by the press of one single button (OMG, the controller really needs to close netlix!!!).

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Yeah. I mean with todays technology, maybe we can just have the controllers fly the pilots whole route for them too. It's bad enough that a large slice can't follow a simple flight procedure or something that deviates off the magenta line, it's now the controllers responsibility to make the pilot aware of where they are geographically at any given phase of their flight. I'm done man. If you're ever in my airspace, I'll just clear a wide birth where the FMS tells you decend and you can do it on your own....errr...the machine can do it on it's own. Thank goodness for autoland, or I'd question your ability to know where you were in relation to the runway too. You do it your way. I'll do it the way that doesn't coddle the ignorant and/or lazy.

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I have to support Oliver's point here. From my personal experience, when I log onto a busy sector I do NOT want the pilots to start contacting me as soon as they see me online. I first elaborate a "plan" of who will I contact first and who will I contact next, depending on the neighbouring sectors online, other pilots/aircraft around, their destinations, time left until they start descent, etc... it's all about priorities really.

 

If pilots started contacting me as soon as they saw me online, it would just be a chaos of people blocking one another, and possibly not in order of priority at all.

 

As Oliver says, yes, it is in the CoC, but that doesn't necessarilly mean it is practical or useful at all. In addition, there is no central place a pilot can check to see with perfection what airspace he/she is in. "Oh, but there's charts, Néstor". Yes, true, and there's also fictional sectors, and non-existant ones, and "bandboxed" sectors, etc...

 

As things stand currently, I really struggle to see the smart side of making it the pilot's responsibility to contact ATC on their own. Maybe in the future, once it's easy (and accurate) for members to know which airspace they're in I will understand everyone else's poimt. Until then, I stand with Oliver.

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Néstor Pérez
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Yeah. I mean with todays technology, maybe we can just have the controllers fly the pilots whole route for them too.

Stopped reading after this nonsense.

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Can we please stop pushing each other from one "high" to another? Let's stay factual.

 

This topic has been discussed on our forums at least a gazillion times and except for a few cases we have not found common ground.

 

Think about this: it all depends from what angle you look at this issue. If you look at it from an US-American perpective, you'll never agree with "us Europeans", because the airspace in the US is much less complex, except for certain areas (LA, NY etc.), and pilots can use official charts to see who's controlling where.

 

In Central Europe, that's where most of us "disagreers" live our common hobby (yes, it's a hobby to most members, not a profession), it is different. In Germany we have not just one "EDGG_x_CTR", but several and they are geographically separated. The same goes for EDWW_x_CTR and EDMM_x_CTR. No, it's not tragic if you call up the wrong one, but when a controller is suffering from high workload, then this may create a distraction and other "correct" pilots may "suffer" from this. For example, if I control Langen Radar for the Frankfurt area (EDGG_E_CTR), then I don't just control the area, but I also offer top-down services for at least 2 busy airports - Frankfurt being one of them. Frankfurt is a bit like London Heathrow, it attracts a lot of newbie pilots who don't even know how to taxi their aircraft.

 

Or when you fly across Europe you may fly through France. When Paris Control (LFFF_CTR) is online you may think from navigation charts that you will only have to call that ATCO when entering the Paris FIR, but no, he will request you to contact him much earlier, of course.

 

As Olli wrote: FIR border does not always equal sector border. This is a very important detail.

 

 

What do we need to overcome this problem? We need an official, centralized database at VATSIM that contains all ATC sectors (horizontal and vertical extensions) with their position details. This - and only this - would be the basis for a reliable source of airspace information and only then can we really demand from pilots that they always need to contact ATC before entering their airspace.

 

 

And now my personal take on this topic: I always try to actively contact ATC according to the information that I have. But if I am not sure, I do not and I wait for ATC to send me a request to call them up. No egos are hurt.

 

PS: I wonder why grown men have to discuss this topic so emotionally again and again.

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