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Center controllers ignoring me flying through their airspace


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Hi all

 

Actually, "it's the pilot's responsibility" doesn't work everywhere. I fly in Europe all the time, use charts and consider myself an experienced VATSIM pilot - to be clear, it is completely impossible for me to know how most FIRs are sectorised even with charts so knowing who to call is impossible.

 

So let's compromise and say it's everyone's responsibility to speak to the relevant people and move on.

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GUNNAR LINDAHL 
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There are board of governor members who don’t come on the forum for >3months. How do they stay in touch with the issues.   I congratulate Gunnar for speaking his mind, if we had more leaders who

Nick, I disagree with your reasoning. I find lots of C1-3 controllers treating pilots like they are working for them - and yes, we're both users of VATSIM wanting to enjoy a hobby, but you have to rem

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 fly

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There are board of governor members who don’t come on the forum for >3months. How do they stay in touch with the issues.

 

I congratulate Gunnar for speaking his mind, if we had more leaders who would care to engage with members, we would have a better place.

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Sean

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If the sitting VATSIM President says the rule isn't effective as currently written, maybe it should be changed...?

 

The rule is perfect as currently written. The intent behind it is to make clear that a pilot should initiate contact ATC if in their airspace and to prevent them knowingly sailing through without contacting anyone. In other words, the onus is on the pilot to make reasonable efforts to check.

 

My point is that knowing exactly which sector you're in and how they are split isn't always possible, so if a controller sees a pilot enter their sector without contact they would do well to send a contact me instead of hiding behind this rule.

 

In other words, it takes two to tango.

 

GUNNAR LINDAHL 
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Then I submit that what you're suggesting is that it should be rewritten to state that if a pilot knows he is within staffed, controlled airspace, it is his or her obligation to initiate contact with ATC -- *and*, that if a controller observes an aircraft within his or her control area who is not in contact with ATC, the controller is obliged to initiate contact, workload permitting.

Cheers,

-R.

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I subscribe to "it takes two to tango" for two reasons:

 

First: In the US, on an ARTCC level, it's easy to see when which ARTCC you're in. Use IFR charts, VATTASTIC or VATSpy. Contact the appropriate CTR 20 miles before the border. If there are multiple CTR sectors online, call one and be sure to state your position and altitude. That'll make it easy to switch you if needed.

 

I put the onus for initial contact on the pilot when they need to be in touch with CTR. The borders in the US are generally clearly defined. Please use your charts and pay attention.

 

Second: On, the other hand, TRACONs do not have airspace depicted on pilot charts. So, it's hard to determine if you should contact a particular TRACON or not. This is especially so for SoCal since neither VATTASTIC nor VATSpy accurately depict SCT's borders.

 

In this case, it's more of a "takes two to tango." If I'm on SCT, I'm more likely to send you a contact me. It's hard to tell that PSP is completely covered by SCT if you're not familiar with it.

Los Angeles ARTCC Air Traffic Manager
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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"[/quote]

YOU Oliver, make great points. Thanks for sharing. Controllers get a little tight wired from time to time. A lot of us pilots have experienced it. And I'm confident just as many controllers have dealt with the same number of "aggravating" pilots.

At the end of the day, we should be able to voice our opinion here. Especially when the complaint is justified and experienced by others. Rather than be lectured, we all should discuss and find a more common agreed way to proceed. VATSIM is one great tool that makes our simulation world so much more real!!!

Michael

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On 3/10/2020 at 4:23 AM, Nick Warren 813047 said:

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.

Nick, I disagree with your reasoning. I find lots of C1-3 controllers treating pilots like they are working for them - and yes, we're both users of VATSIM wanting to enjoy a hobby, but you have to remember that as ATC, you're there to help pilots. So I find the practice of not sending .contactmes to a pilot 'because they're supposed to know to contact me' completely wrong. If the pilot doesn't realize that they're in your sector, it's your turn to push the home key and click on the plane. That's it. If you don't do that, and then complain that they never contacted you, I'd consider the controller to be at fault. To me, it's like if you refused to correct wrong readbacks 'because pilots are supposed to understand English!' - if they've read back, say, their assigned altitude wrong, you correct it and move on. You don't wait until they climb more than they should and cause a collision, and then complain that, no, you assigned the correct altitude, it's the pilot who did it wrong!

I understand that with busier positions, you don't have time to bend down to every pilot that doesn't understand something to teach them - something I try to do when I'm on TWR with 2 a/c on the ground. But understand that most sector splits are really complicated -  and it's much easier for you to press a key and actually help the pilot.

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Definitely  more than one way to view this topic.  As a controller only/non-flyer (on Vatsim), I send contactme to everyone who enters or is in the sector.  The amount of time it takes for a response varies widely.  I know the 30 min rule and I can not count how many times its been broken (I rarely wallop someone, especially for failure to answer).  Many seem to get online and leave the flight deck for other chores, possibly hoping that no one contacts them and the flight is completed for credit in their VA.   Clearly not everyone is in this category, but more often times than not, it is hard reach (voice) the pilot. 

On another note, for those who do answer the call (or contact the controller themselves), kudos to them for proper procedure.   The only other comment/complaint I will voice is to maintain vigilance to the radio once in contact.  Particularly given the traffic count Vatsim is experiencing under the present environment.  The pilot only has a single (there own) aircraft call to worry about, controllers can have many, many more.  When you  fail to respond to a call (handoff, turn, altitude change to meet LOA or traffic, etc.), it places an incredible amount of extra, unnecessary workload, on the ATC controller.  Technically we have to coordinate with others because you aren't "there".  When a enroute controller is operating solo, their job can cover hundreds of miles, many hats, (clearance delivery, local ground, tower, departure/arrival), and at multiple airfield; all while controlling enroute aircraft and having the pleasure of a pilot who walks away from their radio. :(.

Edited by Lee Sacharin
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I agree. I don't expect pilots to know exactly where each sector begins and ends, but I do expect them to follow the simple instruction of 'contact me on 118.625'

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Kirk, how would a pilot be able to predict a controller coming online?  IF ‘the 30 min rule’ no longer applies In the case of a controller coming online, it would never be able to apply because a pilot can almost never know when a controller joins the server.

CoC rule B3 (a) uses “..prompt contact WHEN requested...”, It does not have a specific time period, then (b) part of the same rule says “...unattended for a period longer than 30 .....”  In my opinion if the rule part b ever applies, then it must apply at all times.

I do not agree with you opinion.

Sean

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It's is not my opinion it is the rules.

30mins is not a grace period, it is the point at which a penalty will apply. 

Kirk Christie - VATPAC C3

VATPAC Undercover ATC Agent

Worldflight Perth 737-800 Crew Member

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With current levels of traffic there simply is no time to help. That's reality. When I control a large sector like EURM_CTR I need to prioritize and serve as many pilots as possible. 2 or 3 text pilots will break my scanning of the airspace, because it takes much more time to recognize a text message, read it, process it and then reply to it. By voice the same process takes just 2 or 3 seconds. With 40 or 50 pilots in my airspace every second counts and I have to prioritize and text pilots will get late replies if it is not urgent.

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1 hour ago, Andreas Fuchs said:

With current levels of traffic there simply is no time to help. That's reality. When I control a large sector like EURM_CTR I need to prioritize and serve as many pilots as possible. 2 or 3 text pilots will break my scanning of the airspace, because it takes much more time to recognize a text message, read it, process it and then reply to it. By voice the same process takes just 2 or 3 seconds. With 40 or 50 pilots in my airspace every second counts and I have to prioritize and text pilots will get late replies if it is not urgent.

Great point Andreas! I cannot find myself prioritizing on text pilots almost immediately. With a sector like EURW_FSS, its almost impossible for me to even reply to a text pilot within 5 mins these days. The current traffic levels in VATSIM is huge, you can hop on a weekday to get 60+ pilots in sectors such as EURW around 12z! 
However, the only thing that kills my motivation in controlling such sectors are those pilots that complain that the text reply times are too delayed, then mentions that i'm not doing my job well. I set my target reply time within 2-5 mins depending on the sector load. But sometimes its impossible for me to achieve that when there are pilots constantly calling on the frequency via voice.

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3 hours ago, Andreas Fuchs said:

With 40 or 50 pilots in my airspace

 

2 hours ago, John Koranteng said:

you can hop on a weekday to get 60+ pilots in sectors such as EURW around 12z! 

Dare I suggest that with such traffic levels it might be wiser and better all round to log on to a smaller sector where you can provide a half-decent service to a smaller number of pilots than logging on to the largest possible piece of airspace available, immediately overloading yourself and providing a crap service to everybody?

You cannot possibly tell me that you are able to acceptably monitor and ensure separation with 60 aircraft on frequency none of whom can get word in edgeways, even if there were no text pilots at all.

And people wonder why the EUR* positions are controversial and get a pretty mixed reaction amongst pilots... have some common sense.

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On 4/14/2020 at 8:18 AM, Samuel Rey said:

Nick, I disagree with your reasoning. I find lots of C1-3 controllers treating pilots like they are working for them - and yes, we're both users of VATSIM wanting to enjoy a hobby, but you have to remember that as ATC, you're there to help pilots. So I find the practice of not sending .contactmes to a pilot 'because they're supposed to know to contact me' completely wrong. If the pilot doesn't realize that they're in your sector, it's your turn to push the home key and click on the plane. That's it. If you don't do that, and then complain that they never contacted you, I'd consider the controller to be at fault. To me, it's like if you refused to correct wrong readbacks 'because pilots are supposed to understand English!' - if they've read back, say, their assigned altitude wrong, you correct it and move on. You don't wait until they climb more than they should and cause a collision, and then complain that, no, you assigned the correct altitude, it's the pilot who did it wrong!

I understand that with busier positions, you don't have time to bend down to every pilot that doesn't understand something to teach them - something I try to do when I'm on TWR with 2 a/c on the ground. But understand that most sector splits are really complicated -  and it's much easier for you to press a key and actually help the pilot.

Are we still discussing this?  Okay.  So my statement that you chose to quote, which is fine, was part of a larger earlier discussion.  Essentially you became the fork in a spoon and knife discussion.  That's fine though.  Look, I understand what everyone is saying.  I send plenty of .contactme's.  Actually, I don't even routinely send the default .contactme's because I personally believe the wording of them is rude and intrusive.  I generally send a much kinder personal message.  I certainly do this if I just come online and have aircraft in my airspace.  Now, if I've been online for some time, and I have aircraft drift into my airspace without contact, I have a bit more of an issue with it as the there are plenty of resources out there to know that I'm online.  This especially goes for departures.  I cannot tell you the amount of times I've been online for sometime, had an aircraft spawn up at one of my controlled fields, and then just start taxiing and taking off without contact.  I mean c'mon, really?!?  So maybe we can forgive a bit of the not knowing airspace boundaries for those airborne.  In the US, the ARTCC and Tower levels are very obvious on the charts.  The TRACON level is not necessarily on there, but the 40-50nm generalization is a pretty good rule of thumb.  So, bringing it full circle.  Yes, I got in a bit of a heated discussion with another user, which you chose to use a quote from.  That's fine.  In the end, I'm happy to do my part within reason, but the pilots have to do their part too.  I'm more than willing to help, and I have the feedback to show that.  I'm not into hand holding the obvious though.  That's the balance.

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2 minutes ago, Nick Warren said:

Are we still discussing this?  Okay.  So my statement that you chose to quote, which is fine, was part of a larger earlier discussion.  Essentially you became the fork in a spoon and knife discussion.  That's fine though.  Look, I understand what everyone is saying.  I send plenty of .contactme's.  Actually, I don't even routinely send the default .contactme's because I personally believe the wording of them is rude and intrusive.  I generally send a much kinder personal message.  I certainly do this if I just come online and have aircraft in my airspace.  Now, if I've been online for some time, and I have aircraft drift into my airspace without contact, I have a bit more of an issue with it as the there are plenty of resources out there to know that I'm online.  This especially goes for departures.  I cannot tell you the amount of times I've been online for sometime, had an aircraft spawn up at one of my controlled fields, and then just start taxiing and taking off without contact.  I mean c'mon, really?!?  So maybe we can forgive a bit of the not knowing airspace boundaries for those airborne.  In the US, the ARTCC and Tower levels are very obvious on the charts.  The TRACON level is not necessarily on there, but the 40-50nm generalization is a pretty good rule of thumb.  So, bringing it full circle.  Yes, I got in a bit of a heated discussion with another user, which you chose to use a quote from.  That's fine.  In the end, I'm happy to do my part within reason, but the pilots have to do their part too.  I'm more than willing to help, and I have the feedback to show that.  I'm not into hand holding the obvious though.  That's the balance.

I think this says it all:

On 3/13/2020 at 10:09 PM, Gunnar Lindahl said:

Hi all

 

Actually, "it's the pilot's responsibility" doesn't work everywhere. I fly in Europe all the time, use charts and consider myself an experienced VATSIM pilot - to be clear, it is completely impossible for me to know how most FIRs are sectorised even with charts so knowing who to call is impossible.

 

So let's compromise and say it's everyone's responsibility to speak to the relevant people and move on.

If the current VATSIM President can't be expected to know all airspace boundaries - why would you expect that of pilots? Yes, for things like spawning on an airport and taking off, it's obvious they should've contacted you, but still, .contactme and move on. If they don't listen, .wallop. It's more productive than expecting pilots to have the level of experience of actual, real world pilots, and complaining when they don't.

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14 hours ago, Andreas Fuchs said:

It's similar on smaller CTR-sectors....according to your suggestion we should stop providing ATC services altogether to save those poor pilots from our crap performance...

No, I suggest that when it is too busy you should log on to a smaller sector that doesn't span 1000 NM with 60+ aircraft in it because that is utterly ridiculous and no fun for anybody. Definitely not me as a pilot! As I say: you cannot seriously be telling me that it is possible to properly scan and manage 60 aircraft on frequency. Can you?

Why not log on to one of the smaller Maastricht sectors instead and have 10-20 aircraft on frequency passing through who you can speak to and actually monitor properly?

If it is too busy, reduce the size of your airspace so it is less busy and you can actually provide some sort of service. Perhaps there should be more EUR sector splits as is the case on the domestic sectors -- instead of three controllers covering the entirety of Europe why not have those three controllers covering say EURM with splits and everybody can have a more enjoyable time?

Bigger is not always better.

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The only issue is that we do not have smaller sectors that we can just open on the go without being an official visiting controller in these VACCs.

In theory 30, 40 or even 60 pilots are manageable if

a) everyone used voice - at least voice-receive only would be nice!
b) almost everyone stuck to the simplest radio communication protocols, such as waiting for the recipient of a radio call make his readback before pushing their own PTT.

The percentage of missed, unnecessary or improper radio calls is quite high. People reporting their life-stories when making their initial calls: "Heeeeeeelloooooo Maastricht, this is the Blablabla Airways flight 1234, squawk 5443, Flightlevel 350, 50 miles east of waypoint ABCDE, Mach decimal 78.", instead of just making a correct call like "Hello Maastricht, BlablaBla Airways 1234, Flightlevel 350 inbound ABCDE". This kind of stuff kills the sector, because every second is precious.

 

Sector splits: actually we have been in discussions about this topic for the last week, or so, but we cannot find common ground.

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I've been in situations where there may be a list of so many controllers online that it becomes pure guesswork for the pilot to to start punching frequencies hoping to hit the correct one first try.

Being alone in a flight deck of an airplane normally needing two pilots to do the job has its challenges without throwing in the requirement of having to contact ATC no matter what. I think compromising is the solution. If I'm on autopilot and can do, I will initiate the contact but if I'm in a situation where I need four hands to manage things, maybe the controller can call me up and give me a little slack as to my replying to him immediately. If I remember correctly "communicate" comes after "aviate", and "navigate".

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