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Center controllers ignoring me flying through their airspace


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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.

Worth noting that a lot of vAccs have their sectors published on their websites, so you could always check what freq to contact there, or pm one of the controllers before you depart

Cheers

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Hi there, my 2 cents,
- Keep it simple, in real life, when flying under controlled airspace very easy, you will get the frequency from the ATC.
- When it comes to uncontrolled airspace and later on, approaching controlled airspace, do really we wait someone to hit or push or knock our plane ? Does not work like that, when you have a licence you are always afraid of having an incident or revoke or whatever, this lead you always prepare your frequencies knowing that you will enter a controlled airspace, i do understand that here it is not the same because some of pilots are new around...etc, but at least check VATTASTIC..,etc, Check the controller list and info, and ATIS...etc, there are plenty of ways to know where are you heading.
Sometimes when i am staffed as a controller, i kindly ask some pilots to switch over unicom, but why should I ? Basically the pilot flying through my airsapce for over 1h (3~4 Contact me sent without response) and after beginning the descent and the approach phase, the pilot wakes up and come to contact me. I know i have the right to call a supervisor, but as a lesson, i ask him to switch to unicom, and in the future to monitor his flight, and there after he says i am very sorry...etc.
 

Ismail El Moussati
Northern Africa Division Founder l VATSIM Network Supervisor
Royal Air Maroc Virtual CEO
Virtual AirTraffic Simulation Network

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17 minutes ago, Ismail El Moussati said:

this lead you always prepare your frequencies knowing that you will enter a controlled airspace, i do understand that here it is not the same because some of pilots are new around...etc, but at least check VATTASTIC..,etc, Check the controller list and info, and ATIS...etc, there are plenty of ways to know where are you heading.

But this is the issue: in the real world you can determine what airspace you are in and you can call up published frequencies, because there will always be somebody. Here in VATSIM we do not have this: lots of outdate airspace data, how do we know if they are active, what area and vertical extension they are controlling?

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1 minute ago, Andreas Fuchs said:

But this is the issue: in the real world you can determine what airspace you are in and you can call up published frequencies, because there will always be somebody. Here in VATSIM we do not have this: lots of outdate airspace data, how do we know if they are active, what area and vertical extension they are controlling?

Read my 2nd paragraph, ....but at least check ... 🙂
Yours,

Ismail El Moussati
Northern Africa Division Founder l VATSIM Network Supervisor
Royal Air Maroc Virtual CEO
Virtual AirTraffic Simulation Network

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3 hours ago, Ismail El Moussati said:

Read my 2nd paragraph, ....but at least check ...

Your 2nd paragraph says:

3 hours ago, Ismail El Moussati said:

Sometimes when i am staffed as a controller, i kindly ask some pilots to switch over unicom, but why should I ? Basically the pilot flying through my airsapce for over 1h (3~4 Contact me sent without response) and after beginning the descent and the approach phase, the pilot wakes up and come to contact me. I know i have the right to call a supervisor, but as a lesson, i ask him to switch to unicom, and in the future to monitor his flight, and there after he says i am very sorry...etc.
 

If a pilot is not paying attention or is not at his computer at all (most probable cause), then a SUP should help you.

It still does not make your statement more correct, that pilots have to know what controller they are supposed to call, because in quite a few places in the world it is very complex or even impossible to find out whose airspace you are in. It's not all Morocco with just one possibility of CTR, APP and TWR controllers. The President of VATSIM even pointed out that this hardly possible and that flexibility from both sides of the game is needed: pilots & ATC. ATCs ignoring pilots, because they feel posh about their airspace is a big no-no, just like pilots who just leave your frequency when they think they have left your sector according to their outdated online status app.

As Supervisor I expect you to not act this way (boot pilots off to UNICOM), but either take action on them earlier or provide them with proper service when they return to their cockpits and call you up.

Edited by Andreas Fuchs
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4 hours ago, Johnny Coughlan said:

How did this thread get to 3 pages from an original post that provided no proof but ‘their word’ that what happened....happened?.

just wondering. 

 

Because while the original complaint may have been unfounded, this seems to be a question that lots of people have been wondering about.

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On 3/6/2020 at 3:36 PM, Trevor Hannant said:

Hi Bob.

 

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

Hello sorry for the long time replying when I first posted the topic.

I would rather not call out the centers specifically. It has happened in Europe and America. One time I was flying through a center that had an event on, I can understand if they are busy but I am still in their air space and they sent me right back to unicom when I attempted contact. The time in Europe I was passed from one center to unicom even though the next sector I was flying through was online and still stayed online for an hour after I was out of their airspace. It was confusing to me, why bother being online if I have to decide "should I contact them? Should I wait? Should I not bother them? Or do I feel bad for adding to their work load if they are busy?" That is why I wrote this topic. It seems some times the places I fly through do things so differently I was not sure why. Thanks. Bob

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On 4/24/2020 at 2:34 AM, Johnny Coughlan said:

How did this thread get to 3 pages from an original post that provided no proof but ‘their word’ that what happened....happened?.

just wondering. 

 

Why would I provide proof since I am being sure to not call out and name the offending sectors or controllers I want to know if this is something normal and to expect or if it is not right and the controllers are in the wrong? If this is not right for them to do should I make a note of it and bring it to the attention of a supervisor? That is what I am asking. Whether you believe me or not is not my concern.

Edited by Robert Lee
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16 hours ago, Robert Lee said:

Hello sorry for the long time replying when I first posted the topic.

I would rather not call out the centers specifically. It has happened in Europe and America. One time I was flying through a center that had an event on, I can understand if they are busy but I am still in their air space and they sent me right back to unicom when I attempted contact. The time in Europe I was passed from one center to unicom even though the next sector I was flying through was online and still stayed online for an hour after I was out of their airspace. It was confusing to me, why bother being online if I have to decide "should I contact them? Should I wait? Should I not bother them? Or do I feel bad for adding to their work load if they are busy?" That is why I wrote this topic. It seems some times the places I fly through do things so differently I was not sure why. Thanks. Bob

Where did you see that sector online?   Was it VATSpy?   Is your VATSpy data up to date?  

The problem that VATSpy has is that it doesn't always reflect the actual sector splits correctly (depending on your data set).  Regions/Divisions will sometimes change the sectors to suit better their needs from time to time and that isn't always reflected.   Also, the drawing of the sectors can sometimes be inaccurate.  

If we take the UK for example - some work has been done to show some of the newly available low level sectors on VATSpy correctly.  However, there remains an issue with the upper sectors because of the sector names and how VATSpy handles the underscores in them (or not!).  As such, you could be coming from Belgium/Holland/NE France to the UK, see that there's a controller on but in fact, they're only covering the Western side of the country (LON_W_CTR - the area in green HERE).  As someone who controls in that sector, it's quite the norm to get someone calling up near XAMAN in the yellow sector because VATSpy shows the entire London FIR as being online.

Similarly, some low level sectors were, earlier this year, made available to be opened without upper level cover - so different LTC_*, MAN_CTR and STC_CTR sectors can open and cover up to no higher than FL245 (depending on the sector).  Again, depending on the VATSpy dataset you're using, these used to show as covering a wider "full" area which would give the impression that you're flying through the sector when in fact you're flying over it.

Moving into mainland Europe and the German sectors have always confused the hell out of me with VATSpy!   Andreas is your man to explain these (to me also! 😛 ) but what you see on VATSpy doesn't necessarily marry up with what's actually happening.

This is why I asked which sectors you were talking about so that, rather than this long winded "well it could be this, it could be that..." post, someone who controls in that Division can tell you exactly what the setup is and perhaps explain why you didn't speak to a controller.   In the end it could be that they were simply too busy to handle something overflying against low level traffic - but without the where and when (even just the where), no-one will be able to explain what or why it happened...

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Trevor Hannant

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3 hours ago, Trevor Hannant said:

The problem that VATSpy has is that it doesn't always reflect the actual sector splits correctly (depending on your data set).  Regions/Divisions will sometimes change the sectors to suit better their needs from time to time and that isn't always reflected.   Also, the drawing of the sectors can sometimes be inaccurate.  

I can attest to this. Baltic Control is an excellent example of this. I cannot count the amount of times pilots have been surprised to see a contact request from Baltic Control after they pushed back without clearance at Vilnius. Baltic control doesn't appear at all on older vat-spy files and even on the newer ones it is still annoyingly wrong as it is published as "above flight level 245."
Vat-spy and/or charts can't be a "be all end all" expectation of pilots because some frequencies on the vatsim are fictional. Just look at the EURX sectors.

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I just finished a major overhaul of the airspace/sector data for Qutescoop, see this thread:

Stations like LON_W_CTR are shown correctly now. BALT_CTR and all the EURx_CTR/FSS are represented correctly, too. Give it a shot!

QT_01.thumb.jpg.401501419282178344740a52

Edited by Andreas Fuchs
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https://github.com/vatsimnetwork/vatspy-data-project

 

Official vatspy data updates..

 

On 6/30/2020 at 6:46 AM, Trevor Hannant said:

VATSpy handles the underscores in them (or not!).

Vatspy identifies a position up to the first Underscore which is why in Australia we make our enroute sectors as ML-WOL_CTR, if we did them the same way you guys ML_WOL_CTR vatspy would only recognise the ML_.

That is the solution to resolving the problem.

Kirk Christie - VATPAC C3

VATPAC Undercover ATC Agent

Worldflight Perth 737-800 Crew Member

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Luckily Qutescoop can handle these station-suffixes with an underscore, but on the other hand it cannot differentiate between the type of station (CTR or FSS) 😄
I hope someone will be able to get this improved at some point.

 

That's what QT knows about Australia right now - I have displayed all inactive sectors for this screenshot, the reddish shaded areas are active sectors at this time.

QTAUS.thumb.jpg.c09ebbad0a0f9a8f0c41f7d780a317a3.jpg

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12 hours ago, Kirk Christie said:

Vatspy identifies a position up to the first Underscore which is why in Australia we make our enroute sectors as ML-WOL_CTR, if we did them the same way you guys ML_WOL_CTR vatspy would only recognise the ML_.

That is the solution to resolving the problem.

Yeah, we've had that discussion in the UK but things won't change there...

Trevor Hannant

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  • 1 month later...
On 3/15/2020 at 9:31 AM, Gunnar Lindahl said:

 

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.

No, it is not perfect.

I'm controlling CTR sectors that recently saw 60+ movements per hour, which is a number that RL controllers see for a much smaller part of the airspace, with aircraft staying in there for much less time and working as a team of two in an airspace that is not GND-UNL (not controlling top down all the airports in that airspace). I've constantly had 20-25 aircraft (more than RL controllers have in those sectors in RL) in a sector of 210 by 150 NM, half of them being in a subsector of 60 by 70 NM. Many of those aircraft are vertical movements, climbing or descending through this sector (we have EDDF, LOWI, LSZH around - some of the busy stuff, plus EDDM in our own sector).

I don't want anyone to call on their own, except if they are 150% sure they will enter my airspace (flying the airspace more often). On those busy days I don't have the time to look for pilots calling in on their own, just to tell them that they should be on unicom. In those situations I even ignore some pilots I really don't need to talk to, just to prevent me from drowning.

I know the airspace I'm controlling. I see who's in that airspace. I know who I need to talk to. And I have a button to tell the pilots I need to talk to them.

No pilot, except for those crossing airspaces VFR or departing from an airport IFR, should call me on their own. More ofen than not I don't have the capacity to talk to anyone except the pilots in my sector. I have no idea how anyone can even think of the idea that calling in based on guesswork and outdated tools can be anything else than a really bad idea.

"DLH123, wrong frequency, please go back to previous". Together with the effort to find that flight this means 10-15 seconds less time on a frequency, that is busy almost 60 seconds of the 60 seconds available in one minute, with the rest being used to coordinate traffic with the neigbouring stations. I simply don't want this.

This regulation is not perfect at all, it is outdated. Made in times when we had the capacity to work with wrong calling pilots.

Pilots have to be aware of ATC being online and ready to call when contacted (except for cases stated above).

Edited by Oliver Gruetzmann
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The CoC was relatively recently rewritten and I can tell you that it is not outdated. The onus still falls on the pilot and I don't see that changing anytime soon. The ContactMe request is a fallback feature.

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12 hours ago, Nicholas Cavacini said:

The CoC was relatively recently rewritten and I can tell you that it is not outdated. The onus still falls on the pilot and I don't see that changing anytime soon. The ContactMe request is a fallback feature.

I just checked your stats. Not even a single session with high traffic within the last 2 years on Vatsim.

Sorry to say, but I don't think you have an understanding of what this regulation means once it gets busy.

And: Controlling purely APP positions will make this problem much less likely to occur.

Edited by Oliver Gruetzmann
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3 hours ago, Oliver Gruetzmann said:

I just checked your stats. Not even a single session with high traffic within the last 2 years on Vatsim.

Sorry to say, but I don't think you have an understanding of what this regulation means once it gets busy.

And: Controlling purely APP positions will make this problem much less likely to occur.

Regardless of your Ad hominem, my comments still stand, sorry I don't meet your criteria. Hopefully this post is not turning to personal attacks on posters.

 

7 hours ago, Andreas Fuchs said:

In North America.

The CoC applies to VATSIM (the entire globe), if you would like to see a change I would recommend this be brought up through the proper channels.

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Yep. Gents, lets try and stay on topic and not turn this into a place of personal conflicts or we'll have to lock the whole thread.

----------no more attacks beyond this line, thx 🙃----------- 

Edited by Nestor Perez
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2 hours ago, Nicholas Cavacini said:

Regardless of your Ad hominem, my comments still stand, sorry I don't meet your criteria. Hopefully this post is not turning to personal attacks on posters.

It's simply facts. Your experience with high traffic (on Varsim, don't know about your profession) is a long time ago, if there was any (didn't browse all of your stats). Your coverage the last two years was APP and below only. True or false? If true, why would you say that you know what impact this regulation has on a busy CTR sector (once again: On Vatsim)?

That's like I would tell people stuff about the Gander domestic airspace while I've been there only once, several years ago, during CTP.

Not sure what makes you think this will lead to personal attacks - not my intention and leading nowhere.

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Lets drop this conversation, please. "Legally", the responsibility lies on the pilots everywhere around the world -like it or not-, but if you're a controller it's just common sense trying to contact them and tell them "hey, I'm here, have you realized?" before saying "they're not contacting me". At the end of the day, if you call a supervisor because someone's not contacting you the first thing we will try to do is making sure the pilot's really not there, and if the pilot replies, guess who's lost their precious time? Exactly, the controller who has just been sitting there waiting for somethin magical to happen.

So just... use common sense; independently of which part of the world you control in, the amount of traffic you handle or the experience you may have. From my experience it's generally even better to just send a contact me, regardless of who the responsibility lies on.

As the original question has already been answered, I'm now locking this thread to prevent it from drifting any further.

Edited by Nestor Perez
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