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Should Ground and Tower positions Track aircraft for Handoff


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In order to F4 handoff aircraft to adjacent controllers I find it easier to [Mod - Happy Thoughts]ume and then handff the item. Some of my colleauges are averse to this preference because _real_ tower controllers do not have radar's.

 

What do you think? Am I crazy to try to use the software to it's best efficiency or simply misguided.!

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Some towers do have radar. Boston Tower is an example. I don't believe they track IFR departures or arrivals, though. I do know that they sometimes radar identify and track VFR aircraft which will be transiting the tower airspace, which in the case of Boston is surface to 2000 feet with an 8 mile radius.

 

In most cases, you would not track aircraft as TWR, since the actual radar controller (APP or DEP) will be the one to radar identify and track the aircraft. It doesn't make much sense for TWR to go through the steps of radar identifying a target that just lifted off when he's going to immediately send him to APP/DEP anyway.

Developer: vPilot, VRC, vSTARS, vERAM, VAT-Spy

Senior Controller, Boston Virtual ARTCC

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Hi Ross, I'm don't mean going through the full 'radar identified' procedure, I'm using the software [Mod - Happy Thoughts]ume and Handoff feature of the software to inform my colleagues when the aircraft has been told to contact them, and vice-versa. The problem I'm having is that some of my colleagues are actually refusing to accept the handoff because "tower doesn't have a radar"

 

Thank you Matthew, your opinion is very valuable to me.

 

Stephen

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I have seen quite a few Tower's track an aircraft. Usually when I am observing I see an aircraft with the 'T' icon, I often wondered at other vACC's views upon this. I have seen it quite frequently within UK and at some TWR's in the US. I suppose it gets the controllers used to tracking and dropping track of an aircraft for when they proceed to the DEP and APP position. But it's not very realistic (except for those Towers with Radar that Ross mentioned). I usually just inform my colleagues by pm that I have instructed an aircraft to contact them on their frequency. I suppose it depends on the policy of your vACC/FIR/ARTCC.

Regards,

 

Paul O'Donnell

SINvACC - INS/CTR+

www.sinvacc.net

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Hi Ross, I'm don't mean going through the full 'radar identified' procedure, I'm using the software [Mod - Happy Thoughts]ume and Handoff feature of the software to inform my colleagues when the aircraft has been told to contact them, and vice-versa. The problem I'm having is that some of my colleagues are actually refusing to accept the handoff because "tower doesn't have a radar"

 

I understand ... just giving you my opinion. You asked if you're crazy to use the handoff feature as tower. I don't think you're crazy, but I do think it's unrealistic, so I would support your colleagues and suggest that you not track aircraft and hand them off to departure.

 

From a departure controller's point of view, having to accept the handoff from tower is an extra step that is both unnecessary and in most cases unrealistic.

Developer: vPilot, VRC, vSTARS, vERAM, VAT-Spy

Senior Controller, Boston Virtual ARTCC

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In order to F4 handoff aircraft to adjacent controllers I find it easier to [Mod - Happy Thoughts]ume and then handff the item. Some of my colleauges are averse to this preference because _real_ tower controllers do not have radar's.

 

What do you think? Am I crazy to try to use the software to it's best efficiency or simply misguided.!

 

Stephen I find this operation very unrealistic and I don't use it for that very reason. I do at times use the pointout feature but I'll never handoff and aircraft to tower, and I don't agree that by not doing so you're not using VRC to it's full efficiency. At the end of the day, we're here to simulate realistic procedures, so I don't really see a problem with tower not using the handoff feature...

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I think the best method to use here is to use the pointout feature at your own discretion. If a controler on CTR has the time, by all means point out the aircraft, but that said, ONLY if they have the time. Don't expect it as a tower controller. As tower however, it's no harm by the same token to use pointout to inform CTR or APP postons of departing aircraft, something I do myself reguarly.

 

Just my two cents (euro-cents of course )

Stephen Donnelly CTR+

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Maybe I am misguided? Can somebody provide me with details on real world procedures with regards to how pilots become transferred from ATC to ATC for Delivery, Ground, Tower and Departure/Approach Positions please.

 

I have no real world aviation experience.

 

Best regards

Stephen

 

I'm not quite sure what you're asking, Stephen. I think you are asking how controllers know aircraft have been transferred to another controllers frequency/sector inside the tower all the way up to approach...?

 

Most facilities in the US use flight progress strips (which contain vital information about each aircraft) that are printed inside the facility and are p[Mod - Happy Thoughts]ed from one controller to another or in some cases, a combination of flight progress strips and DSP (Departure Spacing Program), which is an interface that allows controllers to "swipe" flight progress strips into a computer via barcode. From the tours I've been on, these strips print out automatically about 30 minutes prior to an aircrafts' proposed departure time (in the tower) and when the aircraft is cleared for takeoff and the local controller "swipes" that strip, the flight strip is electronically transmitted to the TRACON.

 

Jason

"HN"

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Maybe I am misguided? Can somebody provide me with details on real world procedures with regards to how pilots become transferred from ATC to ATC for Delivery, Ground, Tower and Departure/Approach Positions please.

 

I have no real world aviation experience.

 

Best regards

Stephen

 

I'm not quite sure what you're asking, Stephen. I think you are asking how controllers know aircraft have been transferred to another controllers frequency/sector inside the tower all the way up to approach...?

 

Most facilities in the US use flight progress strips (which contain vital information about each aircraft) that are printed inside the facility and are p[Mod - Happy Thoughts]ed from one controller to another or in some cases, a combination of flight progress strips and DSP (Departure Spacing Program), which is an interface that allows controllers to "swipe" flight progress strips into a computer via barcode. From the tours I've been on, these strips print out automatically about 30 minutes prior to an aircrafts' proposed departure time (in the tower) and when the aircraft is cleared for takeoff and the local controller "swipes" that strip, the flight strip is electronically transmitted to the TRACON.

 

Jason

 

 

Jason this information and photographs are great, Thank you very much. The bottom line for me is that, some form of procedureal communication exists between all ATC positions which verifies to the sender and the reciever that the message has been recieved.

Best regards

Stephen

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Maybe I am misguided? Can somebody provide me with details on real world procedures with regards to how pilots become transferred from ATC to ATC for Delivery, Ground, Tower and Departure/Approach Positions please.

 

I have no real world aviation experience.

 

Best regards

Stephen

 

I'm not quite sure what you're asking, Stephen. I think you are asking how controllers know aircraft have been transferred to another controllers frequency/sector inside the tower all the way up to approach...?

 

Most facilities in the US use flight progress strips (which contain vital information about each aircraft) that are printed inside the facility and are p[Mod - Happy Thoughts]ed from one controller to another or in some cases, a combination of flight progress strips and DSP (Departure Spacing Program), which is an interface that allows controllers to "swipe" flight progress strips into a computer via barcode. From the tours I've been on, these strips print out automatically about 30 minutes prior to an aircrafts' proposed departure time (in the tower) and when the aircraft is cleared for takeoff and the local controller "swipes" that strip, the flight strip is electronically transmitted to the TRACON.

 

Jason

 

I absolutely agree with you Jason. The data is there, and is available to all the 'related' ATC positions. Handoffs aren't there so that you have to point out the aircraft to the controller. The aircraft will call him when neccessary. Handoffs are used on radar positions(which most towers as Ross pointed out aren't. In Ireland no tower has radar.), to ease the workload of the controller, by allowing him to see what aircraft he is in control of. VATSIM has high standards and even people that are new to it learn quickly, thanks to all the great training that is available. If we are going to spoonfeed each controller, than what's the point of all that training.

 

Regards

 

Alex Stjepanovic

VATeir TD Mentor

Controllers have feelings too...

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Maybe I am misguided? Can somebody provide me with details on real world procedures with regards to how pilots become transferred from ATC to ATC for Delivery, Ground, Tower and Departure/Approach Positions please.

 

I have no real world aviation experience.

 

Best regards

Stephen

 

I'm not quite sure what you're asking, Stephen. I think you are asking how controllers know aircraft have been transferred to another controllers frequency/sector inside the tower all the way up to approach...?

 

Most facilities in the US use flight progress strips (which contain vital information about each aircraft) that are printed inside the facility and are p[Mod - Happy Thoughts]ed from one controller to another or in some cases, a combination of flight progress strips and DSP (Departure Spacing Program), which is an interface that allows controllers to "swipe" flight progress strips into a computer via barcode. From the tours I've been on, these strips print out automatically about 30 minutes prior to an aircrafts' proposed departure time (in the tower) and when the aircraft is cleared for takeoff and the local controller "swipes" that strip, the flight strip is electronically transmitted to the TRACON.

 

Jason

 

I absolutely agree with you Jason. The data is there, and is available to all the 'related' ATC positions. Handoffs aren't there so that you have to point out the aircraft to the controller. The aircraft will call him when neccessary. Handoffs are used on radar positions(which most towers as Ross pointed out aren't. In Ireland no tower has radar.), to ease the workload of the controller, by allowing him to see what aircraft he is in control of. VATSIM has high standards and even people that are new to it learn quickly, thanks to all the great training that is available. If we are going to spoonfeed each controller, than what's the point of all that training.

 

Regards

 

Alex Stjepanovic

VATeir TD Mentor

 

Hi Alex, I don't believe Jason was giving an opinion that you could agree on, merely indicating to us how the procedures work in the real world. [Mod - Happy Thoughts]uming track of an aircraft as is done in VRC is a feature which indicates to all controllers, the [Mod - Happy Thoughts]umption of responsibility for a target by a controller. It is a software parallel to the real world where only one controller position can be responsible for a target for safety reasons. Contrary to the real world, in Vatsim, Every controller has radar.

 

My reasons for preferring the tracking of targets as a tower controller are really quite simple and all based on the primary rules of communication.

For effective communication to exist there must be a few things in place. Namely,

A. a speaker, B. a listener, C. a common language, D.the message, and E.Verification of understanding, underscoring the old adage. "The meaning of a communication is the response that you receive."

 

Putting all this in the perspective of ATC, there is a communication that needs to happen every time a target p[Mod - Happy Thoughts]es from one controller's responsibility to another's.

We have, A. a speaker (the releasing controller), B. a listener (the receiving controller), C. the message (I am giving responsibility for target X to you), D. a common language (the topic of this discussion, the means used to p[Mod - Happy Thoughts] the message), and E. Verification of understanding (the response from the receiving controller). In the real world the methods used for transmission of the message vary from p[Mod - Happy Thoughts]ing a piece of paper, to an electronic transfer. The simple piece of paper is probably the most effective visual indication of the rules of communication in that the receiving party _takes_ the piece of paper and the sending party no longer possesses it.

Putting this in the perspective of VRC, the communication required is the exact same however there is only one method the software currently has that easily lends itself to the simple effective communication of this message. The message is the same and both controllers must agree that the target is to be transferred from one controller's responsibility to the others. In VRC, only one controller can track a target. When a controller hands control to another controller, a communication needs to happen. The releasing controller needs to indicate to the receiving controller the he is releasing his responsibility for the target. 2. The receiving controller needs to indicate to the releasing controller that he has heard this message and is accepting the target into his area of responsibility.

I believe that the transfer of a target to another controller using the "handoff" feature provides a very effective method of transfer, using of all the above rules of communication, and with the minimum of work required over any other that have been presented to me.

 

I believe we are all part of a team collaborating to provide smooth traffic flow in an on-line environment to maximise the enjoyment of all involved. Sometimes I fear the word "enjoyment" gets forgotten. Training of inexperienced controllers and pilots is an integral and very important part of this teamwork, so that they can achieve their best level of enjoyment. The main principle of training is to educate and as any good trainer knows, there is no such thing as a silly question. A professional trainer would never dismiss any question from a student or refer to it as 'spoon feeding' as this is an extremely negative and unproductive response, if a student is unclear on any aspect of the training received he should feel totally comfortable asking questions it is vital to remember that training is a two way process and the trainer stands to learn as much from his students as they do from him. A trainer who dismisses his students questions (however obvious they may appear to him) needs to re-examine his training style and perhaps he is the one who actually needs this so-called spoon feeding! To that end I see your post as being offensive to junior controllers and pilots and contrary to the spirit of the Vatsim organisation.

 

Best Regards

Stephen (S1)

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Personally, I have always been strongly against the use of any radar function by most towers, again mostly for the realism considerations already mentioned.

 

I worked in a real ATC tower for 5 years, and although it was a "limited radar" facility which had the ability to radar identify targets and to make and receive handoffs, it was generally not our job to do this, and a tower controller's job doesn't need to use it: here's why...

 

Except in situations where advance permission is required to launch an aircraft (for example in situations where approach has not permitted tower to automatically depart IFR flights), TWR simply launches the plane, and sends them to departure. DEP never sits back and asks "I wonder if TWR -meant- to send him to me right now or not?" There is almost no discretion as to whether or not the aircraft gets shipped. The rule in the USA was that all departures were shipped to DEP by TWR within seconds of becoming airborne (TWR has a responsibility to visually look at the flight and ensure that nothing obvious is wrong with the plane (oil pouring out the back, he's climbing OK, etc.) but after he looks at the aircraft, it's "contact departure". There isn't any need to add another step to the process, because having the plane go to DEP is a "no-brainer" - he's the only person who should be talking to him.

 

Another terrible procedure that some facilities have started to use is the practice of asking aircraft to turn on their transponder just as they start to taxi. Not sure about other countries, but in the USA this is a BIG no-no!!! In real life, there are all sorts of things that this can mess up in the ATC system:

 

Many of the flight plan handling systems make calculations of an aircrafts position and ETA based on when he departs. The computer systems determine the flight has "departed" when they first see the transponder, and subsequently turning it on while on the ground will mess up all sorts of thigns like DSP windows, EDCT slots, and will cause the "progress times" for enroute strips to be printed off incorrectly, which causes more work for d-side controllers in the enroute environment.

 

Additionally, a departure controller will see a tag appear and [Mod - Happy Thoughts]ume an aircraft has just become airborne, and start to panic when appropriate IFR separation would require that there is no plane there.

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Another terrible procedure that some facilities have started to use is the practice of asking aircraft to turn on their transponder just as they start to taxi. Not sure about other countries, but in the USA this is a BIG no-no!!! In real life, there are all sorts of things that this can mess up in the ATC system:

 

Many of the flight plan handling systems make calculations of an aircrafts position and ETA based on when he departs. The computer systems determine the flight has "departed" when they first see the transponder, and subsequently turning it on while on the ground will mess up all sorts of thigns like DSP windows, EDCT slots, and will cause the "progress times" for enroute strips to be printed off incorrectly, which causes more work for d-side controllers in the enroute environment.

 

Additionally, a departure controller will see a tag appear and [Mod - Happy Thoughts]ume an aircraft has just become airborne, and start to panic when appropriate IFR separation would require that there is no plane there.

 

Not when these facilities request the transponder to be on because they use ASDE, ASDE-X, or AM[Mod - Happy Thoughts] which is used for identification and management of traffic on taxiways, runways, and other movement areas.

 

Most of the [Mod - Happy Thoughts]ociated TRACONs for those facilities have special hard altitude strata filters that filter out the aircraft on the ground squawking mode C, but display airborne traffic. Also, most of those facilities also use DSP so the local controller will swipe the strip as an aircraft received takeoff clearance which pops it into the correct place.

 

I haven't heard many rants from those controllers about messed up DSP windows, EDCT slots, or progress times, so maybe it was an issue that was resolved a while back.

"HN"

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Hi

 

As a twr controller here in the uK I have never tracked an aircraft to then handoff to an adjacent controller or EGFF app if there are on. If for instance TT_W or TT_S are on I will notify them by PM to expect Traffic ABCxxxx, But I would not track said traffic. There is no point.

 

Even when VFR Traffic can legitamately contact me at 40nm to run I do not track them, there is no point. On the other hadn if I am p[Mod - Happy Thoughts]ed traffic from TT_W or TT_S they will have been tracking but I wouldnt pick up tracking at 4dme to land them.

 

Why have the extra workload. I have though used tracking just to practice the process of F4.

 

but only for a short while.

 

Nuff Said

Wycliffe Barrett: C3 Controller

atc5o.png

"if god meant for us to fly, he would have given us tickets" Mel Brooks

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Personally, I have always been strongly against the use of any radar function by most towers, again mostly for the realism considerations already mentioned.

 

I worked in a real ATC tower for 5 years, and although it was a "limited radar" facility which had the ability to radar identify targets and to make and receive handoffs, it was generally not our job to do this, and a tower controller's job doesn't need to use it: here's why...

 

Except in situations where advance permission is required to launch an aircraft (for example in situations where approach has not permitted tower to automatically depart IFR flights), TWR simply launches the plane, and sends them to departure. DEP never sits back and asks "I wonder if TWR -meant- to send him to me right now or not?" There is almost no discretion as to whether or not the aircraft gets shipped. The rule in the USA was that all departures were shipped to DEP by TWR within seconds of becoming airborne (TWR has a responsibility to visually look at the flight and ensure that nothing obvious is wrong with the plane (oil pouring out the back, he's climbing OK, etc.) but after he looks at the aircraft, it's "contact departure". There isn't any need to add another step to the process, because having the plane go to DEP is a "no-brainer" - he's the only person who should be talking to him.

 

Another terrible procedure that some facilities have started to use is the practice of asking aircraft to turn on their transponder just as they start to taxi. Not sure about other countries, but in the USA this is a BIG no-no!!! In real life, there are all sorts of things that this can mess up in the ATC system:

 

Many of the flight plan handling systems make calculations of an aircrafts position and ETA based on when he departs. The computer systems determine the flight has "departed" when they first see the transponder, and subsequently turning it on while on the ground will mess up all sorts of thigns like DSP windows, EDCT slots, and will cause the "progress times" for enroute strips to be printed off incorrectly, which causes more work for d-side controllers in the enroute environment.

 

Additionally, a departure controller will see a tag appear and [Mod - Happy Thoughts]ume an aircraft has just become airborne, and start to panic when appropriate IFR separation would require that there is no plane there.

 

Thanks for the information Jeff. However you have raised a question for me. In Jason's post earlier in the thread...

....and when the aircraft is cleared for takeoff and the local controller "swipes" that strip, the flight strip is electronically transmitted to the TRACON.

 

Jason

He refers to the communication of the departure to DEP. I understand there may be no need to tell DEP the aircraft is airbourne as it's a "no brainer", but can you tell me if this communication does or does not exist in real life and in how many cases is there no communication of any kind from TWR to DEP at the handoff time. Also from APP to TWR please. In short, how is DEP informed the target has been "shipped" (from TWR), and how is TWR informed the aircraft has been "shipped" (from APP)

 

Best Regards

Stephen

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In the UK realworld, it depends on local procedures. Many of the airports under the London TMA are "free-flow", which means TWR can launch them without contacting the en-route controller (this is frequently LON_CTR, not a DEP or APP). The restrictions of the SID will hopefully stop the aircraft crashing into anything else before the pilot contacts CTR. In this case, CTR knows the aircraft has been shipped, because the flight strip will be given to him, or will appear on his screen.

 

If the SID has implications for other aircraft e.g. climbing out of EGLC under the EGLL arrivals, TWR will call CTR and verbally request a release. There are SOPs for all SIDs. This is CTRs opportunity to put on any restrictions like an altitude, heading or delay.

 

TWR: London, City Tower

CTR: City tower, go ahead

TWR: BAW123 from EGLC BPK3T departurre, request release

CTR: BAW123 released

or

CTR: BAW123 heading after departure 090 deg, released

 

As there is no radaar handoff, what LON_CTR does have to do is to request each new aircraft to Squawk Ident to correlate the squawkcode and the callsign. This causes VATSIM pilots no end of problems, as many of them have never heard the term before.

 

Doing a radar handoff on VATSIM is actually the lazy way of identifying an aircraft, but I must admit, if CTR is covering a lot of airports, especially top-down, things that make life easier are welcome! For realism I would prefer NO radar handoff, if only the pilots would Squawk Ident!

 

Ruth

Ruth McTighe

Heathrow Director, Essex Radar, Thames Radar, London Information

[Mod - Happy Thoughts]t webmistress CIX VFR Club http://www.cixvfrclub.org.uk/

Webmistress Plan-G http://www.tasoftware.co.uk/

Now not a VATanything

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Hi

 

As a twr controller here in the uK I have never tracked an aircraft to then handoff to an adjacent controller or EGFF app if there are on. If for instance TT_W or TT_S are on I will notify them by PM to expect Traffic ABCxxxx, But I would not track said traffic. There is no point.

 

 

Nuff Said

 

This is a nightmare Whycliffe when you are covering TT south and, a handoff is easier to accept rather than a PM which you then have to open and read, as well as deal with the aircraft who calls, "with you" and that is it, then you have to ask for the callsign and position and so on. So a handover of a track can save all this trouble.

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can you tell me if this communication does or does not exist in real life and in how many cases is there no communication of any kind from TWR to DEP at the handoff time. Also from APP to TWR please. In short, how is DEP informed the target has been "shipped" (from TWR), and how is TWR informed the aircraft has been "shipped" (from APP)

 

It doesn't happen.

 

As Ruth pointed out, there are times when an authorisation may need to be granted in advance of launching a plane, but actually calling up approach and saying "I've just told him to call you" is not done, and not needed. Approach will find out when the plane calls him.

 

I don't really understand why you think that this needs to be done over a landline, and perhaps you could explain what part you're not getting so we can help give you a better explanation of why the system is the way it is. I can't imagine a situation where ATC would even WANT a call from another controller simply to say "I just told AAL123 to call you". He's going to find out when the plane calls - and if the controller calls, he's probably going to be doing it at the same time as the plane, which would be a pain anyway.

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Dave

 

If I'm not tracking the aircraft I would just p[Mod - Happy Thoughts] him onto you, I just send the PM to be polite but if that causes problems I'll just push the flt strip and hand them off to you in the normal fashion.

Wycliffe Barrett: C3 Controller

atc5o.png

"if god meant for us to fly, he would have given us tickets" Mel Brooks

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