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My thoughts on GCAP


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Hello everyone!

I will introduce myself first, I’m Kailen I’ve been with vatsim since April 2020, I’m an S2 right now who has been in and out of S3 training for months. As well as an avid pilot. 

Theres a couple issues I see with these policies. First off lets start with visiting, this policy if I read it right allows anyone in the division control a minor field inside of the sub-division (in the position that they are rated for) as soon as they get approved by the sub-division. This prevents the proper SOP, and competency checkouts from happening. Which allows people who might need remedial training at their home sub-division/division to provide controlling services that fails to maintain to the sub-division or division that they are visiting standards. 
 

Also another problem I see with the new visiting controller policy is the rating limit. I have been an S2 for months now, I visit two sub-divisions, one in VATUSA (home division) and one in VATCAN. With this policy I could lose my visitor status at one or both sub-divisions depending on what the new policy considers an S2 “long-tenured”. 
 

Another problem I see is similar to my first issue is with the transferring controller policy. It says that no sub-division may complete a competency check on a transferring controller from the division for minor and unrestricted aerodromes, which means if a controller who might not meet the new sub-divisions standard transfers in they are able to control whilst not maintaining the sub-divisions standard of training. 
 

As Event Staff I also see problems arising with the event endorsements. Lets say that all events including a major aerodrome require event endorsements for all people working 1. The ATCT for the major aerodrome 2. The terminal control for the major aerodrome and 3. Enroute. A smaller sub-division may struggle with giving out event endorsements and getting people to staff those events.

 

Finally one smaller problem I see is the new policy that allows S3 to control FSS. I might have done some misreading on that but my mind blew when it said that S3 could control FSS facilities. Which means that given the training would allow people with no enroute experience to control often large areas of land. In a sub-division where they struggle with training might mean the training might not meet standard and that risks not meeting vatsim standards.

Thank you for your time,

Kailen

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19 minutes ago, Kailen Holzhauer said:

As Event Staff I also see problems arising with the event endorsements. Lets say that all events including a major aerodrome require event endorsements for all people working 1. The ATCT for the major aerodrome 2. The terminal control for the major aerodrome and 3. Enroute. A smaller sub-division may struggle with giving out event endorsements and getting people to staff those events.

Event endorsements are not required to be put in place if I remember correctly as per outlined in 6.05(b)(i) and 6.05(b)(ii). A Division or Sub-Division isn't required to utilize this endorsement.

22 minutes ago, Kailen Holzhauer said:

Finally one smaller problem I see is the new policy that allows S3 to control FSS. I might have done some misreading on that but my mind blew when it said that S3 could control FSS facilities. Which means that given the training would allow people with no enroute experience to control often large areas of land. In a sub-division where they struggle with training might mean the training might not meet standard and that risks not meeting vatsim standards.

If you look on page 6 this is what Flight Service Stations cover:

A Flight Service Station (FSS) is an Air Traffic Service that provides information and services to aircraft before, during, and after flight but is not responsible for giving control instructions, clearances, or providing separation. This information can include weather, NOTAMs, active runways, and other pertinent aeronautical information.

Thus you technically won't be controlling "Enroute".

CHRISS KLOSOWSKI
Division Director, VATSIM Middle East & North Africa  
VATSIM Network Supervisor, Team 5
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18 minutes ago, Kailen Holzhauer said:

Also another problem I see with the new visiting controller policy is the rating limit. I have been an S2 for months now, I visit two sub-divisions, one in VATUSA (home division) and one in VATCAN. With this policy I could lose my visitor status at one or both sub-divisions depending on what the new policy considers an S2 “long-tenured”. 

Yeah, you could, and you might be the one in a hundred of the S2 controllers that visit and could be useful for a facility, but the problem is that right now, many facilities such as ZNY, ZLA, ZBW, ZDC and others receive dozens of S1 and S2 visiting requests per month, and 99% of those controller suck. In general, as an S2, you don't have a lot of experience controlling, and you're taking up training staff time that could be given to home controllers, and you could be spending time learning your own facility and your own basic controlling skills first. 

Most of the S2 visiting requests I get have their reason to visit stated as "want to expand my knowledge" - well, if you want to do that, learn your own facility first then come here. You're shooting yourself in the foot by learning multiple facilities at once, facilities that have different SOPs, regulations, and way things work. Your brain can only take up so much at a time, and focusing on one thing at a time will benefit everyone.

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Karl Mathias Moberg (KM) - C3/I1
https://nyartcc.org
ZNY Air Traffic Manager

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1 hour ago, Kailen Holzhauer said:

Finally one smaller problem I see is the new policy that allows S3 to control FSS. I might have done some misreading on that but my mind blew when it said that S3 could control FSS facilities. Which means that given the training would allow people with no enroute experience to control often large areas of land. In a sub-division where they struggle with training might mean the training might not meet standard and that risks not meeting vatsim standards.

I'm not sure how local vACCs (or at least ones that do not cover a procedural/non-oceanic sector) will benefit from this. However, on the oceanic side, this is a big benefit. Whilst S3s will NOT learn techniques on separation and etc., they will simply be taught on how to properly operate the radio station and will be assisting the main oceanic controller (who still holds an oceanic validation with a C1+ rating) and this will allow to split the workload between the two. This is how a lot of FSSes work IRL. All authority over the actual airspace will still be delegated to the oceanic controller and they are the ones who are responsible for the area, they just get a helper to help them out with the frequency, whilst they do the "no crashing" bit of control. 

In particular, this will be something we, as (Gander) Oceanic staff, will be looking into implementing as this can be very useful, in particular for our delivery stations as during large oceanic events, such as CTP, we will with this be able to allocate more resources (i.e. oceanic-validated controllers) in areas where we will need them more and S3s will be able to handle the radios and relay all information to one or two central oceanic controllers, who can manage the requests. 

C1-rated controller

Gander Oceanic Operations Director & Instructor | VATSIM Spain Public Relations Director & Operational Assistant | Eurocontrol West Sectorbuddy

[email protected]

1341101

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Hi Guys

@Kailen Holzhauer @David Solesvik 1341101 I am going to re-iterate something Kriss said here:

 

1 hour ago, Chriss Klosowski said:

If you look on page 6 this is what Flight Service Stations cover:

A Flight Service Station (FSS) is an Air Traffic Service that provides information and services to aircraft before, during, and after flight but is not responsible for giving control instructions, clearances, or providing separation. This information can include weather, NOTAMs, active runways, and other pertinent aeronautical information.

Thus you technically won't be controlling "Enroute".

In the new GCAP the term FSS is being redefined.  In all reality, we have been somewhat abusing the term (FSS) for a number of years now.  A true FSS is literally what Kriss has qouted above.  ref: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flight_service_station

That being said.  To your point @David Solesvik 1341101 you will find that Oceanic and other (ex) FSS's will now be defined as 4.01(d)Combined Air Operations Center (CAOC).

So really, not too much is changing on this other than definitions and there will be a review of those CAOC's per the policy.

@David Solesvik 1341101Also keeping the above in mind, the S3 is really related to those "Advisory" FSS positions.  I don't believe the requirements for Oceanic are actually changing at all.  If you check 

5.02 ATS Ratings required for Control Positions

You will see this.

 

 

Phil

 

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1 minute ago, Philip Dowling 813710 said:

Hi Guys

@Kailen Holzhauer @David Solesvik 1341101 I am going to re-iterate something Kriss said here:

 

In the new GCAP the term FSS is being redefined.  In all reality, we have been somewhat abusing the term (FSS) for a number of years now.  A true FSS is literally what Kriss has qouted above.  ref: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flight_service_station

That being said.  To your point @David Solesvik 1341101 you will find that Oceanic and other (ex) FSS's will now be defined as 4.01(d)Combined Air Operations Center (CAOC).

So really, not too much is changing on this other than definitions and there will be a review of those CAOC's per the policy.

@David Solesvik 1341101Also keeping the above in mind, the S3 is really related to those "Advisory" FSS positions.  I don't believe the requirements for Oceanic are actually changing at all.  If you check 

5.02 ATS Ratings required for Control Positions

You will see this.

 

 

Phil

 

Hi Phil,

So from what I understand here, does this mean that we won't be able to hire any S3 operators for Gander/Shanwick OCA? 

Thanks.

C1-rated controller

Gander Oceanic Operations Director & Instructor | VATSIM Spain Public Relations Director & Operational Assistant | Eurocontrol West Sectorbuddy

[email protected]

1341101

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Hey David

 

As currently written, no.  I think you could make the case here if you think it is a key benefit 🙂 I think it is a good idea.  However it didn't make it through, but that's the point of the public review eh 😉 

3 minutes ago, David Solesvik 1341101 said:

Hi Phil,

So from what I understand here, does this mean that we won't be able to hire any S3 operators for Gander/Shanwick OCA? 

Thanks.

Phil

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I interpret it differently. From what I see S1 controllers can be used for what David wanted, as there is now a new ATS position called "Radio Operator":

Quote

3.03VATSIM allows for the simulation of the following Air Traffic Service Positions:

(...)

Radio Operator

A Radio Operator works in conjunction with an Enroute Controller to take position reports and relay control instructions to and from aircraft operating within defined remote or oceanic control areas.

And S1 rated controllers may be Radio Operators:

Quote

5.02(a)The following list defines the ATS Rating required for each control position.

5.02(a)(i)Developmental (S1)–Ramp Control, Clearance Delivery, Ground Metering, Ground Control, and Radio Operator.

So, if I interpret it correctly, then S1 controllers may be trained, and "used", to man the Oceanic Frequencies, without doing any actual controlling, as all they will be doing is relay the information pilots give to the controller, and the instructions/clearances the controller provides to the pilots.

Edited by Andre Almeida
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37 minutes ago, Andre Almeida said:

I interpret it differently. From what I see S1 controllers can be used for what David wanted, as there is now a new ATS position called "Radio Operator":

And S1 rated controllers may be Radio Operators:

So, if I interpret it correctly, then S1 controllers may be trained, and "used", to man the Oceanic Frequencies, without doing any actual controlling, as all they will be doing is relay the information pilots give to the controller, and the instructions/clearances the controller provides to the pilots.

Andre

Good point, well made!  I forgot about the radio operator.  So yes, you could do this.  Of course, as you say, they would not be doing the actual controlling, just the communication.  However, it is possible and there could be some value in that as well.

Phil

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Hey everyone

thanks for taking your time to reply. It seems that the misunderstanding of what an FSS would be doing under this new document was on my end. Thanks Phil and Chris for clarifying. 

I also want to briefly mention that the hour every year activity requirement for a controller is way too low to keep proficiency at controlling, however thats being talked about at more detail in that thread in the section 8 discussion if you want to discuss that.

thanks,

Kailen

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Thanks a lot for the explanations @Philip Dowling 813710  @Andre Almeida . I was offline and was writing an essay on why it would be helpful to have S3 radio operators, but I’m guessing we realised it’s allowed as per GCAP anyway. Thanks!

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C1-rated controller

Gander Oceanic Operations Director & Instructor | VATSIM Spain Public Relations Director & Operational Assistant | Eurocontrol West Sectorbuddy

[email protected]

1341101

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Hi Kailen (and everyone else)! Just to clarify, and I think this is what Phil was getting at, current positions such as CZEG_FSS (Edmonton FSS) is what we currently use to man the en-route controller (C1+) position that covers the Canadian Arctic. Traditionally, this position required position reporting akin to oceanic controlling, but is now simulated as satellite ADS-B capable and is covered by voice transmission where able, and private text if there's spotty coverage. The new documentation, if I understand correctly, is going to term this area as a Combined Air Operations Centre. I don't think this will change how we in Edmonton do business, although I'm not sure how we fit in the "combined" aspect as it's not covering other sub-divisions, or if it will just be a separate endorsement to the en-route (C1) rating (how it currently is).

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11 minutes ago, Todd Blanchette said:

Hi Kailen (and everyone else)! Just to clarify, and I think this is what Phil was getting at, current positions such as CZEG_FSS (Edmonton FSS) is what we currently use to man the en-route controller (C1+) position that covers the Canadian Arctic. Traditionally, this position required position reporting akin to oceanic controlling, but is now simulated as satellite ADS-B capable and is covered by voice transmission where able, and private text if there's spotty coverage. The new documentation, if I understand correctly, is going to term this area as a Combined Air Operations Centre. I don't think this will change how we in Edmonton do business, although I'm not sure how we fit in the "combined" aspect as it's not covering other sub-divisions, or if it will just be a separate endorsement to the en-route (C1) rating (how it currently is).

Todd,

we are in a similar boat 👋. Gander Oceanic here. Operations won’t change, but now, your facility might be able to allow S3s to visit and get trained and certified to handle the radio to become radio operators, in conjunction with the main “FSS” controller, which overall will have many benefits, mainly a more efficient flow of operations. I can explain this in more detail when I get home.

Edited by David Solesvik 1341101

C1-rated controller

Gander Oceanic Operations Director & Instructor | VATSIM Spain Public Relations Director & Operational Assistant | Eurocontrol West Sectorbuddy

[email protected]

1341101

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1 hour ago, David Solesvik 1341101 said:

Todd,

we are in a similar boat 👋. Gander Oceanic here. Operations won’t change, but now, your facility might be able to allow S3s to visit and get trained and certified to handle the radio to become radio operators, in conjunction with the main “FSS” controller, which overall will have many benefits, mainly a more efficient flow of operations. I can explain this in more detail when I get home.

Hi David! We in Edmonton don't have radio positions that fall under the FSS position. The FSS, for all intents and purposes, is a center controller that covers the arctic airspace since the inclusion of ADS-B. Since, in the top-down configuration, they also cover Edmonton Center if they are not online, there is a requirement for them to be a C1 controller. There's no other positions involved with our FSS that an S3 can operate. This is where (I suppose, since I'm not oceanic rated) our operations differ. Our FSS is basically a center position with a larger view and specific understandings of the differences with arctic airspaces compared to domestic.

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7 hours ago, Karl Mathias Moberg said:

Yeah, you could, and you might be the one in a hundred of the S2 controllers that visit and could be useful for a facility, but the problem is that right now, many facilities such as ZNY, ZLA, ZBW, ZDC, and others receive dozens of S1 and S2 visiting requests per month, and 99% of those controller suck. In general, as an S2, you don't have a lot of experience controlling, and you're taking up training staff time that could be given to home controllers, and you could be spending time learning your own facility and your own basic controlling skills first. 

Most of the S2 visiting requests I get have their reason to visit stated as "want to expand my knowledge" - well, if you want to do that, learn your own facility first then come here. You're shooting yourself in the foot by learning multiple facilities at once, facilities that have different SOPs, regulations, and way things work. Your brain can only take up so much at a time, and focusing on one thing at a time will benefit everyone.

As a controller that did do that I see why controllers do that. At least from an S2 level which I have encouraged a lot of S1s to get prior to visiting. Let's be honest, I would say the main reason why we get a influx of visiting a S1 and S2 is because unless you are already in in one of the hi traffic area like ZNY, ZLA, ZBW, ZDC and other. The lower traffic areas like ZKC ZLC ZME ZID ZHU and a couple other don't see the traffic level that the others see unless it during an events. So the level of traffic the aforementioned hi traffic area see are the draw for most of the vistors. At the end of the day we expect controller to be at the top of their game but with how traffic sateration is for those lower traffic areas it's hard to get the live network practice a controller may need between sessions. So we shouldn't be surprised that they are looking at those high traffic areas to visit.

 

On a separate note:

As it stands at the moment from what I have seen from the different facility's, I would say there needs to be a hard set policy written into the new GRP. That covers how visiting controllers have to be handled at least from a S3 position and higher. Why I bring this up is because I have seen FIR/ARTCC that actually sit down with the visitor and show/explain how the airspace works then others that have thrown a comtroller on the position for the first time for a comp check and expects the controller to pass the check.

Michael LaRosh

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