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[30th October 2021] Cross the Pond Eastbound - Discussion Thread


Chris Pawley
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Cross The Pond: Eastbound 2021

I am excited to open our discussion thread relating to CTP Eastbound 2021.

For those not familar, Cross the Pond (almost exclusively referred to as 'CTP' throughout VATSIM) is the longest running and largest event on the VATSIM network. We run 2 events every year, flying 'Eastbound' from North and Central America to Europe at the start of the year and 'Westbound' in the other direction towards the start of the year. We are proud to connect some of the most popular airports on VATSIM over an event easily lasting 10-12 hours.

If you interact want to interact on social media, look for #vatsimctp

The Process

The planning for CTP takes the concentration of our core planning team and many facilities around 2 months to organise. In general we announce things in this order:

  1. Date - we announce the date, this year the 30th October
  2. Airfield Applications - we allow local staff to submit their airport for consideration for the event
  3. Voting - we allow the entire VATSIM membership to tell us where they want to fly
  4. Airport announcement - we announce what airports we will be using this event <-- this is the next stage of our event
  5. Pilot slot choices - pilots are able to submit their choices for where they would like to fly
  6. Lottery - a lottery process occurs whereby event slots are allocated out to the pilots who chose slots
  7. Open slots - remaining slots are opened for pilots to select
  8. Route allocation - our teams agree and allocate you a route, flight level to cross the ocean and departure time. This usually happens within 24 hours of the event
  9. Event day
  10. Rest - the team are often very sleep deprived at this point, so they are allowed a brief period where they can have 5 hours sleep... maybe more 😛

Each year we make some small changes to the process and we like to hear what you do and don't like to help us mould this event.

This Event

We're in the middle of the process as we write this and we'll update you as we go. This year is Eastbound, so North America across the North Atlantic landing in Europe. Interested parties have submitted their airfields for inclusion. When we choose where we will fly, we will add this information below

Keeping up to Date

You can keep up to date with us in various ways. This post will remain open up until and including the event. You can post questions and our members will be able to reply.

We are incredibly fortunate that the experienced members of the VATSIM community are often able to answer most of your questions relating to the event. We'd therefore to invite you to join our discord. The Marketing & Communications team have created exclusive Cross The Pond Discord channels, where you can communicate with other event participants and receive critical information directly from the planning team. If you haven’t already, join the VATSIM Community discord. Once you're in the discord, you can sign up to the Cross the Pond channels. See the #role-selection channel for this.

While announcements are posted on the VATSIM social media, we maintain our own twitter feed where you can hear our announcements first. #vatsimctp

If you use our forum, the VATSIM team will continue an announcement thread for you to keep up to date with news and are welcome to subscribe to: 

Our Ideals

We are fortunate to be run by a team of very experienced VATSIM members. Our core Planning Team commits a significant portion of our free time to this event every year. It's not uncommon for a significant proportion of us to sleep no more than 3-4 hours on the night before the event to get everything done and then get up to control until we collapse. We do this because we are committed to a successful event and the enjoyment of hundreds to thousands of members. If you're one of those members, then we can't wait to welcome you to our event this year. If however you don't enjoy, or think we can do better in this event, we are also happy to hear it. You can post here. You can submit feedback after the event. We know we don't make everyone happy, but we love to try to improve year on year.

From the Planning Team

Our thanks to all the VATSIM teams that make this happen. To name a few, our technical teams (web, tech, network); our Marketing Teams; the dozens of local staff involved every step across the pond.

From our Planning team: myself, Kieran, Ryan, Phil, Matt, Nick, JF, Erik, Samy & Gunnar; we hope you enjoy CTP Eastbound 2021.

See you in the skies, October 30th! (Bring your own pumpkin)

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Chris Pawley

Division Director

VATSIM UK

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AFANNOUNCE.png

 

Cross the Pond is happy to announce our departure and arrival fields for 2021 Eastbound!

 

Departing:

KBOS Boston Logan International Airport

KORD Chicago O'Hare International Airport

KATL Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta

KJFK John F. Kennedy Airport

KMIA Miami International Airport

CYYZ Toronto Pearson

KIAD Washington Dulles International Airport

 

Arriving:

EHAM Amsterdam Airport Schiphol

LEBL Barcelona

EDDB Berlin Brandenburg

EIDW Dublin

EFHK Helsinki-Vantaa Airport

EGLL London Heathrow

LFPG Paris Charles De Gaulle

LOWW Vienna International Airport

 

You can keep up to date with us via our twitter @vatsimctp, or the VATSIM Community Discord. The Community Discord has CTP-specific channels that you can opt-into via the #role-selection channel.

Edited by Layth Al-Wakil
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With the release of high-fidelity classic airliners such as the 747-200 for X-Plane 11, myself and many other users are wondering about accommodations for these types of aircraft during Cross the Pond.

1) Will there be accommodations for older aircraft not equipped with ADS-C and that would be required to make position reports over voice?

2) Will there be accommodations for aircraft only capable of en-route RNAV but not terminal RNAV procedures?

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2 hours ago, John Optegrove said:

With the release of high-fidelity classic airliners such as the 747-200 for X-Plane 11, myself and many other users are wondering about accommodations for these types of aircraft during Cross the Pond.

1) Will there be accommodations for older aircraft not equipped with ADS-C and that would be required to make position reports over voice?

2) Will there be accommodations for aircraft only capable of en-route RNAV but not terminal RNAV procedures?

Hi John! Re Q1: we'd love to see some variety. For the event and due to the high workload of oceanic sectors, we assume everyone to be ADS-C equipped (as the servers give us the data anyway). However, if you want to do position reports and the controllers' workload permit it, most of them would be happy for you to simulate the actual equipment of the B742.

For Q2 I'll leave some local staff to reply, but usually this wouldn't involve too much added workload for ATC either way.

NICK MARINOV
Assistant to the Vice President
Europe, Middle East and Africa Region
Senior Network Supervisor
VATEUD Division Director (Acting)
## [email protected]
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2 hours ago, John Optegrove said:

With the release of high-fidelity classic airliners such as the 747-200 for X-Plane 11, myself and many other users are wondering about accommodations for these types of aircraft during Cross the Pond.

1) Will there be accommodations for older aircraft not equipped with ADS-C and that would be required to make position reports over voice?

2) Will there be accommodations for aircraft only capable of en-route RNAV but not terminal RNAV procedures?

2) Vectors are always an option on Vatsim and speaking for EFHK they will be utilized for most arriving aircraft anyway

Christian Kovanen
Director of VATSIM Scandinavia
VATSIM Network Supervisor


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Pilots are now allowed to join our slot lottery!

 

Demand for participation in CTP outweighs the available capacity of the controllers and airspace. As a result, we choose to limit the number of participants using a slot system. We have made some modifications this time to improve the way people are allocated slots and to help people get slots they want.

 

Only pilots with a slot are able to participate in the event. In order to distribute the slots to pilots we complete the following steps:

 

  • Pilots register their interest (available 5th - 11th October 1800 UTC)
  • The lottery calculates if you have been awarded a slot and your position in the queue
  • Pilots login after their allocated time and pick a time slot and city pair (being earlier in the lottery gives more chance for the route you want) (available 13th-17th October)
  • After everyone has had some time to select their route, the remaining slots are released to all members (on Monday 18th October)

 

Several factors affect the outcome of the lottery, the most significant of which is your historical interaction with this event. If you have no-showed during a previous event when you held a booking, you will have slightly less chance of getting a slot now. If you applied but did not get a slot last year, you will have a slightly higher chance of getting a slot now.

 

In a change from previous events, you will have to return to the website in the week leading up to the event to reconfirm your intention to fly and to provide important information such as your callsign, maximum assignable flight level and so on.

 

We hope that these changes will ensure as many people can fly for this event as possible and importantly, that as many people with a slot join us for the event.

 

You may now register to be included in the lottery at ctp.vatsim.net

 

If you want to keep up to date with CTP, don't forget to select the CTP role in the VATSIM discord to see our channels. (Get it via #role-selection)

Edited by Nick Marinov
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As you can see, we've changed the lottery process again this year. I thought I'd take some time to explain in more detail and importantly why we've made some change.

Background

For those of you with CIDs starting 14/15, you may not remember the 'old' CTP signup process. This consisted of all the slots being uploaded around this time before the event to the site. We announced a time (typically 2100 UTC) on a certain day when they would open up. It was then "free for all" to pick up slots. The planning team would watch as each year 500-700 slots would disappear in somewhere between 5 and 15 minutes.

The last 2 events, the planning team moved into a lottery system, whereby pilots could pick 3 route pairs and several half hour time periods they'd like to fly at and through mostly randomization, would get allocated a slot.

Why Change?

I prefix every discussion about the lottery/slot system by reminding that we have to accept there is no perfect way to do CTP slots and that my goal is to find the 'least worst' option.

A free-for-all biases against people who work shifts, or have inflexible responsibilities on the day we announce and disadvantages anyone who can't refresh, click and book as fast as others.

An allocation system: gives people far less choice, no matter how it's run; either has to be overly complex in terms of options you can select, or overly simplistic giving you the chance of selecting route combinations that don't exist and anecdotally we think leads to more no-shows.

We've therefore decided to try something else, a bit of a 'best of both worlds' of the two options. A system that includes a lottery to give you a "leg up" on everyone else, but that allows you to pick actually what you want from what's left. By allocating everyone in the lottery a staggered set of times (see below), we allow people with less flexible schedules to still have advantage in picking, even if they can't be on a computer until an hour after their allocated time.

This Event's system in Detail

To explain the process in detail this year. The lottery will run much the same as previous - that being that everyone will go into the lottery and get randomised into an order. This order will be affected primarily by chance, however there will be weighting for the following:

  • No shows - negative weighting if you no-showed a slot you had in the previous event. This does not include people who dropped a slot they were allocated.
  • Previous slot allocations - if you got a slot in the last lottery, you have a slightly negative weighting. Likewise if you didn't, you have a slight positive weighting
  • Sequential events - if you have multiple sequential unsuccessful events, you get more of a positive weighting

With all of those factors taken into account, people will be ranked from 1 to N (N being the total number of people who express interest). A reminder that the main factor is chance, and therefore if you have negative weighting, you aren't guaranteed to not have a slot. Likewise with a positive weighting, you aren't guaranteed.

Each person is then given a time that they can book from. These times will probably start at 1400Z on Wednesday 13th and there is at least 1 minute between each person in the lottery, therefore a maximum of 5 people getting in every 5 minutes. Times will be 1400-2200 UTC only, which we have picked based on an acceptable 'daylight' time between the US and Europe, our core pilot base. So the first person in the lottery will end up being able to book from 1400Z on Wednesday. Someone in the middle of the lottery may not be able to book until 1600Z on Friday (for example). The point of this is that if you can't exactly make whatever time you're given, you are likely to be able to log on soon after and still get a choice of slots, in contrast to the classic 'free for all' system where being 15 minutes late meant no slot at all.

We're not sure how popular all the slots will be, therefore it's perfectly possible that we'll run out of slots before Sunday and therefore people towards the end of the lottery may not have any slots left to choose. Equally, it's perfectly possible that some slots and times that are less popular will still be available. People with slots can drop them at any time, so slots will always pop up.

Regardless of what's left, anything not taken will be available Monday 18th October at 2100 UTC. Anyone at this point can take a slot from what's left. Anything dropped will be available to be booked.

Everyone will then have to return to the site between 22nd and 27th of October (2100 UTC) to confirm they are flying and ensure they've filled in all the details. If you don't do this, your slot will become available to anyone else to take.

The Future

I said earlier that we're looking for the least-worst system. This one has been crafted based on trying to balance the negatives of the previous system. I'm sure there will be things that work well and don't work as well about this.

We are always happy to hear what people think and to hear suggestions. Each CTP there are strong opinions about the choices we make as it's hard to make a system that works for everyone. That being said, if you have a suggestion of something we haven't thought of, we'd love to hear it.

Edited by Kieran Hardern
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4 minutes ago, Raul Ferraz said:

Any chance to drop the Expression of Interest ? :classic_blush:

As I understand it, there's no need.  If you get a time in the lottery, just don't pick a slot.  The people picking after you will have one more to choose from than originally planned.

Cheers,

-R.

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12 hours ago, Abhinav Arun said:

When does this close?

Hi Abhinav, the expression of interest closed yesterday at 1800z. If you didn't get a personalised booking time, you will be able to book from any of the slots that are left next Monday.

NICK MARINOV
Assistant to the Vice President
Europe, Middle East and Africa Region
Senior Network Supervisor
VATEUD Division Director (Acting)
## [email protected]
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unknown.png

 

For the first time ever in CTP, to increase efficiency and reduce separation, tracks containing ‘half degree waypoints’ will be used.

For those unfamiliar, this post contains all you need to fly them during Cross the Pond, to ensure both you and the controllers have a smooth and enjoyable experience!

 

What are half degree waypoints?

“Traditional” coordinates are given in full degrees of latitude and longitude. For example 45N030W (4530N), which denotes 45 degrees north, 30 degrees west, the northern coordinate depicted in grey on the diagram below.

This CTP some tracks will contain coordinates of half degrees of latitude and full degrees of longitude. An example can be seen in the figure below, in red:

BwCnUj9W3MvOMZiV9jHASsYT1QpPOJuZwccqwjSRqU089tu597HHC0VJ8DP9z1laCPQ40lQNOHnFtC7etx8dZfEoLyBnpjjZxCwV8LIy4f-GVWtCx4A8xrDrNNunrHoD_jKQ5TLw=s0

 

How should half degree waypoints be filed?

The route string will be given to you in the correct format, ready to be copy and pasted into your favourite flight planning tool. 

They will consist of 4 figures describing latitude in degrees and minutes followed by “N” (North) or “S” (South), followed by 5 figures describing longitude in degrees and minutes, followed by “E” (East) or “W” (West). Make up the correct number of figures, where necessary, by insertion of zeros: 4430N03000W.

 

How are these coordinates introduced into the FMS?

First of all, please note that not all Airbus and/or Boeing addons support the format outlined below. High fidelity addons (e.g. FSLabs, Toliss, PMDG) support them. It is important that you test before flying.

Below we will explain how to input half degree coordinates into Boeing and Airbus FMS only, as they are by far the most commonly flown manufacturers. If you are flying an aircraft that is neither Boeing nor Airbus, please consult the documentation provided with your addon on how to input these coordinates.

 

Inputting half degree coordinates into Airbus FMS:

Several formats exist to input half degree coordinates into an Airbus FMS. However, we will only showcase one in this briefing. The coordinates are introduced in the: xxxx.xN/yyyyy.yW format, as outlined below:

vF3-AafDhXArotl7UQeg8prYnghqV8sLVBKDjieoKXuWhIRTgg8O76OGpe0iv0w6zFrPXpRDWbEvMRGfbtC3M5ljNN_GncZNsK-e-2xpo_4DenxAZwOwTBZTCzxiCizT-XDw4T2h=s0

 

Inputting half degree coordinates into Boeing FMS:

The format to be used for Boeing aircraft is slightly different: Nxxxx.xWyyyyy.y, as shown below:

rJcvry450geF95ePclb2s_RiblgSngxj2_Zipe9rB6QzoS5-GEV1iG_CK9XpNci2MFrZwsFQm9MThzWTE1LVrrBVsu2bNATdgzi4wLM2f365bNghtqfrcdCPjKmrOM47IEZm_NUz=s0

 

How to insert them in the ARINC 424 format?

 

If neither of the formats mentioned previously work in your aircraft, then give the ARINC 424 format a try. Even if you haven’t heard of it yet, you will most likely have used it on your previous journeys across the pond.

 

For the half degree coordinates we will be using, Nxxyy is the appropriate format to use. (e.g. N4430). The figure below shows four different ARINC 424 formats, with the bottom right being the one used to input half degree coordinates.

 

Please note that you should never use the ARINC format for ATC communications, use the full format instead!

G3DC8L6vPqDq5OJ_D0NiRC4v1vREriS6tK2u6Tr3QfR4-SdU1tw8_Rn8yEXataeukLYRn-r7GDqnHRAQPpqa67Qh_kQeV3HxDoyMI0Ldb4HfCBwbos4NYa7f3CeMTdgGfgCxk93f=s0

 

 

What if I can’t use either of them?

Please try your hardest to do so. Your AIRAC will most certainly include the ARINC format. If you are unfamiliar with inputting these coordinates into your FMS we suggest you try it before the CTP, to ensure there will be no hiccups on the big day. 

If experience issues, seek for help on the VATSIM forums or Discord on how to do it for your specific addon. If you get cleared on a route with these waypoints and you cannot fly them, advise ATC ASAP.

 

Edited by Bernardo Reis
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We are aware of the issue and are working to fix it.

Please, do not spam the refresh button, as that only increases the stress on the servers. 

We apologize for the inconvenience caused.

Mats Edvin Aarø
Assistant to the Vice President - Supervisors
VATSIM General Manager: Member Engagement
[email protected]

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28 minutes ago, Mats Edvin Aaro said:

We are aware of the issue and are working to fix it.

Please, do not spam the refresh button, as that only increases the stress on the servers. 

We apologize for the inconvenience caused.

So I don't spam the website and I get rewarded with being put is some virtual waiting room. What a joke man, complete joke.

Eric

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8 minutes ago, Eric Fisher said:

So I don't spam the website and I get rewarded with being put is some virtual waiting room. What a joke man, complete joke.

Your further in than me Eric. Been waiting all evening, now spent an hour trying to get in. Going to just give up now got early start in morning so can't sit up all night for nothing as I expect all gone by now.

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6 minutes ago, Ian Cumming said:

Your further in than me Eric. Been waiting all evening, now spent an hour trying to get in. Going to just give up now got early start in morning so can't sit up all night for nothing as I expect all gone by now.

I got to number 1 in line and it kicked me out to the main page. I'm done.

Eric

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3 hours ago, Eric Fisher said:

So I don't spam the website and I get rewarded with being put is some virtual waiting room. What a joke man, complete joke.

You get all of this for free, completely from dozens of hours of donated time from people who work full time jobs in IT. Could you not be grateful for that? You are one of hundreds of people every year who don't manage to get a slot, and it's attitudes like this that make it worse.  You are not entitled to this network any more than anyone else.

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Liesel Downes
Gander Oceanic Deputy OCA Chief
ganderoceanic.ca
she/her/hers

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