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Let me explain why I'm not understanding thus far.

 

How I see it:

 

To me, the C1 C3 S1 etc. are all meaningless by themselves. We could just as easily say that a controller qualified to fill the center position will have the "FT14" rating or a tower controller has a "7R" rating. Totally made up, and that's the point. The ratings in and of themselves shouldn't matter, it's what the ratings indicate (competency and qualification) that matters. Are you seeing my point?

 

Rolland, I see the VATEUD proposal as fulfilling the above requirement of having ratings based on competency. I cannot see why you claim that it is not a CBT.

 

You're right, an S1 should be able to control, and I think that the VATEUD proposal does allow that. But all S1's should be signed off to control and not just be able to hop on without some sort of preliminary evaluation and sign-off from an instructor or mentor.

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You're right, an S1 should be able to control, and I think that the VATEUD proposal does allow that.

 

That is correct. He´s allowed to control (note that a possible distinction between minor and major positions would be a local issue with our concept), and while he´s controlling he also get´s [Mod - Happy Thoughts]istance from his mentor. F.e. he´s able to request training session. When he feels confident that he has sucessfully mastered the qualification, he requests an [Mod - Happy Thoughts]essment. He´s then examined, and upon successful qualification rewarded with a new rating which reflects the successful training and [Mod - Happy Thoughts]essment.

 

Rolland, I see the VATEUD proposal as fulfilling the above requirement of having ratings based on competency. I cannot see why you claim that it is not a CBT.

 

Roland thinks that self-study from theoretical material, together with a short [Mod - Happy Thoughts]essment session as OBS, is sufficient to demonstrate competency. My understanding of the term "competency" is different, therefore I disagree with him .

best regards,

 

Martin Georg

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Roland,

 

in regard to your description on how the start into S1 should happen, let me please ask a question: You´re describing the step from OBS to S1, and you state that "an S1 has been signed off on all of the TWR competencies". To my understanding he´s now allowed to control at least independently, and without further restrictions (mentoring etc.) on minor TWR positions (or on all TWR positions when there is no distinction between minor and major positions locally).

 

Lets [Mod - Happy Thoughts]ume that this distinction between minor and major positions does exist. According to the EC policy, an additional [Mod - Happy Thoughts]essment is recommended before signing off the S1 for major positions.

 

Now the question: Should this [Mod - Happy Thoughts]essment target additional controlling competencies , or procedural (i.e. local) knowledge only?

Thanks for the question Martin.

 

Quoting from the guideline

 

Local rules may be implemented to establish a two-tier grading of locations; minor and major. There is no provision for more than these two tiers.

 

Each basic rating step will allow a controller to provide that particular type of Air Traffic Service at any minor location in their airspace. This allows a controller new to the airspace to operate at a minor location in order to consolidate their rating away from the demands of a complex major airport with heavy traffic.

 

Before operating at a major location, a controller may be required to p[Mod - Happy Thoughts] an [Mod - Happy Thoughts]essment for that specific major location.

 

Note: Not all divisions will require this type of graded location scheme and will simply designate all location within the division to be minor locations.

I've added an underline emphasis.

 

An S1 has been certified as a TWR controller but is restricted to only minor locations. Their basic knowledge and skill is OK at a minor location but we have safeguarded the standard at a major location by requiring specific knowledge and skill applicable at that particular major location. Generally, that's why it got designated as major.

 

This does not introduce any new competencies since these are inherrent in the particular ATS role in question.

 

I gave an earlier example at KBOS dealing with the transition to a major location, this time we'll use Gerhart.

 

If we use Frankfurt, a designated major location (I hope I got it right ), Gerhart must undergo a Frankfurt familarisation course of study and be signed off as competent in applying his previous role skill but now at Frankfurt.

 

One of the things that I haven't mentioned much before is that this type of progression introduces a great incentive to learn, and this is consistent with CoR §1.01 (H).

 

The Frankfurt familarisation course and signoff will typically follow the same procedure as before; resources and theory test followed by an interactive session. This time however, after Gergart has p[Mod - Happy Thoughts]ed the theory component, we have an opportunity to perform an OTS check at Frankfurt.

 

There is also opportunity to use Sweatbox and my personal view is that Sweatbox really comes into its own with APP and CTR ... but that's just my view.

 

Staging the delivery of training service in this way makes it less intensive on the limited human resource element.

 

I hope that covers it for you Martin.

 

Roland

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Let me explain why I'm not understanding thus far.

 

How I see it:

 

To me, the C1 C3 S1 etc. are all meaningless by themselves.

As I explained before, that would be true if we were starting afresh and only had to look forward and not take the historical ratings into consideration.

 

The historical ratings are a significant amount of previous work over many years and we are not going to dump that.

 

Roland

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Hi Roland!

 

hope that covers it for you Martin.

 

Yes, it did.

 

I understand now that the EC model thinks that the competency gained from the pre-S1 phase (self-study, OBS-session and [Mod - Happy Thoughts]essment session) are considered to be sufficient to control even a major location, [Mod - Happy Thoughts]uming the local familiarisation [Mod - Happy Thoughts]essment has been p[Mod - Happy Thoughts]ed.

 

I´m wondering then why you were previously putting emphasis on "basic competency" (underline emphasis added by myself) in regards to the S1 rating, while now you are stating that "This does not introduce any new competencies ...".

 

Could you explain that contradiction please?

 

There is also opportunity to use Sweatbox and my personal view is that Sweatbox really comes into its own with APP and CTR ... but that's just my view.

 

Sweatbox is not usable for APP training in many parts of Europe, as it has a lot of shortcomings. In particular it lacks features to have targets executing procedures, or defined flying procedures, and the fact that it uses GS instead of IAS makes ATC speed restrictions impossible.

best regards,

 

Martin Georg

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You're right, an S1 should be able to control, and I think that the VATEUD proposal does allow that.

That is correct. He´s allowed to control (note that a possible distinction between minor and major positions would be a local issue with our concept), and while he´s controlling he also get´s [Mod - Happy Thoughts]istance from his mentor. F.e. he´s able to request training session. When he feels confident that he has sucessfully mastered the qualification, he requests an [Mod - Happy Thoughts]essment. He´s then examined, and upon successful qualification rewarded with a new rating which reflects the successful training and [Mod - Happy Thoughts]essment.

 

Rolland, I see the VATEUD proposal as fulfilling the above requirement of having ratings based on competency. I cannot see why you claim that it is not a CBT.

Roland thinks that self-study from theoretical material, together with a short [Mod - Happy Thoughts]essment session as OBS, is sufficient to demonstrate competency. My understanding of the term "competency" is different, therefore I disagree with him .

Martin and I have different ideologies and we both understand and reconize that. We also appreciate that no matter how much we discuss it and each describe their own scheme, it will not bring the schemes any closer together since they are fundamentally different.

 

Martin agrees that his model is similar to driving; you start as a learner with an accompanying driver.

 

"while he's [an S1] controlling he also get's [Mod - Happy Thoughts]istance from his mentor.

This means that S1 is not yet competent. If S1 were competent then there would be no need for a mentor holding their hand?

 

This way of doing things is very human resource intensive for training departments; requiring far more organization and coordination. It has been one of the major causes of training delays.

 

Most divisions do not have sufficient human resources to deliver this type of model. From late Feb - late Mar EC looked at this model and decided against it for the reasons that I have explained both here and elsewhere.

 

In considering the global implications, and the best interest of VATSIM, EC opted for a far more efficient model that satisfies all of their goals; one that is more appropriate for a hobby environment.

 

Let me be blunt.

Martin's model was considered and rejected.

 

Roland Collins

VP Regions

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I´m wondering then why you were previously putting emphasis on "basic competency" (underline emphasis added by myself) in regards to the S1 rating, while now you are stating that "This does not introduce any new competencies ...".

 

Could you explain that contradiction please?

There is no contradiction Martin!

 

I have always referred to the VATSIM [Mod - Happy Thoughts]essment competencies as "basic" since that's all we require of a beginner in a hobby that is a *simulation*.

 

It is NOT appropriate to require a beginner to demonstrate advanced competencies, or to demonstrate competency in difficult circomestances.

 

The fundamental design of [Mod - Happy Thoughts]essment is that you define the task, the standard to be reached, and the conditions under which [Mod - Happy Thoughts]essment will take place.

 

Some definitions:

Competent - Vocational education term that refers to when you can perform a skill un[Mod - Happy Thoughts]isted.
Competencies - a cluster of skills, abilities and knowledge needed to perform a job.

I am competent at typing and spelling ... but not at the same time.

 

In any field, knowledge and skill improve with experience. I described an S1 starting out at a minor location as a time when he or she would continue to learn and begin to perfect their craft. This is quite normal. It happens with driving; your best driving was not on the goddamn driving test.

 

Driving now requires no more competencies than on day one; it is just that I have become better at performing them.

 

In transitioning from a minor to a major location I said, "This does not introduce any new competencies" [to the list of competencies]. I specifically said it that way since I was answering your question in the very specific way that it was asked.

 

For each of the three specific Air Traffic Services; Local, TMA and Enroute, all of the competencies can be listed. I first did this in 2000 and recently updated it. These lists do not change between a minor and a major but the conditions for these, the complexity and level of difficulty, may change.

 

 

Roland

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This means that S1 is not yet competent. If S1 were competent then there would be no need for a mentor holding their hand?

 

Look Roland,

 

there is no difference in our concepts for the step OBS=>S1 . Theoretical studies, theory test, familiarization during OBS phase, introduction session with a mentor ... all this is what we at EUD do right now before we sign them off for S1.

 

The difference comes right at the moment when they become S1. At this point your concept leaves them alone - with zero experience, and no practice. You call them competent - but deep inside yourself you´re uncertain. That´s why you need that "minor/major" differenciation. You want to get them online - but only there where they can do no harm: At positions where deficiencies in controlling will have no significant impact.

 

In our concept, the S1 can request [Mod - Happy Thoughts]istance when he feels the need for it, or when the mentor think´s that it is necessary. This does not mean that our S1 are mentored all the time. In fact, the majority of their online time they will control by themselves. But [Mod - Happy Thoughts]istance is there, and the trainee knows that someone is available to help him.

 

Most divisions do not have sufficient human resources to deliver this type of model.

 

I seriously want to question this statement. As I mentioned before, my division consists of 26 vACC with 23 individual training departments. Some of these vACCs are very large, others are quite small. But all of them do have the ressources to apply this model. Even such small vACCs like Romania , Serbia or the Baltic States do. And if they can do it, other also can.

 

And - I think this has not been mentioned yet - this model also has another advantage: Because a new controller is guided into controlling, he´s also integrated into the local community from the very beginning. This strengthens the local community, and increases their spirit as a group. Some people have expressed their concern here about new controllers just popping up out of nowhere - such a mentoring system can prevent that ....

best regards,

 

Martin Georg

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It seems to me, after having kept abreast of things, that the best thing to do would be to simply break it down to 4 ratings, rather than 3. They would be:

  • Trainee
    Tower
    Approach
    Center

The trainee would be just that, but would be allowed to work as a GND/DEL/TWR controller at the NON-Major airports under direct supervision of a mentor/instructor.

 

The tower rating would then allow the individual to work any Tower* unsupervised.

The approach rating would then all the individual to work any Approach* position unsupervised.

The Center rating would all an individual to work any Center* position.

 

* There may be areas at major airports where an additional certification must be obtained to work "major" airports or their airspaces. As has been discussed, even at the center level you'd need to know how to work the major tower or approach airspace that underlies your center airspace should there not be the local or approach staffing to cover.

 

I imagine that both the controller clients as well as the network software are hard coded to the use of the old Ratings (S1, S3, C1, C3) which would equate as follows:

  • S1 = Trainee
    S3 = Tower
    C1 = Approach
    C3 = Center

If there are areas of the world that don't fall exactly into this category, "appropriate" promotions could be made once this plan is fully implemented.

 

As an example, a controller who is a C1, but who has already been certified by his facility to work Center unsupervised would be (at the time this plan is put into effect) given an automatic promotion to C3. Down the road, perhaps the server code could be updated (I don't know enough to say that the pilot clients wouldn't also need to be updated, but suspect it is all done on the server side) so that the minimum level to work the Center position would be C1 (for training of course), and the minimum level to work an approach sector would be an S3 (for training again).

 

Perhaps I'm looking at this too simplistically, but in my mind that would pretty much mimic what has been discussed. Using a pilot or OBS rating for initial training seems absurd to me, as you can not really learn much without practical experience which the OBS mode just doesn' not allow.

Fly Safe! Have Fun!

Craig Moulton

 

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You're right, an S1 should be able to control, and I think that the VATEUD proposal does allow that. But all S1's should be signed off to control and not just be able to hop on without some sort of preliminary evaluation and sign-off from an instructor or mentor.

 

The problem with requiring a 'sign-off' before being allowed to control is that there must always be someone there to do the actual signoff.

 

All of our instructors and mentors are volunteers, they are only available when their other responsibilities in life permit them to be online.

 

Without a signoff the S1 cannot control, because of limited instructor availablity this signoff could take not days but weeks.

 

We should allow the S1's an opprtunity to learn and practice on their own at a minor position when their Instructor or mentor is not available to them.

 

If an Instructor/Mentor is available, even better, they no doubt will join in and provide advice and instruction to that S1.

 

If there are sufficient instructors available only a small number of students will be working without instruction. But if instructors are not available the student is still allowed to learn and practice at a position.

 

Regards.

Ernie Alston

Albuquerque ARTCC

Vatsim Supervisor.

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The problem with requiring a 'sign-off' before being allowed to control is that there must always be someone there to do the actual signoff.

 

I might be mistaken, but don't the controllers still have to sign-up for the various ARTCC's, receive operating initials, get put on the roster, etc. before controlling even minor airports? Similarly, an existing controller has to have approval (visiting controller status) even to control a minor field.

 

So inherently, there could be days or weeks of delay anyway before somebody is allowed to control.

 

 

Craig...I think most people here so far seem to agree with the 4-rating system. I know it has been explained that the 4-rating system won't work, but quite honestly, I still don't really understand why. It takes no more than a button click to change somebody's rating to C1, C3, F47 (you sunk my battleship!!), Trainee, Tower, whatever rating. The fact that other regions don't promote anyone to C3 ever (even though their training systems have clear provisions for doing so), doesn't explain away why the button can't be clicked to change these guys to whatever, to comply with the new ratings.

Bryan Wollenberg

ZLA!

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I might be mistaken, but don't the controllers still have to sign-up for the various ARTCC's, receive operating initials, get put on the roster, etc. before controlling even minor airports? Similarly, an existing controller has to have approval (visiting controller status) even to control a minor field.

 

So inherently, there could be days or weeks of delay anyway before somebody is allowed to control.

 

I disagree.

 

It should take no longer than a day or so, you recieve an email put them on the roster within a day or two after recieving the email.

 

It should the take same amount of time for vistors.

 

Things like [Mod - Happy Thoughts]igning operating initials, doing disciplinary checks etc are the prerogative of the ARTCC, it should not take a week.

 

Regards.

Ernie Alston

Albuquerque ARTCC

Vatsim Supervisor.

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Ernie, agreed completely.

 

My point though is that there still has to "be somebody there to do the actual sign-off" and get these people rolling. I know we would (for the most part) have no problem getting people signed off in a day or two...probably as long as it takes to grant operating initials, take the basic test, etc. As Martin said, most divisions can handle the training aspect.

Bryan Wollenberg

ZLA!

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There's a big difference between doing the administrative tasks ([Mod - Happy Thoughts]igning OIs, etc.) for a new S1 and doing the hands-on OJT that many ARTCCs require before giving even a DEL cert at minor facilities. It's the latter where many ARTCCs are taking way too long and inadvertently discouraging new students.

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There's a big difference between doing the administrative tasks ([Mod - Happy Thoughts]igning OIs, etc.) for a new S1 and doing the hands-on OJT that many ARTCCs require before giving even a DEL cert at minor facilities. It's the latter where many ARTCCs are taking way too long and inadvertently discouraging new students.

 

That´s something which should not happen. When an OBS requests a rating upgrade (i.e. the start of his ATC career), the reaction to that request should come fast. Many vACCs/ARTCCs are already using automated systems for this. When contact has been established, the timeframe to sign him off for S1 should be reasonable as well - however, one should apply common sense here. I´m sure nobody will insist on a 24/48hrs service here. We are talking about the start into a hobby which can last for years, so hours are a neglectible factor.

 

On the other hand, situations of candidates waiting sveral weeks or even months to get handled are not acceptable. But I wouldn´t blame the training system then, rather than mismanagement. If such stuff happens, then obviously the local staff is doing a bad job.

best regards,

 

Martin Georg

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...I know we would (for the most part) have no problem getting people signed off in a day or two...probably as long as it takes to grant operating initials, take the basic test, etc. As Martin said, most divisions can handle the training aspect.

 

Bryan,

 

If this is possible, then what is the harm in letting the new controller work a minor position for this very

short period of time ?

 

Being in a minor airport he would only be working a small number of movements.

 

Regards.

Ernie Alston

Albuquerque ARTCC

Vatsim Supervisor.

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Bryan,

 

If this is possible, then what is the harm in letting the new controller work a minor position for this very

short period of time ?

 

Being in a minor airport he would only be working a small number of movements.

 

The harm is that s/he would have no clue what s/he was doing regarding local procedures. The already busy Socal Approach or Center controller would have to not only do his job, but clean up the mess that these minor field controllers are likely to create. It probably wouldn't be a huge deal with 1 of these guys online, but what happens if 5 or 10 of these guys were on at once? Like I said earlier, the smaller ARTCCs aren't going to have to worry about that. With the larger ARTCCs, I'm sure there are easily 5-10 guys at any given time who would love to hop on our minor fields without any sort of local knowledge whatsoever.

 

Ernie, you're familiar with our airspace obviously. But specifically, check out the image I attached a few posts up. Imagine if those minor fields underlying Socal were staffed with brand new S1's who a) barely know what they're doing in the first place and b) have absolutely no clue about things like arrival/departure flows/procedures into their field and nearby fields, preferred routing, TEC routes, etc., and just started clearing and releasing planes all willy-nilly into Socal's airspace. That's not a Socal I would want to work, I'll tell you that. That's the harm in letting people with absolutely no local knowledge [and no quality control; i.e. do we actually have any recourse if somebody continually messes up?] control basically wherever they want.

 

If these guys start creating all sorts of problems for the higher controllers, I think (unfortunately) we're going to see the opposite of what this policy is trying to create. If a Socal controller, for example, is constantly being bothered with these guys' mistakes, s/he probably isn't going to be so likely to plug in and control anymore.

Bryan Wollenberg

ZLA!

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...I know we would (for the most part) have no problem getting people signed off in a day or two...probably as long as it takes to grant operating initials, take the basic test, etc. As Martin said, most divisions can handle the training aspect.

 

Bryan,

 

If this is possible, then what is the harm in letting the new controller work a minor position for this very

short period of time ?

 

Being in a minor airport he would only be working a small number of movements.

 

Regards.

Ernie Alston

Albuquerque ARTCC

Vatsim Supervisor.

 

What Bryan is alluding to is if a given minor airport is adjacent to a rather major airport and requires some sort of coordination with that major field. If the new controller does not know what is needed to handle that or just sends planes off willy-nilly and screws up all sequencing and normal flow of traffic for both the minor field and major field, you have chaos. Chaos that could and would have beenavoided if the new controller had done his work and read up on local procedures around and for the field he is controlling.

 

For example, if a new controller runs KSQL tower (about 4 - 5 DME south of KSFO) and sends a plane northbound... that departure path goes right through either the departure or arrival corridor for KSFO.

 

There has to be some sort of accountability for that.

 

BL.

Brad Littlejohn

ZLA Senior Controller

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Bryan, in my opinion, if newbie controllers on those fields are able to cause that kind of disruption, then I think ZLA would be justified in making those fields (underlying SoCal TRACON) major fields, and the divisional staff should approve it. Again, this is my opinion, and I can't say for sure if that kind of latitude in designating major airports is what Roland and the EC have in mind, but I would hope so.

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Hey Ross,

 

Yeah, I suppose that's always a possibility, though I don't know if that would ever fly, nor do I personally think it should. It's not really in the spirit of what is trying to be achieved with this policy. I mean, we're really talking about all the airspace underlying Socal, the airspace around Vegas, etc. that could really cause havoc with the heavily-visited airports. That doesn't really leave a whole lot of minor, towered airports to control.

 

I can't speak for everyone at ZLA, but I personally would be delighted to have a load of minor towers staffed day in and day out. That would only help to increase traffic levels for us, which can't be bad. This is all so long that these guys have at least some training on local procedures (see my "compromise" post above). Without it, you're just left with complete chaos, and unfortunately, I think you're going to find similar situations all throughout the busier places on VATSIM.

Bryan Wollenberg

ZLA!

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It would be nuts to cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts]ify HHR as minor......

 

In my twisted mind...Fullerton, El Monte, or maybe even Riverside is minor...

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Richard Jenkins

richard(a)vatsim.net

"It's all fun and games until the cops show up."

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I hear ya Bryan ... we're looking at the same issue in ZBW. Most of the airports that anyone would ever want to staff are going to need to be major airports due to their proximity either to Boston or the NY Metro area, or both.

 

I don't necessarily think that designating all those airports as major goes against the spirit of the new policy. The idea, as I see it, is to give options to new controllers so that they aren't just sitting in limbo waiting for a mentor to have free time to work with them. Having some airports in the ARTCC designated as minor will give them the opportunity to at least plug in and see what it feels like to be an active controller, even if there is little or no traffic.

 

In my mind, this will serve two additional purposes. One, it will draw a small amount of additional traffic to the ARTCC, to fields that don't normally see action. And two, more importantly, it will help the mentors and instructors determine which S1s are serious about getting some training, and which ones are just tire-kickers.

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..If these guys start creating all sorts of problems for the higher controllers, I think (unfortunately) we're

going to see the opposite of what this policy is trying to create. If a Socal controller, for example, is

constantly being bothered with these guys' mistakes, s/he probably isn't going to be so likely to plug in

and control anymore.

 

Bryan,

 

How is this any different than for that Socal conttroller that if he is not staffing that position ?

 

Example:

 

A pilot files a IFR flight plan using a non-standard or non-preferred routing.

 

Scenario 1:

 

XYZ_TWR is staffed by an new S1, and that pilot gets a clearance 'as filed'. Then somewhere along the line

the approach controller will have to amend it to comply with local procedures. This is additonal work for the

Approach controller we understand this.

 

Scenario 2:

 

This same XYZ_TWR position is not staffed by anyone. This same pilot now must contact the Approach Controller

for his clearance. The Approach controller prior to giving out his IFR clearance must amend his flight plan

to comply with local procedures and also give out the clearance and give either a release or taxi and takeoff

instructions.

 

If anything it appears that same approach controller has a bit more work to do when that new S1 is not staffing

XYZ_TWR then when he actually is staffing it.

 

I also agree with Ross. If the airport is in situation where non standard activity would cause a significant

disruption in the operation it should be designated as a major airport even if it is a small airport.

 

But I think this is something the local areas should justify prior to approval.

 

Regards.

Ernie Alston

Albuquerque ARTCC

Vatsim Supervisor.

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If anything it appears that same approach controller has a bit more work to do when that new S1 is not staffing

XYZ_TWR then when he actually is staffing it.

 

Not trying to speak for Bryan here, but I would say the difference is that with the scenario where the TWR is staffed, SoCal may not know about the problem until the flight has already been cleared and is airborne. With the latter scenario, SoCal is dealing with a plane still sitting on the ground, and can have the pilot standby until SoCal has the time to deal with it.

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Not trying to speak for Bryan here, but I would say the difference is that with the scenario where the TWR is

staffed, SoCal may not know about the problem until the flight has already been cleared and is airborne.

With the latter scenario, SoCal is dealing with a plane still sitting on the ground, and can have the pilot

standby until SoCal has the time to deal with it.

 

A valid point.

 

And if this is happening in a busy corridor (ex LGB which is right next to LAX) they would be IMO

justified in designating that airport a 'major' airport.

 

But if its outside of a busy corridor (where most minor airports are) the controller will have opportunity amend the route while airborne if he chooses to do so.

 

Regards.

Ernie Alston

Albuquerque ARTCC

Vatsim Supervisor.

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