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Questions about the new FNO operations


Marko Savatic 825464
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After seeing the e-mail this morning, I have a couple of questions to ask about the "new" FNO.

 

While I understand that alot of planning went into the event, my first question is, why? Why are we changing the FNO system as it is?

 

Personally, FNO has always been the big event to look forward to, the one night each ARTCCs controlling abilities get tested, and now, the traffic is going to be split between 3 ARTCCs. In my honest opinion, it's cutting back on the amount of traffic that will be seen at the ARTCCs.

 

Secondly, why are we cutting it back to once every month instead of every friday?

 

Honestly, I just didn't think that we needed a "re-vamping" of FNO, and I'm just curious to see why these major changes were made.

 

Thanks in advance.

UND ATC Major

ZAU MS

GO FIGHTING SIOUX

"Success isn't really a result of spontaneous combustions. You must set yourselfs on fire."

-Arnold H. Glasow

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After seeing the e-mail this morning, I have a couple of questions to ask about the "new" FNO.

 

While I understand that alot of planning went into the event, my first question is, why? Why are we changing the FNO system as it is?

 

Personally, FNO has always been the big event to look forward to, the one night each ARTCCs controlling abilities get tested, and now, the traffic is going to be split between 3 ARTCCs. In my honest opinion, it's cutting back on the amount of traffic that will be seen at the ARTCCs.

 

Secondly, why are we cutting it back to once every month instead of every friday?

 

Honestly, I just didn't think that we needed a "re-vamping" of FNO, and I'm just curious to see why these major changes were made.

 

Thanks in advance.

 

what e-mail? i didn't get anything

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In addition to following and expanding on the original concept for FNO's growth, this change is being made for a number of reasons:

 

1) Increased realism for pilots - As pilots fly among the three featured ARTCCs, they will encounter arriving and departing traffic, enroute Center services regardless of which featured airports (or combinations of airports) they choose to visit, and the challenge of dealing with traffic traveling in the opposite direction, which is a more realistic scenario than the current structure.

 

2) Increased realism for controllers - In the current arrangement, the "arrival" side controllers of the host ARTCC are generally very busy, while the "departure" side controllers and local control positions have very little to do. The new arrangement increases the chances of increased departures from each host airport, giving all the controllers more "action", as well as increased challenges for local control personnel as they handle arriving and departing traffic. Departure controllers will be faced with the added challenge of coordinating departure streams with their arrivals, and Center controllers will need to be much more attentive to "head on" traffic on the airways.

 

3) Minimizing time zone issues that create limitations on participation - The current Friday night event format creates difficulties with time zone issues, especially for host airports in the Mountain and Pacific time zones. Because of the early (local) start time of the event, it is extremely difficult to secure featured departure airports that can be staffed early enough for departing pilots bound for the event. This situation has a negative impact on both pilots and host controllers: Pilots wanting to travel to the event have no [Mod - Happy Thoughts]urance of having departure or enroute services available, and host controllers have to cope with unmanaged traffic arriving from adjacent unstaffed airspaces. Having a "corridor" type arrangement means that all involved ARTCCs serve as staffed departure airports for all the other involved ARTCCs, avoiding the need for any "featured departure airports" to be staffed up to two hours in advance of the event start time.

 

4) Equalizing main event participation - The current arrangement results in some ARTCCs being called on more frequently than others to staff as a preferred departure in support of a neighboring ARTCCs event. The new event structure evens out the number of times each ARTCC is involved in these large USA events via a two year cycle of pre-planned "corridors" involving two or three airports.

 

5) Give ARTCCs and VA's more opportunity to create their own events - The current event scheduling that was "inherited" from the previous administration has, in my opinion, limited the local events departments, due to there being few available times that ARTCC sponsored events can be offered. The new arrangement opens three Friday nights per month for ARTCC (or VA) sponsored events. Those ARTCCs who would like to continue the tradition of "everybody fly to KXYZ" can certainly develop those types of events for themselves, and ARTCCs who would like to create and sponsor different types of events may also do so. Overall, this scenario gives pilots the maximum range of event types to choose from, and returns local control to ARTCC events departments. As always, VATUSA Events will continue to advertise all events listed on the VATUSA Events Calendar, and all these events will also be included in the pilot incentive program. So, the more events you offer and list on the VATUSA Events Calendar, the more pilots will have an additional incentive to fly to your airspace. If you are not seeing events scheduled for the other three Friday nights a month, check with your ARTCC or VA events directors and encourage them to take advantage of these openings for Friday Night events.

 

6) Give ARTCCs advance notice of participation in the main event - ARTCCs would be given greater notice of participation (except for the first occurrence of the event - sorry guys, a nasty old hurricane named Dean screwed up my schedule) and, up to two years' notice of the exact dates on which they would be participating. For western ARTCCs particularly, this would allow them to know when they would be participating, so that controllers can make plans to be available well in advance.

 

7) With three ARTCCs available each time the event occurs, the chances are greater that VAs will have standard routes into at least one of the cities, thus opening the event to more VA pilots who must fly routes established by the VA.

 

Hope this answers your question. Thanks for asking!

Karen Dunbar

Events Director

VATUSA

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What VATUSA is trying to do is give ARTCCs the opportunity to make events on Fridays without worrying about FNO. Although some people like it the way it is, they can't just think of some people, they have to think of everyone, and the majority. I mean, some people are going to complain because they don't like it, okay, but most of the people I know love it. Just a thought, and if you don't like the idea, go to your favorite ARTCC or your VA's home ARTCC and say, "Can you make an event one Friday?". Chances are, they'll help ya out.

 

In my opinion, I love the new event. It creates more realism for the pilots AND the controllers (yes, they are people too ). But, it's not a crime to hate it, but at least give it a try, and THAN judge it

 

JM

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I agree with Kyle,(I think I know what he's saying) I like the old FNO. I mean why fix something if it isnt broke

 

"Ain't broke, dont fix it..."

Let me start by saying...

 

I think this IS a good Idea BUT

 

I don't see it being successful at the current state that the network is in. In my honest opinion I think that you will have a few problems making it successful.

 

1. There just wont be enough planes availble to keep three ARTCC's busy for a period of three or fours hours.

 

2. Being that the event will include multiple ARTCC's you may see a problem staffing the event properly. In Eexample, one or more ARTCC may not have the personnel to staff the event at the time they have been chosen to host it.

 

3. Being that the event is much more spread out the overall traffic for the event will be generally lower. This is due to the fact that it wont be known as well by people outside the region or people who dont frequently check the forums.

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What VATUSA is trying to do is give ARTCCs the opportunity to make events on Fridays without worrying about FNO. Although some people like it the way it is, they can't just think of some people, they have to think of everyone, and the majority. I mean, some people are going to complain because they don't like it, okay, but most of the people I know love it. Just a thought, and if you don't like the idea, go to your favorite ARTCC or your VA's home ARTCC and say, "Can you make an event one Friday?". Chances are, they'll help ya out.

 

In my opinion, I love the new event. It creates more realism for the pilots AND the controllers (yes, they are people too ). But, it's not a crime to hate it, but at least give it a try, and THAN judge it

 

JM

 

Hahaha, that's easy for you to say there in ZTL. You'll get traffic whether you have an event or not. Lets say for example, ZTL planned an event on the same Friday as ZME. Guess what's going to happen, yeah, I think you can figure it out. But if you can't, I'll explain it. It's very simple you see, all the traffic that ZME would have gotten at this said event (Which would be a little more than none), would hop on over to ZTL. You all are very lucky that you have an extremely popular airport...

 

By the way, I have things to do, (Yeah, like, live a real life) so I'm not going to be able to plan to attend a VATSIM event that occurs once a month. If I can make it, great, if I can't, I'll just have to wait a month. That's what was great about FNO, if I couldn't make it one week, I just had to wait a week. Oh well.

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1. There just wont be enough planes availble to keep three ARTCC's busy for a period of three or fours hours.

 

2. Being that the event will include multiple ARTCC's you may see a problem staffing the event properly. In Eexample, one or more ARTCC may not have the personnel to staff the event at the time they have been chosen to host it.

 

3. Being that the event is much more spread out the overall traffic for the event will be generally lower. This is due to the fact that it wont be known as well by people outside the region or people who dont frequently check the forums.

1. This event was designed to encourage a greater number of operations by each pilot during the event, not particularly the number of planes. However, I think you may be surprised at how many pilots will prefer the increased realism of this event. Careful... it could be truly m[Mod - Happy Thoughts]ive! We'll just have to wait and see.

 

2. Our ACE Team (Advanced Controllers for Events) members will be announced shortly, and this cadre of highly skilled controllers will be available to ARTCCs who request [Mod - Happy Thoughts]istance with staffing.

 

3. VATUSA advertises all events on our calendar in numerous places, including the VATSIM events forum, so our international audience won't be left out. Also, as I mentioned in my other note, with three staffed ARTCC's, more VA affiliated pilots may be able to participate, as the chances of at least one of the three being served by the VA's scheduled routes is increased.

Karen Dunbar

Events Director

VATUSA

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I agree with Kyle, (I think I know what he's saying) I like the old FNO. I mean why fix something if it isnt broke

 

I fear you don't. Sounds like you didn't Google it. Creative destruction is a product development concept that some companys subscribe to that says no matter what your market position with a product, go out and destroy that market by replacing it with something better, faster, and/or cheaper. In business, if you fail to do this, your competitors will do it to you. In my experience in semiconductors you see this in spades because the product life cycles are so short. The Penitum 1 wasn't broken (after it was fixed, he he he), but newer, better products emerged quickly and obsoleted the old P1.

 

The ranks of failed businesses are filled with owners who thought "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." Most modern businesses subscribe to Continuous Improvement.

 

VATUSA is changing FNO to improve the product, serve thier customers in new and improved ways, and reach a broader audience. Don't attack something new just because its new.

Kyle Ramsey

 

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Hahaha, that's easy for you to say there in ZTL. You'll get traffic whether you have an event or not. Lets say for example, ZTL planned an event on the same Friday as ZME. Guess what's going to happen, yeah, I think you can figure it out. But if you can't, I'll explain it. It's very simple you see, all the traffic that ZME would have gotten at this said event (Which would be a little more than none) would hop on over to ZTL.

 

Yep, you're right, that is pretty much what will happen.

 

Regards.

Ernie.

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VATUSA is changing FNO to improve the product

 

by having in once a month

 

reach a broader audience

 

see above

 

Don't attack something new just because its new

 

when you change something that people look forward to every Friday night, and then just delete it, by someone who joined VATSIM on 11 Mar 2007 who some how become VATUSA events person, just raises the question of why? I look forward to FNO after a long week of school, what is there now? I have seen no plans by any ARTCC to fill the gap

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Don't attack something new just because its new

 

when you change something that people look forward to every Friday night, and then just delete it, by someone who joined VATSIM on 11 Mar 2007 who some how become VATUSA events person, just raises the question of why? I look forward to FNO after a long week of school, what is there now? I have seen no plans by any ARTCC to fill the gap

 

Not for nothing here, but what does Karen's date of joining VATSIM have to do with this post? Yes, she has become Events Director, but because she is relatively new has no bearing or relevance to the topic here. If that were the case, as one of the people who had been here before and since VATSIM's inception, I should be coming up for replacing someone on the BoG or replacing one of the Founders outright.

 

Also, if you or anyone had an issue, you could have easily applied for the position. Obviously Karen did, and the powers that be at the regional level thought her experience and what she brought to the table outweighed what others brought, so they gave her the position.

 

As far as changing FNO, some history for all who don't know. FNO is the predecessor of TGIF, which was started as a VA-only event, by vCOA. They invited other VAs to join, and flew to a certain sector of their choice, and it caught on. Issues arose (search this forum; you'll find plenty on the subject), so VATUSA took it over and basically made it a weekly event that went alongside the Regional Nights (yet another event you can fly in). If you've noticed, no-one is barring you from flying anywhere, and you'll be pretty much guaranteed traffic wherever you go on a Friday night. It's been that way for a VERY long time, and I don't see that really changing.

 

I see this as a plus, as both a pilot and controller. As a pilot, because you'll be dealing with traffic at both departing and destination fields, should those fields lie in overlaying sectors being spotlighted. As a controller, because certain corridors (e.g., HEC/DAG corridor to/from SoCal, BSR/AVE to NorCal, TNP/TRM to Phoenix, DVC/MLF to/from Vegas and SLC/DEN) will have traffic pushed through them not only to destination airports in that sector, but through those sectors altogether. I'd love to have a flight from SAN or LGB through the BSR corridor, up J501 through Portland to arrive in KSEA and have traffic flooded through that all the way from wheels up to wheels down.

 

Think about the big picture with this. It actually turns out to be more of a bonus than those posting grievances about it realize.

 

BL.

Brad Littlejohn

ZLA Senior Controller

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Not for nothing here, but what does Karen's date of joining VATSIM have to do with this post?

 

i think Karen has done great job until now, and i'm sure she asked for ARTCC's input on this new event, I just think that she should have asked us for input.

 

as a finale word in this topic, i will say, of course I will fly and hope everything turns out ok for this new format.

 

michael

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Brad hit it right on the head (except I think he meant to say TGIF was the predecessor to FNO, not the other way around )! VATUSA has decided they can provide a BETTER event by shifting to this format. In some ways the event will be better than FNO, in some ways it will be worse, but they have clearly decided the gains outweight the losses.

 

As Brad mentioned, TGIF was a VA-created event. It got so big that the sponsor VAs turned other VAs away. That is why UVA created the Saturday Scramble (which now has several other sponsor VAs as well). I see the "change" in FNO to create a GREAT window for some other VAs to step up and create TGIF again. We'll then have weekly events on Friday and Saturday (which already happen at the VA level anyway) and a monthly "super" event sponsored by VATUSA.

 

If I was the "New TGIF" (is that NTGIF??) sponsor, I'd ensure NTGIF went to one (or more) of the VATSIM monthly event when it happens and coordinate directly with vartious ARTCCs for the other three weeks of the month...

 

I'll bet there are some VA's licking their chops to grab NTGIF...let's see who comes up with the best one and I guarantee it will attract the traffic!

 

Just my two cents' worth....

 

Dave

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Not for nothing here, but what does Karen's date of joining VATSIM have to do with this post?

 

i think Karen has done great job until now, and i'm sure she asked for ARTCC's input on this new event, I just think that she should have asked us for input.

 

as a finale word in this topic, i will say, of course I will fly and hope everything turns out ok for this new format.

 

michael

 

Let me answer this question with another: Do most VAs and pilots in general query ARTCC Events directors for input on when VAs have their events? This excludes requesting ATC Services for a VA-specific event. Do VAs ask ATC for input on their events?

 

Most should answer no. So why should the division Events Director need to do the same, when they'd only need to query the Regional level, then the ARTCC-level Events Directors?

 

BL.

Brad Littlejohn

ZLA Senior Controller

27

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Not for nothing here, but what does Karen's date of joining VATSIM have to do with this post?

 

i think Karen has done great job until now, and i'm sure she asked for ARTCC's input on this new event, I just think that she should have asked us for input.

 

as a finale word in this topic, i will say, of course I will fly and hope everything turns out ok for this new format.

 

michael

 

If I am not mistaking, I believe Karen put out a survey in which pilots and controllers could fill out about events. She got this idea from that survey. Also, people keep forgetting that although there won't be an "FNO" every Friday, there can still be an equally staffed event.

 

BTW, in responce to the post earlier about ZME and ZTL, the ATC is corrdinated and you will get traffic on both ends. We will also coordinate the Friday night events between ARTCCs and VAs.

 

JM

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You're living in an ideal world there, Justin. You can coordinate all night long, but unfortunately, reality happens.

 

Sure both will get traffic, how could they not? However, the ARTCC with the more popular airport(s) will always "win".

 

Totally agree. I can say the same thing when Im up controlling Seattle Center. I could be up with APP and TWR, and have 3 planes in the whole airspace, while ZLA has 0 controllers online at the time and have 30 planes in ZLA.. Makes no since but the more popular destinations always wins. I really like the event, but the one thing I really hate is that its only once a month. Some ARTCCs will have to wait over a year.. yes a year to have the big Event come there way. I have known about this event for a few months now and Mrs. Karen has told me to keep quiet . I like the concept, its just a shame its only once a month.

VATSIM Supervisor

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