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ASDE-X on VATSIM


Anthony Atkielski 985811
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Does VATSIM use ASDE-X (operating transponders in mode C even during movements on the ground, for surveillance at certain airports)? KSEA does this in real life; I was wondering if I should also do it on VATSIM.

 

I think we should, I don't tell pilots to sqwk standby on the ground. I much prefer they remain mode C on the ground.

 

Regards.

Ernie.

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Does VATSIM use ASDE-X (operating transponders in mode C even during movements on the ground, for surveillance at certain airports)? KSEA does this in real life; I was wondering if I should also do it on VATSIM.

 

I recommend you NOT Squawk Mode C on the ground unless requested to do so by the controller. The accepted practice I've noted on VATUSA is to Squawk Mode C as the aircraft enters the runway for take off and to switch to STNDBY Mode upon exiting the runway upon arrival.

 

Squawking Mode C on the ground can lead to m[Mod - Happy Thoughts]ive scope clutter that can be especially bothersome to an APP or CTR-level controller working a primary airport with no lower level ATC support.

Gary Millsaps

VATUSA1

 

"I knew all the rules but the rules did not know me...

guaranteed."

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Squawking Mode C on the ground can lead to m[Mod - Happy Thoughts]ive scope clutter that can be especially bothersome to an APP or CTR-level controller working a primary airport with no lower level ATC support.

 

Bingo. Unlike real ATC radar systems which do not display targets below their sweep (aka on the ground/very low altitude/behind terrain), a TRACON or CTR controller on VATSIM sees every last single aircraft connected to the network. In the case of a CTR controller, a large Cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] B airport may only appear to be a few pixels wide. You get more than one or two aircraft squawking Mode C on the ground and you essentially have a large green blob, usually flashing conflict alerts from arriving/departing traffic.

 

It can become very annoying/distracting very quickly. Hence, aircraft clear of runways on the ground should definitely squawk Standby. No real reason for them to do any differently, since the "Tower" radar mode for any Tower/Ground controllers already displays the aircraft callsign without the target having to squawk Mode C (at least in ASRC, and I'm betting VRC does the same).

/s/ Josh Ridderhoff

ZLC Senior Controller

Fly ZLC! | ZLC Pilot & Controller Forums

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We do have filters, where we can turn off those aircraft that are below a certain altitude... such as at SFO I can turn off anyone below 200 feet and pretty much cover all my major airports.

 

Also, you should have them squawk standby on the ground anyways, as this _is_ vatsim and using tower/ground radar mode, you can see which aircraft it is. It's unrealistic to have them squawk on the ground, as the only thing different that you're getting is the speed (for approach, ctr.)

"TF", ZMA

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In the case of a CTR controller, a large Cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] B airport may only appear to be a few pixels wide. You get more than one or two aircraft squawking Mode C on the ground and you essentially have a large green blob...

 

When on as CTR/APP you are zoomed out most of the time so can't see any details there anyway with or without a blob.

 

The benefit here is for the CTR controller providing tower/ground services.

 

Regards.

Ernie.

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If you don't like it, set your radar floor!

 

What about at ZME scott? FSM is 400MSLL and MEM is 700. If i set my floor to 800 so it filters out the MEM aircraft Iw oulnt be able to see the guys doing touch and goes near FSM!

 

Noob.

What about ZME? I always control with my radar floor set a 800.

 

Remind me why you need to see them? I don't control FSM when I'm on CTR.

 

Noob.

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ZME has it easy thanks to its basically flat terrain (ya ya, maybe a sliver of the Appalachians and some other hills you call mountains). Try ZAB or other centers with real mountainous terrain. Yes, ours are bigger than yours, just accept it and move on.

 

Example: ABQ Field Elev. 5355' vs. PHX Field Elev. 1135'

 

Even if only the CA floor is set to 5400' so the CA isn't going off for every pair of aircraft squawking Mode C at ABQ, this effectively disables CA for the entire PHX Terminal Area at and below altitudes where it might otherwise be useful. Worse, setting the radar filter to declutter ABQ would prevent me from vectoring most aircraft to final. Also, at least for ZAB, we do provide tower services for all our towered airports (to the extent practical) while working the center position. Setting filters so as to allow maximum radar coverage within your airspace jurisdiction is a basic precept of radar control, and essentially translates to a tower controller requirement on VATSIM since we are, for all intents and purposes, a 100% radar environment. Artificially limiting what you can see is shooting yourself in the foot if there are other potential resolutions to the clutter/CA problem.

 

In a broader sense, teaching pilots to "Squawk Mode C" when only a center controller is on, but to squawk stby if on the ground with local/ground/delivery working them is only going to confuse the n00b pilot more by setting a double standard. Lets try and establish one uniform, understood, and accepted standard. Pilots should squawk standby when on the ground until cleared for takeoff, and return to standby when back on the ground. This will minimize scope clutter and extraneous conflict alerts regardless of location. Yes, I understand that ASDE-X in real life requires the transponder to be on, but we already have our virtual ASDE-X when operating in the Tower/Ground/CD radar modes, and pilots don't need to be squawking Mode C for that to operate effectively for us as controllers.

 

Additionally, I can understand that retaining aircraft identity can be somewhat frustrating, especially if operating with ASRC or VRC in "Realistic Data Tag Mode" (comments of which I will save for a different time). My best advice for situations where multiple aircraft are on the ground in a single location would be to switch to Tower Radar Mode temporarily, noting who is where and/or using a pad of paper if you as the controller are too busy on the radar side of things to keep track of everyone. With separation of traffic being priority #1 of ATC, I don't personally feel bad about leaving aircraft on the ground a little longer when I have higher priority things going on up high.

 

~Nate

Nate Johns

 

"All things are difficult before they are easy."

- Dr. Thomas Fuller, Gnomologia, 1732

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My best advice for situations where multiple aircraft are on the ground in a single location would be to switch to Tower Radar Mode temporarily....

 

I don't think you can switch to TWR mode in ASRC if on with a 'CTR' callsign, its grayed out on my ASRC menu. It only seems to display when on as TWR.

 

Regards.

Ernie.

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Correct. VRC is the only client (maybe euroscope will allow it) tower mode while logged in as center. What i've seen some pilot do (and I think its dandy) is on the ground they squawk standby. As the approach the departure end of the field, I'll see their data tag pop up when they switch to mode c. When I see that I'll know they are ready and will clear them to go, if they are #1 or tiph if #2 etc. Makes the process that much quicker.

 

As far as arrivals, as soon as the vacate squawk standby is my general rule. After giving them taxi to terminal/parking and they are still squawking C a few moments later, i'll just politely remind them.

vZME Air Traffic Manager

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I really don't see what the big deal is. If I'm on CTR, I couldn't care less if the field is covered in datatags, because I don't need to see the airport. Even on APP it really doesn't make a difference, and then I will definitely have my radar floor set.

 

Somewhere in the history of VATSIM, someone started teaching new controllers that if someone has their transponder on on the ground, it's a crime against humanity. I don't get it, someone help me out here.

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I really don't see what the big deal is. If I'm on CTR, I couldn't care less if the field is covered in datatags, because I don't need to see the airport. Even on APP it really doesn't make a difference, and then I will definitely have my radar floor set.

 

Somewhere in the history of VATSIM, someone started teaching new controllers that if someone has their transponder on on the ground, it's a crime against humanity. I don't get it, someone help me out here.

 

The problem is, if you are working CTR and also providing continuity of service down to the APP/TWR level and cannot use filtering to turn off aircraft on the ground, there can be some "clutter" issues with having targets squawking Mode C while on the ground. If everybody's just squawking Mode C and the targets are all still, it's not a problem. However, if the aircraft start moving around, and especially as aircraft start approaching the airport, the radar client quite often starts flashing conflict alerts up for targets on the ground. The flashing data tags are much bigger than the simple "Mode C Intruder" blip, which then causes a visibility issue with other traffic near the airport.

 

In some cases, if the TRACON is busy, there might be other aircraft very near the airport that can get buried in those tags, and it just becomes annoying trying to get tags on the ground un-painted when they pop up for those reasons.

 

I don't see what the big deal is about just having pilots squawk 'Standby' on the ground? It's not like it's a whole bunch of work...

/s/ Josh Ridderhoff

ZLC Senior Controller

Fly ZLC! | ZLC Pilot & Controller Forums

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I guess I'm just a stickler for realism. I've yet to hear a controller tell me or anyone else to "Squawk Standby" on the ground. Granted, I've been told to turn the transponder on on the ground (STL), but never to turn it off. (In the real world, that is.)

 

I can see how it might cause problems occasionally, but what I'm talking about is controllers that jump down your throat about it as soon as you get off the runway. It's unnecessary to make a big deal about it, and a lot of controllers on here do.u

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However, if the aircraft start moving around, and especially as aircraft start

approaching the airport, the radar client quite often starts flashing conflict

alerts up for targets on the ground...

 

Either way, you're going to sometimes get flashing tags. Even with the current way,

some pilots don't squawk standby immediately after landing. Some forget completely and have

to eventually be reminded.

 

I just drop the arrival's tag if it start's flashing.

 

Regards.

Ernie Alston.

Albuquerque ARTCC.

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I can see how it might cause problems occasionally, but what I'm talking about is controllers that jump down your throat about it as soon as you get off the runway. It's unnecessary to make a big deal about it, and a lot of controllers on here do.

 

Oh yeah, I definitely agree with you there. Most folks know to do it, and with SquawkBox it's an extra click or two to do it when you're already kinda busy with cleaning up the airplane, so I know it sometimes takes a minute. I never harr[Mod - Happy Thoughts] my pilots about it -- only time I'll ever bother with it is if the guy has been shut down at the gate for 5 minutes, then I might say "Hey, DAL123, if you get a chance, could you squawk 'Standby' for me please?" -- but never anything more than that.

/s/ Josh Ridderhoff

ZLC Senior Controller

Fly ZLC! | ZLC Pilot & Controller Forums

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May I make a suggestion...

 

This works for me at least and is realistic while working APP or CTR.

 

If you are on the ramp areas (non-movement) you should be in STANDBY.

 

If you call me for taxi you should have your TX on and if you call me for takeoff you BETTER have your TX on...

 

Because if I don't see your tag you're not getting a clearance from me.

 

I think we forget we are always radar controllers... even on the ground.

Regards,

JX

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May I make a suggestion...

 

This works for me at least and is realistic while working APP or CTR.

 

If you are on the ramp areas (non-movement) you should be in STANDBY.

 

If you call me for taxi you should have your TX on and if you call me for takeoff you BETTER have your TX on...

 

Because if I don't see your tag you're not getting a clearance from me.

 

I think we forget we are always radar controllers... even on the ground.

 

Wayne and the rest of the guys who fly their Cubs simulating non-transponder VFR operations are, I'm sure, sorely disappointed at your point of view.

 

For someone who is running a VA that claims to be at the height of realism, this is a very unrealistic comment.

 

~Nate

Nate Johns

 

"All things are difficult before they are easy."

- Dr. Thomas Fuller, Gnomologia, 1732

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I actually brought the topic of No transponder simulation up to the supervisors in our forum. The idea was shot down, so long as the controller has a problem with it. By this I mean if the controller has a problem with a pilot not squawking C when airborne, then a supervisor call may be made. If the controller enjoys something a little different and doesn't mind the aircraft flying without his transponder on, then more power to him (or her) for simulating a non-transponder pilot.

 

If the controller wants to have the blip there, the pilot has to comply per CoC B4. If the aircraft has no transponder equipped, they, in actuality, do as SB and FSInn are, for our purposes, transponders with Mode C capability.

 

Cheers

vZME Air Traffic Manager

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Well, when the day comes that controllers can start tracks independantly from the targets themselves (and I hope that is soon), I sincerely hope that CoC B4 will be revised to address non-transponder operations, at a minimum.

 

~Nate

Nate Johns

 

"All things are difficult before they are easy."

- Dr. Thomas Fuller, Gnomologia, 1732

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Well, when the day comes that controllers can start tracks independantly from the targets themselves (and I hope that is soon), I sincerely hope that CoC B4 will be revised to address non-transponder operations, at a minimum.

 

~Nate

 

Eh? Start track independently from targets?

vZME Air Traffic Manager

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