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ATC Question - Monitor


Morgan Davies
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Why can't we change this? This is something that is sooo easy to fix and will get rid of this "VATSIMism". All we got to do is to have our ground controllers not tell aircraft to switch over to tower. Sure they WILL call us and ask to switch over, and when they do we simply inform them that "you may switch to tower when you are ready to go at the runway, I don't have to tell you to switch".

 

Couple months ago, we (we being vZTL) decided to simulate having Mode C on while on all taxiways and runways and wouldn't give a taxi instruction until you were squawking normal. In the beginning we were telling EVERY aircraft to do it as no one knew they needed to do it (even though the ATIS, which they said they had, told them they needed to). We just kept on it and soon, it was becoming a rarity to tell planes to have to squawk normal as people now knew what they had to do.

 

So can we fix this? Absolutely. It will take a couple weeks or so of constantlty reminding pilots but after that, you will only have to be telling the new pilots that just joined as everyone else knows whats going on.

 

I hate to be a bushel buster, but I don't really agree. Firstly, I think the learning curve depends on how many people take VATSIM seriously enough to pay attention to this small detail. Additionally, it depends on how often they experience and hear it. Like you said, we would have to get across to every single pilot the details of "Monitor" and of "Expecting pilots to call up the Local controller on their own when they are ready." We need consistent Ground and Local controllers online to be able to have pilots experience how this works. A large group of pilots that consistently don't have GND-TWR service will not be able to experience this "learning push." How do we get to them? Can we try to increase GND/TWR staffing?

 

Here's where I seem to have trouble. A lot of pilots, whether new, inexperienced, or just plain p[Mod - Happy Thoughts]ive (in that they aren't paying a whole hell of alot of attention to what I say) won't catch certain commands that I issue. When I'm on a Center position and I'm giving out clearances and taxi instructions to pilots, I used to often say: "Readback correct, taxi runway 22L at your discretion." (There might be specific taxi routes, traffic advisories, but all similarly issued). I don't mean to be...mean, but whether or not you are expecting me to say that, you should still be listening well enough to notice I just issued a taxi instruction.

 

Anyways, the logic was that I could cut out a couple unnecessary future communications, right? And I wasn't the only one in our ARTCC that did this, there were several people. And I've also heard it at other ARTCCs. And I'll be honest, I would still issue taxi instructions just after readback. Well, what happened most of the time? Within 5 minutes, I got the transmission I wanted to avoid: "Center, ready for pushback" or "Center, we're pushed back, ready for taxi to 22L."

 

No joke, 90-95% of the time, I would still get one of those dang transmissions, no matter how often I used my above transmission. I can't make it more clear than what I was saying, save for spelling it out: "Readback correct, taxi runway 22L at your discretion, you do not need to call for a taxi clearance later on, this is it!" Lol.

 

Maybe I just got a lop of bad luck. Maybe I just kept getting new pilots every time. I tried to stop and explain to some of them when I had the time, but this usually happened when it was busier (because that's when I needed more radio time for myself, which is why I gave immediate taxi instructions)...and so I couldn't always explain to them what I just did...I just had to *sigh* and move on to the next aircraft.

Edited by Guest

Steve Ogrodowski

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A little OT, but though I haven't heard monitor tower xxx.xx in the air, I have heard something like:

 

"SWA1315, [approach clearance], contact tower at LIMMA 120.95" (not specifically at LAX... all around the US)

 

Listen to KORD in Hard IFR conditions. When O'hare is reduced to the point that they can only use parallel (Non converging) ILS approaches, they will either say "switch to tower now, contact tower at (whatever the outer marker is)" or "monitor tower now on 121.9. Contact tower at (OM)".

 

The reason for this is there is a radar position at KORD that is on the tower frequency who's sole responsibility is keeping an eye on the parallel approaches and making sure that planes don't get into the zone between the runways. If someone does, this controller will [Mod - Happy Thoughts]ign a GA.

 

So, planes are instructed to monitor tower as soon as they are established, but don't need to contact tower for landing clearance until later.

 

I may be missing some of the details, but believe I have the basics right.

ZMP_BD

MITRE OP1 survivor

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Why can't we change this? This is something that is sooo easy to fix and will get rid of this "VATSIMism". All we got to do is to have our ground controllers not tell aircraft to switch over to tower. Sure they WILL call us and ask to switch over, and when they do we simply inform them that "you may switch to tower when you are ready to go at the runway, I don't have to tell you to switch".

 

Couple months ago, we (we being vZTL) decided to simulate having Mode C on while on all taxiways and runways and wouldn't give a taxi instruction until you were squawking normal. In the beginning we were telling EVERY aircraft to do it as no one knew they needed to do it (even though the ATIS, which they said they had, told them they needed to). We just kept on it and soon, it was becoming a rarity to tell planes to have to squawk normal as people now knew what they had to do.

 

So can we fix this? Absolutely. It will take a couple weeks or so of constantlty reminding pilots but after that, you will only have to be telling the new pilots that just joined as everyone else knows whats going on.

 

I hate to be a bushel buster, but I don't really agree. Firstly, I think the learning curve depends on how many people take VATSIM seriously enough to pay attention to this small detail. Additionally, it depends on how often they experience and hear it. Like you said, we would have to get across to every single pilot the details of "Monitor" and of "Expecting pilots to call up the Local controller on their own when they are ready." We need consistent Ground and Local controllers online to be able to have pilots experience how this works. A large group of pilots that consistently don't have GND-TWR service will not be able to experience this "learning push." How do we get to them? Can we try to increase GND/TWR staffing?

 

Here's where I seem to have trouble. A lot of pilots, whether new, inexperienced, or just plain p[Mod - Happy Thoughts]ive (in that they aren't paying a whole hell of alot of attention to what I say) won't catch certain commands that I issue. When I'm on a Center position and I'm giving out clearances and taxi instructions to pilots, I used to often say: "Readback correct, taxi runway 22L at your discretion." (There might be specific taxi routes, traffic advisories, but all similarly issued). I don't mean to be...mean, but whether or not you are expecting me to say that, you should still be listening well enough to notice I just issued a taxi instruction.

 

Anyways, the logic was that I could cut out a couple unnecessary future communications, right? And I wasn't the only one in our ARTCC that did this, there were several people. And I've also heard it at other ARTCCs. And I'll be honest, I would still issue taxi instructions just after readback. Well, what happened most of the time? Within 5 minutes, I got the transmission I wanted to avoid: "Center, ready for pushback" or "Center, we're pushed back, ready for taxi to 22L."

 

No joke, 90-95% of the time, I would still get one of those dang transmissions, no matter how often I used my above transmission. I can't make it more clear than what I was saying, save for spelling it out: "Readback correct, taxi runway 22L at your discretion, you do not need to call for a taxi clearance later on, this is it!" Lol.

 

Maybe I just got a lop of bad luck. Maybe I just kept getting new pilots every time. I tried to stop and explain to some of them when I had the time, but this usually happened when it was busier (because that's when I needed more radio time for myself, which is why I gave immediate taxi instructions)...and so I couldn't always explain to them what I just did...I just had to *sigh* and move on to the next aircraft.

 

The difference here is that EVERYONE would be doing this. Your problem is only related to yourself and whoever else does what you mentioned. I personally don't do that and rarely hear those instructions when I do fly online. Why would only the tower/ground guys do this? If you are providing services for ground, you are included in this whole thing. Trust me, if everyone in VATUSA at least were to do this, you would notice a change. The problem is is that its virtually impossilbe to do this as their are controllers and ARTCCs that will drop the ball. But if we could do something similar at ZTL (and other ARTCCs as well actually), I know this could be done.

There is an art . . . to flying. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.

 

Benton Wilmes

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I'm all for changing the way we do it here in VATUSA. Contact Tower on [whatever] is pointless and downgrades the realistic experience on VATSIM. Keep in mind that we controllers are also staring at a DBRITE called VRC, so we know what's up and coming. The problem is letting everyone know we're making a change, if a change is made. I don't teach my students to say "contact TWR," rather, "monitor Tower," and its variants.

 

My 2 cents...

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I've posted about this before and I'll state it again here (with regards to monitoring tower while in the air).

 

You will hear this at places such as LAX and ORD when simultaneous parallel ILS approaches are in use ("Simuls" for short). The reason this is done is because of the parallel monitor position required to be open when these approaches are being conducted.

 

I observed this when I was at C90 a couple weeks ago with Rob Dofflemyer as O'Hare was on a plan WEIRD configuration landing 22R and 28 and, because of traffic levels, decided to open the trip runway (27L) which requires the parallel monitor position to be open for both runways.

 

The monitor controllers are on their own scopes centered in on their respective finals to watch (I watched Rob on 28 for about 15 minutes before they closed the trip). The controller plugs in on the tower frequency for the runway they are watching and conducts a radio check to ensure the override is working and then watches the final to ensure no aircraft on his/her runway cross the NTZ (Non-Transgression Zone). Most of the time the only thing you do is listen to the tower give instructions on this position all day... but it's a necessary position to have in order to run the simuls at airports such as LAX and ORD...

 

The controller working the final approach sector for 28 must vector aircraft for at least a 16 mile final and join the LOC at or above 5000 (so they vector for WAVIE on the approach). 28 is the high side, 27L is the low side... the low side controller (working 27L arrivals) must vector his aircraft for at least a 16 mile final at 4000 (Reference EBENS fix). This way they have 1000 feet vertical spacing joining the finals in case someone overshoots. Once the aircraft is observed establishing on the localizer, the final controller for 28 would then tell the aircraft "Change to, monitor O'Hare Tower, 120.75, report the outer marker WILLT". This way the aircraft can change over to the tower frequency while tracking in on a 16+ mile final... the tower doesn't have to worry about the aircraft calling way out on extended final, and the parallel monitor controller can observe the aircraft track in and issue instructions if deviations through the NTZ are observed... (clear as mud?)

 

Heres part of the ZLA SOP for LAX final approach, sums everything up nicely:

 

In the real world, two separate controllers, called “final approach monitorsâ€

Andrew James Doubleday | Twitch Stream: Ground_Point_Niner

University of North Dakota | FAA Air Traffic Collegiate Training Initiative (AT-CTI) GraduateGPN_Horizontal_-_Tertiary.thumb.png.9d7edc4d985ab7ed1dc60b92a5dfa85c.png

 

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You've got my vote for ground's "contact tower" being an annoying Vatsimism that controllers should be educating pilots on.

 

A ground controller is in the perfect position to educate the pilot. Let's use that resource rather than squander it.

ZLA Pilot Certs make your eyes bright, your teeth white, and childbirth a pleasure. Get yours today!
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If we were all sitting together in the same tower cab, or at least sitting together at a big event, "Monitor Tower" would be infinitely more useful.

 

Without the incredibly tactile action of handing a (well-marked?) strip from ground to local controller in departure order, in deference to an audio and perhaps visual cue of a strip popping up in a controller client sometimes seemingly at random, the whole monitor tower concept is a mite difficult to really count on in the VATSIM environment.

 

"Contact tower" is far from annoying here, and is often necessary. Really, it's something that's up to local procedure anyway. Where monitoring may work at once ARTCC/airport, it may be a dismal idea at another. That's why there's no established standard on whether to say one or the other, and is precisely why the option exists in the .65.

 

~Nate

Nate Johns

 

"All things are difficult before they are easy."

- Dr. Thomas Fuller, Gnomologia, 1732

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