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ASDE-X Monitoring on VATSIM - Really Necessary?


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Having squawkbox to normal is not a good idea. In a real plane one of the last things on my check list is "Transponder = off". I also think that there's nothing wrong with telling a pilot to squawk normal OR standby on the ground. I know how upset some of you will be by me saying this, but this is NOT real-world. We simulate and emulate it, yes, but why do things that aren't needed? We have tower and ground mode so why not use them? Sometimes I just don't understand why people try to make EVERYTHING just like the real-world. I am a realism buff, and always will be, but there needs to be a line. This is a good example of that line.

 

My 2 cents...

 

JM

 

 

Amen, Matthew. I think that it's not necessarily a bad thing to require it, but it should be an ARTCC-based policy. Some enforce, some don't, and some it's a controllers' preference.

 

Justin

 

 

Singing a little different tone now...

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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Before this post got into a huge debate I was wondering about providing top-down service. Lets say I'm a center controller and I have my major tower online. There is one huge blurb of data coming out of O'Hare cluttering my scope. Ok no problem, I'll turn my filter on and byebye. Now what about that guy sitting at Cedar Rapids who needs to get his IFR Clearance? Now I can't see him, I can't pick up his strip. What do I do?

 

My point is, the filters are not the best solution, and until Ross or someone else decides to make an ASDE-X mode in their radar client, I think it is completely unnecessary.

Matt Bartels
VP: Marketing & Communication
## vpmkt (at) vatsim.net
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Unless otherwise stated, opinions are my own and not representative of the official opinion of the VATSIM Board of Governors

 

 

 

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Now what about that guy sitting at Cedar Rapids who needs to get his IFR Clearance? Now I can't see him, I can't pick up his strip. What do I do?

 

"Chicago Center, good morning, Amtran 1043 requesting IFR clearance from Cedar Rapids to Indianapolis."

 

AMT1043

 

Nick Bartolotta - ZSE Instructor, pilot at large

 

"Just fly it on down to within a inch of the runway and let it drop in from there."

- Capt. Don Lanham, ATA Airlines

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Now what about that guy sitting at Cedar Rapids who needs to get his IFR Clearance? Now I can't see him, I can't pick up his strip. What do I do?

 

"Chicago Center, good morning, Amtran 1043 requesting IFR clearance from Cedar Rapids to Indianapolis."

 

AMT1043

 

 

The primary flaw with this occurs when pilots say "United 123" and ATC tries to type in UAL123, but they logged in as UNITED12.

 

Or, way more often is the case, "Delta 123" and it's like DVA123 instead of the proper DAL123.

 

It's not a n00b proof system

 

~Nate

Nate Johns

 

"All things are difficult before they are easy."

- Dr. Thomas Fuller, Gnomologia, 1732

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got to it before i did Nate My question was rhetorical anyways

Matt Bartels
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Unless otherwise stated, opinions are my own and not representative of the official opinion of the VATSIM Board of Governors

 

 

 

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My take on this.

 

This only becomes a problem at any position higher than the local (Ground/Tower) level. And even at that, it would be at the ARTCC level, because it all depends on if that ARTCC has SOPs set that anyone higher than the local controller will simulate the local facility. Obviously for major airports, this will be done, but also realize that not all major (Cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] B/Cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] C) airports use ASDE-X.

 

For those that do, and if the TRACON/Center controller is handling services there, they can open up the second window in VRC, set their radar mode to Ground, and you're set.

 

The only place where this becomes a huge problem is if the TRACON or Center controller is using ASRC. I'm sure Mike Evans is working on fixing that, but that's where the only problem would occur.

 

This will be a totally different story between ARTCCs, so I'd rather treat it as a non-issue until at least every Cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] B airport in US Airspace is using it, and see where we go from there.

 

BL.

Brad Littlejohn

ZLA Senior Controller

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Singing a little different tone now...

 

Umm, no not really... my point was from the beginning why is it a big deal? Why do local controllers need to use ARTS when Ross made it so much easier? I never said I was against this idea, as a matter of fact I usually enforce vASDE-X so I can see aircraft on the ground ([Mod - Happy Thoughts]uming no local or terminal controller is online) when working CTR, or, sometimes approach. I think ARTCCs should have the right to do what they want on this individual situation, but that's just referring to having aircraft squawk normal or stop squawk on the ground.

 

Justin

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Um, yes we do... Scott, with all due respect you took a valid argument... one that I'm not totally against (on your side), and just brought up something totally irrelevant... and without squawks you can't see the full datablock. And, I NEVER said we shouldn't simulate realism (you didn't say that, but I think that's what you're inferring... sorry if I mis/over read that ). I said that some people just go a tad too far with the realism bit, and this ARTS for local thing is a good example. I never said we shouldn't simulate ASDE-X... that should be ARTCC's discretion, but why should you require a student to use a certain radar mode for ATCT? I'm not saying ZTL does, but I get a feeling some do.

 

That's all... and if you want to debate something, that's awesome and all, but could you make sound a little more respectful? Nothing against you, that's just a big problem I have with these forums... we debate and argue, which is not a bad thing, but so many flames start because people come off a little harsh, it upsets the wrong people etc... why not just sound respectful?

 

Sorry for rambling (like normal )...

 

Justin

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There's plenty of docomeentation for real-world airports specifying which ones use ASDE-X and which don't. All controllers have to do is what the real world does. After all, that's what simulation is all about. If you have to do things your own way, in conflict with the real world way, it's not simulation any more.

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We don't need squawk codes on here either, why do we use them?

 

Um, yes we do... ...

 

Um, no we don't. Every connection to VATSIM has a virtual mode S transponder that identifies the plane without fail whether the Mode A is set correctly, incorrectly, or is on standby. You may need a unique squawk to get a FDB, but when was the list time you tagged up the wrong aircraft or pulled up the wrong flight plan? Or, for that matter, had a sup go pester the wrong aircraft squawking standby at KSEA 34R?

 

There are "Sim-isms" that we either must deal with or choose to deal with. Squawk codes are something we have dealt with for ages. Flipping our xpndr to mode C while taxiing is one of the new ones.

 

I'm sorry someone moved your cheese, but I [Mod - Happy Thoughts]ure you there's still cheese out there. Just don't sweat the small stuff while you search for the non-ASDE-X airports that won't require you to change your taxiing habits.

Steven Perry

VATSIM Supervisor

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There's plenty of docomeentation for real-world airports specifying which ones use ASDE-X and which don't. All controllers have to do is what the real world does. After all, that's what simulation is all about. If you have to do things your own way, in conflict with the real world way, it's not simulation any more.

 

Then please.. Enlighten us. Where is such docomeentation? I only know that at my local ARTCC, only LAX uses ASDE-X. SAN and LAS, both Cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] B airports, and all Cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] C/D/G airports, do not. So for all intents and purposes, if I were working CTR or Approach/departure, I could ship you off to unicom as soon as you're cleared for your approach and be done with you.

 

Not that I would, and controllers (and a LOT of pilots) who know me here know I wouldn't do that; I know better. But that situation conceivably exists.

 

My whole point is that that if it is done in a few places (LAX, JFK, BOS), then it would be up to that particular sector to say yes or no on whether their controllers will use it or not. And even with that, there is no divisionwide (read: VATUSA-wide) regulation stating that controllers must provide Tower/local services at a given facility. So that is left up to SOPs for each individual ARTCC.

 

So pilots will never know when they are going to need to keep their transponders on or not. Controllers at a position higher than a local level are going to have more to deal with than the clutter of ASDE-X in use at a given airport. Their PRIORITY is separation of the aircraft in the sky over anything on the ground.

 

Have a look at my previous post, referencing VRC and ASRC. You will see that there will be a huge issue with ASRC (Mike is already aware of it, but then again, you did say that developers are often lazy, so maybe he isn't? )

 

When it is more concrete across every major airport, then we can consider it. Until then, it's to be done at the local level, and at the discretion of that ARTCC. If you don't like it, become a controller, learn the SOPs, then see what we really have to deal with.

 

BL.

Brad Littlejohn

ZLA Senior Controller

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Then please.. Enlighten us. Where is such docomeentation?

 

On the airport diagram.

 

So pilots will never know when they are going to need to keep their transponders on or not.

 

Unless they look at the airport diagram (which they should), where it will be noted if ASDE-X is in use.

 

When it is more concrete across every major airport, then we can consider it. Until then, it's to be done at the local level, and at the discretion of that ARTCC. If you don't like it, become a controller, learn the SOPs, then see what we really have to deal with.

 

I like realism. If real controllers can hold that extra bit of information in memory for the airports they are working, so can simulated controllers. There is no justification at all for making a whole set of make-believe rules for the simulated world. Just do what they do in real life. As I've said, it's on the airport diagrams.

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Anthony,

 

I actually agree with you, the information is easily accessible on the airport diagrams. However, you should bear in mind that in a worst case scenario, a single VATSIM controller is doing the job of > 50+ real world controllers (albeit with far less traffic).

 

Your posts have a resounding theme that if it's done in real world, then it should be done here...and that if a real world controller can remember to do something, then we can remember to do it here. If you firmly believe that a VATSIM controller can retain exactly the same amount of information as 50 separate professional controllers, then if there is any left, PLEASE send me a batch of whatever you're smoking, because it's clearly of a level of quality beyond my financial means.

 

That said, in this particular instance, it's reasonable for a controller to know whether a given airport within his airspace is ADSEXY-compliant...but do be careful about trying to bring every real world procedure into play. The new taxi regulations regarding fully qualified taxi instructions, for example, are absolutely not feasible for a center controller to adhere to on VATSIM.

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Then please.. Enlighten us. Where is such docomeentation?

 

On the airport diagram.

 

You're missing my point. Is this at every major airport in US Airspace?

 

So pilots will never know when they are going to need to keep their transponders on or not.

 

Unless they look at the airport diagram (which they should), where it will be noted if ASDE-X is in use.

 

Once again, you miss my point. From a controller's perspective, unless they are at the LOCAL level, this will cause a HUGE issue if they don't have split windows open in VRC to where they can see it. ASRC does not have that functionality. Euroscope does have that functionality, but that type of system isn't used in the US.

 

Here's a perfect example. A review of ASRC was done by the people at AVSIM shortly before it came out. Here's a screenshot of it in use at ESSA:

 

http://www.avsim.com/pages/0702/asrc/asrc_preview_000.jpg

 

Here is another at ZOB:

 

http://www.avsim.com/pages/0702/asrc/asrc_preview_010.jpg

 

These are both at the Center/FIR and Approach/director/Control levels. Those green blips (and yes, there are more than just 5 or 6 of them) down on the ground at ESSA... imagine how cluttered it would be for the Approach/Center controller, all squawking normal from ASDE-X. Imagine that now during a major event, or even an unscheduled large group of people flying out. You want a controller (who may or may not have to offer tower services at that airport) to sort out and handle that, just for the sake of your realism?

 

When it is more concrete across every major airport, then we can consider it. Until then, it's to be done at the local level, and at the discretion of that ARTCC. If you don't like it, become a controller, learn the SOPs, then see what we really have to deal with.

 

I like realism. If real controllers can hold that extra bit of information in memory for the airports they are working, so can simulated controllers. There is no justification at all for making a whole set of make-believe rules for the simulated world. Just do what they do in real life. As I've said, it's on the airport diagrams.

 

Do real world Center/ARTCC/TRACON controllers operate the local tower?

 

I can already tell you the answer: NO. So should it be their responsibility to use ASDE-X at a given airport, when their priority is aircraft in the sky? Like I said, if you think it is that easy for us controllers, then by all means, take my invitation and become one. you'll see how it REALLY is. Until then, you really have no experience to say what we really do and do not do.

 

BL.

Brad Littlejohn

ZLA Senior Controller

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Your posts have a resounding theme that if it's done in real world, then it should be done here ...

 

Well, golly, that's what simulation is all about! If the virtual world is going to have all sorts of rules of its own, it's not a simulation.

 

That said, in this particular instance, it's reasonable for a controller to know whether a given airport within his airspace is ADSEXY-compliant...but do be careful about trying to bring every real world procedure into play. The new taxi regulations regarding fully qualified taxi instructions, for example, are absolutely not feasible for a center controller to adhere to on VATSIM.

 

Taxi regulations are different, because they place no obligation on a pilot. If the controller gives me precise taxi instructions, I follow them. If he doesn't, I look at the airport diagram and try to find my way, or I ask for instructions if I get really lost.

 

ASDE-X, however, imposes constraints on pilots. They are supposed to be aware of it; if they fail to follow it, the FAA can go after them. If a pilot sees ASDE-X on the chart, then turns on Mode C on the ground, and then a VATSIM controller tells him not to, this destroys realism, and vice versa. It would be like instructing me to maintain VFR at or above 18,000, when I know that I cannot legally do that in real life.

 

You're missing my point. Is this at every major airport in US Airspace?

 

I don't know, and I don't care. I look at the airport diagram before my flight, and it will tell me if I need to switch to Mode C on the ground or not. That's the beauty of docomeentation.

 

Once again, you miss my point. From a controller's perspective, unless they are at the LOCAL level, this will cause a HUGE issue if they don't have split windows open in VRC to where they can see it. ASRC does not have that functionality. Euroscope does have that functionality, but that type of system isn't used in the US.

 

Well, that's a controller's problem, not mine. Or is it also okay for a pilot to refuse to squawk Mode C because the transponder in his sim refuses to do it? If the pilot cannot squawk Mode C, he needs to stay out of airspace that requires it, period (whether he cannot do it because of his sim or for other reasons).

 

Do real world Center/ARTCC/TRACON controllers operate the local tower?

 

Once again, don't know, don't care. That's an ATC issue, not a pilot issue. I have a frequency, I tune to it, I talk to the controller. Just as a controller talks to me without worrying about whether or not I have an instrument rating (even in real life, it's not the controller's problem).

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This thread has turned a horrible day into an exceptional one! I’d like to thank everyone who has posted in it. I have finally decided how I (as a controller on this network) will handle ASDE-X “simulationâ€

-Dan Everette

CFI, CFII, MEI

Having the runway in sight just at TDZE + 100 is like Mom, Warm cookies and milk, and Christmas morning, all wrapped into one.

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