Jump to content

Request Staff Interpretation (Tower Hours of Operation)


Kyle Weber
 Share

Recommended Posts

Hello all,

 

Over the past couple of weeks, this question has come up a few times within vZDV. Searching the forums here and policies, I can't seem to find a definitive answer and hence cannot give one to my fellow controllers.

 

So, my question is, to any VATUSA or other VATSIM staff members, if a particular tower is open for only a portion of the day (e.g. KPUB or KBJC within vZDV, only open until 2200 local), are controllers required to treat such airports as towered 24/7? While we understand that we cannot completely close airports...if a plane arrives into KPUB (a Cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] D airport when tower is open) at 2230, are controllers required to give landing/taxi clearances? Or, can controllers issue an approach clearance followed by an IFR cancellation/frequency change to advisory?

 

We have both opinions in vZDV, some feel that giving a clearance and switching to advisory is not denying anybody service as the airport is still open but some enjoy that added realism of flying into uncontrolled fields after hours. While others feel that towers should be staffed 24/7 and enjoy giving the extended ATC, even though it may not be as realistic.

 

I'd appreciate any feedback that I can p[Mod - Happy Thoughts] on to my colleagues.

 

Thanks.

Kyle Weber

Minneapolis ARTCC, VATUSA, C3 / P2

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Jim's correct - ask your local training staff. At ZSE I've always respected local tower operating hours, and the pilots seem to respond well. Of course, probably not all of them are aware of their destination's towered status, so they probably don't care

Tim Krajcar

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yep, local ARTCC decision. I'm a part of two ARTCC's and both have different policies.

 

...as is intended...VATUSA has left the decision of coverage of airports other than the primary airport to the ARTCC for determination. It would seem the historically prevalent top-down service system used across VATSIM is best supported by this. As long as the ARTCCs do not implement policies that are counter to the general focus and use of VATSIM and its regulations, they can establish their own operational requirements in this respect.

 

Of course Norman has it spot-on that if a controller does log-on at a TWR facility then he would be expected to provide appropriate services for that facility regardless of real-world operating hours - otherwise, why log-on to that facility in the first place?

Gary Millsaps

VATUSA1

 

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

guaranteed."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I demand that a senseless, asinine policy be implemented immediately!

 

Sorry, the Department of Senseless & Asinine Policies is only open on alternate Thursdays. Frequency change approved...

 

Sorry, the Department of Senseless & Asinine Policies is out of funding and has to layoff it's staff due to the economic downturn.

Best Regards,

Thomas Mathieu

VATAME1 Region Director

VATSIM Africa Middle East

http://www.vatame.net

[email protected]

TMSIGVATAME.png

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I demand that a senseless, asinine policy be implemented immediately!

 

Make sure that when it has been decided upon, that an emphatic statement be issued that the decision has been made and will not be reconsidered. Reconsideration is the mortal enemy of stupidity everywhere.

 

Cheers!

 

Luke

... I spawn hundreds of children a day. They are daemons because they are easier to kill. The first four remain stubbornly alive despite my (and their) best efforts.

... Normal in my household makes you a member of a visible minority.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Roy...there is no "we" on this one. Each ARTCC has the discretion to define a policy. I've encountered facilities that only provide twr service at Cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] B fields, others B and C, others that handle B, C and D, and others that actually leave it up to the discretion of a controller at any given time based on workload. There is no single answer.

 

The only thing a pilot can do is call and ask if a controller is providing twr service.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Graduated Controller Ratings

A VATSIM rating is part of a graduated scheme where a person cannot get a higher

rating without having first completed the requirements for the lower rating/s. Graduated

ratings are essential within the VATSIM on-line environment since on-line ATC must

provide a "top-down" service and cover for any missing positions beneath them; this

applies to all positions from CTR down.

 

The GRP DOES state that ATC MUST (emphasis added) cover for ANY(emphasis added) missing positions beneath them.

 

While I agree that it SHOULD be permissible to handle non-primary airports on a "workload permitting" basis, the GRP clearly states that we do NOT have this option. Would have been nice if it did.

 

Since GRP is a VATSIM EC policy, no lower policy can negate it.

 

If a position exists, then we must cover it. Sounds like another hole in our beloved GRP!

 

Jason Vodnansky

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My question is in regards to how to handle individual requests for tower services. In example, a pilot is flying at what is really midnight, but his simulator is set to noon. While I am controlling at midnight, Eagle (KEGE) Tower is (in the real world) closed, and I, within the confines of the procedures set forth by my ARTCC, elect to not provide tower services. However, this pilot is flying out of EGE, and requests taxi instructions on Center frequency. Do I:

 

a> Provide Tower Services, period, or

b> Inform pilot "EGE Tower is closed, contact me for IFR Clearance"

 

I know if it wasn't busy, I would provide the service, but in the interest of realism, I would not provide the service. I've noticed lately that pilots seem to enjoy the added sense of realism.

Roy Evans II

ZDV_RE, C1

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow... I never really thought of it that way. Indeed though, point well made.

 

VATSIM, the ultimate aviation MMORPG

 

I wonder if we can compete with WoW.

 

But yes, to stay on topic, if the guy wants to provide tower services to you, then so be it, if not, the controller is operating on Zulu time regardless of what you have your sim set to. I agree with Ian, just work it out amongst yourselves.

 

~Nate

Nate Johns

 

"All things are difficult before they are easy."

- Dr. Thomas Fuller, Gnomologia, 1732

Link to comment
Share on other sites

....... but in the interest of realism, I would not provide the service. I've noticed lately that pilots seem to enjoy the added sense of realism.

 

Who's realism is it if it's midnight at your scope and TWR is closed but it's 10 am in his cockpit? I do not claim to know the right answer and suspect it is situational at a couple of levels, but when we claim high ground on realism that is a slippery slope.

Kyle Ramsey

 

0

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Graduated Controller Ratings

A VATSIM rating is part of a graduated scheme where a person cannot get a higher

rating without having first completed the requirements for the lower rating/s. Graduated

ratings are essential within the VATSIM on-line environment since on-line ATC must

provide a "top-down" service and cover for any missing positions beneath them; this

applies to all positions from CTR down.

 

The GRP DOES state that ATC MUST (emphasis added) cover for ANY(emphasis added) missing positions beneath them.

 

While I agree that it SHOULD be permissible to handle non-primary airports on a "workload permitting" basis, the GRP clearly states that we do NOT have this option. Would have been nice if it did.

 

Since GRP is a VATSIM EC policy, no lower policy can negate it.

 

If a position exists, then we must cover it. Sounds like another hole in our beloved GRP!

 

Jason Vodnansky

 

Jason,

 

Methinks you are taking the statement you quote from the GRP completely out of the context of its meaning. The statement is an [Mod - Happy Thoughts]ertion that based on the top-down service model employed on VATSIM, a graduated rating system is necessary. Utilization of the word "must" in this case only refers to the responsibility for being capable of providing lower-level services prior to attaining a higher level rating.

 

To my knowledge, there is no mandated requirement in any VATSIM regulation as regards to what level those services must consist. If it was intended as you have so interpreted, I believe the terminology would have been something along the lines of "...shall provide".

Gary Millsaps

VATUSA1

 

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

guaranteed."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Graduated Controller Ratings

A VATSIM rating is part of a graduated scheme where a person cannot get a higher

rating without having first completed the requirements for the lower rating/s. Graduated

ratings are essential within the VATSIM on-line environment since on-line ATC must

provide a "top-down" service and cover for any missing positions beneath them; this

applies to all positions from CTR down.

 

The GRP DOES state that ATC MUST (emphasis added) cover for ANY(emphasis added) missing positions beneath them.

 

While I agree that it SHOULD be permissible to handle non-primary airports on a "workload permitting" basis, the GRP clearly states that we do NOT have this option. Would have been nice if it did.

 

Since GRP is a VATSIM EC policy, no lower policy can negate it.

 

If a position exists, then we must cover it. Sounds like another hole in our beloved GRP!

 

Jason Vodnansky

 

Jason,

 

Methinks you are taking the statement you quote from the GRP completely out of the context of its meaning. The statement is an [Mod - Happy Thoughts]ertion that based on the top-down service model employed on VATSIM, a graduated rating system is necessary. Utilization of the word "must" in this case only refers to the responsibility for being capable of providing lower-level services prior to attaining a higher level rating.

 

To my knowledge, there is no mandated requirement in any VATSIM regulation as regards to what level those services must consist. If it was intended as you have so interpreted, I believe the terminology would have been something along the lines of "...shall provide".

 

Gary, fair enough...

 

Wouldn't it be nice if we KNEW if I was "out to lunch".

 

Sounds like this would be another nice amendment to the GRP. Not to debate semantics, merely offering a point of view here...

 

"ANY"

Doesn't that mean just that?

 

"MUST"

Doesn't that make it mandatory?

 

Mostly rhetorical questions, lease understand that, though I hope they ARE thought provoking. Simply put, it is the language that is tying our hands.

 

Claims are made by persons in authority, that are not able to be backed up by policies issued. It tends to frustrate those who are trying to live by the guidance given in writing, especially when we can gain NO clarifications from our superiors (read, ABOVE VATUSA).

 

Persons claim that GRP has been accepted by the m[Mod - Happy Thoughts]es, yet students still have problems getting on the scopes. Perhaps the m[Mod - Happy Thoughts]es have NOT accepted GRP, rather, the m[Mod - Happy Thoughts]es are tired of trying to fix the problem when NO guidance is offered, even when grievances are filed with conflict resolution.

 

Bottom line...

 

too much apathy

too little enforcement

 

We keep hearing things are going to change, yet they just remain the same...

 

too bad for the users.

 

Thanks Gary for offering your thoughts on the matter.

 

Regards,

J. Jason Vodnansky

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In example, a pilot is flying at what is really midnight, but his simulator is set to noon. While I am controlling at midnight, Eagle (KEGE) Tower is (in the real world) closed, and I, within the confines of the procedures set forth by my ARTCC, elect to not provide tower services.

 

A controller can't know what time it is for a particular pilot, either real-world or sim. They also don't know what the pilot has their weather set to.

 

Therefore, the only thing a controller can do is issue instructions corresponding to the time and weather they see in their radar client, and according to their ARTCC policies.

 

Now, with that said....if weather is IMC according to VRC and a pilot were to tell me he had he his weather set to CAVOK and demanded a visual approach, I'd give it to him. It's not worth arguing about.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...
Gary, fair enough...

 

Wouldn't it be nice if we KNEW if I was "out to lunch".

 

Sounds like this would be another nice amendment to the GRP. Not to debate semantics, merely offering a point of view here...

 

"ANY"

Doesn't that mean just that?

 

"MUST"

Doesn't that make it mandatory?

 

Mostly rhetorical questions, lease understand that, though I hope they ARE thought provoking. Simply put, it is the language that is tying our hands.

 

Claims are made by persons in authority, that are not able to be backed up by policies issued. It tends to frustrate those who are trying to live by the guidance given in writing, especially when we can gain NO clarifications from our superiors (read, ABOVE VATUSA).

 

Persons claim that GRP has been accepted by the m[Mod - Happy Thoughts]es, yet students still have problems getting on the scopes. Perhaps the m[Mod - Happy Thoughts]es have NOT accepted GRP, rather, the m[Mod - Happy Thoughts]es are tired of trying to fix the problem when NO guidance is offered, even when grievances are filed with conflict resolution.

 

Bottom line...

 

too much apathy

too little enforcement

 

We keep hearing things are going to change, yet they just remain the same...

 

too bad for te users.

 

Thanks Gary for offering your thoughts on the matter.

 

Regards,

J. Jason Vodnansky

 

 

 

I somehow overlooked this one while I was out in December... but there is a lot of validity to what Jason has pointed out here.

 

Speaking from the viewpoint of a long-time controller on the network, I can honestly say I've noticed little to no difference in things before and after the GRP implementation to this point (over a year now?).

 

I see maybe one or two "Global Ratings" controllers (maybe a few times a month) staff a random tower here or there within ZLA. Generally these individuals cause no issues. However, when coordination becomes necessary at some of these airports, the individuals can be very difficult to work with as they have little to no concept of ATC procedures. So, when aircraft do pop up (albeit not many as these are obviously designated non-major fields), it can sometimes become a bit of a mess to sort out when coordination has to be accomplished to separate traffic. Understanding these individuals are obviously new, this still does very little to actually fulfill the goal of allowing them to practice there "skills" to move to the major airports as 1) There isn't usually enough traffic to practice with and 2) they generally have no skills to begin with. So, in this aspect, I don't see how the policy is fulfilling its goal to make things easier for people to control what-so-ever... if anything, it has just created further issues for the students and certified controllers (sort of as JV pointed out).

 

To me, the GRP seems more and more like a policy that was written simply to find an ad-hoc, quick-fix solution to the main issue the network faces: How to tie in both ends of the realism spectrum.

 

I know this has been said before... but whoever decided that it would be a good idea to create this network and require controllers to complete training, yet require absolutely nothing from the pilots is quite asinine... this is what has created the realism-spectrum divide here. One would think this should have been thought about back during the founding process of the network, right? However, since it's been overlooked, we are now faced with the challenge of finding a solution to this... (funny, pretty comparable to these m[Mod - Happy Thoughts]ive economic problems we're having world-wise now, isn't it? ...Obviously on a much smaller scale).

 

 

 

In all honesty, I see one of two black-and-white solutions to fixing this problem (and maybe I'm getting a bit ahead of myself here, but hear me out at the least):

 

1) Do away with controller training in its entirety to level the playing field.

 

The befefit? You'll make all the newbies happy so they can jump-in much more quickly and have at it, therefore keeping new membership rates high (which seems to be a goal of the network based on other policies).

 

The downfall? You're going to loose knowledgeable, beneficial members of the network (who really are the frame-work to keeping this place in-tact) in this process as they aren't going to want to participate anymore as the network will simply become too "free-for-all" based.

 

2) Require pilot training to stay in-step with required controller training.

 

The benefit? You'll see an increase in quality amongst those members who are dedicated, knowledgeable, and sincerely care about maintaining a level of higher realism and professionalism in this virtual environment.

 

The downfall? You'll see a decrease in new membership (and quite possibly some old) as a majority of people who join will not want to put in the effort (as we see plenty of now).

 

 

 

Quality at the expense of quantity or vice-versa.

 

 

 

There is also a gray-area solution (which seems to be the route we are on now)... Trying to find a happy medium between the trained and the un-trained, the newbie members and senior members, the gamers and the realists (I think you get the point now). The problem I see with this is that it's just taking absolutely forever for things to get accomplished... new VATUSA staff members... BoG members... whatever... they come and go with the tide it seems. Yet very little ever changes between each (obviously real life gets in the way and nobody is getting payed to do this). Maybe we need to pay someone in order to make this work... who knows?

 

 

 

...And don't get me wrong with what I am saying; I'm a big supporter of this network! It has done so much for me on a personal level, if nothing else! But, from what I have read and witnessed over the past couple of years, from the development of policies such as the GRP, to allowing free-email addresses to increase membership significantly (which has definitely occurred), the complaints of decreases in pilot quality (just search this very forum, tons of those - and yes, those of you who have been around for some time surely have seen it decrease), rebutted by complaints (mostly in private I'm sure, but again, some within this very forum) of new members feeling "excluded" by senior members, and now the beginnings of implementation of a pilot training program (non-required, yet encouraged, of course)... I just really think that those of you members of the BoG, and maybe even Founders, seriously need to think long and hard about what direction you want to take the network in and how it is going to affect the very foundation of VATSIM as a whole... Finding a balance between either end of this spectrum is like trying to get Republicans to side with Democrats on how to bail-out our economy. Yet it is going to be crucial to accomplish somehow in order to retain the knowledge base that keeps the network orderly, professional, and realistic, yet keep this place fun for new-comers at the same time. Its going to take wise leaders at every level to accomplish this...

 

Maybe this is nothing new I'm saying... just food for thought more or less. Take that or leave it for what it's worth.

 

 

 

 

It's just when I see a policy like this that has so many holes (as JV has pointed out) and doesn't appear to really be working all that well (at least from my observations)... Sure it's been "complied" (not sure if accepted is quite the right term) with by most , if not all by now, but at what expense? It just doesn't make sense to continue to support it and develop more policy on top of policy to fix/get around it (especially when people are are required to enforce it cannot even really explain it). Find a solution by re-formatting it to make sense and involve those people who are at the roots of it's implementation (the ARTCC/vACC staff members) so that it's accomplished in a more common-sense manner (not thrown together and forced down our throats to comply with)... it really is too bad for the users who ultimately are affected by these hasty decisions... and I say all of this with, seriously, the best intent.

 

Hopefully this will open a few eyes before its too late...

 

 

 

Regards,

AJ Doubleday

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

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...