By Darren Faux
Hey peoples. Could someone help me out with the 'tag item type' in Euroscope for the drop down that says whether the aircraft has assigned start, push, taxi etc in the departure list?
By Seojun Oh
I wonder what this grey zone means?
By Harry Sugden
I'm going to use this thread to make the series of 'Spotlight' posts - that are being posted in the TG Enroute mentor and student area - public! The idea behind them is to focus in on a particular part of area controlling in a more detailed, but also hopefully more accessible, writing style. There has only been one so far, but I'm working on the next one to post in the private forum in the next couple of days, and at least one other mentor has said they might at some point... but if it ends up being a one man band, then so be it!
Disclaimer: Any errors or omissions are, unfortunately, my fault. Please let me know about them below.
Do drop me a message if you have any ideas for something you'd like focusing on, or if you might even want to contribute!
The BPK Area [South & Central] - this post Turn and Burn, Baby Burn [North] Tricky Crossings 1 - FRANE [South & Central] Tricky Crossings 2 - TC SW [South] ------
(1) The BPK Area
I thought I'd hone in on a little area that requires a good deal of focus when controlling, and indeed explanation in training. This is relevant to South and Central students, and is the area around BPK. We see a criss-crossing of various bits of traffic here to the extent that it is worth understanding not just what you have to do with your traffic, but what's going on in your adjacent controller's heads too!
Figure 1 - The Area in Question (from this post)
Gatwick LAM Departures (pink)
Let's start with these, but I recommend you read all of my carefully crafted prose to understand how all of this traffic interacts. These departures are transferred from Gatwick AIR to TC SE who - once finished with deconflicting them from BIG inbounds and other departing traffic - has to climb them up, up, up to FL130, ensuring that they reach FL130 by the TC N/S boundary. This is especially important if they are going to be able to climb above Essex inbounds, discussed later. If aircraft cannot reach this level, TC SE must coordinate with TC NE, who does not work this traffic even though it climbs through their airspace. In real life, these departures wouldn't (ordinarily) enter TC NE's airspace but on VATSIM, in order to simplify the airspace structure in this area, KK LAMs actually climb through TC NE's airspace for a little without being transferred over (see Figure 2, below). Positioned on a heading west of the DET-LAM track and climbing to reach FL130 by the boundary, TC SE transfers to AC Worthing.
AC Worthing in this area - i.e. when the a/c is overhead the London City CTR/CTA - owns the airspace from FL155 (the top of TC NE) up to FL215 (the base of AC Dover). The traffic is released for climb, and Worthing's job is to climb the aircraft to FL190 and position the aircraft to track east of HEMEL (the reason will become clear later). There is another condition here - the traffic must cross the northern edge of the London CTR at FL155 or above in order to leave TC NE's airspace by this point, else in this case, AC Worthing must coordinate with TC NE. Climb condition met, AC Worthing transfers these aircraft to AC Daventry.
Essex VATON-BPK inbounds (purple)
AC Dover hands Essex inbounds from their sector at FL200 by MAY, and AC Worthing then has the task of managing converging traffic over VATON. By default, this traffic must be on own navigation along the VATON-BPK track and 5NM minimum in trail - any deviations from this need to be coordinated with TC NE. AC Worthing shall also not descend aircraft below FL180 before OCK when TC South West is split, else the aircraft will descend out of Worthing's airspace.
In real life, these inbounds are descended to FL140 level by BPK, and then transferred from TC VATON (AC Worthing on VATSIM) to TC LOREL (TC NE on VATSIM). However, our agreement is different. This is because we have simplified the airspace structure in this area, as mentioned earlier. Because TC NE owns the airspace up to FL155 in the area beyond VATON, our agreement is descending FL160 from AC Worthing to TC NE. It is not a "level by" agreement - AC Worthing should transfer these aircraft as soon as is reasonably practicable following issuance of descent to FL160, as they will need further descent quickly from TC NE! Note that the aircraft must of course be 'clean' before transfer, especially from KK LAM departures which are also handled by AC Worthing, but not by TC NE.
Heathrow BPK/ULTIB departures (blue)
It is oh so tempting as TC NE on westerlies to have a BPK departure check in, see an empty BNN arrival stream, and say - "BAW428, London Control, climb now FL150".
But wait! In real life, your equivalent controller (TC NE Deps) wouldn't be able to do this, for until a good few miles after BPK, their airspace only goes up to FL115. Who's on top? The Essex inbounds! Remember the mention of a TC LOREL in real life? They handle the Essex inbounds descending FL140 by the Park, and will then descend them further to FL120 until further into their sector. Underneath sit the BPK departures, climbed to a maximum of FL110, and later FL150 before transfer to - on VATSIM - TC East.
If I've lost you at this point, then just remember this: Make sure to scan the Essex VATON-BPK inbound track for any arrivals before you climb BPK departures up to FL150. If you forget, you'll either have to stop the departure's climb later, or the Essex inbound will have to sit at FL160 (this will require coordination if it goes on for too long as the aircraft may enter TC East's airspace).
On Easterlies, there is another consideration. @Sebastian Rekdal is really the king of diagrams, so you can refer to Figure 3 (below) for this. In real life, there's this weird bit of airspace in this region that changes ownership based on the runway config, but we've got rid of this complication on VATSIM. All you need to remember is that, as TC NW, you should not climb ULTIB departures until they are within your sector (error in OP!) are only released for climb to a maximum of FL110 until passing west of the VATON-BPK track, subject to TC NE/EGLL traffic. Quite often you'll have LAM inbounds in the way anyway, but who knows when an Essex inbound will come trundling along that VATON-BPK track...
A quick return to the KK LAMs
This made sense in my head to come back to at the end. Remember that heading AC Worthing gave pointing east of HEMEL to KK LAM departures? This helps AC Daventry out with the job of keeping that climbing traffic away from Midlands (BB/NX) inbounds, who are handed to them by AC Dover descending to FL220 by HEMEL. AC Dover must also position these inbounds through the 'Midlands Radar Gate' (you can turn this on in Display Settings -> Stars -> Midlands Gate; and there is a diagram - albeit a little grainy - in the vMATS, section GEN 184.108.40.206). These inbounds can be on own navigation or on a heading, as long as they pass through the gate which is - conveniently - on the west side of HEMEL! The usual disclaimer applies - AC Daventry cannot turn an aircraft on a heading until they are within the confines of their sector. It is also worth noting that - without further coordination - KK LAMs are likely only able to be climbed to FL210, and the HEMELs no further descent at all when Worthing and Dover are split.
Even though I've made a lot of references to our smallest day-to-day TC splits, that doesn't mean that those bits aren't relevant. Knowing your massive VATSIM sector requires knowing the intricacies of its constituent parts. A lot of the above is relevant even if you are the whole of AC Central and AC South is online with no splits - or vice versa. You might have noticed that the original diagram also has the CPT direction Stansted departures (green) drawn on it - I didn't touch on these as I thought the BPK area was quite enough, but do have a think about how you'll get these up too!
Figure 2 - TC North East
Figure 3 - ULTIBs
By Taylor Bayley
No shade being thrown at the controller in question, but I'll keep things nameless to generalise things.
I had an ATC booking from 15-1700. However, a mentoring session was booked that lasted until 16z. I turn up at 16z to take over from the mentoring session - they've evidently left early and someone else has taken over.
Upon messaging said person I am told that it is division policy that, I assume because the trainee left early, I am in effect 15 minutes late (presumably from the moment said trainee left) and I have forfeited my right to the booking -- I'm taking their word that this policy is accurate because carefully analysing the nuance of divpol clauses is not exactly high on my bucket list and I'm very certain this person has a better understanding of it than I do even if I did.
Again no shade at that controller, they did offer it to me but by that point this conversation had been going back and forth on the logic and enforcement of this policy for about 15mins and there wasn't enough time left for it to be worth me logging on, besides which policy is policy and it's not a controllers fault that the policy is as it is.
Therefore, I have to ask - what possible rationale are there for setting the policy like that? I mean no offence, but people have things to do (even despite the best efforts of SARS-CoV-2) - given I was warned about this mentoring session with plenty of time, I'm going to plan something else for that hour and come back at the end of it making what is a logical assumption in my mind that the session will last as long as it's specified for on the system, not sit at my computer like a drone checking Euroscope every few minutes to make sure the mentoring session hasn't left early. I may be an aviation nerd who loves controlling, but it's not my degree and it's not my career, so the hours of my day cannot revolve around it.
To me, the logical 'clause' would be that if a mentoring session overlaps a standard session, the start time of the standard session in effect is moved to the end time of the mentoring session, so people can get on with their lives through the duration of the mentoring session. I cannot fathom a reason why that wouldn't be sensible, but making policy isn't something I've put a great deal of thought into, so I'm open to persuasion.
By Daniel Gill
I, as well as many other people I have seen on the forum, have been wanting to get back into controlling in light of the recent events.
I last controlled about a year-and-a-half ago, and even though I don't think I have lost knowledge of the procedures and R/T, I am still a little nervous to log back in after so long.
From what I have seen on VATSpy ect. maybe GND/DEL can open ATIS without TWR or above? If I'm unsure about this, there could be other things that I don't know about. I don't want to be a nuisance to fellow controllers by not knowing the proper etiquette.
I suppose what I am asking is if there's a resource that I would be able to learn the new rules/procedures, so it can give me some more confidence to give it a go.
Thank you for your time, and apologies if this isn't suitable here.
Kind Regards, Daniel Gill