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Lenny Colton

proposal Extended TWR Coverage

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Simon Kelsey
27 minutes ago, Matthew Wilson said:

Because unless you're coming in from the north, east or west, you will need to transit Gatwick CTR and most probably the Gatwick ATZ, so yes, you would need to talk to Gatwick Tower. And in the absence of any top down control then Tower will take on the responsibility of giving a zone entry and a transit clearance.

Obviously, but getting a clearance to transit another airfield's ATZ is a totally separate matter. I mean, if I was flying IFR from Manchester to Gatwick I would have to speak to Gatwick Tower to get a landing clearance, but that doesn't mean that they should cover Manchester as well.

The fact remains that a flight entirely within the Redhill LFA (circuits, or a departure that does not require a Gatwick zone transit) is none of Gatwick ATC's business.

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Darren Hill

I personally don't think this is a good idea for the environment in UK airspace. Operations like these would result in a violation of the CAA's regulations on TWR positions and of the ATZ. Good in theory, not so good in practice 😉 Additionally, if you take the example of ESSEX_TWR, ESSEX_APP already does the top-down for that area leaving no need for a TWR controller to do top-down cover.

Edited by Darren Hill

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Luke Peters

Adding bandboxed towers while a good idea on the face of it, would only ever end up being executed poorly in too many cases.

To provide an existing comparison, LON_CTR (bandbox) is a great idea, and works well in low traffic situations. But often, if the level of traffic increases greatly, especially with very little underlying control, even the best controllers may lose the sector purely because of volume. Some will be strong enough to say "i need to downsize the sector, it's too busy", but some may not. The risk of that is going to be exponentially greater at a TWR level where you have so many more controllers with the required grade. Even if this were made a validated position, people would be able to demonstrate the skills and knowledge to be able to be validated on those positions, but that doesn't matter if they don't know when to drop part of the coverage.

The other big issue is that often, the positions do not adjoin. Using EGGW, EGSS and EGSC as an example (don't forget ESSEX_APP covers EGSC too!), none of the airspace typically controlled by a TWR controller adjoins. If you take into account the CTRs as well, even they don't adjoin. If you did try and do that though, you're pretty much saying that ESSEX_APP is an S2 position below, let's say A40.

ESSEX_APP exists to do the top down for those positions, just like EGLL_N_APP would do top down for EGLL.

If we start getting into the realms of bottom-upping coverage, i'm looking forward to giving an instruction of "BAW123, Luton Tower, when ready, descend FL260 level by LEDBO".

Edited by Luke Peters

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Kye Taylor
15 hours ago, Luke Peters said:

If we start getting into the realms of bottom-upping coverage, i'm looking forward to giving an instruction of "BAW123, Luton Tower, when ready, descend FL260 level by LEDBO".

No-one is suggesting S2 Participate in S3/C1 Roles. All I'm suggesting is to add a collection of airfields for one S2 controller to provided top-down services to those airfields.

15 hours ago, Luke Peters said:

But often, if the level of traffic increases greatly, especially with very little underlying control, even the best controllers may lose the sector purely because of volume. Some will be strong enough to say "i need to downsize the sector, it's too busy"

This is an issue with Current the Bandbox Position. Tho as mentioned some controllers do "Desectorize" which can easily be done by logging off and logging on to one of the underlying tower positions.

15 hours ago, Luke Peters said:

you're pretty much saying that ESSEX_APP is an S2 position below, let's say A40.

As mentioned before, All im suggesting is that the 3 CTR's "EGSS, EGSC, EGGW" are allocated to underling one callsign can be controlled by one controller, this could improve the UK ATC coverage and increase the number of Pilots flying out of these airfields.

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Luke Peters
3 hours ago, Kye Taylor said:

No-one is suggesting S2 Participate in S3/C1 Roles. All I'm suggesting is to add a collection of airfields for one S2 controller to provided top-down services to those airfields.

I know you haven't said that S2 could participate in S3/C1 roles, the point i'm trying to make is that's exactly what will start happening. See my point below the third quote for more on what i mean. And once it starts, it's very hard to stop without taking the position away entirely or getting SUPs involved.

3 hours ago, Kye Taylor said:

This is an issue with Current the Bandbox Position. Tho as mentioned some controllers do "Desectorize" which can easily be done by logging off and logging on to one of the underlying tower positions.

The point I was trying to make here is that experienced controllers with a C1/C3 sometimes don't realise they should have stepped down their coverage, especially if the level of traffic slowly increases (think of the boiling frog analogy - google it if you don't know what I mean). If an experienced C1/C3 sometimes doesn't realise that, an inexperienced S2 has almost no chance.

3 hours ago, Kye Taylor said:

As mentioned before, All im suggesting is that the 3 CTR's "EGSS, EGSC, EGGW" are allocated to underling one callsign can be controlled by one controller, this could improve the UK ATC coverage and increase the number of Pilots flying out of these airfields.

So what you're saying is if you've got a VFR flight that is doing some little Tour de Essex, the same controller is going to send them a contact me on entry to the Luton CTR, give them transit, send them to unicom on exit from the Luton CTR, then a new contact me on entry to the Stansted CTR, give them some kind of transit from there, then send them up to Cambridge, rinse and repeat. What we all know will happen is some well meaning, but likely completely unprepared, S2 will give the exit from Luton CTR and then try and perform some ATSOCAS on the way to Stansted before giving a new entry. This is the slippery slope to bottom-upping coverage.

Bandboxes can only realistically have a chance of working in adjoining sectors as the a/c stays under the control of the same person.

If you do set up Essex Tower (EGGW, EGSS and EGSC), then by the same theory you could set up an EGJJ+EGPF position (let's call it Jergow Tower). Now i know what you're going to say, "that's absurd", you're right it is.As an S2 that got my rating 3 years ago on EGGW_TWR, I seriously don't think that I would gain anything out of being able to control "Essex Tower".

If I may be so bold as to say, on a related note, the ATC coverage in VATUK is some of the best in VATSIM, evidenced by the fact that TWR, APP and CTR positions in our division are almost always near the top of the Iron Mic leaderboards. VATUK got a clean sweep last week, that doesn't sound like we have a coverage problem here to me!

---

If the problem is having nothing to do on one TWR position (so that's why you want/need two three), just remember, the more you staff an aerodrome, the more traffic is likely to go there. I remember at one point EGGW and EGSS had a steady flow of traffic, not because of events or anything like that, but because there was a fairly regular staffing of those positions. Okay it was never "busy" (like EGLL/EGKK/EGCC kind of busy) but you always had stuff to do. It's well known that people are more likely to go somewhere where there is ATC coverage...

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Kye Taylor
1 hour ago, Luke Peters said:

So what you're saying is if you've got a VFR flight that is doing some little Tour de Essex, the same controller is going to send them a contact me on entry to the Luton CTR, give them transit, send them to unicom on exit from the Luton CTR, then a new contact me on entry to the Stansted CTR, give them some kind of transit from there, then send them up to Cambridge, rinse and repeat.

No, Alike anywhere, Tower controllers with no above control assume CTA for VFR, This could be easily done with ESSEX without giving service at all. It seems pointless sending them to Unicom, Just simply clear them into the next Control Zone.

1 hour ago, Luke Peters said:

S2 will give the exit from Luton CTR and then try and perform some ATSOCAS on the way to Stansted before giving a new entry.

S2's have no Compantys rating in UKFIS, So they shouldn't try to do this. This could happen on any other tower position where the tower control gives a service that they don't know how to do.

1 hour ago, Luke Peters said:

I seriously don't think that I would gain anything out of being able to control "Essex Tower".

There is a long wait between S2 -> S3 and as ESSEX_APP as a training airfield I think if Somone is offered ESSEX_APP and has never controlled Mulitple airfields before they will have to learn how to handle Mulitple airfields. This could increase Training times for that student giving them already learned that section of the training. Think of it like AFISO/ATG training for S1 -> S2.

Even if they didn't get a training place at ESSEX, it will be bit of a step up from Controlling one Airfield to 13 (I think) with a LON_S Training place.

1 hour ago, Luke Peters said:

that doesn't sound like we have a coverage problem here to me!

I Didn't suggest there was an issue with the current ATC coverage, However theres been times where I've sat on EGSS_TWR for hours and see 4 Planes. Then there's a plane at EGGW, witch London SC/C would deal with, This pilot will then receive a PDC because London are busy. Simply extended the ATC coverage to the other airport would increase the quality of service and decrease the workload for the above controllers.

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George Peppard
9 hours ago, Kye Taylor said:

I think if Somone is offered ESSEX_APP and has never controlled Mulitple airfields before they will have to learn how to handle Mulitple airfields

Controlling two completely separate TWR positions is entirely different to controlling aircraft coming from the same stacks into multiple airfields.

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Kye Taylor
14 hours ago, George Peppard said:

Controlling two completely separate TWR positions is entirely different to controlling aircraft coming from the same stacks into multiple airfields.

Yea i get that, However you will have do the Tower for all 3 airports at the same time, Surly having practice of the tower side is better that going in with no practice at all?

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Louie Lister

I think this topic’s a bit OTT now and I don’t think this proposal will go ahead. So it’s probably best this gets locked and the key thrown away with it! 😁

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Lenny Colton
7 minutes ago, Louie Lister said:

I think this topic’s a bit OTT now and I don’t think this proposal will go ahead. So it’s probably best this gets locked and the key thrown away with it! 😁

Tbh, Essex TWR is a bit far-fetched, certainly distant from EGKK/EGKR bandbox (since EGKK_APP often controls EGKR top-down on VATSIM, anyway), but no one is doing any damage, so what's the point in locking the topic? Shutting down honest discussion like this will only cause problems, elsewhere (not least when people start complaining).

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