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2021-01-28 - Assuming of Aircraft Tags


Jack Edwards

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Jack Edwards

Effective 28 January 2021

From the effective date, controllers shall only ‘accept’ the transfer of an aircraft tag from the sending controller when the aircraft has ‘checked in’ on the receiving controller’s frequency. This will apply to all transfers of aircraft tags, both within the UK and with external controllers. The reason for this change is explained at the end of this post.

This change will enable the sending controller to recognise which aircraft have not yet checked in with the next controller, thus helping the sending controller to:

  • recognise which aircraft they did not transfer over voice when they initiated the transfer of the tag.
  • recognise any aircraft which may have read back the frequency incorrectly, or who have not made it to the next controller.
  • regulate the number of active transfers to a single controller - i.e. if the same controller still hasn’t made contact with several aircraft transferred by you, adding another to the queue may not help.
  • recognise when other frequencies are busy - we would encourage members to check in with their peers to offer to help find any adjacent ATC that might reduce their workload in these cases.

The transfer of an aircraft tag from a UK radar-equipped unit to another UK radar-equipped unit shall indicate to the receiving controller that the aircraft has been Identified, their Mode A code Validated, and their Mode C readout Verified. For this reason, tags of departing aircraft should not be assumed by controllers unless it is their responsibility to complete IVV (see notes below).

 

Aircraft from unmanned airspace 

For aircraft coming from unmanned airspace, controllers should continue to assume the tag after sending a  ‘contact me’ request. This signals to other controllers that they are trying to make contact with the aircraft.

 

Applicability 

This change applies to all controllers who assume aircraft tags. 

 

Notes:

  • Controllers should not assume aircraft tags for departures until they have checked in on the frequency.
  • S1 and S2 rated controllers are not trained to complete the IVV process, so should never assume or transfer an aircraft’s tag. 
  • S3+ rated controllers, when manning a DEL, GND or TWR position should not routinely assume aircraft tags as IVV is not normally completed by these stations. However in exceptional circumstances - should they utilise the advanced features of the ATM to complete the IVV process - they may assume and subsequently transfer the aircraft’s tag as a tower controller. 

 


 

Background - Why is this changing? 

VATSIM UK has agreed with some of its neighbours in new LoAs that neither party will accept aircraft tags until they have checked in on the receiving controller’s frequency. This procedure is standard practice across the vast majority of Europe and we are aligning our own procedures to match. We are aware that for UK controllers, changing this ingrained habit will not be easy.

Rather than require controllers to learn in which cases they must not accept the aircraft tag, we have taken this opportunity to produce and apply a simpler, universal policy. Although this is a relatively major change to the way a lot of us work within EuroScope, it should be easier to apply this uniformly, as opposed to only in specific instances.

Edited by Harry Sugden
Corrected date in title
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