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Helge Hüttenrauch

just a normal Easter weekend at ESSA (?)

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yeah, definition of "group"...

group, noun \ˈgrüp\
    1 : two or more figures forming a complete unit [...]
    2 a : a number of individuals assembled together or having common interests

[Britannica]

especially the "two or more" seems to fit...

Did the homework now -- thanks for the details Krister! http://www.theskylounge.tv/topic/4599-projectfly-v21-launch-saturday-april-15-at-1300z-0600-pacific/

But really..., I am still not getting what "Project Fly" (https://projectfly.co.uk/about) is about to tell you the truth, given that there are virtual airlines, different military or VFR-flying groups etc.. But that's getting me off-topic...

How did it go @ESSA? It looked like a HUGE + impressive event from the outside...,

Helge

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This was supposed to be quite a long post, but I'll summarize my view of the event..

 

Lack of control in holdings, some aircrafts hold for two to four hours, others for no time at all. No information on expected hold time, and ATC did not care about how much fuel they had onboard. One to Two hours of holding is ok, but four hours of holding without any information?

 

Denying diversions, and asking diversions to disconnect?? After two hours in holding, I got asked to disconnect when I wanted to divert to Oslo. Why and after which rule in VATSIM?

 

Similar callsigns, and obviously bad voice servers. This is not your fault. What will allways be a challenge on events like this is people not paying attention, mixing up callsigns, stepping on eachother and beeing impatient. However, instead of spamming people with contact me messages, maybe try to contact them on frequency.


Corelations, maybe during events like this, do not use realistic mode? Seemed like an issue.

 

Runway Configuration: Why is it that during the real ops and this event, the Off Peak config is used?? Seems like the least effective approach as well? 

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Per Kristian, I was the guy working you and yes I can tell a pilot to disconnect if I don't have time to deal with Emergency traffic. Read the VATSIM rules. I simply wasn't able to deal with you with the huge amount ofr traffic in my sector. 

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VATSIM Code of conduct:

 

https://www.vatsim.net/documents/code-of-conduct

 

8. Pilots are permitted to declare in-flight emergencies only when under positive air traffic control. If there is no air traffic controller providing services to the pilot and surrounding traffic, declaring an in-flight emergency is not permitted. If, for any reason, air traffic control requests the pilot to terminate the emergency, then the pilot must do so IMMEDIATELY or log off of VATSIM.

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I was only trying to divert to Oslo to refill fuel. I wasnt expecting it to get this out of hand in terms of the holdings. My point is, there were people holding for 4-5 hours, and there were others flying straight in, or doing a couple of circuts. Thats not right. And you should also be able to handle shortage of fuel during events like this when people hold, and prioritize thereafter. 

However, I guess this wasn't really supposed to be an event of this size and magnitude, and that the planning wasn't best. There should have been slot times out of Paris in the first place, and more enroute controll that could seperate the traffic in the beginning. :) 

 

Good Job anyhow :D 

Edited by Per Kristian Jensen

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4 hours ago, Per Kristian Jensen said:

Runway Configuration: Why is it that during the real ops and this event, the Off Peak config is used?? Seems like the least effective approach as well? 

Short answer, when 99% of the traffic is arriving the peak/off peak configuration isn't really that important. Since ESSA doesn't allow for parallel approaches it wouldn't have made things a whole lot more effective.

Also note that during the time of the event RL ops changed runway configuration 4 times (because of variating winds) but we only made one change (from arriving 26, departing 19R, to arriving 19R, departing 08 right turn out).

We could also turn this argument around. If the pilots flying acctually studied the free and available charts a bit more, holding for once would have been more effective if the pilots acctually flew the hold as published... Same with vacating the rwy. If you know that there is minimum separation on final, you dont select auto brake 1 and idle reverse and just cruise to the end of the runway. You slam on the brakes, vacating ASAP to give the next guy the best chance of landing as well...

4hrs hold just seems unresonable, but even though there is a sort of queue system, sometimes other factors makes it so that traffic lower in the queue gets released before you. That's just how it is, and how it works IRL. Of course 2hrs hold is also a lot, and a number I can imagine if you were one of the 100+ planes that got stuck in the worst of it. But it's just simple math. The airport can only handle X amount of movement per hour and if you have 50 aircraft in different holds, the math says that you will be there for a while :)

Thanks for the feedback though! We appreciate it and use it for debriefings and to improve training for future controllers!
And also, thanks for flying!

  • Like 3

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IRL there are slot times and minimum staffing levels, so you would never see a situation like this. We don't have the ability to stop aircraft coming into our airspace, unless there is full ATC coverage for the whole route, then you could theoretically ask the previous sector to hold traffic all the way down to the departure TWR.

From my point of view the two major challenges were:

1. We had the bare minimum amount of controllers to pull this off at all. We had to choose between staffing up the TMA to ensure there was a final director available, or put extra resources on the ACC level to be able to manage the holding. You see the dilemma? No DIR = even more holding.

2. I tried very hard to make sure that the first aircraft entering the hold would also be the first aircraft to leave the hold. We do not really have a fair way of dealing with this across the different TMA entry points though. We only have the capacity to work out the sequence for each holding point, at least when it's this busy. I think I did a reasonable job with this, until several pilots started coming into my sector descending without clearance. This means that they are heading straight for the hold and instead of applying the "first in the hold is at the lowest level" principle, I just had to find available levels for these aircraft. Now I would really like to "punish" these offenders, but instead I have to descend them in the hold just to keep levels in the hold free, and send them off to APP. There's simply no spare capacity to handle it in a different way.

I also have a general observation that the number of text pilots is increasing, and even worse the amount of pilots who don't know the basic protocols of VATSIM communication, which is: Choose one mode of communication! There are three to choose from for pilots: Text only, Voice receive, and full Voice. Don't mix! There is no "text receive, talk on voice" (this totally screws up the voice comms for the controller, as the pilot will suddenly start talking, without hearing other transmissions). There is no "I'll use voice when I feel like it and text when I feel like it" or "I'll use voice but immediately ask on text or ask the controller to use text if I don't understand". All these "mix modes" of communication can increase controller workload tremendously, as you don't know where to find the pilot, text or voice? Does he hear me or not? Is he not replying on voice because he didn't hear, or because he suddenly decided to reply via text, so I'm waiting for him to type a short story in the chat box?

Finally, file your mode of communication in the flight plan! (/T/ or /R/ or /V/ in the remarks section, or select the correct mode in the pilot client) We see a big yellow "t" to indicate text pilots. If it turns out a /V/ pilot is using text, again it gets very confusing.

We all know text comms is a fact of VATSIM life, but if you are not a nervous newbie, or have hearing problems, in my opinion it's simply rude to use text only online. Don't have a decent mic? Use voice receive! (I had one "receive" pilot who was so quick replying on text that he sent his readback before I had even stopped talking! :)) Don't want to wake up the kids/wife/husband/parents/dog/cat/goldfish? Get a headset for 20 bucks! Have another excuse like, "I don't want to use voice because I'm Skyping at the same time." Get outta here! (And I mean that literally! Either pay attention or log off. Period.) 

So @Per Kristian Jensen, it's easy to criticize ATC for not being perfect, but if all the pilots could just follow basic guidelines such as NOT descending without clearance, using text or voice as appropriate, and actually monitoring the frequency to be ready to act on instructions when given by ATC, this event would have gone MUCH more smoothly.

Those are my two cents!

  • Like 9

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sorry... no intention whatsoever to get you into a discussion. I just saw the traffic and was impressed; this would have been enough traffic to have at least 2-3 major airports & ATC-FIRs busy. I also learned a couple of things (no parallel approaches ESSA - always wondered why not if, e.g. 19R/L would be usable, ...)

Helge

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Don't worry Helge, it's a discussion forum after all! :P

Regarding parallel approaches, the real life answer I have heard from controllers is that it's "not needed", that it would not increase capacity beyond today's segregated operations. I'm not really sure how they came up with the numbers though... Parallel approaches were in the pipeline a few years ago but in the end there was no approval and today apparently there is "no need".

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2 hours ago, Martin Loxbo said:

Don't worry Helge, it's a discussion forum after all! :P

Regarding parallel approaches, the real life answer I have heard from controllers is that it's "not needed", that it would not increase capacity beyond today's segregated operations. I'm not really sure how they came up with the numbers though... Parallel approaches were in the pipeline a few years ago but in the end there was no approval and today apparently there is "no need".

This is of course a topic that I would like to have explained to me from someone who acctually believes it ;)

But sure, Arlandas biggest problem is not the lack of available runways or movements per hour. It's the lack of stands. It doesn't matter if you have 5 runways with parallel approaches if they can't park anywhere :)

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In regards to text pilots and pilots not knowing what their doing... I don't really want to go there but it's the truth. The creator of this event (You know who he is) draws an immature crowd when doing stuff like this.

Edited by Per Kristian Jensen

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2 hours ago, Per Kristian Jensen said:

In regards to text pilots and pilots not knowing what their doing... I don't really want to go there but it's the truth. The creator of this event (You know who he is) draws an immature crowd when doing stuff like this.

To be honest I never heard of him or projectFLY before this. Clearly it's quite popular though, drawing this amount of traffic! I've also sent Matt some feedback for the pilots, hopefully he finds it useful.

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I didn't realise he was involved. 

 

I will frequently avoid this person like the plague. Every time comes a huge line of pilot-followers who have no clue of what they're doing. It always snowballs out of control. Being UK based he is seen a lot more frequently in the UK so I've gotten quite familiar with the name by now...

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