June 2020 Appeals Data

Day in and day out, pilots are unfortunately reported by ATC. Controllers follow strict guidelines on when and when not to report, and some pilots may want to seek further clarification as to why they were reported.

On the Infinite Flight Forum, there is an appeals team. Along with the controllers themselves, the appeals team also field report appeal inquiries. You can message them here. The pilot aires their concerns about the report, the controller states why they were reported, then the controller or moderator overseeing the appeal decides whether or not the report will be upheld.

To help everyone learn from others mistakes, the Appeals team have released statistics and a report for the month of June of all of the appeals they fielded. Here is the report.

Use all available runways

As an Air Traffic Controller you should always strive to use all available runways to the max extent possible as your runways are one of your most valuable resources.

If you are manning the ATIS frequency always try to enable all available runways which could be used in the current airfield configuration. As the controller you will always have the final say on who goes where.

When most people request pusback or taxi they don’t request a specific runway. This gives you the freedom to decide what runway would be best to assign them anyway. But here and there you will get someone who requests a specific runway. Do your best to accommodate him. If they want to taxi to the other side of the airport to a certain runway, then let him. But always note, you as the controller have the final say and you should use your best judgement on how this will affect other traffic in your airfield.

The goal is to get everyone out and in as fast as possible. When it’s busy the way to go is to send everyone to the closest available runway. But there is a fine line, you want to reduce taxi times but also don’t want to lose that time by making them wait in line for departure for a long time. This is why it’s important for you as ground controller to be aware of what’s happening in your airfield at all times. Spread out the traffic between all the runways.

Keep an eye on what runway has less arrivals and send more people there. Do this to help each other out! Remember, when it’s busy communication is key.

Version 2.5.1 of the ATC Manual Released

The newest addition of the Infinite Flight ATC Manual has been released. With the manual now in it’s digitized form on the Infinite Flight website rather then it being on a PDF, it is now even easier for Staff to modify regularly. Here are the changes for this version, 2.5.1.

2.3.2 – The crossing must only be issued when the appropriate spacing exits to allow for the traffic to cross and clear the runway prior to the arriving traffic crossing the runway threshold. In addition, coordination with the Tower Controller is required to ensure another aircraft is not cleared for take-off

3.4.4 – Aircraft exiting the runway are expected to clear the hold short line and may contact ground control without permission in the absence of an exit instructions. If requested by the pilot, simply issue a frequency change to Ground Control.

6.3.4 – Once the aircraft is inbound to the runway threshold (this may not be inline with the runway for various GPS Approaches that are offset) Controllers can then hand them off to Tower/Unicom as appropriate.

6.13.2 – The ‘intended approach path’ for the GPS Approach, Radar Vectors and a Visual Approach are covered above (see 6.9.3, 6.11.1 and 6.12.3 above respectively). For the ILS approach, Controllers must ensure that the aircraft has successfully intercepted the LOC, this is especially important when parallel operations are in use (see 6.13.2.1 below). Do not confuse aircraft being established on the LOC, with ‘being in the cone’ – aircraft must be aligned with the centerline of the runway to be established, regardless of their position inside or outside of the cone.

You can review all of the changes to the manual here. If you have any questions, feel free to email us.

The Story of Goldilocks and the three Goats, go arounds

Yes, I know it’s Bears but a Goat is a term used to describe a controller, so we’re going with that for the title. Go around too early, too hot, go around too late, too cold, time the go around perfectly, just right.

A recent trend that we’ve been seeing is that controllers are issuing go arounds too late and then reporting the pilot when they don’t go around, but the pilot has no time to react.

400’ AGL, you send the go around, -600 to -800VS and they’re on the ground in a few seconds, so by the time the pilot reacts they’re already lower and controllers need to compensate for that.

Be more proactive with go arounds, see the conflicts and proactively anticipate it so you can time the go around better.

‘STAR use Rcmd/Req’ ATIS remarks added

Did you ever see the words “Recommended arrival procedures….” or/and “Use of Arrival procedures Recommended” in ATIS? That’s a new ATIS remark that can now be added:
    STARs Rcmd (Recommended)
    STARs Req (Required)
  • With these options the controller will be adding a good amount of STARs to ATIS, it may be required, as the one ATIS option suggests that the the pilot would need to add one of the preferred STARs into their flight plan.

    That means whenever you want to fly to an active airport, read the D-ATIS then listen to ATIS when in range, then check what the preferred STARs are that are in use so you can plan ahead. That will help the controllers to keep the traffic flow very smooth and will help the pilot also to reach his/her destination as soon as possible.
  • The preferred STARs are chosen by the ATIS controller but the radar controllers always have the final say when it comes to what STARs will be preferred.

    For the controllers, don’t forget when to use the recommended or the required remarks. Only use required when the traffic is busy, otherwise it’s just the recommended. We service the pilots so accommodating aircraft not on a published procedure is encouraged if traffic is low enough to warrant that.
  • Reference: 4.1 of the ATC Manual

    SIDs and STARs – As a Specialist

    SIDs and STARs are a revolutionary feature for Radar Controllers, but what about the specialists working Ground and Tower? From my point of view as a Specialist, working Tower without approach active is a completely different experience then before. If aircraft have a STAR programmed, which most do, I give “continue inbound” until they’re at the end of the STAR. Once they reach that point I give the usual pattern entry, sequence and clearance. Aircraft on STARs are much higher closer to the airport then we have come accustom to and getting to come off their flight plan is a challenging task.

    New Tower Airspace Boundary

    Tower’s airspace still extends from surface to 5000ft vertically, however the lateral boundary has changed because of the new airspace markings on Infinite Flight, it has changed to the most immediate ring/boundary surrounding the airport.

    For example Before, Dallas Fort Worth tower used to extend 5nm laterally just in a perfect circle, but now tower’s airspace is inside this ring/boundary as its the most immediate one, which is depicted here. The highlighted area shows you what Tower’s airspace is now considered to be. Reference: 5.1 of the ATC Manual

    Denying pattern work without putting it in ATIS

    What most controllers have trouble grasping is that the decision to deny or allow pattern work doesn’t need to be in ATIS. You can deny it whenever you’d like. You have the option to deny specific aircraft pattern work either in the takeoff clearance, or there are three miscellaneous commands for Tower to deny pattern work.

    1. No pattern work: “N623KB, Tower is no longer accepting pattern work at this time”
    2. Pattern full: N623KB, Pattern is full, no pattern work accepted at this time
    3. No pattern work, land or divert: “N623KB, Tower is no longer accepting pattern work. Please land or divert”

    The translation for those commands are as follows.

    1. Come back later, maybe
    2. Look around, we’re full, come back later
    3. Leave my sight and go somewhere else, don’t come back

    All are great options to deny pattern work. You have to always you remember, we service the pilots, so denying pattern work should only be temporary. It doesn’t need to be included in ATIS if the waves of traffic are just that, waves.

    Expansion on 6.6.2-6.6.3 Climb with departure/centre

    With the introduction of Centre in 20.1 interaction with ATC on climb has seen some changes which we are going to outline below. Let’s run through a standard flight from Take-off upwards, specifying what to do depending on whether a specific frequency is active or not  
    1. Once cleared for Take-off (TO) follow usual procedures and wait for a frequency change given by tower.
    2. If departure is active, or approach is acting as departure, you’ll be handed off to them. Upon contacting them if you have a valid FPL to your destination all you need to do is check in. ATC will respond with radar contact, at which point you can continue your cruise as normal. You should still be ready to be vectored off your FPL as and when required by the controller. If you have been vectored off continue on the vectored instructions until told to resume own navigation.
    3. If Centre is also active then once you exit Approach/Departure airspace you will be handed off to centre, at which point you need to check in and continue as above.
    4. If Approach/Departure is not active yet centre is, you are likely to be handed off to centre following departure from Towers airspace. The same procedures are to be followed by pilots as in part 2 when handed off to Centre by Tower.
    5. Once you have reached your cruising altitude, centre or no centre, then you do not need to worry about leaving your device as ATC can tell whether you are active at your device or not. If you are not active, we will leave you alone.
    6. If you are at your device and notice you are flying through an active FIR, then feel free to contact centre and check in.
    One final point to note, if during any phase of your flight you are given a frequency change approved all you need to do it tune out. There is no need to contact another frequency. I hope this helps a bit and enables you to engage with ATC better in 20.1 and beyond.
    July 1, 2020 by

    The proper go-around procedure

    In Infinite Flight the minimum seperation between departing and arriving aircraft is as follows:

    • Departure/Departure: The first aircraft must be airborne before the second aircraft commences the take-off roll
    • Arrival/Arrival: The first aircraft must have vacated the runway before the second aircraft crosses the runway threshold.
    • Departure/Arrival: The first aircraft must be airborne before the second aircraft crosses the runway threshold.

    As a controller it is one of your top priorities to make sure these seperation conditions are met, but sometimes due to varying factors the conditions cannot be met and you have to issue a go-around. You need to be proactive and not reactive. Anticipate and act accordingly.

    Remember, the seperation rules apply to two aircraft landing and departing on intersecting runways just the same as if they are landing and departing on one runway. If an aircraft isn’t clear of the runway intersection that runway is not clear and a go around must be issued as needed.

    If there is an aircraft cleared for takeoff and at a safe speed or stationary a cancel takeoff clearance must be sent. More about the proper procedure for canceling takeoff clearance here.

    When you send someone around you give them a traffic direction with it. Because you told them to make left/right traffic there is no need to issue a pattern entry as the traffic direction took it’s place. Only sequence and clear as appropriate. When you give your traffic direction always try to give a direction to the outside, or the direction that will interfere the least with the departure paths on other runways. For example, with runway 27L send left traffic and for runway 27R send right traffic. That way you eliminate possible conflicts with departures on another runway. If you are controlling an airfield with a single runway and approach is active, ask your approach controller which traffic direction you should send to possible go arounds as approach may have a specific plan on how to encorporate go-arounds back into the line.

    If you sent an aircraft around wait until he is stable and no longer in this critical phase of flight before sending him back to the approach controller or resequencing him for his second attempt.

    The official Infinite Flight Go-Around Tutorial for pilot procedures can be found here.

    References: 3.1 of the ATC Manual