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Delayed Due To Air Traffic Control Constraints?  
User currently offlineCorbin From United States of America, joined Mar 2001, 135 posts, RR: 0
Posted (12 years 6 months 1 week 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 15905 times:

Hello Everyone!

I have a quick question. I have been watching the following flight for the past few days, and almost every day the flight is "delayed due to air traffic control constraints" according to the NWA web site. I will be taking this flight in a few weeks and I have a very tight connection in MSP, and I was just wondering if anyone knew what Delayed due to air traffic control constraints means?

The flight is NW2922 GFK-MSP.

Thanks for your help and Happy Thanksgiving!

In life you are either a passenger or a pilot. The choice is yours!
10 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineFlairport From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (12 years 6 months 1 week 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 15863 times:

well, have no idea what it means.... but if it contuinues, it means not so tight of a connection!

User currently offlineUAL777CONTRAIL From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (12 years 6 months 1 week 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 15819 times:

It may be due to FLO CONTROL. Flo control is when ATC slows down arrivals into the airport because of weather or just plain old afternoon congestion.

Ual has many flight in and out of ORD in the afternoon that are always affected by FLO.

When a city gets weather it slows down arrivals and departures, if a city has severe weather and they shut down a runway for what ever reason it is now an airport under flo control.

hope this help, if it doesn't maybe someone else can explain it better.

UAL 7E7 contrail

User currently offlineGroundStop From United States of America, joined Jun 2003, 611 posts, RR: 6
Reply 3, posted (12 years 6 months 1 week 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 15792 times:

I have the answer for ya. MSP has been going on to a Ground Delay Program every afternoon for the past 4 or 5 days. The reason being "Terminal Volume." Simply put, too many airplanes at one time. It only affects those ATC zones immediately surrounding MSP as well as the adjacent Canadian zones. Thus, your flight from GFK will receive a "Wheels-Up" time from ATC along with all the other aircraft so as to moderate the flow of arrivals into MSP. Another term for this as 777Contrail mentioned is Flow Control. An easy way to see if MSP is on a delay program is to check the FAA website.


AirTran Ops

User currently offlineAtcboy73 From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 1100 posts, RR: 2
Reply 4, posted (12 years 6 months 1 week 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 15762 times:

As an air traffic controller its always nice to see that there are others outside of the profession that understand the systems limitations.

I personally believe there is no such thing as an ATC delays. There are the "this airline over schedules this airport at this time delay" and then there is the "nimby doesn't want another runway even though jets are quieter than they ever have been delay."

Just trying to be a little funny.

But really now.

Think about it like this Corbin.

It can be kinda complicated but Ill try to make it easy.

Think of all the cities that have service to MSP from the West, such as DEN, SLC, SFO, SEA and GEG just to name a few. The airline wants them all to come into MSP as close as possible so that connections can be made in a decent amount of time and then they can depart on to an east coast city. Maybe as far away as two or three Center sectors to the west of MSP start setting up the sequence because all of these arrivals will have to enter one
of the four corners. See, most class B airspace is set up like a big box with arrivals coming in at the corners and departures to the flat surfaces of the box. This is probably the best way to set up airspace when you have a constant amount of traffic descending into and climbing out of a small area. Minneapolis center calls GFK (or it comes out on the departure strip information) and the instruction is to have flight # so and so wheels up at so and so time. GFK Tower has (I forget) something like 3 minutes before and 5 after that time to get the flight in the air. Why, because the sequence has already been established for the most part. Traffic Management (TMU) has coordinated with ATC and found or made a gap for your plane.

There is so much more to it than that.

I have observed center operations at the busiest center in the world (Cleveland Center) and was very surprised to see that the sequence for the southeast corner Chicago terminal area started over PIT. Its truly amazing to see 20 or 30 planes flying in a line, everyone doing 300kts and roughly the same (give or take a few thousand feet) altitude.

Corbin, I know delays can be frustrating and there is nothing more frustrating than telling a plane, sorry I cant let you go right now, though I know its really the best message I can pass along at the time.

Every profession has its lazy people but I can tell you this. Our Country should be very proud of its ATC system and the people that make it function everyday. When we have delays or FLOs its not because we are all on break. It really comes down to have many planes can you land at one time. There are thousands of air traffic controllers that have your safety at heart and want to see you get to your destination safely.

User currently offlineCorbin From United States of America, joined Mar 2001, 135 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (12 years 6 months 1 week 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 15701 times:

Thanks a lot for all of your information. I was just curious since that is the only flight out of GFK that departs 30-45 mins late every night. Hopefully I will make my connecting flight...

Thanks again!

In life you are either a passenger or a pilot. The choice is yours!
User currently offlineOPNLguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (12 years 6 months 1 week 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 15650 times:

Something else to keep in mind in the event of a delay program on the day of your intended flight delays your GFK-MSP flight, there's a good chance that the same program will delay the aircraft that runs ABC-MSP and is supposed to turn out as the MSP-XYZ flight you're supposed to connect with.

Doesn't happen that way all the time, but it's quite a common occurrence...

Good luck...

User currently offlineBistro1200 From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 337 posts, RR: 3
Reply 7, posted (12 years 6 months 1 week 2 days ago) and read 15625 times:

Yes, but what about when ORD goes to an 80 rate and the reason is WEATHER, WIND on the OIS page? You check the METAR and wind under 5KT, SKC. Oh, but what's this? The Bears are playing Green Bay in the playoffs (not this year though!). Must've had a few sick calls for that day, and ZAU can't cover the loss. It steams me that ATC inefficiencies cost airlines and passengers money and time.

Now I am not talking about line controllers, who do an excellent job of moving metal. I am talking about the command center calling the shots for local centers. Also, for poor airspace structure. Look at the advancement of flight management systems and high altitude navigation over the last 40 years. Has the airspace structure changed to adapt? NO. We'll get DRVSM in 2005 (I believe), but RNAV routes are few and far between (such as the Q-routes between SEA and SFO/LAX)

ATC management needs to get moving. Right now the only thing keeping the system together are the skilled controllers that pick up the slack from the ATCSCC in Washington.

Measure to the millimeter, mark with a crayon, cut with an axe.
User currently offlineAtcboy73 From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 1100 posts, RR: 2
Reply 8, posted (12 years 6 months 1 week 2 days ago) and read 15595 times:

Bistro speak on.

Im not a center controller so Im not real up to date on the so called free flight issues. I am always surprised at the number of controllers that are trying to save money for the users buy getting shorter routes. You can count me as one of those.

I make it a regular occurrence to cut the corner from ACT to DFW for Eagle, with Regional approach (DFW) approval.

ultimately it all comes down to more runways being needed. Kind of reminds me of that scene in Star Wars when the Millenium Falcon comes out of hiper space into the asteroid mess that was the planet Alderon.

We can free flight all over the place but we eventually need to be vectored and put in line to land.

Am I making an sense?

User currently offlineAAR90 From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 3590 posts, RR: 44
Reply 9, posted (12 years 6 months 1 week 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 15560 times:

I was just wondering if anyone knew what Delayed due to air traffic control constraints means?

Only NWA can tell you what they mean when they use that term. Most major airlines encode all encountered delays for database storage and possible use later (i.e. future planning of expected delays for this flight). An educated guess would be ATC delays that can include (but not limited to); Tower capacity/hours at departure airport, extended vectors for other traffic after takeoff, detours and/or speed restrictions due to other traffic enroute (not necessarily MSP bound), extended vectors and/or speed restrictions during arrival (nearing MSP), runway and/or equipment limits at MSP, etc. If NW operates similarly to AA, then their management "hopes" their pilots are sending accurate information. I have "tutored" many an AA copilot about properly encoding delays (i.e. don't blame ATC when 14 planes line up to use one runway).

*NO CARRIER* -- A Naval Aviator's worst nightmare!
User currently offlineTrnSwrld From United States of America, joined May 1999, 1198 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (12 years 6 months 1 week 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 15541 times:

I am graduating Embry-Riddle in Daytona FL with air traffic management degree this month. I took the FAA OPM test and passed so I will be waiting for my call from the FAA anytime after graduaiton. Anyway, I had to do an extensive paper and presentation on airport congestion and delays. Well as ATCboy said, there really is no such thing as an ATC delay usually. I found that as already stated, the ONLY way to increase capacity and reduce delays is to LAY MORE PAVEMENT. You can do all the free flight you want, add all the systems you want (SMS, AVOSS, etc etc) but they will not help 100% unless there are more runways, more taxiways, and more gates. The main reason for delays to begin with, besides weather problems is due to the airlines scheduling. Its pretty self explanatory, but it actually kinda upsets me when even pilots announce delays and blame it on ATC. Well, I guess they gotta say somethin right?

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