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EFC Comment For Controllers  
User currently offlineCoa764 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 328 posts, RR: 3
Posted (10 years 4 months 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 1930 times:

When in a holding situation and you are issuing EFC's (Expect Further Clearance) I understand the workload isuue behind giving aircraft and EFC of 45-60 minutes when the actual expected holding is -20 minutes but here is a thought from the user side. When entering a hold the crew and dispatcher have to consider your given time of 45-60 minutes as truth and then formulate a plan off of that time. I realize that by contacting the TMU or the TCA we can get an actual EFC but in the case of a weight restricted or long hual flight the time it takes to verify the actual EFC can take longer than the crews are willing to wait before they decide to divert for fuel. Just something to think about....


Please oh please Mr Moderator Nazi, dont delete my thread.
8 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineZID From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 294 posts, RR: 4
Reply 1, posted (10 years 4 months 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 1906 times:

A) Many times we don't know how long it will be, or even the reason for the holding. When I'm sitting at a sector, either my supervisor or the next sector's controller will tell me to hold my aircraft; we try our best to find out the reason and the length of delay, but quite often are unable to find out. Even our TMU unit will say that we were simply shut off by Washington Center, or Chicago, or whomever.

B) If a controller doesn't know how long the delay will be, it would be extraordinarily unwise for him to issue a paltry twenty minute EFC, given the fact he must give an updated EFC five minutes before the previous EFC time if the holding time gets extended. If he has more than a few aircraft in holding and he issues a twenty minute EFC to each of those aircraft, he'd better not have any other aircraft on frequency, because he'll be spending his entire time issuing holding and updating EFC's.

If we know how long it will be, we'll give them that EFC. If we don't know how long it will be, we have to wing it. There's no sloppiness or laziness or maliciousness behind it. It's simply a lack of information - or an issue concerning weather, in which case all bets are off.



I'm not joking! This is my job!
User currently offlineCoa764 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 328 posts, RR: 3
Reply 2, posted (10 years 4 months 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 1902 times:

I never said there was any sloppiness, laziness or malicious intent behind that and I did say I understand it is a workload issue. I was pointing out is that when given a EFC of 60 minutes and the crew knows they can only hold for a maximum of 20 minutes this prompts the crew to immediately want to divert for fuel. Usually when the TMU or the TCA is contacted we are given an accurate EFC and that has to be relayed back to the crew. Until that process can be accomplished the crew is basing their bingo fuel off of the original EFC of one hour and not the actual time of 10-15 minutes.


Please oh please Mr Moderator Nazi, dont delete my thread.
User currently offlineZID From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 294 posts, RR: 4
Reply 3, posted (10 years 4 months 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 1898 times:

Like I said, if we know it will be ten minutes, then we'll give them a ten minute EFC. If we don't know, then we have to cover our bases and issue a sufficiently long EFC. Basically, if this is a problem with your company, you'd better take it up with somebody slightly higher than the controller workforce. We do the absolute best that we can with the information relayed to us. I know of no controllers who have ever purposely misled pilots with bogus EFC's. I believe that you have a misconception about how much real time information is available to controllers.

Heck, if anything, it's usually the other way around. TMU will tell us to hold IAD's for thirty minutes, and then after twenty-five minutes we call to see if we can start letting them go, and TMU will say that there's been additional delays and they'll have to hold for thirty more minutes.



I'm not joking! This is my job!
User currently offlineCoa764 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 328 posts, RR: 3
Reply 4, posted (10 years 4 months 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 1893 times:

I talk to the higher ups all the time.. It is good to hear some input from the actual controller since you folks are, after all, the ones in the trenches moving the traffic. Thanks for the input.

cheers. .



Please oh please Mr Moderator Nazi, dont delete my thread.
User currently offlineNormalSpeed From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (10 years 4 months 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 1878 times:

Very interesting topic. It is good to get input from controllers whenever possible.

'Speed


User currently offlineOPNLguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (10 years 4 months 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 1856 times:

Just another opinion, but any time an EFC is issued, I think most dispatchers will take it as a "shotgun" estimate. Most of the time, it'll be less.

To some extent, again, IMHO, it's a moot pont, in the sense that whether a :30 EFC is issued or a :60 EFC, the dispatcher is still predicating a "bingo" fuel based on aircraft fuel status, and not what the EFC is. If the aircraft gets to "X" fuel, and they're still not cleared inbound, it's the big adios and we're off to the alternate...

I fully understand and appreciate ZID's perspective, especially when it comes to info flow (volume) when everyone wants/needs the info. I recently had a situation at PHX where they weren't taking arrivals due microbursts at the airport, and spinning at all fixes. After about :20, things got better and they started landing again, but then I had another aircraft go into holding (ZAB airspace) and tell me it was due to microbursts at the PHX airport, as if that was a current condition. I have no doubt that the ZAB controller gave him the latest info s/he had, but it's likely they didn't know (yet) that conditions had actually improved.

Info flow can often be like a freight train starting up, in that there is an "accordian" effect....  Big grin



User currently offlineCoa764 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 328 posts, RR: 3
Reply 7, posted (10 years 4 months 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 1844 times:

To some extent, again, IMHO, it's a moot pont, in the sense that whether a :30 EFC is issued or a :60 EFC, the dispatcher is still predicating a "bingo" fuel based on aircraft fuel status, and not what the EFC is. If the aircraft gets to "X" fuel, and they're still not cleared inbound, it's the big adios and we're off to the alternate...,

It is not a moot point when the users are planning flights based off of known traffic delays. Say a controller hands down a one hour EFC to your flight but you only planned the flight with twenty minutes of holding fuel and zero extra. Now my first issue with this is that if you look at the OIS page IAD will not list any arrival delays yet the controllers are issuing one hour EFC times. My second issue is that the EFC time the controller gives the crew is just that, controlling. When a Ground Stop is issued with an update time of one hour do you approach that with a "shotgun" attitude or is that update time controlling? The point is that when a flight is given an EFC time of one hour when the actual holding is only going to be ten to twenty minutes the crews are essentially being given false information. Back to my example, your flight to IAD that was planned with only twenty minutes of holding and zero extra also took ten extra minutes to taxi, then got held down and vectored after take off and then was given a slight re-route. So now as they enter holding, based off their FOB the crew estimates that they can remain in the hold for only ten minutes and they were given an EFC time of one hour. Is that still a shotgun estimate or due you divert them (remeber they only have ten minutes of hold fuel and the controller has issued one hour of holding)? Well lets say you do decide to stop and get fuel and as your crew is changing their destination IAD resumes landing all fixes. You just diverted for no reason. I understand both the frequency and workload issues of telling the crews EFC in twenty minutes but what needs to be realized is the users are not flying around all that extra fuel as they were in the past. This does not make for an unsafe operation but if given inaccurate information about arrival delays it can make for an expensive one.


[Edited 2004-04-01 08:35:49]


Please oh please Mr Moderator Nazi, dont delete my thread.
User currently offlineOPNLguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (10 years 4 months 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 1819 times:

With all due respect, I'm afraid that you've missed my point(s)....

You might want to show this thread to Lorraine...  Big grin


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