saab2000
Posts: 1216
Joined: Thu Jun 21, 2001 6:19 pm

Question For US ATC People

Fri Sep 22, 2006 9:35 pm

Why is it that controllers are so anxious for us to call the field in sight as far out as possible? What is so hard about giving vectors to final?

Last night I was flying into an airport in the New York (ISP) area and it is late and we are tired and the airport is already in a sea of urban lights. We switch to a new frequency and the first thing they say is "Do you have the field in sight?" Well, as a matter of fact, no....

I don't want to sound negative, even though the tone here is a bit negative. But finding small fields in large urban areas is not as easy as all that. The beacon is the only way you can see them at all.

My basic question is this: is there a reason for clearing pilots for visual approaches? When I was IAD based they really wanted us to call the airport as early as possible. Maybe this really helps them.

When I lived in Europe and flew there it was rare to be cleared for visual approaches at big airports. Here in the US it is common, even in some marginal, but legal, conditions.

Just curious why.

FWIW, last night was not marginal at all. Beautiful weather and great visibility. Just not easy to find the small airport in the big urban area sometimes at night with all the surrounding lights. I was tired and cranky...  Big grin
smrtrthnu
 
timz
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RE: Question For US ATC People

Sat Sep 23, 2006 12:54 am

At night, what do they mean by "field in sight"? Are you supposed to say yes if you see the beacon, or what?
 
futurecaptain
Posts: 1918
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RE: Question For US ATC People

Sat Sep 23, 2006 1:10 am

Quoting Saab2000 (Thread starter):
We switch to a new frequency and the first thing they say is "Do you have the field in sight?"

Maybe they have alot of other a/c to talk to and don't want to have to keep checking in on you? If you have the field in sight then they can clear you to land and be done with you.

Quoting Saab2000 (Thread starter):
is there a reason for clearing pilots for visual approaches?

When they do it is up to you to keep the field in sight and watch for other a/c.

Quoting Timz (Reply 1):
At night, what do they mean by "field in sight"? Are you supposed to say yes if you see the beacon, or what?

That's pretty much the idea. But sometimes if the field isn't in the middle of the city and the runway lights are on high you can see those miles out too.
AirSO. ASpaceO. ASOnline. ASO.com ASO. ASO. ASO. ASO. ASO.
 
2H4
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RE: Question For US ATC People

Sat Sep 23, 2006 1:32 am




Quoting Saab2000 (Thread starter):
We switch to a new frequency and the first thing they say is "Do you have the field in sight?"

A follow-up question: From the ATC perspective, what happens if the pilots subsequently lose sight of the airport? For example, if, at night, the pilots spot the airport, but then lose it in the surrounding lights...




2H4


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zotan
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RE: Question For US ATC People

Sat Sep 23, 2006 1:41 am

Quoting Saab2000 (Thread starter):
Why is it that controllers are so anxious for us to call the field in sight as far out as possible? What is so hard about giving vectors to final?

A lot of things actually ...

When you are cleared for a visual approach, everything becomes your job. You are responsible for you own terrain seperation, wake turbulence avoidance, traffic seperation etc. It's a lot less work for the controller and can really help them out when they are busy.
 
IAHFLYR
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RE: Question For US ATC People

Sat Sep 23, 2006 1:56 am

Quoting ZOTAN (Reply 4):
When you are cleared for a visual approach, everything becomes your job. You are responsible for you own terrain seperation, wake turbulence avoidance, traffic seperation etc. It's a lot less work for the controller and can really help them out when they are busy.

Also in this time of $$ fuel costs, you the pilot can adjust your flight as needed then to make the runway, shorten or longer depending on many things rather than the controllers taking you on a downwind past the final approach fix for the approach.

At larger airports with parallel runways, having the pilot report either the preceeding aircraft, or the runway is sight, clearance for a visual thus removes the requirement to have monitor controllers to watch the no transgression zone on the finals, that is a huge killer of resources in an ATC facility if not needed to be used on good VFR weather days. WOW, I could go on and on for the advantages of a visual, closer separation on final, you can tuck right up behind the other guys if you like, of course to close and you will get to try it again!  Smile

Quoting 2H4 (Reply 3):
if, at night, the pilots spot the airport, but then lose it in the surrounding lights...

Day, night, no difference, I would expect the pilot to say we have lots the traffic or runway etc., and have the controller give a new heading and altitude, and go from there!
Any views shared are strictly my own and do not a represent those of any former employer.
 
2H4
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RE: Question For US ATC People

Sat Sep 23, 2006 2:06 am



Thanks, IAH!

Another question: I've done quite a bit of flying in loose formation with another aircraft as a flight of two or more. So long as the following aircraft keeps their transponder(s) off, does that create any more of a hassle for you folks than working just one aircraft?




2H4


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IAHFLYR
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RE: Question For US ATC People

Sat Sep 23, 2006 2:18 am

Quoting 2H4 (Reply 6):
Thanks, IAH!

U bet ya sir.

Another question: I've done quite a bit of flying in loose formation with another aircraft as a flight of two or more. So long as the following aircraft keeps their transponder(s) off, does that create any more of a hassle for you folks than working just one aircraft?

Loose....no keep it tight, tight is good!  Smile hahaha
as long as you are fairly tight lead has the transponder on we are happy......only thing that is a little issue is when let us say a military flight of x number of ships wants to break up and do single ship approaches, hassle to get them all broken apart if you are not comfy doing it as a controller.....pretty easy I think but some will grumble about it.
Any views shared are strictly my own and do not a represent those of any former employer.
 
5mileBob
Posts: 103
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RE: Question For US ATC People

Sat Sep 23, 2006 3:04 am

ZOTAN is correct. Visual approaches put the responsibility on the pilot.
My response is for aircraft being handled by ARTCC's.
One of the questions asked was why controllers don't vector to final? In the en-route environment, radar converge must be good enough to provide vectors. If it is not, and the pilot does not want to do the visual, a full instrument approach can tie up an airport for up to thirty minutes or more. With some exceptions, once an aircraft is cleared for an instrument approach, that aircraft "owns" from the IAF through the Missed approach. A visual approach simplifies procedures for ATC. One other item, many US based pilots prefer (at least in my experience) to do a visual. Once they get within a certain distance, they usually cancel IFR, knowing that there are no other IFR aircraft in their way.
Regarding the pilot who loses sight of the airport, if so, then the aircraft is cleared to conduct an instrument approach. Since the field should be cleared of all other IFR aircraft, the navigation to the IAP is up to the pilot. Usually, a procedure turn is done. As stated before, all other IFR traffic are held, waiting for the aircraft to land. When there are multiple aircraft inbound to an airport that is IFR, delays for these aircraft can add up, depending on what type of aircraft are attempting to get in. Conversley, if an airport is VFR and visual approaches can be done, delays are minimal.
Still looks like a Ramp Rat
 
buckfifty
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RE: Question For US ATC People

Sat Sep 23, 2006 3:53 am

Actually, I understand why Saab2000 is grumbling, because this is not the case for the rest of the world. Besides North America, New Zealand and Australia, where ATC will frequently ask you if you're visual early on, almost all major airports worldwide (with the exception of the above) will vector you onto final until you're cleared to land.

Is it a good or a bad thing? For example, when we fly into LAX, we will not accept visual approaches, because they add an element of risk to the approach, which isn't necessarily helpful, especially when streams of traffic are coming in from all directions with simultaneous parallel ops. Sometimes, ATC sequencing will get out of hand, because some nut flying a visual approach decides to come in hot and high, and things could get a little exciting. In addition, identifying the traffic you're following can sometimes be a nightmare, and I have heard of aircraft following the wrong traffic, and causing an unfortunate soul to go around.

But sometimes, visual approaches can speed things up, because some instrumented approaches can be quite cumbersome in certain cases. Approaches into SYD and AKL, for example, when traffic is light, visual approaches can save quite a bit of time. It also allows the pilot to make a more consistent descent onto final from downwind, instead of constantly levelling out on different altitudes while being vectored. Being able to control your own speed also helps, and sometimes it is frustrating to be held at 180 kts or less when you're more than 10nm from touchdown.

Both system works in different places. Some pilots like doing more visuals, others prefer vectors.
 
IAHFLYR
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RE: Question For US ATC People

Sat Sep 23, 2006 4:26 am

Quoting BuckFifty (Reply 9):
Both system works in different places. Some pilots like doing more visuals, others prefer vectors.

And even more want to go direct to an intersection on final......visuals are not unsafe nor a risk IF and I say IF the controllers are actually controlling the traffic not slinging it in as I have seen happen at times. ....out of hand not really, just don't put an airplane in a situtation that the aircraft is not capable of doing no matter how good the crew. That high/hot guy will most likely be getting another chance to come in on a stabilized approach on the 2nd attempt!

Quoting BuckFifty (Reply 9):
when we fly into LAX, we will not accept visual approaches, because they add an element of risk to the approach, which isn't necessarily helpful, especially when streams of traffic are coming in from all directions with simultaneous parallel ops

BuckFifty do you accept visuals at other airports with parallel runways/simul ops like DFW, IAH, ATL, MIA, DTW, DEN, PHX, MSP, IAD, CVG, and SFO where things are really tightly spaced between 28L/R?? Just curious if LAX has something special about it that the others listed here and probably others as well don't have going for it, other than SFO?
Any views shared are strictly my own and do not a represent those of any former employer.
 
2H4
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RE: Question For US ATC People

Sat Sep 23, 2006 8:57 am




Quoting Iahflyr (Reply 7):
only thing that is a little issue is when let us say a military flight of x number of ships wants to break up and do single ship approaches

That can be frustrating from the pilot's perspective, as well. I remember shooting some approaches in actual one day, when a group of about 8 A-10s came in. Each one required a separate clearance, readback, etc, effectively blocking me out of all radio communication for what seemed like minutes. I forget the details, but IIRC, my inability to report my position over the radio resulted in revised vectors to the approach.




2H4


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saab2000
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RE: Question For US ATC People

Sat Sep 23, 2006 8:59 pm

I did not mean to sound like a complete hack asking this question. I understand that these visual approaches help out the controllers. I am fine with that if it works but I am not always cool about it when they are sort of pushing for it. They sometimes try to 'lead' you to an answer so much so that it seems easier if they just gave us a turn or two and lined us up.

The problem with the night visuals in urban areas is only when you are not lined up with the runways. That is when it is hard to see the airport. Lined up with the runways it is easy.

Seeing La Guardia at night when not lined up can be a bit tricky. But at least there they really don't want someone flying around looking for the airport so they will line you up pretty good or it is a pre-determined visual track to the runway.

Anyway, most controllers to a terrific job most of the time so I was not trying to be down on them. I guess I was just wondering about the rationale. They surely don't want something to happen on their watch, so just reducing their own risk seems somewhat doubtful. I remember recently doing having a controller in ELM who really wanted us to call the field. Well, we were in and out of the bases of the clouds, it was night and there is terrain and neither of us had ever been there. We told him we needed and ILS and you could just hear in his tone that he was not happy.

Just curious. Most of you guys do a great job.
smrtrthnu
 
IAHFLYR
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RE: Question For US ATC People

Sat Sep 23, 2006 10:27 pm

Quoting Saab2000 (Reply 12):
They sometimes try to 'lead' you to an answer

If you are getting that happen that is pretty much your own issue then....when I fly I am totally in control of the craft, if I tell them I want the RNAV or the ILS, short of that approach not being available then I will get that or they get a call later on the phone.

Quoting Saab2000 (Reply 12):
Well, we were in and out of the bases of the clouds, it was night and there is terrain and neither of us had ever been there.

When the weather is iffy to see the airport or airplane, I don't care what time of day or night, it is much easier to vector for an approach.....hey next time tell the controller "student pilot"  Smile You'll sure get a much different tone of voice in the reply.

Quoting Saab2000 (Reply 12):
so just reducing their own risk

I guess I just am not seeing this risk.....don't you back up a visual with an ILS if one is available to the runway of if you have a map in the plane, extending the runway centerline out and having a VNAV path, if so where is the increased risk? Maybe I am just old and very slow these days.  banghead 

I certainly don't feel your post got down on any controllers or anything close to that, but thanks for your being sensitive to that, likewise I trust my smart ass comments don't point a finger in any particular direction except at those who select option E, being stupid.
Any views shared are strictly my own and do not a represent those of any former employer.
 
saab2000
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RE: Question For US ATC People

Sat Sep 23, 2006 11:17 pm

I always back up a visual with the ILS, if applicable. But sometimes, like in ISP the other night, we were cleared for the visual long before the loc or G/S were active on the OBS.

Of course, I never accept it unless I know I can fly it safely. My big issue is that they sometimes seem to ask even when we don't have the airport in sight. They will ask if we have the field. My answer is sometimes, "Not yet, I'll call it when I see it." Then ten seconds later comes the same question. That is my sole issue.

I know that doing these visuals does allow for more aircraft to get in and out of an airport. But sometimes I feel I am rushed by ATC or even very mildly pressured to accept something not appropriate. Usually it is not an issue if I ask for an ILS.

I do think that 99% of any confusion or mild antagonism could be cleared up if controllers could do jumpseat rides. They would see things from our perspective. And they could brief us on tips that would help them out a lot. After all, we all have the same goal here - safety.

Oh, and about the "Student Pilot" thing.....  Big grin Sometimes during the taxi out with a new captain I will ask them if they are a CFI and if we can use this flight as my x-country sign off or something like that. It lightens the mood sometimes, 'cuz sometimes they know I am older and might have more hours than they do. Or at the end of the flight I ask them if I should log that as "Dual Received" or "Dual Given".
smrtrthnu
 
IAHFLYR
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RE: Question For US ATC People

Sat Sep 23, 2006 11:59 pm

Quoting Saab2000 (Reply 14):
My big issue is that they sometimes seem to ask even when we don't have the airport in sight. They will ask if we have the field. My answer is sometimes, "Not yet, I'll call it when I see it." Then ten seconds later comes the same question. That is my sole issue.

Got ya....now I'll stop bangin my head! Okay, I have, and again not dependent on time of day/night but at times you have a few airplanes on final, they all see the airport or preceeding traffic, type of operation is visuals to parallel or multi-parallel runways......it is absolutely required that the crew accept a visual clearance before the vertical separation goes away if i am not 3 NM lateral from the other airplanes, which most times we won't be........so that is my priority at that point, even though you may have told me call ya when I see it or the plane in front of you....if frequency is busy you may not have time to get the word in edge wise so I need that call from you, I will prompt that call again! Make a bit more sense now? Having said that, when not busy, folks ask for the "approach".....knock yourself out is my motto, vector you till the sun comes up if I have to in order for you to get that approach.  Smile

Quoting Saab2000 (Reply 14):
Or at the end of the flight I ask them if I should log that as "Dual Received" or "Dual Given".

Brilliant, I will use that if I may.
Any views shared are strictly my own and do not a represent those of any former employer.
 
saab2000
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RE: Question For US ATC People

Sun Sep 24, 2006 12:10 am

I assume you work at IAH or another large airport, right? If so I will say that large airports are rarely the problem. There is tons of traffic and it is usually very obvious where the field is. You can almost always see the airport or the preceding traffic.

It is usually the smaller fields, sometimes in urban areas, but sometimes not, where my issue lies.

Anyway, I have never flown to IAH. Understand it is a very busy airport. Speaking of busy airports, my fave in the whole world is ORD. Best controllers I have ever worked with.
smrtrthnu
 
buckfifty
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RE: Question For US ATC People

Sun Sep 24, 2006 2:45 am

Quoting IAHFLYR (Reply 10):
BuckFifty do you accept visuals at other airports with parallel runways/simul ops like DFW, IAH, ATL, MIA, DTW, DEN, PHX, MSP, IAD, CVG, and SFO where things are really tightly spaced between 28L/R?? Just curious if LAX has something special about it that the others listed here and probably others as well don't have going for it, other than SFO?

I've never flown to the other airports you describe, but there are many reasons for LAX being a dangerous place for us to attempt a visual.

a) We always arrive at night, and with the terrain surrounding the airport, being with a crew that's unfamiliar with the airport can cause an issue.

b) Usually we arrive after a long sector, everybody's tired, it isn't a smart thing to do at that time to take the responsibility of keeping your own separation. Reducing risks is part of our job.

c) I've never flown into SFO, but my mates who have say the same thing. At such a busy airport, with streams of traffic coming in from all directions, it is not an easy proposition. Even at LAX, with ILS PRM in place, centreline overshoots are still a problem with simultaneous ops.

d) Reporting visual when you're on base or final isn't the problem. But like Saab2000 described, often American controllers would ask the question when we're still a long way out. If you're flying bugsmashers, it probably isn't a big deal. But with large inertia aircraft, it isn't as easy trying to figure out where you fit in at 170 kts with near idle thrust.

It's all about reducing risks, that's all.
 
IAHFLYR
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RE: Question For US ATC People

Sun Sep 24, 2006 6:58 am

Quoting BuckFifty (Reply 17):
c) I've never flown into SFO, but my mates who have say the same thing. At such a busy airport, with streams of traffic coming in from all directions, it is not an easy proposition. Even at LAX, with ILS PRM in place, centreline overshoots are still a problem with simultaneous ops

Thanks for the reply.....at busy airports in the US the traffic steams will most often be a downwind, modified straight-in on the short side and that is about it.

Someone correct me if I am wrong but LAX doesn't have a PRM (high update RADAR, magnified display) nor the PRM that MSP either used to have or still does. The LAX runways are far enought apart, 25L & 24R centerlines to conduct dual simultaneous ops with the regular ole ASR9 RADAR and normal displays. They monitoring centerline of the localizer when visuals don't work. Overshoots can be an issue for sure no matter, but if flying ILS's, 1,000' vertical separation is to be maintained until the aicraft is established on final, that is the requirement.

Quoting Saab2000 (Reply 16):
assume you work at IAH or another large airport, right?

Correct
Any views shared are strictly my own and do not a represent those of any former employer.
 
PHLapproach
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RE: Question For US ATC People

Wed Sep 27, 2006 2:14 pm

Quoting IAHFLYR (Reply 18):
Someone correct me if I am wrong but LAX doesn't have a PRM (high update RADAR, magnified display) nor the PRM that MSP either used to have or still does. The LAX runways are far enought apart, 25L & 24R centerlines to conduct dual simultaneous ops with the regular ole ASR9 RADAR and normal displays.

Correct Sir, SCT has not installed PRM yet. M98, PHL, T75, CLE and I think D21 has it coming soon. Unfortunately one of the most wasteful projects the FAA had ever put time and money into. Many others where that comes from, but it's up there.

PRM... Sitting without being used in over a year...


Hard to get a fast exposure without streaking, it's amazing to watch them glide along especially when your so use to the 6 second update.
http://img179.imageshack.us/img179/1580/prm2si4.jpg

While Im at it, I was wondering what do you have at I90? Has STARS been put in yet?

[Edited 2006-09-27 07:16:15]
 
IAHFLYR
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RE: Question For US ATC People

Thu Sep 28, 2006 2:26 am

Quoting PHLapproach (Reply 19):
While Im at it, I was wondering what do you have at I90? Has STARS been put in yet?

HUSH.....that has me working a midshift a week for the last month it seems to work out the kinks.....but alas, Sat night is the big event! Cross your fingers.
Any views shared are strictly my own and do not a represent those of any former employer.
 
5mileBob
Posts: 103
Joined: Wed Aug 16, 2006 9:45 am

RE: Question For US ATC People

Sat Oct 07, 2006 1:36 am

PRM's at MSP were decommissioned early in 2006.
Still looks like a Ramp Rat
 
atct
Posts: 2472
Joined: Fri Mar 16, 2001 6:42 am

RE: Question For US ATC People

Sun Oct 08, 2006 12:33 am

Quoting 2H4 (Reply 3):
what happens if the pilots subsequently lose sight of the airport?

Then the pilot should report to ATC that they've lost the field so the controller can vector them.


regarding STARS, once the kinks get worked out its a great system. I personally like DBRITE (guess im sorta sentimental) but STARS, within the next few years once every one gets used to it and finds its quirks, will be WAY beyond the brite.


ATCT
Trikes are for kids!
 
P3Orion
Posts: 377
Joined: Tue May 30, 2006 10:53 am

RE: Question For US ATC People

Mon Oct 09, 2006 9:32 am

when I was at ALB, 2001-2005, we had STARS and it was fabulous. There is no comparison between the old DED's/DBRITE's and STARS.
I will have a Manhattan.
 
IAHFLYR
Posts: 3943
Joined: Sat Jun 25, 2005 12:56 am

RE: Question For US ATC People

Mon Oct 09, 2006 11:42 am

Quoting P3Orion (Reply 23):
There is no comparison between the old DED's/DBRITE's and STARS.

For the basic display you are totally correct.....but the automation system has to be more locally adaptable for places that had fabulous ARTS patches, you can't have a simple baseline and deploy that to all facilities as they've tried, but the fight isn't over. I do enjoy STARS but the current build is in need of more improvements.
Any views shared are strictly my own and do not a represent those of any former employer.
 
P3Orion
Posts: 377
Joined: Tue May 30, 2006 10:53 am

RE: Question For US ATC People

Mon Oct 09, 2006 10:15 pm

I agree. When I transferred from ALB, FAA/Raytheon were on build 7 or 8. So the system is being enhanced. My one desire/complaint was "point outs." They should make that feature a different color, such as pink. Something that stands out on the display. My favorite feature was either the "pref sets" or the weather.
I will have a Manhattan.
 
IAHFLYR
Posts: 3943
Joined: Sat Jun 25, 2005 12:56 am

RE: Question For US ATC People

Tue Oct 10, 2006 5:25 am

Quoting P3Orion (Reply 25):
So the system is being enhanced. My one desire/complaint was "point outs."

U got your wish....pointouts are now yellow.....and on build 14 with 15 having been tested! More soon for sure!  Smile
Any views shared are strictly my own and do not a represent those of any former employer.

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