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Riddle me this, pilots



 
 
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  #1  
Old August 19th 03, 01:36 AM
Chip Jones
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Riddle me this, pilots

The other day, I had an air traffic situation I wanted to bounce off of the
group. Those of you who don't know me, I'm a Center controller down here in
Atlanta. Here's the deal.

I was working a Center departure sector mixing Atlanta terminal departures
of every ilk and kin with enroute overflight traffic north of metro Atlanta.
The sector weather was typical summer MVFR down here- lots of convection,
hazy, hot, humid etc with building thunderstorms here and there impacting
the sector. I had received my briefing from the previous controller and had
just assumed responsibility for the airspace. Part of my technique is to do
one more quick traffic scan *after* I take over (while the previous
controller is still at hand) to ensure we didn't fumble a situation while we
changed the guard.

I am working a Baron IFR at 7000 flying from Chattanooga TN to Charleston
SC, on course heading of about 110 or so. Doing my scan, I see he has an
IFR off the nose about 15 miles at 6000 and another IFR guy crossing from
the NE at 8000 and 20 miles, so he is separated. I notice additional
traffic for this guy, a VFR indicating 6600 about six miles south, heading
about 055 or so, converging with him. I ask the previous controller if
she had issued traffic, she said she hadn't.

I made the traffic call.. "Baron 123, VFR traffic one to two o'clock, six
miles, northeast bound converging, altitude indicates six thousand six
hundred." The response I get is "Baron 123 is IMC, no contact."

I make a few unrelated routine calls to other traffic, keeping an eye on
this VFR target. His Mode C indicates that he is in a climb, and the
conflict alert activates (both data blocks begin to flash). I make another
call at four miles. "Baron 123, your traffic now two o'clock, four miles,
northeast bound, altitude indicating six thousand niner hundred VFR,
converging right to left." The Baron responds "123 is IMC, no contact."
The situation now has my undivided attention.

At three miles converging (next update), the traffic is indicating 7000.
The next update, the traffic is still at 7000. This guy is flying VFR where
one of my IFR's is IMC. I swing into alert mode. The target slashes are a
mile long each and the radar display is delayed a bit from actual position
so these guys are getting close and closing fast. The Baron needs to yank
it right most ricky tic and get behind this guy.

In the most professionally bored voice I can muster, I key up and say "Baron
123, traffic alert, traffic two o'clock, two miles converging from the right
indicating 7000, suggest you turn right heading 180 immediately." The Baron
pilot says "We're turning left to 090, no contact." I then watch as the
Baron swings into a left turn, prolonging the collision vector another
minute. His left turn away from the traffic puts him wing high with closing
traffic off the right side. The Baron also descends four hundred feet
during the maneuver as the targets merge. To me, this looks remarkably like
a TCAS maneuver because of the altitude change. I key up and say "N123, are
you TCAD equipped, do you have traffic avoidance avionics?" He gives me a
curt "Negative, we do not have the traffic." The targets have merged thanks
to the left turn, and I cannot distinguish the one from the other. Anything
I say now about the traffic would be a dangerous guess because I have lost
the flick between these two aircraft. Instead of responding to the Baron, I
issue a vector to the IFR traffic at 6000 to get him away from Baron 123
(who is now well below assigned IFR altitude). At the next position update,
I have tail to tail between the baron and the VFR. I tell the Baron,
"Traffic no factor, maintain 7000." He responds "We never saw him..." [The
unknown SOB in the VFR remains at 7000 for the next fifty miles- his profile
never changed and I have every reason to believe that he never saw the IFR,
IMC Baron].

My question for the group is about the Baron pilot's decision to disregard
my suggestion to yank it towards the traffic and instead to turn away from
him. From a controller's perspective, the quickest way to achieve "Oh Sh*t"
lateral separation with crossing traffic is to aim one airplane right at the
other. The idea is that as both aircraft are moving through space, the
maneuvering aircraft is steering for a point where the traffic *used* to be
but no longer is. Once the nose of the turning aircraft swings through his
traffic's vector, every additional second buys additional separation. When
we do this with IFR traffic, we call this a "Wimpy Crossover" or a "Bubba
Turn". If an aircraft turns away from conflicting crossing traffic, every
additional second of turn sees the targets get closer until either they
merge or else they *finally* get to the point of course divergence. The
closer the targets are when an away turn is initiated, the less effective an
"away" turn is.

Given this traffic scenario, would any of you guys have followed my
suggestion to turn to a 180 heading, or was I wasting my breath?

Chip, ZTL








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  #2  
Old August 19th 03, 01:58 AM
Bob Gardner
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

This was drilled into us for shiphandling at sea...turn into the conflicting
traffic. Sad thing is that if you had yelled at the Baron "Negative, turn
right immediately," the situation would have gotten worse, not better.

I hope you tracked the intruder to his destination.

Bob Gardner

"Chip Jones" wrote in message
...
The other day, I had an air traffic situation I wanted to bounce off of

the
group. Those of you who don't know me, I'm a Center controller down here

in
Atlanta. Here's the deal.

I was working a Center departure sector mixing Atlanta terminal departures
of every ilk and kin with enroute overflight traffic north of metro

Atlanta.
The sector weather was typical summer MVFR down here- lots of convection,
hazy, hot, humid etc with building thunderstorms here and there impacting
the sector. I had received my briefing from the previous controller and

had
just assumed responsibility for the airspace. Part of my technique is to

do
one more quick traffic scan *after* I take over (while the previous
controller is still at hand) to ensure we didn't fumble a situation while

we
changed the guard.

I am working a Baron IFR at 7000 flying from Chattanooga TN to Charleston
SC, on course heading of about 110 or so. Doing my scan, I see he has an
IFR off the nose about 15 miles at 6000 and another IFR guy crossing from
the NE at 8000 and 20 miles, so he is separated. I notice additional
traffic for this guy, a VFR indicating 6600 about six miles south, heading
about 055 or so, converging with him. I ask the previous controller if
she had issued traffic, she said she hadn't.

I made the traffic call.. "Baron 123, VFR traffic one to two o'clock, six
miles, northeast bound converging, altitude indicates six thousand six
hundred." The response I get is "Baron 123 is IMC, no contact."

I make a few unrelated routine calls to other traffic, keeping an eye on
this VFR target. His Mode C indicates that he is in a climb, and the
conflict alert activates (both data blocks begin to flash). I make

another
call at four miles. "Baron 123, your traffic now two o'clock, four miles,
northeast bound, altitude indicating six thousand niner hundred VFR,
converging right to left." The Baron responds "123 is IMC, no contact."
The situation now has my undivided attention.

At three miles converging (next update), the traffic is indicating 7000.
The next update, the traffic is still at 7000. This guy is flying VFR

where
one of my IFR's is IMC. I swing into alert mode. The target slashes are

a
mile long each and the radar display is delayed a bit from actual position
so these guys are getting close and closing fast. The Baron needs to yank
it right most ricky tic and get behind this guy.

In the most professionally bored voice I can muster, I key up and say

"Baron
123, traffic alert, traffic two o'clock, two miles converging from the

right
indicating 7000, suggest you turn right heading 180 immediately." The

Baron
pilot says "We're turning left to 090, no contact." I then watch as the
Baron swings into a left turn, prolonging the collision vector another
minute. His left turn away from the traffic puts him wing high with

closing
traffic off the right side. The Baron also descends four hundred feet
during the maneuver as the targets merge. To me, this looks remarkably

like
a TCAS maneuver because of the altitude change. I key up and say "N123,

are
you TCAD equipped, do you have traffic avoidance avionics?" He gives me a
curt "Negative, we do not have the traffic." The targets have merged

thanks
to the left turn, and I cannot distinguish the one from the other.

Anything
I say now about the traffic would be a dangerous guess because I have lost
the flick between these two aircraft. Instead of responding to the Baron,

I
issue a vector to the IFR traffic at 6000 to get him away from Baron 123
(who is now well below assigned IFR altitude). At the next position

update,
I have tail to tail between the baron and the VFR. I tell the Baron,
"Traffic no factor, maintain 7000." He responds "We never saw him..."

[The
unknown SOB in the VFR remains at 7000 for the next fifty miles- his

profile
never changed and I have every reason to believe that he never saw the

IFR,
IMC Baron].

My question for the group is about the Baron pilot's decision to disregard
my suggestion to yank it towards the traffic and instead to turn away from
him. From a controller's perspective, the quickest way to achieve "Oh

Sh*t"
lateral separation with crossing traffic is to aim one airplane right at

the
other. The idea is that as both aircraft are moving through space, the
maneuvering aircraft is steering for a point where the traffic *used* to

be
but no longer is. Once the nose of the turning aircraft swings through

his
traffic's vector, every additional second buys additional separation.

When
we do this with IFR traffic, we call this a "Wimpy Crossover" or a "Bubba
Turn". If an aircraft turns away from conflicting crossing traffic, every
additional second of turn sees the targets get closer until either they
merge or else they *finally* get to the point of course divergence. The
closer the targets are when an away turn is initiated, the less effective

an
"away" turn is.

Given this traffic scenario, would any of you guys have followed my
suggestion to turn to a 180 heading, or was I wasting my breath?

Chip, ZTL








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  #3  
Old August 19th 03, 02:13 AM
Henry Bibb
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

I'd have *asked* for the vector by about the second call, if I couldn't see
him.
I do that even in VFR with flight following.

Henry Bibb

"Chip Jones" wrote in message
...
The other day, I had an air traffic situation I wanted to bounce off of

the
group. Those of you who don't know me, I'm a Center controller down here

in
Atlanta. Here's the deal.

interesting story snipped.



  #4  
Old August 19th 03, 02:14 AM
Stan Gosnell
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

"Chip Jones" wrote in
:

long story snipped...

Given this traffic scenario, would any of you guys have followed my
suggestion to turn to a 180 heading, or was I wasting my breath?


I think I would have turned in the direction you gave, since I couldn't see
the traffic & presumably you could, at least on radar. You have a much
bigger picture than I do. Either he misunderstood you or he's a lot more
arrogant than I like to think I am. If he knows he's faster than the
converging traffic, a turn away could work, but how could he know that?
OTOH, if you really, really want him to turn to a heading, give it as an
instruction, not a suggestion.

Turning the wrong way & losing that much altitude in the turn suggests a
lack of proficiency, but who knows?

--
Regards,

Stan

  #5  
Old August 19th 03, 02:23 AM
Jim Vadek
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

If the Baron pilot ever gets a chance to read this, I suspect he might
follow ATC suggestions in the future. As for your question: I cannot think
of a time that I have not followed ATC suggestions for traffic avoidance.

Perhaps the Baron did seen the traffic.

"Chip Jones" wrote in message
...
The other day, I had an air traffic situation I wanted to bounce off of

the
group. Those of you who don't know me, I'm a Center controller down here

in
Atlanta. Here's the deal.

I was working a Center departure sector mixing Atlanta terminal departures
of every ilk and kin with enroute overflight traffic north of metro

Atlanta.
The sector weather was typical summer MVFR down here- lots of convection,
hazy, hot, humid etc with building thunderstorms here and there impacting
the sector. I had received my briefing from the previous controller and

had
just assumed responsibility for the airspace. Part of my technique is to

do
one more quick traffic scan *after* I take over (while the previous
controller is still at hand) to ensure we didn't fumble a situation while

we
changed the guard.

I am working a Baron IFR at 7000 flying from Chattanooga TN to Charleston
SC, on course heading of about 110 or so. Doing my scan, I see he has an
IFR off the nose about 15 miles at 6000 and another IFR guy crossing from
the NE at 8000 and 20 miles, so he is separated. I notice additional
traffic for this guy, a VFR indicating 6600 about six miles south, heading
about 055 or so, converging with him. I ask the previous controller if
she had issued traffic, she said she hadn't.

I made the traffic call.. "Baron 123, VFR traffic one to two o'clock, six
miles, northeast bound converging, altitude indicates six thousand six
hundred." The response I get is "Baron 123 is IMC, no contact."

I make a few unrelated routine calls to other traffic, keeping an eye on
this VFR target. His Mode C indicates that he is in a climb, and the
conflict alert activates (both data blocks begin to flash). I make

another
call at four miles. "Baron 123, your traffic now two o'clock, four miles,
northeast bound, altitude indicating six thousand niner hundred VFR,
converging right to left." The Baron responds "123 is IMC, no contact."
The situation now has my undivided attention.

At three miles converging (next update), the traffic is indicating 7000.
The next update, the traffic is still at 7000. This guy is flying VFR

where
one of my IFR's is IMC. I swing into alert mode. The target slashes are

a
mile long each and the radar display is delayed a bit from actual position
so these guys are getting close and closing fast. The Baron needs to yank
it right most ricky tic and get behind this guy.

In the most professionally bored voice I can muster, I key up and say

"Baron
123, traffic alert, traffic two o'clock, two miles converging from the

right
indicating 7000, suggest you turn right heading 180 immediately." The

Baron
pilot says "We're turning left to 090, no contact." I then watch as the
Baron swings into a left turn, prolonging the collision vector another
minute. His left turn away from the traffic puts him wing high with

closing
traffic off the right side. The Baron also descends four hundred feet
during the maneuver as the targets merge. To me, this looks remarkably

like
a TCAS maneuver because of the altitude change. I key up and say "N123,

are
you TCAD equipped, do you have traffic avoidance avionics?" He gives me a
curt "Negative, we do not have the traffic." The targets have merged

thanks
to the left turn, and I cannot distinguish the one from the other.

Anything
I say now about the traffic would be a dangerous guess because I have lost
the flick between these two aircraft. Instead of responding to the Baron,

I
issue a vector to the IFR traffic at 6000 to get him away from Baron 123
(who is now well below assigned IFR altitude). At the next position

update,
I have tail to tail between the baron and the VFR. I tell the Baron,
"Traffic no factor, maintain 7000." He responds "We never saw him..."

[The
unknown SOB in the VFR remains at 7000 for the next fifty miles- his

profile
never changed and I have every reason to believe that he never saw the

IFR,
IMC Baron].

My question for the group is about the Baron pilot's decision to disregard
my suggestion to yank it towards the traffic and instead to turn away from
him. From a controller's perspective, the quickest way to achieve "Oh

Sh*t"
lateral separation with crossing traffic is to aim one airplane right at

the
other. The idea is that as both aircraft are moving through space, the
maneuvering aircraft is steering for a point where the traffic *used* to

be
but no longer is. Once the nose of the turning aircraft swings through

his
traffic's vector, every additional second buys additional separation.

When
we do this with IFR traffic, we call this a "Wimpy Crossover" or a "Bubba
Turn". If an aircraft turns away from conflicting crossing traffic, every
additional second of turn sees the targets get closer until either they
merge or else they *finally* get to the point of course divergence. The
closer the targets are when an away turn is initiated, the less effective

an
"away" turn is.

Given this traffic scenario, would any of you guys have followed my
suggestion to turn to a 180 heading, or was I wasting my breath?

Chip, ZTL



  #6  
Old August 19th 03, 02:29 AM
Ray Andraka
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

Either that or he wasn't really IMC, but didn't want to fess up (in which case
he probably stained his undies too). What the motivation for that would be, I
wouldn't know.

Stan Gosnell wrote:

Turning the wrong way & losing that much altitude in the turn suggests a
lack of proficiency, but who knows?

--
Regards,

Stan


--
--Ray Andraka, P.E.
President, the Andraka Consulting Group, Inc.
401/884-7930 Fax 401/884-7950
email
http://www.andraka.com

"They that give up essential liberty to obtain a little
temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
-Benjamin Franklin, 1759


  #7  
Old August 19th 03, 02:55 AM
Roy Smith
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

"Chip Jones" wrote:
Here's the deal.


An interesting choice of words :-)

In the most professionally bored voice I can muster, I key up and say "Baron
123, traffic alert, traffic two o'clock, two miles converging from the right
indicating 7000, suggest you turn right heading 180 immediately."
[...]
Given this traffic scenario, would any of you guys have followed my
suggestion to turn to a 180 heading, or was I wasting my breath?


Hard to say for sure, but I can offer a few insights from my own
experiences. As a general rule, if the controller says, "immediately",
I put my life in his hands, follow orders, and ask questions later.

I've only once heard the phrase "traffic alert". I was IFR, the
controller was not talking to the other guy. It was not solid IMC, but
there was plenty of IMC around. I can only guess the other guy was not
legal VFR.

In this case, the controller did not issue a suggested heading. My
response was to turn 90 degrees away from the direction the traffic was
being called. I can certainly see your point where turning directly
into the traffic would have put me behind him, but that wasn't my
instinctive reaction.

I suspect your traffic call may have been by the book, but on the other
hand, it was probably too verbose to really be useful to the pilot. I'm
guessing that with each successive traffic call leading up to the alert,
the pilot was getting increasingly antsy about the unseen traffic, and
already working out an escape plan -- "bad stuff to the right, I gotta
get left, away from the danger". All it took was hearing the words
"traffic alert" to trigger that plan into action.

I just timed how long it took me to calmly read the above clearance.
Seven seconds between "traffic alert" and "heading 180". At standard
rate, the guy's already 20 degrees into his left turn before he knows
you want him to turn right (and I'm not sure I would limit myself to
standard rate in response to a traffic alert). More than the physics of
changing heading, consider the human factors -- he's already made a
decision and acted on it. He's already made the mental leap from
obeying instructions to acting on his own. It's not going to be easy to
get him back into the fold quickly.

My guess is, by-the-book or not, a better way to say it might have been,
"Barron 123, traffic alert, immediate left turn, heading 180". Get it
right up front what you want the guy to do.

I fully understand the reason the book wants the phrasing the way it
does. It's the PIC's decision, and the controller is just feeding the
PIC information which will let the PIC make an informed decision. The
problem is, I don't think it works that way in real life. It's hard
enough working CPA problems (Closest Point of Approach; do they call it
that in the ATC world?) looking at a screen or a plotting sheet. It's
damn near impossible in your head with nothing better than an O'Clock
traffic call, some dubious WCA, an unknown speed and cardinal heading on
the target, and no formal training.

PIC-correctness, legality, and liability issues aside, the fact is the
controller is the one with the best picture of what's going on, and it
makes the most sense for the controller to take charge and issue an
unambigious instruction, with no extraneous information to get in the
way of communicating the one thing you really want to communicate: which
way to turn.

It's a pity there's no mechanism to plan stuff like this a little
further in advance. At the 5-mile point, it would be nice if I could
hear, "Hold current heading for now. If you don't see him in another 3
miles, I'm going to turn you left to pass behind him". Does "the book"
allow for such a conversation?

My other hobby is racing sailboats. A very important part of the sport
is judging crossing situations. I'm here, you're there. I'm on this
heading and speed, you're on that heading and speed. Will I cross in
front of you? Will you cross in front of me? There's often a big
tactical advantage to me crossing in front (as opposed to changing
heading to make sure I cross behind), so there's a lot of incentive to
learn how to judge these things closely.

You don't want a surprise. If we're not sure of the crossing situation,
we want to have a plan as far in the future as we can as to what we'll
do if it gets to the decision point and it's still not clear we can make
it across the other guy's bow. That way, when the time comes, I don't
have to explain what Plan-B is, we just have to tell the crew that
Plan-B is what we're doing.

Think about what was going on from the pilot's perspective. You kept
telling him, "Something bad might be happening soon. I know the best
way to deal with it, but I won't tell you what it is yet. Don't worry,
though, at the last possible second I'll clue you in on the plan and
then expect you to react immediately".

Well, anyway, that's my take on it. Other people will probably have
different opinions.
  #8  
Old August 19th 03, 02:58 AM
Chip Jones
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default


"Gary L. Drescher" wrote in message
news:[email protected]
"Chip Jones" wrote in message
...
Given this traffic scenario, would any of you guys have followed my
suggestion to turn to a 180 heading, or was I wasting my breath?


At my level of (in)experience, I'll follow any ATC suggestion unless I

have
specific reason to do otherwise--especially in a traffic-alert situation

in
IMC. I do try to assess for myself the reasonableness of any ATC
suggestion, instruction, or clearance, and I'll balk if I have reason to.
But unless I see a specific problem with your suggestion, I'm going to
comply. (I suppose I might have thought it strange to be turned *into*

the
traffic, and might have asked you to "confrim right turn".)

The idea of rogue IMC aircraft is pretty scary. Was there any way to

track
that plane until it landed somewhere?


Well, I could have tracked him if I had wanted to, but there is no real way
of *proving* that he was breaking any rules.

Chip, ZTL




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  #9  
Old August 19th 03, 03:05 AM
John Gaquin
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Posts: n/a
Default


"Chip Jones" wrote in message

My question for the group is.....


I was taught long ago that when a controller uses the word "immediate",
compliance should be thus. I still believe that to be good policy. Too bad
you couldn't nick the guy for disregarding.

Regards,

John Gaquin
B727, B747


  #10  
Old August 19th 03, 03:13 AM
Matthew Chidester
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default


i'd make both file a report with the ATC manager - I think FAR's say
something about how even though a rule had not been broken (or maybe it had)
if you have both N#'s you can just request them to file a report (or next
time)

Matthew


"John Gaquin" wrote in message
...

"Chip Jones" wrote in message

My question for the group is.....


I was taught long ago that when a controller uses the word "immediate",
compliance should be thus. I still believe that to be good policy. Too

bad
you couldn't nick the guy for disregarding.

Regards,

John Gaquin
B727, B747




 




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