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Riddle me this, pilots



 
 
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  #1  
Old August 19th 03, 01:36 AM
Chip Jones
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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
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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, 03:48 AM
Chip Jones
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Posts: n/a
Default


"Bob Gardner" wrote in message
news:MCe0b.184104$o%[email protected]
This was drilled into us for shiphandling at sea...turn into the

conflicting
traffic.


We drill this concept into ATC developmentals too. Same principle.

Sad thing is that if you had yelled at the Baron "Negative, turn
right immediately," the situation would have gotten worse, not better.


I thought so too


I hope you tracked the intruder to his destination.


No I didn't. My supervisor and I has a very short discussion about doing so
and then decided we could prove nothing. Could have been bad mode C, no way
to prove he was not VMC, the baron never saw him etc etc.

Chip, ZTL




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  #4  
Old August 20th 03, 03:27 AM
Barry
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Posts: n/a
Default

I hope you tracked the intruder to his destination.

No I didn't. My supervisor and I had a very short discussion about
doing so and then decided we could prove nothing. Could have
been bad mode C, no way to prove he was not VMC, the Baron
never saw him etc etc.


In what situations would you decide to track the traffic? I'm curious
because one very clear night I didn't feel like bothering with Phila.
Approach and just overflew the Philadelphia Class B VFR at 7500 enroute to
Atlantic City. When I called ACY Approach, they told me that Phila. wanted
to talk to me. I called after landing, and Phila. said they showed me below
7000 for part of the time, thus in their Class B without a clearance. I
assured them I was at 7500 the whole time, and agreed to get the Mode C
checked (it was due the next month anyway). Is ATC more likely to pursue a
possible Class B violation than a rogue IMC?

Barry



  #5  
Old August 20th 03, 04:10 AM
Chip Jones
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default


"Barry" wrote in message
...
I hope you tracked the intruder to his destination.


No I didn't. My supervisor and I had a very short discussion about
doing so and then decided we could prove nothing. Could have
been bad mode C, no way to prove he was not VMC, the Baron
never saw him etc etc.


In what situations would you decide to track the traffic? I'm curious
because one very clear night I didn't feel like bothering with Phila.
Approach and just overflew the Philadelphia Class B VFR at 7500 enroute to
Atlantic City. When I called ACY Approach, they told me that Phila.

wanted
to talk to me. I called after landing, and Phila. said they showed me

below
7000 for part of the time, thus in their Class B without a clearance. I
assured them I was at 7500 the whole time, and agreed to get the Mode C
checked (it was due the next month anyway). Is ATC more likely to pursue

a
possible Class B violation than a rogue IMC?


These days I have to be careful about what I say on the net. Like you point
out, we have the ability to track you. We do track suspected airspace
violators, especially Class B. We don't do the enforcement end so I don't
know what the burden of proof is other than an actual visual sighting etc
but I'd say yes, we are far more likely to pursue a probable Class B
violator than a probable rogue IMC. After all, the Class B (or A or C or D)
is actually there all of the time and always monitored, whereas something
like weather conditions at a given point in time and space is rather
fleeting and subjective.


That "bad Mode C" angle is a factor too. We get guys from time to time
showing up in Class A airspace indicating FL255 or so, VFR. We are usually
pretty sure they are actually down in the weeds with bad Mode C, but we have
no safe way to tell and so treat them as intruders while they display they
are in the flight levels. However, we don't track them unless they appear
to fly hundreds of miles at the same displayed altitude. There is an old
war story that goes around ZTL (and probably other Centers) about a Sun and
Fun weekend where ZTL tracked a VFR aircraft that flew from somewhere north
of the Ohio River all the way down to Florida, indicating FL275. An air
carrier over Alma Georgia got a visual on it and reported it as a P-51, so
ZJX tagged up the target and ATC followed it all the way into Lakeland.
However, allegedly FSDO couldn't ever prove an enforcement because the pilot
claimed that he had been VFR at 17,500 the whole time. Dunno if this story
is fact or fiction. Several ZTL old timers swore they were involved when I
heard it here, but I have since heard a similar story (same theme) about an
Oshkosh-bound P-47 as I was enjoying a cold malted beverage with some Kansas
City Center guys. You know war stories.

Chip, ZTL




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  #6  
Old August 20th 03, 05:34 AM
Newps
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Default



Barry wrote:

In what situations would you decide to track the traffic? I'm curious
because one very clear night I didn't feel like bothering with Phila.
Approach and just overflew the Philadelphia Class B VFR at 7500 enroute to
Atlantic City. When I called ACY Approach, they told me that Phila. wanted
to talk to me. I called after landing, and Phila. said they showed me below
7000 for part of the time, thus in their Class B without a clearance. I
assured them I was at 7500 the whole time, and agreed to get the Mode C
checked (it was due the next month anyway). Is ATC more likely to pursue a
possible Class B violation than a rogue IMC?


Yes. In most cases ATC does not know an aircraft is illegally IFR
because we don't know what the weather is. I have seen ZLC call a
couple times because they watched traffic for over a thousand miles.
One was a Malibu that busted LAX's class B and landed here at BIL.
Another aircraft busted Denver's class B and came here. Both times we
gave them a phone number supplied by ZLC. Don't know what happened
after that.

  #7  
Old August 19th 03, 02:13 AM
Henry Bibb
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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.



  #8  
Old August 19th 03, 03:40 AM
Chip Jones
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default


"Henry Bibb" wrote in message
...
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.


Good point. It would have been easier to get the ball rolling in the right
direction if we had started earlier instead of waiting until an actual alert
phase.

Chip, ZTL




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  #9  
Old August 19th 03, 02:14 AM
Stan Gosnell
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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

  #10  
Old August 19th 03, 02:29 AM
Ray Andraka
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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


 




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