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Riddle me this, pilots



 
 
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  #21  
Old August 19th 03, 05:33 AM
Chip Jones
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"Roy Smith" wrote in message
...
"Chip Jones" wrote:
Here's the deal.


An interesting choice of words :-)


Ya well, as we say in Class E between IFR's and VFR's, "no dent, no deal".


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.


I don't routinely have to issue traffic alerts either. Usually this sort of
call eventually results in "traffic in sight, thanks Center".



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 agree it is counter intuitive, and no matter what the controller is safely
on the ground regardless of where the pilot ends up. Not trying to be
cynical, either.


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.


Thanks for the insight Roy- I follow you.


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).


I'm betting that's exactly how it went down. I did not observe the Baron's
maneuver until well after it began, so I can't really judge when it began.
I didn't even catch the altitude bust until a couple of updates later.
You're right, he was probably ready to execute a maneuver as soon as he got
the TA.

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.


Well the PIC was definitely decisive in the event. He didn't bandy any
words, and it was clear that he was set on the left turn because he didn't
hesitate one instant when he told me he was turning left.


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.



That's good advice. I'll put that in the bag of tricks.


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.


I can't even imagine. We don't call it CPA. We call it Point of
Convergence down here. Dunno if that is FAA standard.


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.


No doubt about that. I will point out that when I suggest something on
frequency like in this event, I do use the command voice. I don't hesitate
on the radio when I am working airplanes. The only difference in my
transmission between a suggestion and an instruction is the word "suggest".
Otherwise I try to make it sound calm but imperitive.


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?


If you ask for it, certainly. And I have been known to issue timely ATC
instructions to IFR aircraft to avoid VFR aircraft in Class E, which is
stretching the rules but can be justified as "good judgement". I find it
easier to do this between a known VFR and IFR rather than between an IFR and
an unknown intruder.

In the actual event though, I did not recognize that this particular
situation was developing into a close call until after it was going down.


[snipped]


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, I can see how the pilot could have that perspective. However, I
truely didn't know the best way to deal with it (south vector) until about
four miles because the VFR was maneuvering vertically according to his mode
C. I was banking that the VFR and the IFR would see and avoid if I only
gave the IFR a few good traffic calls. (Wrong!) This event occurred on a
Sunday around 1300L in Class E about 50 miles NE of ATL. This airspace sees
an awful lot of unknown VFR's because it is convenient to the Atlanta
terminal area, is outside of Tracon airspace (and the Class B rings) and is
a good place for the various flights schools at the satellite fields like
RYY, LZU, 47A and PDK to conduct flight training without getting a KingAir
or Citation enema. (You can't swing a dead cat inside the terminal area
without hitting a VFR target on a Sunday afternoon). I could have vectored
the Baron early "for traffic" only to have this unknown VFR swing back
around towards Atlanta and right at him or something.


Well, anyway, that's my take on it. Other people will probably have
different opinions.


No doubt, but as always I do appreciate your take.

Chip, ZTL




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  #22  
Old August 19th 03, 05:43 AM
Chip Jones
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"Capt. Doug" wrote in message
...
Chip Jones wrote in message The response I get is "Baron 123 is IMC, no

contact."

Howdy!

While your scenario may be right on the money, let me point out that some
pilots will claim to be IMC even when there isn't a cloud in the sky.

Their
reasoning is that by doing this, it keep the onus of seperation on the
controller. We both know this isn't quite how it works, but then again, a
chimpanzee flew Mercury 7.


Good point, D. I've actually seen a talking Jackass work an ATC sector down
here, now that you mention it. :-)

Chip, ZTL




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  #23  
Old August 19th 03, 06:17 AM
Chip Jones
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"blanche cohen" wrote in message
...
Um....Bob & Chip...could you explain in more detail the reason
for the "turn into traffic"? I'm having problems visualizing
it. And I have the most horrible feeling that someday I'll run
in the same problem and want to understand it.


To keep it simple, imagine two aircraft converging at 90 degree right
angles. One is heading northbound, one is heading east bound, on collision
courses. Assuming a vertical solution is not a viable option, the fastest
way to achieve separation is to turn one aircraft decisively behind another
aircraft. This kind of turn involves the nose of one aircraft swinging
through the vector (ie- the projected path) of the other aircraft. This
requires a turn towards the other guy. The closer the two aircraft are to
one another when the maneuver is initiated, or the narrower the angle of
convergence, the more of a turn is required. Aircraft types, winds aloft,
other traffic in the scenario etc all play a factor in who gets turned and
how much of a turn is needed. Generally, if all things are considered
equal, one turns the slower aircraft behind the faster aircraft.

This kind of turn can be be counter intuitive to the pilots involved. In
the case of the aircraft heading 090 and the aircraft heading 360, let's
suppose that I issue traffic traffic and then initiate an separation
resolution. To the north bound aircraft, I call traffic at ten o'clock and
ten miles, eastbound co-altitude. I then initiate a vector to put the north
bound airplane behind the east bound airplane. "Turn left heading 310,
vectors behind traffic." To the pilot, I have just issued a turn right into
the traffic I just called. In the controllers mind, I have taken other
factors into play. The east bound aircraft has a tailwind, so the 310
vector will aim the northbound guy into the wind, slowing him down. The
northbound guy was slower anyway. There is more traffic to the south,
precluding a southerly turn to the eastbound aircraft etc etc etc. The
pilot may say "Say again Atlanta? Isn't that where my traffic is?"

The very very basic idea is that assuming I have enough time to aim the nose
of one airplane at the point in space that the other airplane occupies when
I inititate the maneuver, then by the time his nose actually gets there, the
other aircraft has moved on. This assures that neither aircraft will hit
(assuming they don't get together in the turn.) Lots of variables too.

Chip, ZTL





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  #24  
Old August 19th 03, 08:29 AM
Peter Duniho
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"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?


I can't imagine why the Baron didn't turn as you suggested, assuming he
really was IMC. Roy's suggestion that the Baron pilot started the turn
before hearing your suggested vector may be the case, but it seems foolish
of the Baron pilot to make a decision to turn one direction or another
without any input from ATC, if in IMC.

As for whether the other traffic was VFR or not, that's less clear. The
Baron pilot stopped reporting IMC (at least according to your description)
well before the two planes actually converged. It's entirely possible the
Baron did wind up flying out of a cloud, and from that point on was actually
looking for the other traffic. Actually, I suppose if the Baron wound up in
VMC, that might explain the direction he turned and why he was willing to
make a turn without ATC advice.

In any case, keep making those "vectors for traffic" suggestions. Most
pilots, if IMC with no hope of seeing the other traffic, would listen to
you. I know I would.

Pete


  #25  
Old August 19th 03, 10:06 AM
Martin
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Best damn thread in this newsgroup in a while, on topic, interesting
and no one being overly pugnacious. That said...

I think almost everyone can agree on a few basic facts:
-The turn into traffic idea, with appropriate spacing, is a good one
-If a controller suggests an "immediate" change in course... do it
-Traffic avoidence sooner rather than later is best

All that together makes it pretty clear, someone already mentioned
that once the pilot heard "traffic alert" they probably +started their
avoidence right away. without waiting the extra 4 or 5 sec to hear out
the controller... I have no doubt that is what I would do.
So I guess my suggestion to controllers in this situation is to spit
out the vector asap, something like "N123A traffic alert, right turn
to 180 immediately is suggested"... I know it sounds choppy, but I
wouldnt wait a second longer after hearing "traffic alert" to start
what I think is a logical turn. Having "right turn" being the next
words should start the process correctly.
Chip youre a good man, many controllers (well the ones I know here in
the northeast at least) tend to just say "f**king pilot" and move on,
youre actually trying to get a pilots point of view. I hope you got a
better sense of what we're thinking up there, I certainly learned
quite a bit from your posts... im just stoaked about this thread lol.
  #26  
Old August 19th 03, 11:35 AM
pilotjww
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Nice thread.

Turning towards the tail of the traffic is natural for me, and has always
worked so far, especially when VMC. I share the sailing experience of the
the earlier posters.

I mostly fly IFR. While IMC, I have experienced several ATC-supplied traffic
alerts for VFR traffic, but no visual contact.

I also recall traveling IMC (in and out of CU) and briefly observing
crossing traffic slightly above my altitude, with NO traffic call out. When
I queried ATC, they didn't have him, so the traffic may have not been using
a transponder. I was lucky to miss.

A small nit: I fly a low-wing, and any ATC traffic alert inside of 4-5 miles
and below my altitude will be hard to see without some maneuvering to remove
my airplane's nose or wing from line-of sight. I expect even a high-wing
will also have at least the problem of traffic under the nose. I get a lot
of these alerts, where the traffic is a thousand or more below me, often
unverified, and I find them useless.

But if the traffic is approaching my altitude and is under my nose or wing,
I need to maneuver anyway to see it, so will appreciate a vector from ATC to
both see and avoid.


  #28  
Old August 19th 03, 11:54 AM
T-Boy
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In article ,
says...

PS: did you catch up with the "VFR" - traffic.

--
Duncan
  #29  
Old August 19th 03, 12:01 PM
Steven P. McNicoll
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"Newps" wrote in message
news:N3h0b.192923$H[email protected]

That was cool. I would tag up the "VFR" pilot and run him thru FSDO.
You have proof he was IMC.


You'd have proof that he was in IMC only if he had collided with the guy at
7000 in IMC.


  #30  
Old August 19th 03, 12:44 PM
Gary L. Drescher
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"Chip Jones" wrote in message
...
This kind of turn can be be counter intuitive to the pilots involved.


Yup. It was to me until I gave it more thought.

In
the case of the aircraft heading 090 and the aircraft heading 360, let's
suppose that I issue traffic traffic and then initiate an separation
resolution. To the north bound aircraft, I call traffic at ten o'clock

and
ten miles, eastbound co-altitude. I then initiate a vector to put the

north
bound airplane behind the east bound airplane. "Turn left heading 310,
vectors behind traffic."


The "vectors behind traffic" phrase sounds very useful. It concisely
explains to the pilot, in real time, why the counterintuitive instruction
actually makes sense.

Thanks for posting this. If I'm ever in such a situation, having thought
about it beforehand might help me avoid wasting a second or two trying to
figure it out.

--Gary


 




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