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Frankfurt Overload Event

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Hi to all online aviators!I'm wondering, how many, if any, of you guys participated at yesterday's Vatsim event at Frankfurt?If yes, please post your opinions, especially about the procedures and operations in use.I'm asking this, because this is probably one of the forums where the more experienced pilots hang out and want to hear their side of the event.I was one of the active controllers yesterday, and I must say that things got a little out of hand. We tried to mix two systems guiding the aircraft towards the ILS which didn't work out quite the way we wanted to, but we, at least I, did learn a lot!Please post any comments, opinions, critics, etc!Thanks,Mark

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Guest Muppet22

HiI was BAW908N/BAW909U in PIC to and from EDDF from EGLL. I thought the ATC service was very professional, very similar to that found at the real world Frankfurt. There were 2 problems though : 1) People DO NOT and for some reason WILL NOT listen out before transmitting, they just join the frequency, press their PTT button and off they go. This is SOOOO frustrating for me as a pilot sitting there listening and even more so for the ATCO's. 2) Sometimes the traffic levels seemed to demand too much of a controller and therefore the service became slow i.e. I was waiting for 15 mins for my clrnc, but this I can bare with. Overall - top effort and the results show all the hard work that was put in.

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Hi Tom!Thanks for your kind words. Ah yes I remember BAW908N inbound to EDDFI can confirm the stress the pilots caused that didn't listen before transmitting. I was doing director at the time and had to give a lot of aircraft a lot of vectors and transmitting-eager pilots didn't help the situation. This was also one of the areas that was poor from our part of coordination. We should not have had transitions aswell as radar vectoring in use. Either one or the other, but the two don't mix. Most pilots simply overshot the turn to final and had to be re-vectored to re-intercept the ILS. This was a lot of work and could have been avoided. Lesson learned!I'm curious what the other pilots have to say about this, aswell as the other controllers' point of view. Overall I enjoyed the event a lot, and we had a lot of traffic. Luck was on our side considering that no server crashed nor striked. Voice quality remained the same during the entire event.I hope the pilots enjoyed the event just as we did, and I look forward to the next event.Greetings,Mark

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Hi Mark,I participated in KLM1669 with my PIC-POSKY-v3 and i really enyoyed the event. There was a lot of traffic indeed. I had on a separate computer the ServinfO and WhazzUp screens and they were very populated. More than 110 flights in- and outbound EDDF!I was a very nice experience for me, that you do not have to bother about the other traffic, that's the ATCs job ;-) I fly on Frankfurt a lot, and yesterday i -like always- flew the ETARU25 transitions, which gave me a beautiful sight of the field. The only thing that was different, was that the instruction to turn right hdg 160 came rather late, but i guess that was because of the traffic and in a way it proved the advantage of this transistion as a means to space divide traffic. I established on the ils of 25R and all went well, but i noticed on my TCAS that another plane, BAW192, was 900 feet above me and slightly ahead of me. He speeded up and descended in front of me down to the rwy25R (and i slowed down) but he came to close on another KLM plane in front of me. Therefore the BAW192 got a go around... I think this could have been foreseen and thus prevented buy the ATC... But anyway, i liked the event a lot, and hope to fly to EDDF in dense traffic again soon.kiek

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Guest Martin

I was flying LH3055, an A320, into EDDF yesterday, and overall everything went well.Unfortunately I had neglected the transitions, so I had to rely on radar vectors.There was some confusion since both runway 25L and 25R were used for arrivals. One ATIS stated "arrivals expect 25R", so that's what I did initially, and set up everything for a 25R arrival. Then I was not clearly informed by the controller what runway I should expect, and really didn't know this until I got cleared for the ILS. (I know, I could have asked, but somehow I always seem to expect that the controllers will tell me, and I don't want to take up any unnecessary "air time".) When I got cleared for the approach, I thought I heard "25R", and replied with that. When I called established on the approach for 25R, I learned that I was really supposed to be inbound for 25L. So I switched to 25L in the FMGC, but apparently the autopilot didn't catch up. Thus, I didn't realise I was still inbound for 25R until I contacted the tower, and then I turned off the A/P and F/D to land on 25L instead.Other than that, everything was fine. :-)Martin767 fetishistIt's a lot like life and that's what's appealing

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I'm not quite happy about this event - I think that rate of trafiic was to high. I was flying from Warsaw, Poland. For the first reply via text from EDDF_S_CTR i was waiting about 10 min. Then i've recived clr to d/m FL110 over PSA and that was the last contact with ATC for next 1 hour :-( I was trying to contact CTR via text but no reply - even there was no HOLD intructions so i was left on my own in busy airspace :-(. I was flying HOLD as published but without clearance from ATC , also other pilots were having the same problem - no contact with ATC via text. Sometime there were 3 planes holding over PSA @ FL110 - little scary The strange thing was that pilots with callsings DLH or BAW were reciving reply from EDDF_S_CTR with minimum delay - pilots with generally "eastern" callsigns such as LOT , MAH even TAP were left on their own witout any interest from ATC :-madAfter 1 hour sensless flying S_CTR saw me and hand off me to APP , then DIR and landingBut there was one good moment in this event for me - was establish on ILS25R but there was traffic on the rwy so TWR ask me to make transition from 25R to 25L - you can see it on the screensmy screens from EDDF http://www.forum.mewa.net/viewtopic.php?t=423sorry for poor languageregardsEricson ( LOT431 during this event )

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Sorry to hear that!We had a few traffic management problems and the delays you mentioned happened to everyone, trust me!"western callsigns" were not prioritized, even if that was your first impression. We had a lot of aircraft in a very short time and were simply not prepared to meet the demand. We had to open a few holdings and send aircraft into them, and unfortunately a few aircraft were overlooked. Same happened in the north, with aircraft holding over GED and MTR.Still there were some aircraft that were overlooked that came in from the north and then were only contacted while being 50 miles out. I'm sorry for the inconveniences and I truly understand the frustration it had to be. Today we held a two hour debriefing and talked about these problems and also found resolutions for them so the next time there will be an event in Frankfurt, we'll be ready!I hope we will have the pleasure of serving you better next time,Regards,Mark

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I rarely say a BAD thing about ANY event....here it comes......BUT - I will say that traffic flow control was a bit slow - I took a WONDERFUL tour of the countryside about 40 DME east, then south then west of EDDF - was in 3 holds.... finally over the PSA NDB - I got cleared inbound - 45 mins after I made it to EPINO ( the three planes I was with were down 30 min before I )Several times I called controllers via both voice and text - I think they were overworked - It was an enjoyable event - glad I wasn't paying for the JET-A though I am not critical of the controllers - just think they needed a tad more online for this event and more inbound flow control....Richard GreenVATUSA4Events and VA Director

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In our debriefing tonight we came to the conclusion that we need around 14 controllers to get the job done right.Yesterday, we only had 8 controllers available.Our biggest failure was that we mixed two approach systems together, that did not work out. (For the experienced: transitions aswell as vectoring)As this was basically the first mega event, we were not aware that this could cause such a great problem, but now we know, we will improve the system!Just wait and see at the next EDDF Flyin :-)

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Hi Tom,>1) People DO NOT and for some reason WILL NOT listen out before transmitting, they just join the frequency, press their PTT button and off they go.

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Ericson,I was not on the event but I suspect that the lack of response from ATC was not down to your callsign but due to using text.I know controllers are supposed to give equal service to text and voice (and will get their wrists slapped if they don't :-)) but during a heavy traffic event I would think voice operation is much easier for both sides and thus text gets forgotten.It is a shame because people who cannot use voice, for whatever reason, feel excluded, just wonder if it would be possible to have a seperate 'text' controller at busy positions.Rgds

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My 2 pence worth...I often find the "Overload" events are "Over-rated". I say that because of, amoung other things, the limitations of Roger Wilco and Squawk Box...they simply can not handle a real world level of traffic. Add to this pilots who insist on not following voice communication protocols, step all over each other because they are impatient, not reposnding to ATC commands quickly enough, pilots who speak so slowly I want to pull my own head off, not wait for the other pilot to respond to an instruction before stepping on him, or asking questions like "how do I set up a hold?"..etc...etc..etc. I have done the LAX and UK overloads and managed to squeak through with minimal delays, but I think I got lucky. This is NO fault of the controllers who generally do an outstanding job.The other concern with overloads is that when you put 20 or 30 aircraft on the ground, your final approach becomes a slide show in FS. I usually disable or restrict the amount of traffic, but that can lead to problems on the ground as it takes time to re-load everyone after I land...I run over people waiting for the text-ground controller to respond ;-) Don't get me started on text-controllers, especially Tower-Text ATC...Until we get smoother operating systems, connections, and some kind of standardized pilot testing/rating before admittance to these shows, the problems will persist. The controllers in most cases have their s--t together, it is the pilots who ruin the show couple with a system/applications that can't handle the pace....I am referring to Lag and R/W overload.I wish I had answers to at least the system problems...Roger Wilco and Squawk Box have not had major modifications since they came out. They are freeware so you get what you pay for, but there seems to be potential for development, even if it becomes payware. Add to this the bandwidth/server constraints...Maybe it is time for a PAY FOR USE VATSIM system as an alternative FREE USE system to weed out the serious simmers from the pretenders?? Maybe "Overloads" could be handled with a PAY-FOR-PLAY registration only policy so as to control the flow to a manageable level. People register and are given an ID and password for the event...just a thought or two..Don't everybody throw stones at once ;-)"Worse, how can it get any bloody worse...Jehova..."Rob.

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Ya know - I for one....Would love a PAY service.... two things... would give us substaintal capital to PAY people to improve the software ( not work on it in spare time after REAL WORLD jobs , and LIFE )2. It would provide for infrastructure - wouldn't it be nice to have 3 or 4 - 2 meg SDSL lines, and several SDSL roger wilco servers??Maybe one day - Richard GreenVATUSA4Events and VA Director

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Hi Rob!While I personally wouldn't like the idea of vatsim going payware, and I doubt it will, I do see your point.My biggest problem is Roger Wilco. In my opinion it is a pain in the a** software, with an awful quality and a huge lag time. We are currently in the lookout for different voice softwares, but the problem is that it would have to be changed worldwide! The new SB would have to be programmed to handle its auto-change etc.There are quite a few voice apps out there but we are currently testing them to see if they meet our standards. If they do, we might contact the chiefs at vatsim to see what they think. But this is currently in a pre-alpha stage ;-)All I know is that I want to get rid of Roger Wilco ASAP. It has been around for ages and hasn't been improved.RW's limitations played a grand role at our event. Pilots who changed to a new frequency and then didn't wait to listen in to hear if someone else was broadcasting simply pressed their PTT button and off they went. That not only annoyed the other pilots, but especially the controllers. I don't want to name names but there were some special cases of not exactly very disciplined pilots. I know it must be tough flying holdings and taking a sightseeing trip across half Germany, but why make it hard for the other pilots aswell?But as I said, we learned from this event a great deal and we're planning a new traffic management system that will come into service soon enough.Anyways, that's enough for now ;-)Greetings,Mark

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If payware is not going to happen, then I would suggest a Pilot qualification or rating system of some kind should be implemented ASAP, not only for Overloads, but for general daily use. Go to LAX/JFK/ORD on a busy night and listen to little Timmy playing with his Roger Wilco voice activiation while learning how to clog traffic in a FS Cessna ;-) I avoid Chicago mainly for that reason. These kind of pilots need to be screened and pointed to resources to learn protocol, tested, and then granted priviledges. VATSIM should be a priviledge, requiring standards to be met by pilots and ATC, not treated as a toy.Maybe only "A1" rated pilots are permitted to participate in "overloads" and certain areas at peak times...I know this develops a "Have and Have Not" situation, but I think it is a necessary evil to save the reality factor at the overloads and to be able to work within a less than perfect software environment.My next chapter will be on text controllers and the VATSIM regualtions regarding the use of text ATC....maybe over at the VATSIM forum where I will be promptly ignored ;-) ...kidding....I live for VATSIM and the regular junkies know I am a pusher.Rob.

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I was using Rw as usual but i was unable to hear anything from S_CTR - normal situation during online flying - so i swich to backup ( text ). After hand-off to APP and others controlers i was continuing with voice.And as it was said earlier it is hard to say anything when there are 20-30 people on the channel. :-(start of quote ==> I would suggest a Pilot qualification or rating system of some kind should be implemented ASAP, not only for Overloads, but for general daily use. <== End of quoteI will second that - rating system for pilots is a very good idea :9regardsEricson

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Yes Vatsim definitely needs a rating system for pilots!!In the beginning of times (Satco :-) ) this was not necessary as the size of the network was much smaller. But now, with real world ops at some airports (for example Frankfurt!) we do need pilots that are able to turn with more than 10 degrees of bank angle! You can not know how extremely frustrating it is to watch a pilot flying at 170 kias on a downwind 4 miles next to the localizer turn right to intercept it at a 30

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I hear you...I would also say that pilots should know the limitations of the aircraft A/P they are flying...hand flying is recommended ;-)Just one note "in general" for the ATC side...I sometimes find when I am being vectored for an APP, ATC will suddenly start dealing with people on the ground looking for IFR clearance (in the case of an APP controller who is handling GND and CTR for example)...meanwhile I am blowing past the LOC at 30+ degrees 180kts on the last given heading while little Timmy on the ground is asking for his third readback and FP correction, then Timmy does not know the FL's for Eastbound and so on. It's about that time I hit the "APP" lock and make the adjustments myself, the ATC becomes redundant at this point, then they yell at me after for being so presumptuous ;-) The moral here; don't bite off more than you can chew. If you are going to control APP, CTR and GND, focus on one or the other, but don't screw up both or more ;-) When things get busy, focus on your own area. It's not often, but when it does happen, I get angry..."Don't make me angry, you wouldn't like me when I am angry..."Dr. Banner aka The Incredible Hulk.

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Guest MB327

(Folks, don't get nuts on me here, this is just free thinking)Rob,Go get em with your text/voice ATC theory. I know where you

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I like the way you think...I like the Star method..I think I like the hours method even better....less than 40 hours or some kind of line around that time should weed out the newbies from the people who know how to work with ATC properly.I can't write more at the moment, we should discuss this while sucking up some VATSIM bandwidth tonight.Try not to fix anything tonight Mike, you know it will only cause problems ;-)Rob.

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Just a note - I can't speak to details but a pilto certification system is in the works on VATSIM....Richard GreenVATUSA4Events and VA Director

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Guest ielchitz

A few comments....1) Fly ins - The overload type "hey let's ALL fly to XXXX" of event is IMHO generally lame and always a frustrating event. It takes some SERIOUS planning and a lot of skilled controllers to pull it off. The Cross The Pond events are a pretty good example of this - excellent planning (well in advance), and excellent execution by the controllers. Of course it also helps when the pilots all get into this "real world" mode.This is a common phenomena - the pilots start to get excited by all that is happening on the frequency - the other pilots execute and respond quickly (and briefly) and the controller is "all business" I find that many pilots change their acts at this point as they completely focus into "the zone" - as a controller I always try and set the tone on my radio when traffic picks up - I'm not there to chit chat - I'm there to get you where you need to be safely. None of this runway transition stuff - you and every other pilot are going to get the exact same speed, vectors, and altitudes.. any deviation will result in you going to the back of the line .Anyhow - this is one of the reasons we came up with the California Screaming concept - we had a fly in to LAX last year - and it was horrible - on top of us not being prepared - we had traffic backed up so far that aircraft were being held inside of Denver and Albuquerque (sp?) centers. The Criss Crossing of traffic in the southwest seems to work a lot better - and having 250 pilots flying to 20 airports seems to cut down on the delays - as well as increase controller participation. If you have never taken part - I suggest you give it a try.2) Text controllers. Part of me wants to agree with you 100% Rob - while another part of me wantes to disagree 100%. I can totally understand that it is next to impossible to switch to a text only tower controller in bad weather, tight sequencing, at the OM, while hand flying your aircraft, and say "with you OM 25R". Then just as you reach your DH you see him type a clearance to someone or say something ridiculous like "I have your clearance advise ready to copy" (well I've been sitting here waiting for my IFR for 10 minutes already - what do you think I went to the Galley to make myself a sandwich?). The thing is - some people will NEVER be able to use voice due to a variety of reasons - and we can not exclude them. You also have to remember that people have to learn to work somewhere and at somepoint. I'm not sure what the hard fast rule is - but our local rule is that you can not get your voice certification until you reach the rating of S3. We can't have these text only guys working any of the radar positions when they first start working the scopes.. and they eventually need to learn how to run the tower position. So what should we do with them? Learning proper phraseology takes some time - and I would prefer to keep people off of voice until they can prove that they know what the proper phraseologies are (typing phrases out appears to help immensely). On top of this we must keep in mind that MANY of the people out there are NOT native English speakers - I find it amazing that I can get outstanding ATC in Sweden with a busy airspace in English - simply amazing.When I am in that last minute switch to tower on final and he's text - I'll just send a blank message to him "ACA301: " and usually they clear me to land. When working tower - if I am text only - Ill send your landing clnc soon after I see the alert that ACA856 selected my ATIS.3) Payware - this sounds like an interesting concept - but it would turn out to be a horror story. Would I get paid as ATC? Would you be able to ask for your money back if I gave you a crappy approach (or spun you for sequencing like AA327 always seems to have happen ). Not sure how this would work.4) Pilot Ratings. As far as I know, VATUSA has plans to get a pilot training program off the ground. I *think* that there will be "levels" that people can attain - so that when you fly you could put (in Rob's case) "ATP" in your comments. This training program is taking a long time - I belive this is due to the fact that the person who is responsible for it has been spending 100% of his time making our VATSIM server software more reliable - and has been responsible for many of the recent improvements in reliability (especially no lag). Remember this is volunteer.5) Roger Wilco. This program bites. A lot of the problems are due to people having their roger wilco program set up improperly - or a poorly configured Firewall/NAT Router. I have "heard" that the NAT problem may be resolved through some other software on the horizon. With that said, I belive I can speak from experience as someone who works on a BUSY frequency on a regular basis. A lot of the problems have to do with simple CONSIDERATION. - Don't call in after ATC has asked someone to "turn left heading 065, descend and maintain 2,500 vectors for the ILS Runway 24R Approach" - wait until that pilots has responded.- When ATC says something to you and end it with "No Response necessary" - do NOT say "Roger".- If Instructions are given to 2 aircraft separated by the word "BREAK" the LAST aircraft responds first. I personally never use this.- If you didn't copy what was told to you don't say something like "ummm well SoCal, you were coming through a little bit broken, I caught everything but the transponder code.. could you please say it for me one more time.. ummm SWA281" - try something like "SoCal say transponder code again for SWA281".- Have a pen and paper handy.- Write stuff down.- If you respond to "9 miles from JETSA turn right heading 220 maintain 220 until established cleared ILS runway 24R approach" with: "Whats the frequency for the ILS and the OBS" prepare to learn how to fly a 45 minute hold.6) Assuming Multiple ATC roles. I have to agree with Rob on this one. If you can not handle working multiple poitions at one time - don't do it. You are just getting yourself in over your head - before you know it you will be crying for mommy. VATUSA has recently changed a rule that does NOT allow any controllers holding an S1 rating of working ANY CTR position. It's too much to do for some people - especially while still learning, and even harder to do properly. At the same time, please have some mercy on those controllers who are crazy swamped with traffic - controlling is a lot of work. Imagine what it's like when you work SoCal approach with no one below you. You have guys calling for IFR from LAX, SNA, SAN, ONT, LGB, BUR, etc. etc. You have guys who need the routings ammended, people who need the weather, guys want to fly this approach or that, people who want "clearance" to pushback or shut down thei engines (give me a break), oh ya - then theres the takeoff/landing clearances, departures and approaches, and 3 aircraft asking for VFR flight following PLUS some guy who wants IFR out of Phoenix or San Francisco and can not understand why you can not help them. Yes - controlling is not easy... when you get good service, appreciate it for what it is. On top of all that you hear on voice and see on text, there are MANY things going on behind the scenes... many many. This past Saturday night I had my butt kicked for 4 hours while handling ONLY the LAX_APP/DEP sector. On top of the pilots I had to coordinate EVERYTHING with LAX_TWR, ONT_APP, SNA_APP, BUR_APP, SBA_APP, LAX_ABD_CTR, and LAX_C_CTR. You could not imagine how much is going on in the background. (BTW I didn't recognize anyone coming through my sky from this forum except for "Canadian Triple Three Niner").I guess my opinion on this is threefold. First - ATC is very COMPLEX at times and some people just MAKE IT look easy. It is not. Second - People who can not handle the complexity should be working a position that they can handle. Third - ATC is very COMPLEX at times and some people just MAKE IT look easy. It is not.-----I now realize I have WAY to much to say about things. I think i am merely releasing words since I have not made many posts the past 3 weeks and I miss flying ;-(I hope to see many of you out for the California Screaming Event (www.laartcc.org) on June 23.Sincerely,Ian ElchitzVATSIM and PIC Addict.

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"If Instructions are given to 2 aircraft separated by the word "BREAK" the LAST aircraft responds first. I personally never use this."Whoa. Are you sure?!In Europe this is used exactly the other way around. The first aircraft readsback first, then the second a/c!I've heard this used live aswell and there it was first aircraft to be called = first readback.

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Guest ielchitz

>"If Instructions are given to 2 aircraft separated by the >word "BREAK" the LAST aircraft responds first. I personally >never use this." >Marcom,AFAIK this is how it works in US airspace. My apologies for not stating that whatever I say (or think I may know which often times is not the case ) usually relates to FAA procedures. With that in mind - I was unable to come up with a reference to the "break" phraseology in either the FAA 7110.65 or the AIM. I do remember a discussion once upon a time where someone stated that use of the word "break" was actually poor form (in the US) and thus I opted against ever using it.Again my apologies... I keep forgetting to mention that I am only aware of how things are done in the US and really do not know much about the various European and other systems - which in fact is a little humurous itself since I am 100% Canadian, eh? Ian.

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