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Guest Steve Keating

A pleasent trip and a few thoughts

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Well I finally go round to doing a complete flight using RC4.01 (real life and work really get in the way).Afternoon flight EGGP to EDDS with a brand new 737-400 (WilcoFeelThere. Aircraft behaved impeccably bTW). Real world weather by Active Sky 6, FS Realtime and A.I. Smooth all running in perfect harmony.Met my new First Officer, a lovely young lady by the name of Geri.Preflight, push and start and taxi out no problems what so ever until contacting tower and reaching the holding point, runway 27.Tower instructed us to "Line up and wait, runway 27".Geri replied "Roger"I know she is new to the fleet and not long checked out but I had to tell her that "Line up and wait, runway 27" is an instruction and should be read back "Roger" is not a correct response. The mistake wasn't pickup by the tower controller either.After take off everything going well. Relaxing with a cup of tea in the cruise in touch with Maastricht I noticed what looked like quite a large CB just to the south of Brussels, switched on the radar and sure enough, a sqall line runnining to the east and a large CB painting on the screen directly on our track and going up to about 370.I asked Geri to get a deviation for weather but again through lack of experience I suspect, she got quite confused and couldn't make her mind up whether we wanted to turn left or right! In fact I believe she asked for "A turn left or right" to avoid. The controller refused, saying "Unable this time due to crossing traffic. Please call again after passing next waypoint" which we did and once again young Geri asked for "Left or right" and again we were refused "Please call again after passing next waypoint". No crossing traffice showing on TCAS, range 40 miles.By now I was running out of options and I wasn't about to take my shiny new 73 and 134 passengers through the middle of the only CB in the whole of North West Europe. So accepting the consequences of a balling out in the debriefing I made a command decision (thats why we get all that extra money) and turned 10 degrees right for a bout 10 miles and rejoined the airway south of the CB after several "We show drifting of course"s from the controller.We were eventually handed of to Dusseldorf which I thought should have been Langan I may be wrong but I thought the airways centers in that area were Maastricht, Langan and Rhine?All during the cruise the controllers kept giving us traffic advisories for every aircraft in a forty mile radius and up to 3000 feet above and below us. This is is RVSM sirspace and unless there is a possible conflict, surely this is unneccesry or are the controllers bored? It certainly kept Geri busy responding to all the calls.After being given to Frankfurt we were cleared out of 330 to 280 and another frequency change. I forget which facility. We were then told "When ready (Or at pilots discretion) descend to flight level 150"(I think it was 150) So checking FMS and the DMEs did a quick mental sum (wow I'm good) and decided to stay at 280 for another 5 mins. After this we left 280 but I noticed Geri never called to tell the controller that we were leaving and as soon as we were passing 277 the controller told us to start our descent now as he needed us at a certain level by a certain point.This fitted my quick mental sum perfectly.On the approach we were vectored down wind for 8 mile finals for runway 25 ILS and descending to 4000 feet I looked out and there was the runway right where I expected it to be.Landed and taxied to the gate and shutdown with no problems.On the whole a very enjoyable flight and a pleasent day out.I did get a bollicking for avoiding the CB but you can't please the management all the time.A few thoughts about the weather deviation: Would it not be possible to have a few sub routines in there ie. Dev for WX=press1TurnLeft=1Right=2Deviation5Degrees=110Degrees=215Degrees=320Degrees=4Distance2miles=15miles=210miles=315miles=4.Surley the controller should be able to allow the deviation and to resolve the conflict without putting the aircraft in a potentially hazardous position?One other thing, it might be a good idea to have "leaving Flight level xxx now", or Leaving xxx this time" call available.Wonderful product, thanks very much.SteveBy the way I think Geri is going to get promoted to senior first officer very soon.

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Steve,Thanks for the report and i'm glad you enjoyed your flight. I'll leave the main response to others but I have a couple of comments to make:Tower instructed us to "Line up and wait, runway 27". Geri replied "Roger" I know she is new to the fleet and not long checked out but I had to tell her that "Line up and wait, runway 27" is an instruction and should be read back "Roger" is not a correct response.You're correct. Yt's a long-time known problem which, I believe is being addressed in 4.1.We were eventually handed of to Dusseldorf which I thought should have been Langan I may be wrong but I thought the airways centers in that area were Maastricht, Langan and Rhine?I did some work with John Burgess a couple of months ago on improving the realism of centre airspace in the UK, Ireland and parts of North West Europe. One thing we did look at was RC's inability to recognise different centres depending on flight level - the case of Maastricht controlling aircraft above FL245 over the Benelux countries and part of Germany was one we sorted out. I don't know what's happened to this work but I'd hope you'll be seeing it in a future release.We were then told "When ready (Or at pilots discretion) descend to flight level 150""When ready" is the correct phraseology for the part of the world you were in - "at pilot's discretion" is FAA terminology.One other thing, it might be a good idea to have "leaving Flight level xxx now", or Leaving xxx this time" call available.There are a great many real-world controllers - me included - who believe a call such as that to be superfluous and a waste of valuable RT time. I can see what you're doing from your Mode C and the rules permit me to take a difference in height readout of greater than 300ft in the anticipated direction as evidence that you've left your level. In circumstances when I'm not permitted to use your height readout such as when you're in a holding stack, I'll ask you to "report leaving..." but otherwise I don't need a call.BestPete

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Thanks for the feedback Pete>We were eventually handed of to Dusseldorf which I thought>should have been Langan I may be wrong but I thought the>airways centers in that area were Maastricht, Langan and>Rhine?I flew yesterday (real world, got paid for it)EBBR to LIME almost idntical route and yes after Maastricht it is Rhine.>We were then told "When ready (Or at pilots discretion)>descend to flight level 150">"When ready" is the correct phraseology for the part of the>world you were in - "at pilot's discretion" is FAA>terminology.Yes I just couldn't remember which was used ay that time.In real life I seems both phrases are used depending on the person on duty at the time.>One other thing, it might be a good idea to have "leaving>Flight level xxx now", or Leaving xxx this time" call>available.>There are a great many real-world controllers - me included ->who believe a call such as that to be superfluous and a waste>of valuable RT time. I can see what you're doing from your>Mode C and the rules permit me to take a difference in height>readout of greater than 300ft in the anticipated direction as>evidence that you've left your level. In circumstances when>I'm not permitted to use your height readout such as when>you're in a holding stack, I'll ask you to "report leaving...">but otherwise I don't need a call.Thanks Pete I'll remember that in future not to call unless asked One other thing Pete, how often have you refused an aircraft a deviation for weather?Thanks for taking the time to reply and clearing up a few items.Best regardsSteve

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One other thing Pete, how often have you refused an aircraft a deviation for weather?Steve,Many apologies for taking so long to answer this question. Refusing an aircraft permission to deviate for weather is very rare but it does happen occasionally albeit a temporary refusal. The sort of situation would be where the consequence of the deviation would result in a more immediate danger than the approaching weather. Examples would be the avoidance manoeuvre resulting in climbing descending or turning towards other aircraft or infringing an active danger area where ground-to-air firing or air combat practice was taking place - the UK, for example, has several such areas situated very close to the air route structure. However, the refusal would last only as long as it takes get the situation resolved by, for example, moving the other traffic, contacting the range safety authority and so on.Unfortunately, RC is not (yet) that sophisticated and what you (probably) came across was a technical device used by the program. To ensure that each waypoint is correctly progressed and the flight plan advanced, RC will refuse any requests for weather deviation within 25nm of a waypoint. This has not been a major problem in the past but with the increasing sophistication and use of add-on weather programs I can see it could be. The approach of the Radar Contact developers is one of continual improvement so, if enough users comment on it, I can see an improved method of handling such requests being added to Doug's "to-do list".BestPete

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Thanks Pete I'll remember that in future not to call unless askedHi again, Steve. I don't know whether or not you'll get to see this here - haven't seen any posts from you for a while - but I'll post here just in case. It turns out that - at least for the UK - I gave you the wrong information about reporting "leaving" a level on a "when ready" clearance. I was browsing the ATC section of Pprune and the same question was asked. Apparently, CAP 413 (The Manual of Radio Telephony published by the UK CAA) Chapter 3 page 3 para 1.2.3.4 says:"Pilots are expected to comply with ATC instructions as soon as they are issued. However, when a climb/descent is left to the discretion of the pilot, the words

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Sorry I haven't been back for a while, got to earn a crust.Thanks for checking the "Leaving" issue.One other thing that has me concerned is the 25miles restriction on the weather deviation (which I'd forgotten about on the flight described above. Come the late spring,summer and autumn flying airways in Europe is going to be really interesting as a lot of airways do not have 25 miles between waypoints. Try MXP-LHR.LIMC-AOSTA-UM729-MOLUS-UN853-DIK-UA24-BUB-UL608-LOGAN-LAM3A EGLL,orBRU-BGYEBBR-SOPOK-UY863-ETENO-Y863-UBIDU-UL607-ABUKA-UN850-ODINA-LIME.It looks like people using FSPassengers are in for a lean time as far as promotions go, having to fly through any CBs enroute as they aren't allowed a deviation because there isn't 25 miles between waypoints on the airways.Maybe you could mention that to Doug as wellThanks for the information PeteBest Regards Steve

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I'll make note Steve but since there's a work-around (Req Dir Checkpoint), can't say when we'll do anything with it. Priorities must be decided.

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>I'll make note Steve but since there's a work-around (Req Dir>Checkpoint), can't say when we'll do anything with it.>Priorities must be decided.Hi Doug,Thanks for the answerI didn't think that aking for a direct would get me round the weather as the routing was pretty much a straight line anyway.Next time I'll give it a try .Seems strange that a convenience request would get a higher priority than a flight safety request!best regardsSteve

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