Primarily for general aviation discussion, but other aviation topics are also welcome.
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By riverrock
#1656001
GonzoEGLL wrote:The LTC system can handle freecallers too, but in all of these systems it’s easier for the controller to retrieve stored information than create it oneself.

Oh - indeed. Its just in the past, paper strips were quicker to write so it was easier (and quicker) for controllers to handle freecallers.
In the new digital world, it takes controllers longer to tap the relevant info using a digitiser / screen than it did using pen and paper - hence we now need to pre-notify the busier controllers yet London/Scottish Info are able to handle more of us using paper.
At least, that is the complaint / explanation I've heard from a few places about the reluctance to provide services / transits. The new systems are more efficient for coordinated transfers to/from others using the same system (although ones at different locations aren't necessarily joined up) but they are a pain for free callers.

When controllers get rid of an aircraft, they mark who they passed the aircraft to anyway, so they must already have a way to select other units. Surely it couldn't be too difficult to come up with a system to allow electronic handover?

Suggestions have also been made in the past for the systems to pull in VFR flight plans to a unit (so most details are already pre-filled in) or have a tool that pre-populates information (using perhaps Mode-S & RF directional finding could provide most of a pre-filled in "strip" for a free calling aircraft) but AFAIK they didn't go anywhere.
chevvron liked this
By Mike Tango
#1656030
stevelup wrote:Never going to happen in this backwater country...


There is a more integrated NATS system coming, albeit it's a number of years away yet.

The main ANSP isn't backwards/backwater, it's actually quite forward thinking and innovative in many respects. It's the funding model and the priorities placed upon it by the politicos that have resulted in the system as is, where service to the airlines is all that really matters.
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By GonzoEGLL
#1656037
Mike Tango wrote:
stevelup wrote:Never going to happen in this backwater country...


There is a more integrated NATS system coming, albeit it's a number of years away yet.

The main ANSP isn't backwards/backwater, it's actually quite forward thinking and innovative in many respects. It's the funding model and the priorities placed upon it by the politicos that have resulted in the system as is, where service to the airlines is all that really matters.


Agreed.

Add in the complication of the myriad of ANSPs out there (over 60 at last count?), and the fact that many (most) airports don't have the money, nor the motivation, to purchase/maintain electronic strip systems and update/link them to other, competitor airports and the ACC.
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By ATCO C
#1658037
Well, this has been an informative read, 17 pages of a great deal of Bristol bashing with a smattering of supportive comments. But one poster said “the situation at Bristol is disgraceful.........the unit should hang it’s head in shame.....” Thanks for that, just one question though, does that mean the airport, the ANSP or the staff themselves? Let me know and if it’s the staff, I’ll apprise my colleagues of the low esteem in which they’re held (well, the ones who don’t frequent these fora) as I’m sure that’ll make everything better.

Our EFPS system went live just over two weeks ago. With annual leave and sickness, not everyone has had time to bed in yet, but we’ll become more proficient with time. It hasn’t been helpful that our ‘O’ date was put back nearly 7 months, so our training had a significant break in it due to the summer season.

We also went live with a new Radar & Director set up after LARS ceased earlier in the year and due to the new workload split, the guys have been a bit more cautious as they get used to it. Add that to it being our busiest summer ever, and we have been stretched a bit. What you may not know, is that our old LARS frequency is now the initial contact radar frequency for all traffic. Radar then passes the IFR arrivals to Director to vector to final and onward to Tower. Radar deals with everything else - transits, local or arriving VFR traffic and IFR departures. So whilst you may think it’s not busy because of what you hear or don’t hear on 126.650, you don’t have the full picture.

As for ....
“There's VFR-transitable airspace from the ground up to FL105 and even more for IFR so am surprised every level was occupied.”
That’s not the full picture. Through our Class D you can transit VFR up to FL105. However, we abut Q63 (L9 as was) from FL75 to FL105, so north or southbound VFR traffic would be given not above FL70 (if it exists that day). It’s easier for us to have VFR transits below 2000’ (SERA permitting) through the zone but higher on the approach side if need be. 2000’ and below is controlled by Tower and is subject to their traffic.

Finally, without wishing to inflame what has always been an emotive subject, hypothetically if we were to have a dedicated LARS function again, who is to pay for it? From what I understand, the LARS payment per unit barely paid the total cost of 2/3 of an ATCO in later years, yet we were dedicating a seat, frequency, equipment and at least five ATCOs to that function previously. How would that be funded if it were possible to bring it back?
And please don’t forget, the ATCOs are being squeezed from all sides, guys who’ve taken years to train to do their job, try to do it to the best of their ability only to have goalposts moved (equipment, regulatory rules, management whims, contract changes etc) on a regular basis, are having to adapt to them at a time when staffing isn’t optimal yet demands grow greater each year.
The vast majority of ATCOs I know love their job and wish to do it well, but a lot of factors can influence our performance day to day, some of which have been touched upon earlier in the thread. But ultimately, it’s not a hobby, it’s our job, the thing that pays the mortgage, puts food on the table and allows for a few pink gins, we have a responsibility to fulfil, a licence to keep, rules to abide by and have to follow the direction given by our employer, what we do is largely dictated by shiny **** office dwellers like it as not.
Marvin, idlelayabout, Mike Tango and 7 others liked this
By Bathman
#1658044
And also for some of us it our job to. Even if we are lowly VFR but getting refused or re-routed hits my bottom line
Last edited by Bathman on Sat Dec 15, 2018 9:39 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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By Waveflyer
#1658051
Bathman wrote:And also for some of us it our job to. Even if we are lowly VFR but getting refused or re-routed hits my bottom line

What’s the worst it would mean for you?
By johnm
#1658078
I have always found Bristol controllers helpful (with the odd off day, they are only human) but my hatred of the political and management class that set policy and run the show is deep and meaningful :twisted:
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By Talkdownman
#1658091
ATCO C wrote:At worst, 5nm or so. I didn’t realise margins were that tight

I never flight-plan CTR transits. Having managed CTRs for 20 years I know the level of ATC workload they can cause. I avoid CTRs in order to proceed unfettered, and to permit ATC to provide IFR separation unencumbered . Much less stressful for both parties. UK CTRs are all quite small, so it doesn't make much difference to my bottom line...
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By flybymike
#1658098
I agree with the above, but it seem to be becoming more and more difficult to find the necessary class G corridors (choke points) to weave between the ever increasing “HR airspace grabs”
Everyone seems to want their own new CTR these days.
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By Talkdownman
#1658114
flybymike wrote:I agree with the above, but it seem to be becoming more and more difficult to find the necessary class G corridors (choke points) to weave between the ever increasing “HR airspace grabs”
Everyone seems to want their own new CTR these days.

I think Farnborough's new CTR will actually significantly reduce the size of its current 'flight interference area'...
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By James Chan
#1658118
At worst, 5nm or so.


A flight from say Merryfield or Yeovil to Shobdon can add an extra 15-20nm to fly around Bristol and Cardiff if a clearance is not forthcoming and unable to descend beneath the CTA base due to weather.
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