VATUSA Training Material

Table of Contents

Basic ATC

The Air Traffic Control Mission

Operational and Duty Priorities

ATC Positions and Functions

The National Airspace System

Class "A" (Alpha) Airspace

Class "B" (Bravo) Airspace

Class "C" (Charlie) Airspace

Class "D" (Delta) Airspace

Class "E" (Echo) Airspace

Class "G" (Gulf) Airspace

Summary of Airspace (Alpha - Golf)

Special Use Airspace

Airways and Route System

Weather Information

Flight Minimums

VFR and SVFR Minimums

Decoding Aviation Weather Products

METAR

Terminal Aerodrome Forecast

Communication Procedures

The Phonetic Alphabet

Aircraft Identification

Number Usage

Altitudes and Flight Levels

Directions

Speeds

Time

Controller Coordination

Introduction to Emergencies

VATSIM Policy

Declaring an Emergency

Handling the Emergency

S1 Training (Clearance Delivery/Ground)

Introduction to Clearance Delivery/Flight Plan

Standard Instrument Departures (SIDs)

Types of Standard Instrument Departures

Flight Plan Amendments

Issuing Clearances

IFR Clearances

IFR Clearance Examples

VFR Clearances

Introduction to Ground

Ground Controller Responsibilities

Movement and Non-Movement Areas

Issuing Taxi Instructions

Issuing Your First Taxi Instruction

Helicopter Taxi Operations

S2 Training (Tower)

Introduction to Tower

Tower Control Responsibilities

ATIS Issuance

Guide to Recording a Professional ATIS

Runway Selection

Winds

Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)

Wake Turbulence

TIPH and LAHSO Operations

Taxi Into Position and Hold (TIPH)

Land and Hold Short Operations (LAHSO)

Departure Procedures

Departure Releases

Wake Turbulence Separation

Issuing that Takeoff Clearance

Intersection Departures

Handoff To Departure

Arrival Procedures

Landing Clearance With Traffic On Final

Landing Clearance Without Visual Observation

Side-step Landing Clearances

Missed Approach / Go Around Procedures

The Traffic Pattern

Left/Right Closed Traffic

Legs of the Pattern

VFR Tower

VFR Departure Procedures

VFR ARRIVALS

Sequencing VFR Arrivals

Transitioning VFR Aircraft

VFR Traffic Advisories

Helicopter Tower Operations

Departure Procedures

Arrival Operations

S3 Training (Approach)

Introduction to Radar

Radar Modes

Radar Phenomena on VATSIM

Positions and Responsibilities

Departure

Approach

Theory vs Practice

Separation Requirements

Radar Separation

Approach Separation Standards

Wake Turbulence Separation

Visual Separation

Merging Target Procedures and Safety Alerts

Merging Target Procedures

Review - Merging Target Procedures

Traffic Calls

Vectors Around Traffic

Safety Alerts

Traffic Alert

Terrain/Obstruction Alert

Radar Identification and Termination

Radar Identifying Primary Targets

Radar Identifying Secondary Targets

Cancellation of Radar Services

Reading SID and STAR Charts

Leaving the Terminal Area

Radar Vector Departure

Hybrid Standard Instrument Departures

Pilot-Nav Departure Procedures

Coming into the Terminal Area

Non-RNAV STAR

RNAV STAR

SID/STAR Legend

Reading IAP Charts

Introduction to Vectoring

Methods

Vectoring Rules

Proceed Direct

Area vs Non-Area Navigation

Introduction to Instrument Approach Procedures

Pilot/Controller Glossary

Instrument Approach Procedure Categories

The PTAC Acronym

Vectoring to the Initial Approach Fix

PTAC

Phraseology

Examples

Conclusion

Vectoring to the Final Approach Course

Introduction to the ILS

Types of Approaches and Approach Clearance Phraseology

ILS Approach

Localizer Approach

Localizer-Backcourse Approach

Phraseology for Issuance an Approach Clearance When Vectoring to Final

Vectoring for Visual Approaches

Requirements/Regulations

Procedure

Visual Approaches into Uncontrolled Fields

Airspace Management Tip

VFR Procedures

VFR Departures

Departure Examples

VFR Arrivals

Arrival Examples

Arrivals At Class Delta Fields

Transitions

Flight Following

TRSA Operations

VFR-On-Top

The Pilot/Controller Glossary (PC/G)

Printouts and Handoffs

Review

Handoffs

Review

Responsibilities of Transferring and Receiving Controllers

Issuing Holding Instructions

Clearance Limit

Published Holds

Issuing Speed Instructions

Speed Restrictions Issuance

Methods For Issuing Speed Instructions

Final Points to Consider

Uncontrolled Field Operations

One-In-One Out Rule

IFR Departures

IFR Aircraft Receiving Clearance Prior to Departure

IFR Arriving Aircraft

C1 Training (Center)

Introduction to En-Route Control

En-route Separation Requirements and Altitude Assignments

Separation Requirements

RVSM (Reduced Vertical Separation Minima)

Advanced Weather Information

From the Pilot Controller Glossary (PC/G)

AIRMET

SIGMET

PIREPS

Handling Pilot Deviations and Issuing Pertinent Weather Information

Issuing Altitude and Crossing Instructions

Lowest Usable Flight Level

Altimeter Issuance

Issuing Crossing Restrictions

Issuing Crossing Restrictions for aircraft not on a STAR

When to Issue the Descent

Special Flight Operations

Military Operation Areas (MOAs)

Aerial Refueling

Military Training Routes

Formation Flights


Basic ATC

The Air Traffic Control Mission

Below is a YouTube video which will allow you a sneak peek into the real world of Air Traffic Controlling.

https://www.youtube.com/v/KdNbPAWPkNo

The mission of Air Traffic Control can be stated by several definitions that include task that a controller is expected to follow every time he/she performs their job. The most commonly used definition is:

Air traffic control is a service provided to promote the safe, orderly, and expeditious flow of air traffic.



The given definition per FAA Order JO 7110.65S, Air Traffic Control goes more in depth into explaining the tasks air traffic controllers must perform.


From The FAA FAA Order JO 7110.65S 2-1-1

The primary purpose of the ATC system is to prevent a collision between aircraft operating in the system and to organize and expedite the flow of traffic, and to provide support for National Security and Homeland Defense. In addition to its primary function, the ATC system has the capability to provide (with certain limitations) additional services. The ability to provide additional services is limited by many factors, such as the volume of traffic, frequency congestion, quality of radar, controller workload, higher priority duties, and the pure physical inability to scan and detect those situations that fall in this category. It is recognized that these services cannot be provided in cases in which the provision of services is precluded by the above factors. Consistent with the aforementioned conditions, controllers shall provide additional service procedures to the extent permitted by higher priority duties and other circumstances. The provision of additional services is not optional on the part of the controller, but rather is required when the work situation permits.



On close examination, we find the first section is pretty straight forward:

The primary purpose of the ATC system is to prevent a collision between aircraft operating in the system and to organize and expedite the flow of traffic, and to provide support for National Security and Homeland Defense.



Simply put, don't allow aircraft to crash into one another, make sure they get where they're supposed to go quickly, efficiently and safely and to support military or homeland defense operations when requested to do so. For purposes of the VATSIM network, the National Security and Homeland Defense support is naturally a moot issue.

In addition to its primary function, the ATC system has the capability to provide (with certain limitations) additional services...


https://web.archive.org/web/20150718041356/http:/www.vatusa.net/training/show_image.php?id=1&gallery=2Additional Services? I thought I was just supposed to tell airplanes where to go???

Technically yes, but sometimes you may be asked or find it necessary to provide aircraft additional information. This can include traffic reports, weather delay information, airport hold programs or VFR Flight Following support (which you'll learn about later). Anything that might affect an aircraft's flight that the pilot requests to know you will be asked to provide information on.



This may not happen constantly and there are some provisions for when to provide Additional Services. Let's look into these services further.

The ability to provide additional services is limited by many factors, such as the volume of traffic, frequency congestion, quality of radar, controller workload, higher priority duties, and the pure physical inability to scan and detect those situations that fall in this category. It is recognized that these services cannot be provided in cases in which the provision of services is precluded by the above factors.



What's being said here is if, in your judgment, the traffic situation is too busy or occupying too much of your time to provide these additional services; you do not immediately have to do so.

https://web.archive.org/web/20150718041356/http:/www.vatusa.net/training/show_image.php?id=1&gallery=2
That means I don't have to provide them when I don't want to right?!

Well, not quite. There is a system of checks and balances in place so that you don't take advantage of that part of the rule. There's always a catch and here's this one.

Consistent with the aforementioned conditions, controllers shall provide additional service procedures to the extent permitted by higher priority duties and other circumstances. The provision of additional services is not optional on the part of the controller, but rather is required when the work situation permits.

^

https://web.archive.org/web/20150718041356/http:/www.vatusa.net/training/show_image.php?id=1&gallery=2
You mean I actually have to provide these additional services?
Why can't I just tell the airplanes where to go?
And just what are these "higher priority duties"?

Glad you asked, let's cover those next.


Operational and Duty Priorities

Believe it or not, we've come up with a way for you to conduct your job while controlling. We call it the Operational and Duty Priority. Now, in the real world of ATC, this is full of exceptions and rules regarding different types of flights and who is on the airplane and where it's going.

Well here on VATSIM, we change that a bit. We can reference our rule partly from the real world though.

From The FAA Order JO 7110.65S Section 2-1-4

Provide air traffic control service to aircraft on a "first come, first served" basis as circumstances permit



WAIT A MINUTE!!!!
YOU LEFT SOMETHING OUT!

As you can see, this doesn't follow the FAA exactly. Yes, in the real world there is a second half of that definition which goes into all of those exceptions we talked about before, but here on VATSIM, we have our own set of rules.

From VATUSA Policy 07/01, Section 5

A. "No aircraft will be given priority over any other by virtue of its call sign, status, virtual passengers, or pilot flying the aircraft."

B. "VATUSA Controllers have the right to approve and allow special procedures for aircraft under their control within ARTCC and VATUSA policy and guidelines."

C. "Pilots should not expect any special treatment, queuing, or clearances over that of their fellow pilots. Pilots not familiar with this policy and demanding special treatment will be asked to conform to the policy and follow the controller's instructions."

D. "Failure on the pilot's part to follow ATC instructions as it relates to this policy will result in a call for a Supervisor to disconnect the pilot(s) should they interfere with normal ARTCC operations."



But wait, we still have those Duty Priorities. What's the deal with those? Glad you asked. These we can follow from the real world and we do every day here on VATSIM.

To explain further...

From The FAA Order JO 7110.65S Section 2-1-2

a. Give first priority to separating aircraft and issuing safety alerts as required in this order. Good judgment shall be used in prioritizing all other provisions of this order based on the requirements of the situation at hand.

https://web.archive.org/web/20150718041307/http:/www.vatusa.net/training/show_image.php?id=2&gallery=2

b. Provide support to national security and homeland defense activities to include, but not be limited to, reporting of suspicious and/or unusual aircraft/pilot activities.

https://web.archive.org/web/20150718041307/http:/www.vatusa.net/training/show_image.php?id=2&gallery=2

c. Provide additional services to the extent possible, contingent only upon higher priority duties and other factors including limitations of radar, volume of traffic, frequency congestion, and workload.



The first priority and the last priority are the two we use here on VATSIM. The second one we don't use really because there is no defense of the internet homeland.

On VATSIM, additional services can vary based upon what area of the country you control in and how much traffic you have. For us, asking the score of the Giants game is an additional service! (although you may hear that in the real world too!)


ATC Positions and Functions

The Air Traffic Control system is made up of thousands of hard working men and women performing a multitude of tasks, all of which affect how an aircraft completes its flight. Before we identify what these positions are, let's first look into how the ATC System itself is divided.

The Air Traffic Control System is divided into two main functions: Terminal and En Route.

https://web.archive.org/web/20150718041137/http:/www.vatusa.net/training/show_image.php?id=6&gallery=2



Clearance Delivery/Flight Data (DEL) Located in the Control Tower Cab, the primary responsibility of the clearance delivery position is to issue IFR (and sometimes VFR) clearances to aircraft and to ensure that the aircraft have the proper route and release time. This information is also coordinated with the en route center and the ground controller in order to ensure the aircraft reaches the runway in time to meet the release time.


https://web.archive.org/web/20150718041137/http:/www.vatusa.net/training/show_image.php?id=7&gallery=2


Ground Control (GND) Located in the Control Tower Cab, it is responsible for control of aircraft on the airport surface in airport "movement" areas, or areas not released to the airlines or other users. This generally includes all taxiways, holding areas, and some transitional aprons or intersections where aircraft arrive having vacated the runway and departure gates. Exact areas and control responsibilities are clearly defined in local documents and agreements at each airport. Any aircraft, vehicle, or person walking or working in these areas is required to have clearance from the ground controller. Generally, ramp and gate areas are non-movement areas, and not the responsibility of the ground controller.


https://web.archive.org/web/20150718041137/http:/www.vatusa.net/training/show_image.php?id=8&gallery=2


Local Control (TWR) Located in the Control Tower Cab, it is responsible for control and separation of aircraft on the active runway surfaces and within the Tower's assigned airspace. Local control clears aircraft for takeoff or landing and ensures the runway is clear for these aircraft. To accomplish this, local controllers are normally given 2 to 5 nautical miles (4 to 9 km) of airspace around the airport, allowing them to give the clearances necessary for airport safety.


https://web.archive.org/web/20150718041137/http:/www.vatusa.net/training/show_image.php?id=9&gallery=2



Tower Supervisor Although not generally used in VATSIM, the Tower Supervisor oversees all controllers currently on duty in the Control Tower Cab. He coordinates with other facilities such as the TRACON, or Terminal RAdar CONtrol, or En Route center to identify airport capacity during any given traffic load. He is also responsible for how many controllers he needs on duty at any given time due to the traffic situation. In VATSIM, some ARTCCs will appoint a Controller in Charge (CiC) for certain large scale events.


On VATSIM two primary positions are defined within the TRACON: Departure Control and Approach Control. During heavy traffic periods or as required, the TRACON facility may establish additional controller positions and duties.

https://web.archive.org/web/20150718041137/http:/www.vatusa.net/training/show_image.php?id=10&gallery=2



Departure Control (DEP) Located in the TRACON, Departure Control controls all IFR aircraft and participating VFR aircraft within its delegated airspace. While this portion is primarily the airspace used by aircraft departing the primary airport, Departure Control may also have satellite airports within its airspace where it would perform the Approach Controller function for those airports.

Approach Control (APP) Located in the TRACON, it controls all IFR aircraft and participating VFR aircraft within its portion of the Approach Control's delegated airspace. This airspace will include the primary airport and may include other satellite airports. Approach provides vectors to the airport and issues approach clearances. Very busy Approach Controls may be divided into multiple positions (sectors) such as Departure, Arrival, East Approach, West Approach, etc. Each sector is responsible for a piece of the Approach Control's overall airspace. When a sector's airspace includes Class B or C airspace the position also controls any VFR aircraft in the area.


Enroute

The Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC).

https://web.archive.org/web/20150718041137/http:/www.vatusa.net/training/show_image.php?id=11&gallery=2



The Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC) provides control and management of aircraft during the En‐Route phase of flight. Currently there are 22 ARTCCs in the United States, all of which are represented in the VATUSA Division of VATSIM.

https://web.archive.org/web/20150718041137/http:/www.vatusa.net/training/show_image.php?id=12&gallery=2



Each ARTCC has a 3 letter identifier that corresponds with the location of the actual ARTCC building. Below is the list of ARTCCs and their locations:

ZAB

Albuquerque Center

Albuquerque, NM

ZAN

Anchorage Center

Anchorage, AK

ZTL

Atlanta Center

Hampton, GA

ZBW

Boston Center

Nashua, NH

ZAU

Chicago Center

Aurora, IL

ZOB

Cleveland Center

Oberlin, OH

ZDV

Denver Center

Longmont, CO

ZFW

Fort Worth Center

Fort Worth, TX

HCF

Honolulu Center

Honolulu, HI

ZHU

Houston Center

Houston, TX

ZID

Indianapolis Center

Indianapolis, IN

ZJX

Jacksonville Center

Hilliard, FL

ZKC

Kansas City Center

Olathe, KS

ZLA

Los Angeles Center

Palmdale, CA

ZME

Memphis Center

Memphis, TN

ZMA

Miami Center

Miami‐Dade County, FL

ZMP

Minneapolis Center

Farmington, MN

ZNY

New York Center

Ronkonkoma, NY

ZOA

Oakland Center

Fremont, CA

ZLC

Salt Lake Center

Salt Lake City, UT

ZSE

Seattle Center

Auburn, WA

ZDC

Washington Center

Leesburg, VA



https://web.archive.org/web/20150718041137/http:/www.vatusa.net/training/show_image.php?id=13&gallery=2


En route Control (CTR) Located in the control center, it provides ATC services to aircraft operating on IFR flight plans within controlled airspace principally during the en route phase of flight. En Route Control also provides additional services such as VFR Flight Following to aircraft participating in the system. Like Approach Controls, control centers may also be broken up into smaller sectors with each sector being responsible for its piece of the overall ARTCC airspace.


https://web.archive.org/web/20150718041137/http:/www.vatusa.net/training/show_image.php?id=14&gallery=2


FAA Air Traffic Control System Command Center The ATC System Command Center in Herndon, Virginia outside Washington, D.C. is where the FAA manages the entire National Airspace System.


The National Airspace System

Airspace over the United States is a complex, intertwining road map that is often described as several puzzles stacked atop one another. For this reason, the FAA has created classifications of airspace based on their location, size, services provided and aircraft operation and equipage requirements. The airspace on VATSIM is managed in much the same way. Below we are going to discuss the various classifications of airspace, what they look like on a sectional chart, and what are the pilot requirements for them to enter.


Class "A" (Alpha) Airspace


What is it? 

Class A airspace is all airspace extending upward from 18,000 feet Mean Sea Level (MSL) up to and including 60,000 feet MSL within the 48 Contiguous States, most of Alaska and the airspace included within a 12NM off‐shore perimeter. For all you HCF bound controllers, know that there is no Class Alpha airspace over the Hawaiian Islands.

What's it look like? (Sectional)

There is no sectional picture here, because Class Alpha airspace is the only classification of airspace not depicted on a sectional chart.

Pilot Requirements

The pilots requirements for to enter Class Alpha airspace are as follows:



Class "B" (Bravo) Airspace


This class of airspace encompasses the busiest of airports. It generally extends up from the surface to 10,000 feet MSL. Think “B” for “Boeing” or “Busy”. This airspace includes airports such as: Chicago's O'Hare (KORD), Los Angeles International (KLAX), and Miami International (KMIA), to name a few.


What's it look like? (Sectional)

https://web.archive.org/web/20150508140225/http:/www.vatusa.net/training/show_image.php?id=16&gallery=2



Above is an excerpt from a sectional chart depicting Class Bravo airspace. Note the solid blue lines on the sectional. This indicates that it is a class bravo airspace. This classification of airspace is made up of various shelves that resemble an upside down wedding cake. You can tell the dimensions of each shelf by looking for the altitude indicators which look like https://web.archive.org/web/20150508140225/http:/www.vatusa.net/training/show_image.php?id=17&gallery=2. The top number denotes the ceiling of the shelf, and the bottom number indicates the floor of the shelf. These numbers are displayed in thousands of feet (MSL), so be sure to add two zeros to each. (In the above image, the ceiling is 10,000 ft MSL and the floor is 5000 ft MSL). Now As you move away from the primary airport, the horizontal area of the Class Bravo airspace gets larger but the floor gets higher allowing aircraft to fly under the controlled area. This is beneficial to aircraft flying to uncontrolled airports located near the primary Class Bravo designated airport.


https://web.archive.org/web/20150508140225/http:/www.vatusa.net/training/show_image.php?id=1&gallery=2
Why would Air Traffic Controllers want to control certain aircraft/airports but not others?

Simple, controllers working Class Bravo airspace are usually very busy directing aircraft into the primary airport. Allowing smaller aircraft to fly under the airspace frees the pilot from waiting for clearance to the nearby airport and frees the controller to concentrate on aircraft going into the primary airport.


Pilot Requirements



Class "C" (Charlie) Airspace


This class of airspace surrounds crowded airspace that does not get the traffic that a Bravo airport does. Think of C as meaning Crowded or Congested. Typically the airspace extends 10 miles out and up to 4000 AGL (Above Ground Level).


What's it look like? (Sectional)

https://web.archive.org/web/20150508140225/http:/www.vatusa.net/training/show_image.php?id=18&gallery=2



Here is a picture of the sectional chart depicting Class Charlie airspace. Notice how the Class Charlie airspace is defined by a solid magenta line. As you can see here, the airspace does extend out in various shelves similar to a Bravo. In this example above, the inner ring goes from SFC (Surface) up to 4,800 MSL and the outer ring goes from 2,500 ft to 4,800 ft MSL.

Pilot Requirements




Class "D" (Delta) Airspace


Class D airspace provides ATC service for aircraft on the airport surface and in the airspace immediately surrounding the airport to control air traffic flow. ATC services typically provided at a Class D airport is via a Control Tower.


Whats does it look like? (Sectional)

https://web.archive.org/web/20150508140225/http:/www.vatusa.net/training/show_image.php?id=19&gallery=2



Class D airspace extends from the surface to 2,500 feet AGL. It is individually tailored for each airport but typically extends out 4 Nautical Miles from the primary airport.


Pilot Requirements


https://web.archive.org/web/20150508140225/http:/www.vatusa.net/training/show_image.php?id=1&gallery=2
I keep seeing "Two Way Radio Communications", but what does it mean?
For example, if a controller tells a calling aircraft, "Aircraft calling, standby", two-way communication has NOT been established because the callsign was not used. If the controller tells the aircraft calling, "N5204N, standby", two-way communication HAS been established.




Class "E" (Echo) Airspace


This class of airspace covers the majority of our sky and extends from 1200 ft AGL and up to but not including FL180. The class echo also extends down to 700 ft AGL around both uncontrolled fields that are serviced by an instrument approach. This extension places the airports traffic pattern within the confines of the class echo so we are able to control and separate IFR aircraft from local VFR aircraft. Echo airspace may even extend to the surface is some cases. Now lets look at the sectional chart below and see how we can determine the altitudes of the class echo airspace.


What's it look like? (Sectional)

https://web.archive.org/web/20150508140225/http:/www.vatusa.net/training/show_image.php?id=20&gallery=2



Lets start by looking at the image on the left. On the inside of the magenta circle (The 'fuzzy' side), Class Echo airspace begins at 700 ft AGL on the inside of the fading magenta circle, where as on the outside of the magenta circle, the Class Echo airspace begins at 1200 ft AGL.

On the right side of the picture, notice the dashed magenta line on the inside of the magenta circle. Inside of this dashed magenta line indicates that the airspace extends completely down to the surface. Also any Class Delta tower that does not operate continuously become class echo airspace to the surface level during the closed hours. These hours are posted in the Airport Facility Directory, which can also be found at Skyvector.com.


Pilot Requirements



https://web.archive.org/web/20150508140225/http:/www.vatusa.net/training/show_image.php?id=1&gallery=2
Umm...You skipped Foxtrot! Why?
Well it is not because the members of the VATUSA Training Department are lazy! In the National Airspace System, there is no classification of airspace known as Foxtrot.



Class "G" (Gulf) Airspace


Class golf airspace is uncontrolled airspace. We as air traffic controllers are unable to control an aircraft while they are inside the confines of the Class Golf airspace. You may think of Class Golf airspace as "government free" or "go anywhere." The Class Golf airspace begins at surface level and extends up to the Echo above it (700AGL or 1200AGL). In some locations the Class Golf airspace extends as high as 14,500 ft MSL.


Summary of Airspace (Alpha - Golf)


Below is an image of the national airspace system which puts what you've read into a nice easy to view graphic:

https://web.archive.org/web/20150508140225/http:/www.vatusa.net/training/show_image.php?id=53&gallery=2




Special Use Airspace


Special Use Airspace is airspace that has been defined to support the critical mission requirements of other government agencies, protect vital national facilities, or is otherwise necessary for the safety and security of both the airspace and surface installations.

Alert Areas These areas are depicted on aeronautical charts to inform nonparticipating pilots of areas that may contain a high volume of pilot training or unusual types of aerial activity.

Military Operations Areas (MOA)  These areas consist of airspace with defined vertical and lateral limits established for the purpose of separating certain military training activities from civilian air traffic.

Prohibited Areas  These areas contain airspace of defined dimensions identified by an area on the surface of the earth within which the flight of aircraft is prohibited. P‐56 which covers the National Mall in Washington, D.C. is the most well known Prohibited Area in the United States.

Restricted Areas These areas contain airspace identified by an area on the surface of the earth within which the flight of aircraft, while not wholly prohibited, is subject to restrictions. Restricted Areas denote the existence of unusual, often invisible hazards to aircraft such as artillery firing, aerial gunnery, or guided missiles.

Warning Areas These are airspaces extending three nautical miles outward from the coast of the United States. A Warning Area contains activity deemed hazardous to nonparticipating aircraft. Furthermore, a Warning Area may be established over domestic waters, international waters or a combination of both.


Airways and Route System

The route a pilot files in their flight plan will, many times, contain either one of two types of route systems, better known as airways. These two airway systems are referred to as; low altitude airway (designated with a V and called a Victor airway) and a high altitude airway (designated with a J and called a Jet route). Airways are often referred to as "highways in the sky". This is because the United States network of airways is very much like the national highway system both serve the needs of the people. Most pilots flying in instrument conditions without visual reference to the ground follow airway or jet routes. Even pilots flying VFR will often file their flight plan making use of airways.



Low Altitude routes Serve primarily smaller piston engine, propeller driven airplanes on shorter routes and at lower altitudes. Airways start at 1,200 feet above ground level (AGL) and extend upward to an altitude of 17,500 feet mean sea level (MSL).
Low Altitude airways are called "Victor" (V) airways, because they run primarily between VORs, and the phonetic alphabet term for "V" is Victor. Airways can be found on en route low altitude charts and have names like V240 or V37.

https://web.archive.org/web/20150502195751/http:/www.vatusa.net/training/show_image.php?id=23&gallery=2



High Altitude routes actually called jet routes primarily serve airliners, jets, turboprops, and turbocharged piston aircraft operating over longer distances at altitudes of 18,000 feet MSL or higher. Jet routes start at 18,000 feet mean sea level (MSL) and extend upward to FL450 MSL. Jet routes can be found on en route high altitude charts and have names like J42 or J121.

Aircraft flying at or above FL180 cannot use Victor airways in the route. Aircraft flying below FL180 cannot use high altitude airways in their route.

A Minimum Safe Altitude (MSA) is the minimum altitude that a plane can safely fly on an airway. For example, the section of V134 between the PUC and PVU VORs has an MSA of 13,000. This is due to mountainous terrain in the area. Because of this, when controlling you cannot clear an aircraft that is making use of that section of airway to an altitude below 13,000. MSAs can be found on the high or low altitude en route charts.

Other Components of a Route

Now that you understand what airways are, let's look at a few more components of a route. The first is a VOR. VOR stands for VHF Omnidirectional Range. VOR, simply put, is a type of radio navigation system for aircraft. Ground-based VORs broadcast a VHF radio signal encoding both the identity of the station and the angle to it, telling the pilot what direction he lies from the VOR station, referred to as the radial. For example, if you were to start at a VOR and fly on a heading of 350 from that VOR, you would be on the 350 radial. VOR stations are used as intersections along airways. A typical airway will hop from station to station in straight lines. This is why jet and turbojet aircraft fly in straight lines, occasionally broken by a turn to a new course. These turns are often made as the aircraft passes over a VOR station. VORs are always abbreviated with three letters in a flight plan. If you're having a hard time imagining what a VOR is, then think of a bicycle rim with 360 individual spokes. Imagine the VOR being the center of the rim, and the radials being the spokes of the rim. A pilot is able to fly any one of those spokes (a.k.a radials) to get TO or FROM the VOR and each one is on a specific degree from 001 to 360.


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Another component that can be found in some routes is a 
Non Directional Beacon (NDB). An NDB is merely a radio broadcast station used as a navigational aid for aircraft. NDB bearings provide a charted, consistent method for defining paths aircraft can fly, similar in the way a VOR does but there are no radials. NDBs are not as common in the United States as the VOR, and are usually found in lightly populated areas of developed countries since they can have a long range and are much less expensive to operate than VORs. Unlike a VOR, an NDB is abbreviated with either a 2 or 3 letter identifier. Pilots using NDBs for navigation can only determine their bearing from or to the station by means of an ADF (automatic direction finder) or RMI (Radio Magnetic Indicator).



One of the final components commonly seen in a route is the fix. Fixes, literally, are simple points in the sky. Fixes are plotted by finding the point where two radials, from two different VORs intersect. They may also be defined by a particular DME, or distance, off of a certain radial of a VOR, and in some cases are even defined as a point where a NDB course intersects a radial of a VOR.


Weather Information

As a VATSIM Controller you will need to be familiar with the concepts and definitions defined herein although you may not necessarily apply all the concepts. Without meaning to confuse the reader, it is important to note that Flight Simulator pilots have the freedom to fly their simulations with any weather phenomena they choose. The VATSIM network provides online weather conditions and many pilots do use this same weather "feed" as they fly. Controllers must therefore be capable of understanding weather conditions and reporting in order to provide a realistic online flying experience. Taking this one step further, a controller may be reporting low IFR weather while the pilot, free to obtain his weather from the source of his choice or even define the weather himself, may be in VFR conditions.


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Wind Pressure and temperature changes produce two kinds of motion in the atmosphere - vertical movement of ascending and descending currents and horizontal movement in the form of wind. Both types of motion in the atmosphere are important as they affect the takeoff, landing, and cruise flight operations of aircraft. More important, however, is that these motions in the atmosphere, otherwise called atmospheric circulation, cause weather changes.

Wind is reported in the form of closest compass degree from which the wind is blowing and speed in knots and is reported as "Wind" and not "winds".

From The FAA - FAA Order JO 7110.65S - 2-6-5

Describe the wind as calm when the wind velocity is LESS THAN three knots.



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Clouds Clouds are visible indicators and are often indicative of future weather. For clouds to form there must be adequate water vapor and condensation nuclei, as well as a method by which the air can be cooled. When the air cools and reaches its saturation point, the invisible water vapor changes into a visible state. Cloud type is determined by its height, shape, and behavior. They are classified according to the height of their bases as low, middle, or high clouds, as well as clouds with vertical development.


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Low clouds are those that form near the Earth’s surface and extend up to 6,500 feet AGL. They are made primarily of water droplets, but can include super‐cooled water droplets that induce hazardous aircraft icing. Typical low clouds are stratus, stratocumulus, and nimbostratus. Fog is also classified as a type of low cloud formation. Clouds in this family create low ceilings, hamper visibility, and can change rapidly. Because of this, they can make VFR flight impossible.


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Middle clouds form around 6,500 feet AGL and extend up to 20,000 feet AGL. They are composed of water, ice crystals, and super cooled water droplets. Typical middle-level clouds include altostratus and altocumulus. These types of clouds may be encoutered on cross country flights at higher altitudes. Altostratus clouds can produce turbulence and may contain moderate icing. Altocumulus clouds, which usually form when altostratus clouds are breaking apart, also may contain light turbulence and icing.


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High clouds form above 20,000 feet AGL and usually form only in stable air. They are made up of ice crystals and pose no real threat of turbulence or aircraft icing. Typical high level clouds are cirrus, cirrostratus, and cirrocumulus.


Some other important terms regarding clouds:

Ceiling A ceiling, for aviation purposes, is the lowest layer of clouds reported as being broken or overcast, or the vertical visibility into an obscuration like fog or haze. Clouds are reported as broken when five eighths to seven eighths of the sky is covered with clouds. Overcast means the entire sky is covered with clouds. Current ceiling information is reported by the aviation routine weather report (METAR) and automated weather stations of various types.

Visibility Closely related to cloud cover and reported ceilings are visibility information. Visibility refers to the greatest horizontal distance at which prominent objects can be viewed with the naked eye. Current visibility is also reported in METAR and other aviation weather reports, as well as automated weather stations. Visibility information, as predicted by meteorologists, is available during a preflight weather briefing.

Temperature/Dewpoint There is a relationship between dew point and temperature that defines the concept of relative humidity. The dewpoint, given in degrees, is the temperature at which the air can hold no more moisture. When the temperature of the air is reduced to the dewpoint, the air is completely saturated and moisture begins to condense out of the air in the form of fog, dew, frost, clouds, rain, hail, or snow.


Flight Minimums


Flight Minimums are a derived range of conditions that must be met in order to allow a particular mode of flight operation. They are intrinsically tied to the existing or current Meteorological Condition in which the flight will occur.

The two recognized Meteorological Conditions are Visual Meteorological Conditions (VMC) and Instrument Meteorological Conditions (IMC). These conditions determine what flight rules Visual Flight Rules (VFR) or Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) are in force to safely conduct aircraft flight. Flight minimums are further derived from the rules under which the flight is taken.


VFR and SVFR Minimums


The basic minima criteria for Visual Flight Rules (VFR) are:

  1. Cloud base (if any) needs to be at or above 1,000 feet Above Ground Level (AGL)
  2. Visibility must be at 3 Statute Miles or greater
  3. When flying VFR, the pilot MUST remain clear of all clouds


The type of airspace the pilot is flying in also influences the minimums that the pilot can fly visually under. The following chart makes a handy reference:

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Special VFR is a procedure to let VFR pilots who aren't IFR qualified to arrive and depart at an airport in a Class B, C, D, or E Surface Area when the weather is below basic VFR minimums.


From The FAA - FAR § 91.157


(a) Except as provided in appendix D, section 3, of this part, special VFR operations may be conducted under the weather minimums and requirements of this section, instead of those contained in §91.155, below 10,000 feet MSL within the airspace contained by the upward extension of the lateral boundaries of the controlled airspace designated to the surface for an airport.

(b) Special VFR operations may only be conducted:
(1) With an ATC clearance;
(2) Clear of clouds;
(3) Except for helicopters, when flight visibility is at least 1 statute mile; and
(4) Except for helicopters, between sunrise and sunset (or in Alaska, when the sun is 6 degrees or more below the horizon) unless:
(i) The person being granted the ATC clearance meets the applicable requirements for instrument flight under part 61 of this chapter; and
(ii) The aircraft is equipped as required in 91.205(d).
(c) No person may take off or land an aircraft (other than a helicopter) under special VFR:
(1) Unless ground visibility is at least 1 statute mile; or
(2) If ground visibility is not reported, unless flight visibility is at least 1 statute mile. For the purposes of this paragraph, the term flight visibility includes the visibility from the cockpit of an aircraft in takeoff position if:
(i) The flight is conducted under this part 91; and
(ii) The airport at which the aircraft is located is a satellite airport that does not have weather reporting capabilities.




Decoding Aviation Weather Products


We have several ways of knowing what the weather currently is and what is predicted to be. The two most common reports generated by the National Weather Service for aviation use are the Aviation Routine Meteorological Report (METAR) and the Terminal Aerodrome Forecast (TAF). Below is a video podcast from http://www.M0A.com(external link), which will demonstrate how to decode a METAR.



METAR


METAR KTPA 261553Z AUTO 14021G26 10SM RA FEW013 SCT050 BKN120 OVC250 27/23 A2989 RMK AO2 SLP119 P0000 T02670233

A typical METAR report (shown above) contains the following information in sequential order. Color has been added to identify each section.

a. Type of Report  There are two types of METAR reports. The first is the routine METAR report that is transmitted every hour. The second is the aviation selected special weather report (SPECI). This is a special report that can be given at any time to update the METAR for rapidly changing weather conditions, aircraft mishaps, or other critical information.

b. Station Identifier Each station is identified by a four‐letter code as established by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). In the 48 contiguous states, a unique three‐letter identifier is preceded by the letter "K". For example, Tampa International in Tampa FL, is identified by the letters "KTPA", K being the country designation and TPA being the airport identifier.

c. Date and Time of Report The date and time (261553Z) are depicted in a six digit group. The first two digits of the six digit group are the date. The last four digits are the time of the METAR, which is always given in Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). A "Z" is appended to the end of the time to denote the time is given in Zulu time (UTC) as opposed to local time.

d. Modifier Modifiers denote that the METAR came from an automated source or that the report was corrected. If the notation "AUTO" is listed in the METAR, the report came from an automated source. It also lists "AO1" or "AO2" in the remarks section to indicate the type of precipitation sensors employed at the automated station. When the modifier "COR" is used it identifies a corrected report sent out to replace an earlier report that contained an error.

e. Winds Winds are reported with five digits (14021) unless the speed is greater than 99 knots, in which case the wind is reported with six digits. The first three digits indicate the direction the wind is blowing, rounded to tens of degrees from true north (not magnetic north). If the wind is variable, it is reported as "VRB". The last two digits indicate the speed of the wind in knots (KT) unless the wind is greater than 99 knots, in which case it is indicated by three digits. If the winds are gusting, the letter "G" follows the wind speed (G26). After the letter "G" the peak gust recorded is provided. If the wind varies more than 60 degrees and the wind speed is greater than 6 knots, a separate group of numbers, separated by a "V" will indicate the extremes of the wind directions.

f. Visibility The prevailing visibility (3/4 SM) is reported in statute miles as denoted by the letters "SM". It is reported in both miles and fractions of miles. At times, RVR, or runway visual range is reported following the prevailing visibility. RVR is the distance a pilot can see down the runway in a moving aircraft. When RVR is reported, it is shown with an R, then the runway number followed by a slant, then the visual range in feet. For example, when the RVR is reported as R17L/1400FT, it translates to a visual range of 1,400 feet on runway 17 left.

g. Weather  Weather can be broken down into two different categories: qualifiers and weather phenomenon (‐RA). First, the qualifiers of intensity, proximity, and the descriptor of the weather will be given. The intensity may be light (-), moderate ( ), or heavy (+). Proximity only depicts weather phenomena that are in the airport vicinity. The notation "VC" indicates a specific weather phenomenon is in the vicinity of 5 to 10 miles from the airport. Descriptors are used to describe certain types of precipitation and obscurations. Weather phenomena may be reported as being precipitation, obscurations, and other phenomena such as squalls or funnel clouds.

h. Sky Condition Sky condition (FEW013 SCT050 BKN120 OVC250) is always reported in the sequence of amount, height, and type or indefinite ceiling/height (vertical visibility). The heights of the cloud bases are reported with a three digit number in hundreds of feet above the ground. Clouds above 12,000 feet are not detected or reported by an automated station. The types of clouds, specifically towering cumulus (TCU) or cumulonimbus (CB) clouds, are reported with their height. Contractions are used to describe the amount of cloud coverage and obscuring phenomena. The amount of sky coverage is reported in eighths of the sky from horizon to horizon.

i. Temperature and Dewpoint The air temperature and dewpoint are always given in degrees Celsius (27/23). Temperatures below 0C are preceded by the letter "M" to indicate minus.

j. Altimeter Setting  The altimeter setting is reported as inches of mercury in a four digit number group (A2989). It is always preceded by the letter "A". Rising or falling pressure may also be denoted in the remarks sections as "PRESRR" (pressure rising rapidly) or "PRESFR" (pressure falling rapidly) respectively.

k. Remarks  Comments may or may not appear in this section of the METAR. The information contained in this section may include wind data, variable visibility, beginning and ending times of particular phenomenon, pressure information, and various other information deemed necessary. An example of a remark regarding weather phenomenon that does not fit in any other category would be: OCNL LTGICCG. This translates as occasional lightning in the clouds, and from cloud to ground. Automated stations also use the remarks section to indicate the equipment needs maintenance. The remarks section always begins with the letters "RMK".

Terminal Aerodrome Forecast


Decoding a Terminal Aerodrome Forecast (TAF) is a little more involved as it has more information in it. Below is another video from http://www.m0a.com(external link) detailing how to decode a TAF.



Again, color has been added to assist with the decoding explanation.

KMCO 171733Z 1718/1818 15005KT P6SM SCT040 SCT070 TEMPO 2022 TS BKN025CB BKN050
FM2300 12006KT P6SM VCSH SCT025 BKN080
FM0200 2003KT P6SM SCT035 SCT100
FM0600 14004KT P6SM SCT020 SCT120
FM1200 2005KT P6SM SCT030 SCT100
a. Station Identifier : Identical to the METAR.

b. Date and Time of Report : You've already seen this from the METAR.

c. Valid Period : The valid period is the time which the report is valid for. A TAF is valid for 24 hours from the time of issuance. In this case, it is valid from 1800 Zulu on the 17th to 1800 Zulu the following day.

d. Winds : Identical to the METAR.

e. Visibility : Identical to the METAR except the "P" indicates "greater than"

f. Weather : Identical to the METAR.

g. Sky Condition : Identical to the METAR.

h. Modifier : Occasionally a TAF will have the line TEMPO. This indicates that temporarily during the valid time given the weather differs from the forecasted. In this case, temporarily from 2000 Zulu to 2200 Zulu there will be Thunderstorms and Cumulonimbus Clouds Broken at 2,500 feet and Broken Clouds at 5,000 feet.

These areas are repeated for each time block of the forecast. TAFs however do not have remarks since they are forecasts and not current observations of the weather.


Communication Procedures

https://www.youtube.com/v/KW10xCub3Kg

Air Traffic Control is truly the art of concise communication. Communication between controller and aircraft or controller and controller is what this is all about. But, it's not just getting on the radio (or in the case of VATSIM, a computer) and saying, "GO THERE!" There is a precise language that Air Traffic Controllers use to communicate their instructions and provide pertinent information. It is essential that controllers understand what proper phraseology is and how it enhances safety and is the mark of a professional controller.


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Wait a minute!!
You're telling me I have to talk a certain way?!

That's right! The FAA has established a standard speech that everyone in aviation in the United States must follow. Here on VATSIM, it's no different.




The Phonetic Alphabet


In aviation, we even have our own version of the alphabet. It uses the same letters but instead of just saying "A" we give each letter a phonetic assignment. This allows us to clearly communicate to minimize language barriers and misunderstandings.

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For every message you send over a radio or landline, there is a standard format that ATC follows.

For example, here is the order of things in the message when first communicating with an aircraft (initial contact):

  1. Identification of aircraft. The callsign can be said several different ways. The controller can simply say the tail number of the aircraft as in, "N12345" or use one of the following standard methods:
  1. Airline Name and Flight Number "UAL142" is said "United One-Forty-Two"
  2. Aircraft Manufacturer "Cessna N180QP" would be pronounced "Cessna one eight zero quebec papa"
  3. Aircraft Model "Skyhawk N180QP"
  1. Controller's identification - whatever the control position is - spoken as Facility and position - "Boston Tower"
  2. Your message! What are you actually trying to say
  3. Optionally, the word "over" (Rarely used today)


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Do I have to ID myself every time?

No - after initial contact with the aircraft you can omit your ID. The aircraft knows who they are talking to at that point. But it IS required on first contact.



Aircraft Identification

It is very important that you are able to clearly identify an aircraft when issuing an instruction. Improper use of call signs can result in pilots executing an instruction intended for another aircraft.

Pilots must be certain that aircraft identification is complete and clearly understood before taking action on an ATC clearance. Controllers should not abbreviate call signs of air carrier or other civil aircraft having authorized call signs. Controllers may initiate abbreviated call signs of other aircraft by using the prefix and the last three digits/letters of the aircraft identification after initial communications are established.

The pilot may use the abbreviated call sign in subsequent contacts with the controller. When aware of similar/identical call signs, controllers should take action to minimize errors by emphasizing certain numbers/letters, by repeating the entire call sign, by repeating the prefix, or by asking pilots to use a different call sign temporarily. Pilots should use the phrase "VERIFY CLEARANCE FOR (complete callsign)" if doubt exists concerning proper identity.

Civil aircraft pilots should state the aircraft type, model or manufacturer's name, followed by the digits and/or letters of the registration number. When the aircraft manufacturer's name or model is stated, the prefix "N" is dropped. For example. "KING AIR SEVEN FIVE ROMEO GOLF", "CITATION SIX ONE THREE ROMEO EXPERIMENTAL" (omit "experimental" after initial contact).

Air carriers and commuter air carriers having FAA authorized call signs should identify themselves by stating the complete call sign (using group form for the numbers) and the word "heavy" if appropriate. For example, "UNITED TWENTY-FIVE HEAVY", "MIDWEST COMMUTER SEVEN ELEVEN".

Military aircraft use a variety of systems including serial numbers, word call signs, and a combination of letters/numbers. For example, "ARMY COPTER 48931", "AIR FORCE 61782"


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What about all these different ways to say the numbers?

There are a few different ways to say numbers based on how one is using them. They are below.



Number Usage


Figures indicating hundreds and thousands in round number, as for ceiling heights, and upper wind levels up to 9,900 shall be spoken in accordance with the following.

500 pronounced five hundred
3,500 pronounced three thousand five hundred

Numbers above 9,900 shall be spoken by separating the digits preceding the word "thousand". For example.

10,000 pronounced one zero thousand
13,500 pronounced one three thousand five hundred

Transmit airway or jet route numbers as follows.

V12 pronounced Victor Twelve
J533 pronounced J Five Thirty-Three

When a radio frequency contains a decimal point, the decimal point is spoken as "POINT."

122.1 pronounced one two two point one


Altitudes and Flight Levels


Up to but not including 18,000 feet MSL, state the separate digits of the thousands plus the hundreds if appropriate.

12,000 pronounced one two thousand
12,500 pronounced one two thousand five hundred

At and above 18,000 feet MSL (FL 180), state the words "flight level" followed by the separate digits of the flight level.

190 pronounced Flight Level One Niner Zero
275 pronounced Flight Level Two Seven Five


Directions


The three digits of bearing, course, heading, or wind direction should always be magnetic. The word "true" must be added when it applies.

(Magnetic course) 005 pronounced zero zero five
(True course) 050 pronounced zero five zero true
(Wind direction) 220 pronounced wind two two zero


Speeds


The separate digits of the speed followed by the word "KNOTS." Except, controllers may omit the word "KNOTS" when using speed adjustment procedures; e.g., "REDUCE/INCREASE SPEED TO TWO FIVE ZERO."

(Speed) 250 pronounced two five zero knots
(Speed) 190 pronounced one niner zero knots

The separate digits of the Mach Number preceded by "Mach."
(Mach number) 1.5 pronounced Mach one point five
(Mach number) 0.64 pronounced Mach point six four


Time


FAA uses Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) for all operations. The word "local" or the time zone equivalent shall be used to denote local when local time is given during radio and telephone communications. The term "Zulu" may be used to denote UTC. 0920 UTC can be pronounced:

zero niner two zero
zero one two zero pacific or local
one twenty AM

Simply put all numbers are to be stated individually in its single digit form.


Controller Coordination

Never underestimate the power of controller coordination. With coordination anything is possible. The preferred format for controller communication is below:

1. Both the caller and receiver identify their facility and/or position in a manner that insures they will not be confused with another position.

Example
Caller: "Orlando Approach, Kissimmee Tower."

Receiver: "Orlando Approach."

2. The caller shall state the message and/or request. The receiver then acknowledges the message and provides a response if needed. If required caller confirms response.

Example

Caller: "Request Release, Skyhawk N5204N, 15, to Daytona"

Receiver: "Released, Heading 180"

Caller: "Heading 180"

3. After the coordination has been completed, both parties must end the call with their operating initials. Some ARTCCs assign specific Operating Initials, and if your ARTCC is one that does, use those. For those that do not specify operating initials, you may use your first and last initial.

Example
Caller: "Sierra India"
Receiver: "Romeo Papa"


Remember that this must be followed whenever coordination is required (such as pointouts, departure releases, general coordination, etc)

Introduction to Emergencies

Over the radio, Jay McCombs tried hard to understand the slow, slurring words muffled among the blaring sirens sounding in the background. The radio was poor, and the pilot difficult to understand, leaving only unintelligible transmission and uncontrollable noise to be heard.Controllers at Cleveland Center were now faced with the complex and difficult task of deciphering the message if they had any chance of finding a solution. The critical diagnosis that was to come would make all the difference in securing the safety of the Kalitta Learjet, KFS66.

The events unfolded on July 26, 2008 when McCombs accepted the hand-off of KFS66, which appeared to have a stuck mike creating incomprehensible transmissions. Unclear to those in the Center, however, was that the co-pilots arm was all the while moving violently and uncontrollably on the other end as the captain worked hard to hand fly the aircraft.Through the help of another pilots translation, Jay learned that the aircraft had declared an emergency. The plane was quickly changing altitude and McCombs immediately began to suggest closer airports, only to receive no reply.

Amid the chaos to translate the captains words, fellow controller Stephanie Bevins turns on the receiver so that she can now hear the pilot with her own headset. As she thinks through the symptoms in her head, she concludes that he must be hypoxic, a serious condition involving lack of oxygen due to pressurization problems. She knows immediately that they must descend the aircraft.Following Bevins initiative, McCombs begins bringing the aircraft to the lowest altitude available in order to alleviate the possible oxygen deprivation. Unable to answer questions, the pilot is only able to respond to direct commands that the controllers now begin to voice. Descend and maintain, they repeat.

Remarkably, the captains inability to turn on autopilot requires him to have to work in order to fly the airplane, keeping him conscious and the plane airborne. The pilots words gradually become more understandable, and around 11,000 feet, he returns to normal and confirms that he had, indeed, been suffering from hypoxia. Without Bevins and McCombs, there is no telling what would have happened. Bevins diagnosis made all the difference to the fate of the passengers, and without McCombs, the necessary actions to solve the problem would not have been taken to get the aircraft down safely. Various individuals were involved in the assistance of KFS66, clearly stated by McCombs who says that the entire area (Area 5) worked extremely well as a team.

Seeing that this is amazing story embodied by unusual and startling circumstances, it is clear why this case study has not only been chosen as an Archie winner, but also as a classroom teaching aid at the Civil Aerospace Medical Institute in Oklahoma City.

The above video is a prime example of the life saving assistance that an Air Traffic Controller provides to an aircraft that has declared an emergency. In this section you will learn exactly how a pilot declares an emergency and what your responsibilities are as an Air Traffic Controller. Lets begin by looking at the VATSIM Policy in regards to emergencies.

VATSIM Policy


From The VATSIM Code of Conduct CoC 8-2003 B(8)

"Pilots are permitted to declare in-flight emergencies. If for any reason, air traffic control requests the pilot to terminate the emergency, then the pilot must do so or log off of VATSIM. PILOTS ARE NOT PERMITTED TO SIMULATE A RADIO FAILURE CONDITION BY ENTERING A TRANSPONDER CODE OF 7600. IN ADDITION, PILOTS ARE NOT PERMITTED TO SIMULATE, IN ANY MANNER, AN UNLAWFUL ACT WHILE LOGGED ONTO THE VATSIM.net NETWORK INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, DECLARING A HIJACK BY STATEMENT UTILIZING EITHER VOICE OR TEXT OR BY ENTERING A TRANSPONDER CODE OF 7500."



From The VATSIM Code of Conduct CoC 9-2003 C(9)

"Controllers should not carry on private conversations between themselves, pilots or other individuals on the active communication frequency, the ATC channel on  or on the guard frequency (121.50). This interferes with providing ATC services to other pilots. The guard frequency should only be utilized in cases of emergency and under no other circumstances. Controllers are encouraged to use private chat boxes for carrying on private conversations."



Declaring an Emergency


There are two ways in which a pilot can declare an emergency. Voice/Text and via a squawk code.

VOICE


https://web.archive.org/web/20150508140351/http:/www.vatusa.net/training/show_image.php?id=1&gallery=2What is the difference between the phrase "Mayday" and "Pan" phrase?

The term "Mayday" means the aircraft requires immediate assistance, where as the term "Pan" indicates an urgent situation. In a practical sense, a pilot may state, "Pan" if he was showing a high oil pressure (a sign of possible future engine failure), yet it may become a "Mayday" situation if that engine were to suddenly stop.



SQUAWK CODE





Handling the Emergency


Your job as an Air Traffic Controller is simply to provide whatever assistance the pilot needs to get the aircraft on the ground safely. You should remember that due to the emergency aircraft having priority, that the level of quality service that you provide to the remaining aircraft under your control may degrade. That said, you should be considerate of the other pilots on your frequency. Always remember that if the emergency aircraft is creating you, the controller, undue hardship, or is reducing the level of quality service to other aircraft significantly enough, you may ask the aircraft to discontinue the emergency or disconnect from the network at any time.



S1 Training (Clearance Delivery/Ground)

Introduction to Clearance Delivery/Flight Plan

Clearance Delivery (callsign suffix _DEL, for "clearance") is normally the first controller that a pilot will talk to when starting a flight. Although to new controllers just starting out the clearance delivery position may seem tedious and unimportant, it actually serves a crucial purpose in keeping traffic moving efficiently. The initial clearance process allows the pilot and the controllers to be sure they are on the same page with respect to the pilot's routing, initial altitude and cruise altitude. It also allows the controllers to correct any errors in the pilot's filing and to modify the pilot's requested routing and altitude as needed to optimize the flow of all traffic. In VATSIM the clearance delivery function is often fulfilled by higher control positions such as _GND, _TWR, _DEP, _APP or _CTR if there is no one actually staffing the DEL position. Learning how to manage clearances correctly, quickly and efficiently is an essential and basic skill for all VATSIM controllers.

https://web.archive.org/web/20150508141457/http:/www.vatusa.net/training/show_image.php?id=1&gallery=2What exactly is a Clearance?
The Federal Aviation Administration 
Pilot/Controller Glossary defines a "Clearance (ATC Clearance)" as follows:



From the FAA - Pilot Controller Glossary (P/CG)

"AIR TRAFFIC CLEARANCE- An authorization by air traffic control for the purpose of preventing collision between known aircraft, for an aircraft to proceed under specified traffic conditions within controlled airspace. The pilot-in-command of an aircraft may not deviate from the provisions of a visual flight rules (VFR) or instrument flight rules (IFR) air traffic clearance except in an emergency or unless an amended clearance has been obtained. Additionally, the pilot may request a different clearance from that which has been issued by air traffic control (ATC) if information available to the pilot makes another course of action more practicable or if aircraft equipment limitations or company procedures forbid compliance with the clearance issued. Pilots may also request clarification or amendment, as appropriate, any time a clearance is not fully understood, or considered unacceptable because of safety of flight. Controllers should, in such instances and to the extent of operational practicality and safety, honor the pilot's request. 14 CFR Part 91.3(a) states: "The pilot in command of an aircraft is directly responsible for, and is the final authority as to, the operation of that aircraft." THE PILOT IS RESPONSIBLE TO REQUEST AN AMENDED CLEARANCE if ATC issues a clearance that would cause a pilot to deviate from a rule or regulation, or in the pilot's opinion, would place the aircraft in jeopardy."



Below is the set of topics that we will be covering throughout the Clearance Delivery portion of the S1 Rating Guide.

From VATUSA - VATUSA Rating Guidelines S1 Section II and III

II. Flight Plan Procedures

A. Accessing Flight Strip Data
i. Properly accesses correct aircraft flight strip

B. Flight Plan Amendments
i. Consistently evaluates flight paths for accuracy and applicability
ii. Properly corrects flight plan errors using appropriate key commands or user interface
iii. Exhibits appropriate coordination procedures as needed

C. Preferred and Non-Standard Routing Procedures
i. In compliance with local procedures, attempts whenever possible to ensure the aircraft is on the correct preferred routing to its destination
ii. Provides preferred routing information for aircraft that do not have one filed
iii. Assists the pilot in identifying and providing the easiest departure for their aircraft capability

III. Clearance Delivery Procedures

A. VFR and IFR Clearance Procedures
i. Demonstrates knowledge of difference between VFR and IFR clearances
ii. Demonstrates knowledge of proper VFR clearances.

B. Squawk Code Assignments
i. In compliance with local procedures, attempts whenever possible to assign aircraft a preferred facility squawk code appropriate for the aircraft's type of flight

C. Clearance Issuance
i. Issues clearance to aircraft in correct phraseology
ii. Ensures correct readback by aircraft before proceeding

D. Departure Information
ii. In compliance with local procedures and regulatory documents, the controller will issue appropriate departure information (weather/runways in use/etc)



One of the first steps in becoming effective at the _DEL position is to gain a basic understanding of the airspace and departure procedures for the airport that you are covering. At the time of this writing VFR, low altitude IFR & high altitude IFR charts are available at www.skyvector.com.(external link) Complete US terminal procedure charts including instrument departure charts are available at http://www.naco.faa.gov/index.asp?xml=naco/online/d_tpp(external link)www.airnav.com(external link) and other sites. Commonly used VATSIM routes can be found at www.simroutes.com.(external link) A small amount of time spent familiarizing yourself with the departure procedures and common flight routes related to the airport that you will be covering will be time very well spent when you start actually talking to live traffic. For many student controllers the easiest and most enjoyable way to learn the airspace that they will be controlling is to simply spend some time flying, in the VATSIM virtual sky, the procedures and common flight routes you will be controlling.


Before we move on to the next section on Flight Plan Amendments, lets examine Standard Instrument Departures (SIDs).

Standard Instrument Departures (SIDs)


Let's begin by explaining exactly what a Standard Instrument Departure (SID) is:

From the FAA - Pilot Controller Glossary (P/CG)

"STANDARD INSTRUMENT DEPARTURE (SID)- A preplanned instrument flight rule (IFR) air traffic control (ATC) departure procedure printed for pilot/controller use in graphic form to provide obstacle clearance and a transition from the terminal area to the appropriate en route structure. SIDs are primarily designed for system enhancement to expedite traffic flow and to reduce pilot/controller workload. ATC clearance must always be received prior to flying a SID."



A Standard Instrument Departure (SID) is an IFR procedure that the pilot will fly to transition them from the terminal area to the en-route phase of flight. If you recall from the Basic ATC lesson on Airways and Route Systems, you'll remember that we referred to airways as "highways in the sky". You can think of a Standard Instrument Departure as a "on ramp" to that highway. To understand this a bit better you might want to get out some of the departure (SID) charts and arrival (STAR) charts for the airport where you will be training. Notice how in general the procedures are designed to keep aircraft climbing away from the airport separated from from the arrivals descending towards the airport. If you think about it for a minute you can see how difficult and time consuming it would be for radar controllers to have to separate aircraft climbing on one route from aircraft simultaneously descending in the opposite direction on that same route. Thus the need for on and off "ramps". In the real world noise abatement concerns and clearance from ground obstacles/high terrain may also be important factors in the design of departure procedures.

Although we won't get into how to read a Standard Instrument Departure chart, it's important to understand one of the major aspects of the chart: the transition.

https://web.archive.org/web/20150508141457/http:/www.vatusa.net/training/show_image.php?id=1&gallery=2Transition? What's that?

A transition is a published procedure (DP Transition) used to connect the basic Departure Procedure to one of several en route airways/jet routes, or a published procedure (STAR Transition) used to connect one of several en route airways/jet routes to the basic STAR..



Although a Standard Instrument Departure has published transitions, it's important to understand that a pilot may choose to exit at any point along the Standard Instrument Departure. If your having a hard time determining which fixes on the chart represent a transition, look at the Departure Route Description (the text part) of the chart and you'll see a the published transitions. A diagram is below to help illustrate this. Note: Not all Standard Instrument Departures contain transitions. Refer to the individual chart to determine if that procedure contains a transition

https://web.archive.org/web/20150508141457/http:/www.vatusa.net/training/img/wiki_up/finding%20transitions.JPG



Types of Standard Instrument Departures


There are three types of Standards Instrument Departures: Pilot Nav, Radar Vectored, and a Hybrid (A mix of the two).


Pilot Nav SID

A Pilot Nav SID is one that will get the pilot from the terminal to the en-route environment following a specified route that is completely defined in the printed procedure. An example of this type of procedure is the OVETO3 departure out of McCarran International (KLAS). You'll notice from the profile view (graphical) of the chart, and then the Route Description (text) that this departure procedure provides a specific route for the aircraft to follow.

https://web.archive.org/web/20150508141457/http:/www.vatusa.net/training/show_image.php?id=33&gallery=3

https://web.archive.org/web/20150508141457/http:/www.vatusa.net/training/show_image.php?id=34



Radar Vectored Departure

Unlike the transitional departure, the Radar Vectored departure is one that has no route that a pilot may fly and depends solely on the controller to provide vectors to the transition/fix. The pilot does not know beforehand exactly how he is going to be “transitioned” to his filed route and the controller is free to alter the exact routing to meet the needs of all traffic at the time. An example of this type of departure is the Dayton Four departure out of James M Cox Dayton International (KDAY). An easy way to quickly tell if a departure is a radar vectored departure is to look at the name. Generally (but not always), a radar vectored departure will contain the name of the airport. Some example are the Atlanta 5, Kennedy 1, and the O'hare 3.

https://web.archive.org/web/20150508141457/http:/www.vatusa.net/training/show_image.php?id=35&gallery=3




Hybrid SID

A Hybrid SID is one that has the pilot fly a set of instructions initially, THEN receive radar vectors to the assigned route. An example would be the DAWNN3 Departure out of Indianapolis (KIND)

https://web.archive.org/web/20150508141457/http:/www.vatusa.net/training/img/wiki_up/departure.JPG




Now that you have a good understanding of the different types of Standard Instrument Departure, lets next look at the flight plan and flight plan amendments.


Flight Plan Amendments

In this section we are going to discuss the various elements of the flightplan, and what should be checked prior to issuing the clearance. It should be noted that the flight plans that you see here are from the VRC Radar Client (www.metacraft.com/VRC/), however the same logic would apply to any radar client that you decide to use.

Prior to issuing a clearance to an aircraft, we have to ensure that the aircraft's flightplan is correct. When we say “correct” we must always be aware that VATSIM is a learning environment with pilots of widely varying abilities and levels of experience. The guidelines for routing modification are usually defined by local SOP combined with good judgment based on experience with a wide variety of pilots. When in doubt don't hesitate to ask more experienced controllers for their advice.

https://web.archive.org/web/20150308105623/http:/www.vatusa.net/training/show_image.php?id=41&gallery=3




https://web.archive.org/web/20150308105623/http:/www.vatusa.net/training/show_image.php?id=42&gallery=3



https://web.archive.org/web/20150308105623/http:/www.vatusa.net/training/show_image.php?id=43&gallery=3



https://web.archive.org/web/20150308105623/http:/www.vatusa.net/training/show_image.php?id=44&gallery=3


https://web.archive.org/web/20150308105623/http:/www.vatusa.net/training/show_image.php?id=45&gallery=3


https://web.archive.org/web/20150308105623/http:/www.vatusa.net/training/show_image.php?id=46&gallery=3


https://web.archive.org/web/20150308105623/http:/www.vatusa.net/training/show_image.php?id=47&gallery=3


https://web.archive.org/web/20150308105623/http:/www.vatusa.net/training/show_image.php?id=48&gallery=3


Lowest Usable FL



Altimeter Setting

Lowest Usable FL

29.92" or higher

FL180

29.91" to 28.92"

FL190

28.91" to 27.92"

FL200



If the aircraft is flying VFR a formal clearance is only required to enter or leave Class B airspace. A specific visual routing and/or specific altitude may be specified in the initial clearance as per local SOP. Since VFR aircraft must maintain minimum required distances from clouds ATC altitude assignments to VFR aircraft are often given as "at or below" a set altitude. Minimum weather requirements for VFR operations in controlled airspace attached to an airport are 3 SM visibility and 1000 ft. ceiling. For VFR cruising altitudes the same NEODD/SWEVEN rule applies though the altitudes are in thousands of feet plus five hundred (i.e 4,500 is westbound). Note also that VFR is not allowed in Class A airspace so the highest allowable VFR altitude is 17,500 ft. Squawk codes are assigned to all VFR aircraft operating in Class B or C airspace just like IFR aircraft. See the Tower VFR section for more information on VFR aircraft handling.




https://web.archive.org/web/20150308105623/http:/www.vatusa.net/training/show_image.php?id=1&gallery=2
Does the NEODD/SWEVEN rule always apply?
If a pilot flies at an altitude of 3,000 AGL (above ground level) or below, the NEODD/SWEVEN rule does not apply.



https://web.archive.org/web/20150308105623/http:/www.vatusa.net/training/show_image.php?id=49&gallery=3


https://web.archive.org/web/20150308105623/http:/www.vatusa.net/training/show_image.php?id=50&gallery=3


https://web.archive.org/web/20150308105623/http:/www.vatusa.net/training/show_image.php?id=51&gallery=3



https://web.archive.org/web/20150308105623/http:/www.vatusa.net/training/show_image.php?id=52&gallery=3


Whatever is in this section is widely visible on and recorded by the various VATSIM monitoring and logging websites and software such as VATSpy, Servinfo, V Route, & Vataware, etc. Do not add any unnecessary comments or anything that you would not want to see added to your own flight plan if you were the one flying.

https://web.archive.org/web/20150308105623/http:/www.vatusa.net/training/img/wiki_up/DELcheck.jpg



That's all there is to amending a flightplan. Does everything look correct? If so lets issue that clearance!


Issuing Clearances

In the following ATCast video, brought to you by SATCA(external link) and the University of North Dakota, you will learn the basics of Clearance Delivery. If the video doesn't load, the link below will take you to another site. Please use your BACK button to return here after watching!

http://realmedia.aero.und.edu/atc/www/ATCPC09.mp4

Note: If the video above is not available, you can go to www.liveatc.net(external link) and listen to any Clearance Delivery frequency listed there. At a major airport if there is no DEL frequency listed, try monitoring the Ground frequency.

IFR Clearances

If you listened to the above example of a clearance, you may be thinking, "There is a lot to remember". While it may seem like a lot of information, there is an acronym which will help you remember the different aspects of the clearance and the order they are presented in. It is known as the "CRAFT" acronym. CRAFT is an abbreviation for Clearance, Route, Altitude, Frequency, Transponder.



Abbreviated Clearance - This is the most common form of clearance that you will see. It is used in cases where the filed flight plan is substantially correct. You will issue the phraseology listed below depending on which departure procedure has been filed:



https://web.archive.org/web/20150309030738/http:/www.vatusa.net/training/show_image.php?id=1&gallery=2
What if I have to amend the route??

Anytime you change an aircraft's filed route, you must read back the entire portion of the route that was amended, using the appropriate clearance. After you have read the amendment, then state the phrase "then as filed".


Example

Original route: OXI MIE DQN ROD
Amended route:DNV VHP DQN ROD

Then you would say, 
"Amendment to your route: Cleared to (DEST) via radar vectors Danville (DNV) DIRECT Brickyard (VHP), DIRECT Dayton (DQN) then as filed".








https://web.archive.org/web/20150309030738/http:/www.vatusa.net/training/show_image.php?id=1&gallery=2
Did you know...

If the pilot is flying a Departure Procedure, and that departure states their initial altitude, when to expect their final cruise, and the departure frequency, then you can omit those in your clearance. Remember though that not all pilots may have read the chart, so keep this in mind when using this shortcut.





IFR Clearance Examples


Example #1: Pilot Nav/Hybrid Departure

Clearance using CRAFT



Example #2: Radar Vectored Departure

Clearance using CRAFT



Example #3: No Departure Clearance

Clearance using CRAFT



VFR Clearances


VFR Class Bravo Clearance

Lets look at how the CRAFT acronym works for an aircraft leaving an airport in Class Bravo or Charlie airspace.






Introduction to Ground

http://www.youtube.com/v/GUWyR9rTI9E

Now you see what can happen at the easiest of positions when the traffic reaches the higher levels. It can happen to the best of us. This position will teach you three more lessons in ATC. In the following sections, you will learn the following core competencies:

From VATUSA - Vatusa Rating Guidelines v1.0 (S1 Training Item IV)

IV. Ground Control Procedures

A. Movement and Non-Movement Areas
i. Demonstrates knowledge of difference between two areas
ii. Correctly identifies each area at the airport controlling

B. Taxi and Ground Movement Operations
i. Correctly sequences aircraft to runway
ii. Demonstrates appropriate use of valid progressive taxi instructions
iii. Demonstrates use of correct phraseology

C. Helicopter Taxi Operations
i. Understands difference between Air Taxi and Hover
ii. Keeps aircraft clear of helicopter taxi path Taxi






Next you will learn what your responsibilities as a ground controller are.


Ground Controller Responsibilities

From The FAA - FAA Order JO 7110.65S 2-10-3 (c.3)

A. Movement and Non-Movement Areas
i. Demonstrates knowledge of difference between two areas
ii. Correctly identifies each area at the airport controlling
B. Taxi and Ground Movement Operations
i. Correctly sequences aircraft to runway
ii. Demonstrates appropriate use of valid progressive taxi instructions
iii. Demonstrates use of correct phraseology
C. Helicopter Taxi Operations
i. Understands difference between Air Taxi and Hover
ii. Keeps aircraft clear of helicopter taxi path Taxi



Movement and Non-Movement Areas


Movement Area is an area of the airport that is controlled by you, the Air Traffic Controller. A movement area consists of any taxiway, runway, or helipad.

Non-Movement Area is an area of the airport not owned by the controlling authority. These generally include areas such as parking locations, ramps, etc.

In the real world and some FS scenery areas the movement area is delineated from the non-movement area by yellow lines that you may be familiar with.

https://web.archive.org/web/20101130084451/http:/www.vatusa.net/training/img/wiki_up/MvtArea.jpg


(FAA - AIM)



You as a ground controller are responsible for all movement areas with the exception of runways. Runways are owned by the Local (tower) controller and you have no authority to send aircraft across any active runway without prior coordination. Although not technically your responsibility, in VATSIM pilots will sometimes ask for ATC assistance in non-movement areas. You should handle these requests using good judgment, courtesy and according to local SOP.


Issuing Taxi Instructions

Where is the aircraft?

If you do not know where the aircraft is, how can you possibly issue taxi instructions and separate it from other aircraft? If they do not tell you in the initial transmission where they are, and you are unsure do not hesitate to ask. "SAY POSITION (or request)."


Issuing Your First Taxi Instruction



When issuing a taxi instruction without a hold short statement, you should follow the following format: "TAXI TO (location) VIA (route) (additional instructions as necessary)"

You can add any additional information to the instruction as you feel necessary. What can you include here? Some examples include:



Examples

"Skylane N1235T, Taxi to runway 33 via taxiway Mike, Hotel, Foxtrot. Altimeter 29.92".
"American 113, Taxi to runway 33 via Mike, Hotel, Foxtrot.


When you need to issue taxi instructions that include hold-short statements, you should use the following format.

RUNWAY (number),
TAXI/PROCEED VIA (route),

HOLD SHORT OF (runway number)

or

HOLD SHORT OF (location)

or

ON (taxi strip, runup, pad, etc.),

and if necessary,

TRAFFIC (traffic information),

or

FOR (reason)
.

Examples

“Skyhawk N5204N, Runway Three Six Left, taxi via taxiway Charlie, hold short of Runway Two Seven Right.”
“Skyhawk N5204N, Runway Three Six Left, taxi via Charlie, hold short of Runway Two Seven Right.”

https://web.archive.org/web/20101130084308/http:/www.vatusa.net/training/show_image.php?id=1&gallery=2Wait! What is hold short instruction and why would we even issue it to begin with??

A hold short instruction is a phrase that tells the pilot to stop short of a particular runway/taxiway/intersection. There are many reasons why you would issue this instruction. A primary example would be if one of your aircraft wanted to cross an active taxiway. Since you as ground do not have jurisdiction over it, then you will have to coordinate prior to the aircraft crossing. Another example would be if you had an aircraft crossing in front of an aircraft on a perpendicular taxiway.



Aircraft are required to readback all hold short instructions so if the pilot fails to do so use the following phraseology: "READBACK ALL HOLD SHORT INSTRUCTIONS"

Before the aircraft gets to the point where you instructed it to hold short, you need to determine if its safe for him to continue. That means coordinating with the tower controller (if the aircraft is crossing an active runway). Once you obtain approval (if required), then you can use the following phraseology to have the aircraft continue taxi:

HOLD POSITION.

HOLD FOR (reason)

CROSS (runway/taxiway)

or

TAXI/CONTINUE TAXIING/PROCEED/VIA (route),

or

ON (runway number or taxiways, etc.),

or

TO (location),

or

(direction),

or

ACROSS RUNWAY (number).

or

VIA (route), HOLD SHORT OF (location)

or

FOLLOW (traffic) (restrictions as necessary)

or

BEHIND (traffic)



Examples

“Skylane N838OM, Cross Runway Two Eight Left.”
“Skylane N838OM, Taxi to the hangar.”
“Skylane N838OM, Continue taxiing straight ahead then via ramp to the hangar.”
“Skylane N838OM, Proceed on Taxiway Charlie, hold short of Runway Two Seven.”

Progressive Taxi Instructions

When a pilot requests "Progressive Taxi" it means that he needs step by step directions for navigating around the airport. When issuing progressive taxi instructions you would simply issue step-by-step directions/instructions. For the purposes of VATSIm you will only issue progressive taxi instructions if the pilot requests.

Helicopter Taxi Operations


There are three ways that helicopters can taxi: Surface Taxi, Hover Taxi, and Air Taxi. There are two videos below. On the left is a video of a helicopter preforming a Hover Taxi, and on the right, a helicopter preforming an Air Taxi.

http://www.youtube.com/v/-wz2R_V2f5c

http://www.youtube.com/v/KLwCXvcbKGA



Surface Taxi

A helicopter with wheels can taxi along the surface. You would issue the same instructions to these helicopters as you would issue to a fixed-winged aircraft.

Hover Taxi

Hover Taxi is a method that a helicopter can use to taxi to the runway. This method is "low and slow". Hover taxi authorizes a helicopter to taxi at speeds less then 20 knots and usually in ground effect.

"HOVER-TAXI TO (runway/location) VIA (route) (additional instructions as necessary)

CAUTION (dust, blowing snow, loose debris, taxiing light aircraft, personnel, etc.)"


Keep in mind an airborne helicopter can generate turbulence if large enough and therefore light aircraft should be advised of such. Also a hovering helo is more prone to jet blast from large aircraft and should again be advised of such a possibility.

Example

"Bell N121J, Hover-Taxi to Runway 27 via taxiway Mike. Caution Skyhawk on taxiway Kilo"


Air Taxi

Air Taxi authorizes a pilot to fly at speeds greater then 20 knots and at an altitude below 50FT AGL. Air Taxi is the preferred method of helicopter taxi operations around the airport.

AIR-TAXI:

VIA (direct, as requested, or specified route)

TO (location, heliport, helipad, operating/movement area, active/inactive runway).

AVOID (aircraft/vehicles/personnel).
If required,

REMAIN AT OR BELOW (altitude).

CAUTION (wake turbulence or other reasons above).

LAND AND CONTACT TOWER,

or

HOLD FOR (reason- takeoff clearance, release, landing/taxiing aircraft, etc.)


Example

"Bell N121J, Air Taxi via Foxtrot, Mike to Runway 27. Caution Skyhawk taxing on taxiway Kilo. Land and contact Tower"

If you learn the basics of a position, you'll deal with that position as a professional would. It is not as hard as it sounds but you must learn the phraseology, airport layout, and observe the traffic at all times to be good at it.

Good Luck!!



S2 Training (Tower)

Introduction to Tower

http://www.youtube.com/v/uuqwxybq87U

Tower Control Responsibilities


After reading this section, You will be familiar in the following VATUSA Competencies:

From VATUSA – VATUSA Rating Guidelines (v1.0) S2 Rating Section II

II. Local Control Procedures

A. Runway Selection
i. Selects appropriate runway based on current winds and local procedures
ii. In compliance with local procedures, the student shall attempt whenever
possible to select as many runways possible to meet the current traffic volume

B. ATIS Issuance
i. The student will demonstrate the ability to correct record a valid ATIS broadcast
ii. The student will advise all aircraft on the ground or within Tower airspace of
current ATIS and ATIS updates
iii.The student will ensure all departing aircraft have the current ATIS information

C. Departure Procedures
i. The student will demonstrate the ability to provide an aircraft with an
appropriate departure release
ii.The student shall, in compliance with local procedure, provide aircraft with the
appropriate departure heading for their route of flight
ii. The student will demonstrate knowledge of the appropriate regulations and
procedures regarding helicopter departures

D. Arrival Procedures
i. The student will demonstrate knowledge of the different types of landing
modes used by aircraft and the appropriate phraseology to use for landing
clearances (landing, low approach, touch-and-go, etc.)
ii. The student will demonstrate knowledge of the appropriate regulations and
procedures regarding helicopter arrivals

E. Spacing and Sequencing
i. In compliance with local procedures and adhering to regulated priority, the
student shall whenever possible, ensure that spacing between arrivals and
departures is appropriate to safely depart all awaiting aircraft and land all
arriving aircraft as orderly and expeditiously as possible

F. Taxi Into Position and Hold (TIPH) and Land and Hold Short (LAHSO)
i. The student shall at all times observe the regulations regarding each of these
procedures as specified in FAA Order 7110.65
ii.Where applicable, the student shall demonstrate appropriate use of Taxi Into
Position and Hold (TIPH) and Land and Hold Short (LAHSO)

G. VFR Traffic Pattern
i. Understands and demonstrates knowledge of segments of the VFR Traffic
Pattern
ii.Correctly issues appropriate instructions to VFR Aircraft utilizing the pattern
iii.Maintains proper sequencing and separation between all VFR Traffic in the
pattern and all other arriving/departing traffic

H. Wake Turbulence Separation
i. The student shall at all times remain in compliance of Wake Turbulence
regulations as specified by FAA Order 7110.65 during ALL operations
ii.The student will demonstrate phraseology when providing Wake Turbulence
advisories to all affected aircraft

I. Converging or Parallel Runway Operations
i. When applicable, the student will provide advisories for aircraft arriving on
parallel or converging runways

J. Missed Approach Procedures
i. Understands missed approach procedures and go around operations
ii. In compliance with local procedures issues the appropriate missed approach
instructions for the facility they are controlling
iii. When necessary the student will coordinate with the overlying radar controller
for appropriate missed approach procedures




Local Control (a.k.a Tower) is responsible for a five mile ring around the airport and the runways throughout the airfield of which they are working.


ATIS Issuance

Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Automatic_Terminal_Information_Service(external link) wrote:

Automatic Terminal Information Service, or ATIS, is a continuous broadcast of recorded noncontrol information in busier terminal (i.e. airport) areas. ATIS broadcasts contain essential information, such as weather information, which runways are active, available approaches, and any other information required by the pilots, such as important NOTAMs. Pilots usually listen to an available ATIS broadcast before contacting the local control unit, in order to reduce the controllers' workload and relieve frequency congestion.



In this section, you will learn the various elements of an ATIS. Let's begin by watching the following ATCast video, brought to you by SATCA(external link) and the University of North Dakota.

Guide to Recording a Professional ATIS

Author: Bruce Clingan


Voice ATIS is one of the most useful tools that VRC gives us as controllers. ATIS in the real world is usually computer generated however some smaller controlled airfields utilize a manually recorded ATIS similar to what we use.

The first step in recording an ATIS broadcast is to understand what exactly is in it. ATIS broadcasts consist of 10 sections:

1. Location
2. Observation Time
3. Wind Direction and Speed
4. Visibility
5. Sky Conditions
6. Temperature and Dew Point
7. Altimeter Setting
8. Instrument Approaches
9. Landing and Departing Runways
10.Notices to Airmen

Next we need some weather in the form of a METAR:

KCVG 120352Z 30017G22KT 7SM -RA FEW10 BKN016 OVC022 10/08 A2961 RMK AO2 SLP023 P0003 T01000083

We’ll use this METAR to create an ATIS broadcast for KCVG. Location Every ATIS broadcast begins with the official facility name for the airport that it covers and the current information code. In this case it is KCVG or Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky International airport. If you are unsure what the official name of the airport is look it up on www.airnav.com.(external link) The official name will be written next to the ICAO identifier and above the city and state location of the airport at the top of the page. The correct location section for this ATIS broadcast is:

Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky International information Delta.



Observation Time

Observation time is the time at which the observation was recorded. It is not
necessary to include the first two digits of the time stamp on the METAR as this is the date of the recording. Real world METARS are regularly updated at xx52 ZULU. If the update is at a different time then it is a special observation which needs to be noted in the broadcast by adding the word “special” after the time. The correct observation time for this ATIS broadcast is:

0352 ZULU

If the time stamp was “0330Z” it would read 0330 ZULU Special.


Wind Direction and Speed

Wind is reported at the time of the observation to give pilots a general idea of what the winds are at the airport. Winds are always reported in knots so the word knots does not need to be included. Gusts are reported immediately after the winds. The correct wind for this ATIS broadcast is:

Wind 300 at 17 Gust 22.


Visibility

Visibility is reported in statute miles (SM) so the inclusion of statute miles in the report is unnecessary. If the visibility is reported to a fraction of a mile then it is to be read “one half” or “one and one quarter”. If the visibility is reported less than 7 statute miles a reason for the reduced visibility is must be included. If visibility is at or greater than 7 the reason for reduced visibility is optional. For example “visibility 4, fog”. The correct visibility report for this ATIS broadcast is:

Visibility 7
-or-
Visibility 7, light rain.


Sky Conditions

Sky conditions are always read as individual numbers (11 is read “one one”) and are only reported for 12,000ft and below because the reporting equipment is only considered accurate up to 12,000ft. If there is a cloud layer slightly above 12,000ft then it may be optionally reported if it is the only cloud layer. A report of few clouds should be read before the height such as “few clouds 7 thousand”, where scattered, broken and overcast layers are reported after. The lowest layer of broken or overcast clouds constitute a ceiling and must be reported as such by adding the word ceiling before the cloud layer is reported. If there is no cloud layer below 12,000ft then it is to be read as “clear below one two thousand”. The correct sky condition report for this ATIS broadcast is:

text~~Few clouds one thousand Ceiling one thousand six hundred broken, two thousand two hundred overcast.


Temperature and Dew Point

Temperature and dew point are always reported as individual numbers. Any number with the letter “M” in front of them are negative and are pronounced as “minus”. The correct temperature and dew point report for this broadcast is:

Temperature one zero, dew point zero eight.


Altimeter Setting

Altimeter settings are always read as individual numbers and the decimal point is left out. The correct altimeter setting report for this ATIS broadcast is:

Altimiter two niner six one.


Instrument Approaches

The approaches which inbound IFR aircraft should expect are reported next. For most airports served by ATIS broadcasts this will be either visual approaches or ILS approaches, however any approach that you are currently automatically issuing on initial contact should be reported here. The correct instrument approaches report for this ATIS broadcast is one of the following:

Expect ILS Approach runway 36R.

Simultaneous ILS Approaches in use runways 36L, 36C, and 36R.

Simultaneous Visual and Localizer Approaches in use runways 36C, and 36R.

Expect RNAV approach Runway 36R.


Runways in Use

The landing and departing runways in use are reported here. The correct
runways in use report for this ATIS broadcast is:

Landing runways 36C and 36R, departing runway 27.


Notices to Airmen

Notices to airmen are also reported in ATIS broadcasts. This is where you can report runway/taxiway closures, frequency combinations, contact instructions, and other information pertinent to the airfield that you are controlling. Note that when combining frequencies in the real world this is only done with tower and below. It sounds kind of weird to say Approach, Tower, Ground, and Delivery on 119.500. This section always starts with Notices to Airmen and for this broadcast would sound like this:

Notices to Airmen. Runway 36L Closed, Runway 27 Closed to Arrivals. Taxiway Sierra closed between Taxiway Sierra 4 and Mike. Tower, Ground and Clearance Delivery combined on 118.3.

Note: real world NOTAM information is available at
https://www.notams.jcs.mil/dinsQueryWeb/(external link)

This section will also include information about read back instructions and
reporting procedures such as:

Read back all hold short instructions and runway assignments. VFR Aircraft state direction of flight. Advise on initial contact you have information Delta.


Full Broadcast

A full ATIS broadcast may sound something like this:

Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky International information Delta. 0352 ZULU. Wind 300 at 17 Gusts 22. Visibility 7, light rain. Few clouds one thousand Ceiling one thousand six hundred broken, two thousand two hundred overcast. Temperature one zero, dew point zero eight. Altimeter two niner six one. Simultaneous ILS Approaches in use runways 36C, and 36R. Landing runways 36C and 36R, departing runway 27. Notices to Airmen. Runway 36L Closed, Runway 27 Closed to Arrivals. Taxiway Sierra closed between Taxiway Sierra 4 and Mike. Tower, Ground and Clearance Delivery combined on 118.3. VFR Aircraft state direction of flight. Read back all hold short instructions and runway assignments. Advise on initial contact you have information Delta.


Special thanks for articles from Andrew Doubleday, and Matthew Magera for their idea to post articles similar to this and for various pieces of information included in their articles.


Runway Selection

One of your tasks as a Tower Controller is that of runway selection. There are two main factors which go into runway selection. They are the winds and any Standard Operating Procedures that are in effect for that airport.

Winds


When selecting a runway, you should always choose the runway that is most closely aligned with the wind. We do this because we want the runway that would give the aircraft the slowest groundspeed, thus reducing the amount of runway the pilot uses. When the winds are less then 5 knots, then you may select any runway(s). (Note that the runways used when the wind is less than 5 knots are referred to as the "calm wind" runways but when describing wind to pilots the term "wind calm" is only used when the wind is less than 3 knots.)


Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)


A Standard Operating Procedure, or SOP, is a directive that indicates certain procedures that must be followed when certain events are observed. A major component of a SOP is that of runway selection. An SOP may outline certain runways to use when certain wind conditions exist. For example, if the winds are calm, the SOP may dictate that certain runways be used.


Wake Turbulence

Wake Turbulence is defined as turbulence that is created by an aircraft that is passing through the atmosphere. The term also includes vortices, thrust stream turbulence, jet blast, jet wash, propeller wash, and rotor wash both on the ground and in the air. Generally, the heavier the aircraft the more wake turbulence that is generated. This occurs in all stages of flight, but is most prominent in the departure and approach phases of flight. Wake Turbulence is unpredictable by nature, and because of this, controllers are not responsible for anticipating its existence or effects. Although Wake Turbulence is not modeled by default in Flight Simulator, we as controllers are still responsible for providing appropriate separation due to Wake Turbulence.

Before we go into the regulations in regards to Wake Turbulence Separation, take a minute to watch the YouTube videos below. The first one is a video of a NASA Airliner Wing Vortice Test. This video will help illustrate the concept of Wake Turbulence. The second video is a pilot flying through the Wake Turbulence of another aircraft at Tuscon International. Notice how the pilot has to really fight the aircraft once he encounters the Wake Turbulence.

http://www.youtube.com/v/E1ESmvyAmOs

http://www.youtube.com/v/eblVIpdb1z8&feature=related

For the purposes of Wake Turbulence Separation aircraft are classified as Heavy, Large, or Small. For a detailed listing of aircraft weight classifications click here.

Apply wake turbulence procedures to aircraft operating behind Heavy jets and, where indicated, to Small aircraft behind Large aircraft. Specific separations are listed in the appropriate sections. Separation shall continue to touchdown for all IFR aircraft not making a visual approach or maintaining visual separation.

Issue wake turbulence cautionary advisories, e.g. "CAUTION WAKE TURBULENCE" to:


TIPH and LAHSO Operations

Taxi Into Position and Hold and Land And Hold Short Operations

Taxi Into Position and Hold (TIPH)

From The FAA Order JO 7110.65S 3-9-4(a)

The intent of TIPH is to position aircraft for an imminent departure. Authorize an aircraft to taxi into position and hold, except as restricted in subpara g, when takeoff clearance cannot be issued because of traffic. Issue traffic information to any aircraft so authorized. Traffic information may be omitted when the traffic is another aircraft which has landed on or is taking off the same runway and is clearly visible to the holding aircraft. Do not use conditional phrases such as “behind landing traffic” or “after the departing aircraft.”




RUNWAY (number) AT (taxiway designator) (further instructions as needed)

RUNWAY (number) AT (taxiway designator), POSITION AND HOLD.

Below are some additional regulations in regards to TIPH Operations.

Land and Hold Short Operations (LAHSO)


COMING SOON! For now view the following document: 7110.65S 3-10-4
http://www.faa.gov/documentLibrary/media/Order/ND/7110.118.pdf(external link)


Departure Procedures


In this section, we will be discussing various departure procedures. These procedures will pertain to IFR departure procedures. We will be discussing VFR Operations in the VFR Tower section. Before we can issue that takeoff clearance, we first must discuss Departure Releases.

Departure Releases

An IFR clearance is not valid until you have received a Departure Release for that aircraft. A departure release is an authorization that you obtain from the overlying radar controller, authorizing the pilot to depart utilizing their IFR Clearance.

https://web.archive.org/web/20101130115951/http:/www.vatusa.net/training/show_image.php?id=1&gallery=2Why do I have to call the overlying Radar guy? Why can't I release the aircraft myself?

The reason why you call the overlying radar controller asking for a release is because it is their responsibility to separate arrivals and departures out of the field.



When requesting a departure release you need to include the following three items in the request:




Now the controller can respond with any of the following:




An example of this is below:



https://web.archive.org/web/20101130115951/http:/www.vatusa.net/training/show_image.php?id=1&gallery=2That seems like a lot of work for a departure. Do I have to obtain a release for every single departure out of my airport??

Fortunately, you do not. If you are working a Class Charlie or Bravo Tower, the SOPs will usually dictate that something known as a "Rolling Release" is in effect. This is an authorization to depart aircraft without the need to obtain a departure release within limitations specified in the SOP. Rolling Releases are not normally issued to individuals operating in a Class Delta tower, so if that is your position of choice, you will need to obtain a release manually for each IFR Departure.




Wake Turbulence Separation


As stated earlier, separation of IFR departures in the air is the responsibility of the controller performing the departure function (DEP, APP, or CTR).

Runway separation in real-life is based on looking out the windows at the aircraft in relation to other landmarks such as taxiways or the runway ends. Since this is not practical on VATSIM work-arounds must be used. Watch the aircraftR17;s altitude readout compared to the field elevation to determine when an aircraft has landed or is airborne. Compare aircraft positions to each other and the runways on the radar map to determine when an aircraft is at the appropriate points.








Issuing that Takeoff Clearance


Now it is time to issue the takeoff clearance. First however you should realize that the majority of "loss of separation" or "near miss" "deals" that occur in the VATSIM tower environment are the result of the tower controller getting lulled into a false sense of security and simply giving a "knee jerk" takeoff clearance as soon as a pilot calls in ready to go. So before we jump to press that mic PTT key we recommend a very quick safety check:

  1. Departure release in hand? (as required)
  2. Any traffic crossing the runway or failing to exit downfield?
  3. Do I have adequate separation from the previous departure or the wake of other 757/heavy a/c departing from other runways where flight paths may cross?
  4. Are there any aircraft on final approach (to any runway) that might create a conflict with this departure if they go around or declare a missed approach? (This is the "trap" that gets most new tower controllers).

OK then ready to fire . . .

The takeoff clearance will consist of the following items:





Intersection Departures


Intersection departures may be initiated by a controller or a controller may authorize an intersection departure if a pilot requests. Issue the measured distance from the intersection to the runway end rounded “down” to the nearest 50 feet to any pilot who requests and to all military aircraft, unless use of the intersection is covered in appropriate directives. On VATSIM you may not have the necessary information to provide the aircraft with the runway distance remaining, but if you do, then you should issue it.

RUNWAY (number) AT (taxiway designator) INTERSECTION DEPARTURE, (remaining length) FEET AVAILABLE.


Handoff To Departure


Do not forget to then transfer communications to the radar controller preforming the departure function. This should be done no later then 1/2 mile off of the departure end of the runway.


Arrival Procedures

IFR Arrivals will be separated, sequenced, and cleared for approach by the Approach Control. Tower need only issue landing clearance. A landing clearance consists of the following information






(wind and runway designator if applicable) CLEARED TO LAND"


Landing Clearance With Traffic On Final


Landing clearance to succeeding aircraft in a landing sequence need not be withheld if you observe the positions of the aircraft and determine that prescribed runway separation will exist when the aircraft cross the landing threshold. Issue traffic information to the succeeding aircraft if not previously reported and appropriate traffic holding in position or departing prior to their arrival. Here are three examples.




Note - Landing sequence number is optional at tower facilities where arrivals are sequenced by the approach control.


Landing Clearance Without Visual Observation


When an arriving aircraft reports at a position where he/she should be seen but has not been visually observed, advise the aircraft as a part of the landing clearance that it is not in sight and restate the landing runway.

"NOT IN SIGHT, (wind and runway designator if applicable) CLEARED TO LAND"

Side-step Landing Clearances


Sometimes when a facility has parallel runways, such as inner and outer, a pilot may request to land on the opposite runway he or she is currently established on. This practice is known as a side-step landing and is usually requested to save taxi distance. If traffic permits and your local operating procedures approve the use of these landings, issue them in the following format.

"RUNWAY <designator> IN USE, (wind if applicable) RUNWAY <designator> CLEARED TO LAND"

Note - Notice the use of an advisory as to

1. which runway is in use,
2. a repeat of the winds information, and
3. clearance to land on the alternate runway


Missed Approach / Go Around Procedures


A pilot on an IFR flight plan making an instrument approach may execute a missed approach if they are unable to safely descend to the runway due to weather or other factors. The Tower controller must check the local procedures of the facility he or she is working at to see how a missed approach should be handled. In general, the controller will advise the pilot that they copy the missed approach, instruct the aircraft to fly runway heading, climb them to pattern altitude, and hand the pilot over to approach control for re-sequencing.

"FLY RUNWAY HEADING, CLIMB AND MAINTAIN <altitude>. CONTACT APPROACH ON <frequency>."

To instruct a pilot to abandon his approach use the term "GO AROUND". The most common reasons is another aircraft still on the runway or a runway incursion will result otherwise. Less common are unauthorized vehicles or personnel on the runway. Normally you should not issue go around instructions for approaches that look "unsafe." The pilot is usually in the best position to determine if he is able to make a safe landing.

A pilot on a VFR flight or IFR flight performing a visual approach may initiate a Go-Around procedure if they are unable to safely descend to the runway. Unless you issue other instructions a VFR aircraft will overfly the runway while climbing to traffic pattern altitude and an IFR aircraft on a Visual Approach can be issued pattern entry instructions as well.

Handoff any IFR aircraft executing a go around or missed approach back to approach control unless the aircraft requests to remain in the VFR traffic pattern or cancels IFR. VFR aircraft will normally remain in closed traffic for another pattern.


The Traffic Pattern

https://web.archive.org/web/20101130115814/http:/www.vatusa.net/training/img/wiki_up/800px-Airfield_traffic_pattern.svg.png




The traffic pattern as seen above (courtesy of wikipedia) resembles a rectangle. It is designed in order to facilitate air safety in that it allows the other pilots in the area to know what to expect from each other. It is normally flown by the pilot between an altitude of 800 to 1000 AGL and helicopters usually fly the pattern roughly 500 AGL.


Left/Right Closed Traffic


All patters are either going to be defined as "left" or "right". They are defined via the way in which the pilot will turn while in the pattern. Most patterns are by default left, however there are a variety of reasons why a pattern would be "right" Here are a few:

* Ground Features (Terrain/Towers/Obstructions)
* Parallel Runways
* Noise Abatement
* Helicopters, though not required, are recommended to be flown opposite direction to fixed wing due to their maneuverability


Legs of the Pattern


The traffic pattern consists of various legs or segments and the pattern is flown at a distance close enough to the airport so that in the event of an engine failure, they can safely glide back to the airport:











VFR Tower

VFR Operations is one of those subjects that normally strikes fear into the heart of controllers. VFR Operations is very misunderstood in the VATSIM community. Many people think that VFR is more complex then its IFR counterpart. That is not the case, in fact, the opposite is true.

In this lesson we will learn how to handle VFR Departures and Arrivals. You will also learn some sequencing techniques that you can use to help keep aircraft spaced in the traffic pattern. Let's start by looking at how you would handle VFR Departures.

VFR Departure Procedures


Class D Operations

So you notice that the next aircraft in the departure list is a VFR departure to the North. Don't panic! There are two ways to handle VFR departures:


https://web.archive.org/web/20101130120038/http:/www.vatusa.net/training/show_image.php?id=1&gallery=2When should I issue these instructions and which of the two can I use?

You can choose to either issue these instructions in the "additional instructions" portion of your takeoff clearance, or once you notice that the aircraft is airborne.

As for which one you should use, that decision is up to you. However, by you telling the aircraft to make a pattern departure, then you are "sticking" the aircraft to a particular point in the sky. This may lend itself useful during busy VFR Operations. Neither instruction is more correct then the other.



Once the pilot is out of your airspace, you will need to tell him to switch frequencies using the phrase: "FREQUENCY CHANGE APPROVED"


Class B/C Operations

You will treat all VFR departures out of a Class B/C airport the same as you would IFR departures. Clear them for takeoff, then hand them off to departure once airborne.


VFR ARRIVALS


Class B/C/D Operations

Handling VFR arrivals is simple. You will simply want to issue a leg of the pattern for the aircraft to enter on. "ENTER <left/right> <pattern leg> RUNWAY <runway number> (i.e "ENTER LEFT DOWNWIND RUNWAY 27")

Landing Modes







Some examples of this would be:

"Skyhawk N5204N, Wind 240 at 13. Runway 27 Cleared for the option."
"Skyhawk N5204N, Wind 240 at 13. Runway 27 Cleared Touch and Go."

Sequencing VFR Arrivals


There is more to runway flow then simple departures and arrivals. On occasion you may have VFR aircraft doing pattern work on the same runway you have aircraft departing or landing. It is crucial that you know the techniques and abilities to be able to sequence these aircraft.






Transitioning VFR Aircraft


When working a Class Delta tower, you may find that an aircraft will want to transition the Class Delta airspace. If you recall from the Basic ATC lesson The National Airspace System, the only requirement for an aircraft to enter Class D airspace is two way radio communications.

"<direction> TRANSITION APPROVED"(i.e: "Skyhawk N5204N, Northbound transition approved")

or

"<callsign~gt, ROGER" (i.e: "Skyhawk N5204N, Roger")

Either of those are correct for handling Delta Transitions. It will also be a good idea to have the aircraft report when he is clear of the delta. Once he is clear, inform him: "FREQUENCY CHANGE APPROVED".


VFR Traffic Advisories


Unlike radar, since tower is all visual work, most traffic calls are relaxed and simpler to give out then radar traffic calls. The easiest way to call traffic in a tower, is say the aircraft type and where the aircraft is in comparison to his aircraft:

"(Callsign), traffic is a piper warrior off your (left/right) wing."
"(Callsign), traffic is a piper warrior off your nose."


If saying their location in comparison is difficult, you can give their position in the traffic pattern:

"(Callsign), traffic is a Cessna skylane, midfield downwind runway (XX)"
"(Callsign), traffic is a Cessna skylane, 1 mile base runway (XX)"
"(Callsign), traffic is a Cessna skylane, turning base to final runway (XX)"

If an aircraft reports that he has the traffic in sight, you can use that to sequence aircraft on final. Make sure if the aircraft is following another for final, you give him his number to land when there is multiple aircraft for the runway:

"(Callsign), follow the traffic, runway (XX), cleared for the option, number (2/3/4)"

While having traffic in the pattern, it can also cause some problems on the occasion where you may need to revoke landing or takeoff clearance. Should you have to do this, make it clear that the pilot understands you:

"(Callsign), go around, traffic on the runway"
"(Callsign), cancel takeoff clearance, traffic overhead the runway"

Parts of this section were contributed by Marko Savatic.


Helicopter Tower Operations

http://www.youtube.com/v/RGu45s1_QPU&feature=fvw

Departure Procedures


Departure from Active Runways_

If a helicopter is departing from an active runway, you would issue the phraseology in the same manner as you would for a fixed-winged aircraft.


Departure from Movement Area other then Active Runway_

Issue takeoff clearance from movement areas other than active runways, or in diverse directions from active runways, with additional instructions, as necessary. Whenever possible, issue takeoff clearance in lieu of extended hover-taxi or air-taxi operations.

(Present position, taxiway, helipad, numbers) MAKE RIGHT/LEFT TURN FOR (direction, points of compass, heading, NAVAID radial) DEPARTURE/DEPARTURE ROUTE (number, name, or code), AVOID (aircraft/vehicles/personnel),

or

REMAIN (direction) OF (active runways, parking areas, passenger terminals, etc.).

CAUTION (power lines, unlighted obstructions, trees, wake turbulence, etc.).

CLEARED FOR TAKEOFF.


Departure from Non-Movement Area

If takeoff is requested from non-movement areas and, in your judgment, the operation appears to be reasonable, use the following phraseology instead of the takeoff clearance:

PROCEED AS REQUESTED, USE CAUTION (reason and additional instructions, as appropriate).

If takeoff is requested from an area not visible, an area not authorized for helicopter use, an unlighted non-movement area at night, or an area off the airport, and traffic is not a factor, use the following phraseology:

DEPARTURE FROM (requested location) WILL BE AT YOUR OWN RISK (reason and additional instructions, as necessary)

That's all there is for helicopter departure operations. It is important to note that unless requested by the pilot, do not issue downwind takeoffs if the tailwind exceeds 5 knots.


Arrival Operations


Arrival to Active Runway_

If a helicopter is arriving to an active runway, you would issue the phraseology in the same manner as you would for a fixed-winged aircraft.


Arrival to Movement Area other then Active Runway_

Issue landing clearance for helicopters to movement areas other than active runways, or from diverse directions to points on active runways, with additional instructions, as necessary. Whenever possible, issue landing clearance in lieu of extended hover-taxi or air-taxi operations.

MAKE APPROACH STRAIGHT-IN/CIRCLING LEFT/RIGHT TURN TO (location, runway, taxiway, helipad, Maltese cross) ARRIVAL/ARRIVAL ROUTE (number, name, or code).

HOLD SHORT OF (active runway, extended runway centerline, other).

REMAIN (direction/distance; e.g., 700 feet, 1 1/2 miles) FROM (runway, runway centerline, other helicopter/aircraft).

CAUTION (power lines, unlighted obstructions, wake turbulence, etc.).

CLEARED TO LAND.

CONTACT GROUND.

AIR TAXI TO RAMP.


Arrival to Non-Movement Area

If landing is requested to non-movement areas and, in your judgment, the operation appears to be reasonable, use the following phraseology instead of the landing clearance:

PROCEED AS REQUESTED, USE CAUTION (reason and additional instructions, as appropriate)

If landing is requested to an area not visible, an area not authorized for helicopter use, an unlighted non-movement area at night, or an area off the airport, and traffic is not a factor, use the following phraseology:

LANDING AT (requested location) WILL BE AT YOUR OWN RISK (reason and additional instructions, as necessary).

TRAFFIC (as applicable),

or

TRAFFIC NOT A FACTOR.


Finally, just as with the the helicopter departures, unless requested by the pilot, do not issue downwind landings if the tailwind exceeds 5 knots.



S3 Training (Approach)

Introduction to Radar

Welcome to the beginning of your S3 (Approach/Departure) Training. Let's begin by looking at the technology behind the radar systems, the history of radar, and some of the various radar modes in the following ATCast video, brought to you by SATCA(external link) and the University of North Dakota.

Radar Modes

There are multiple types of radar modes that can be used on VATSIM. You can go here(external link) to read about some of the different radar modes and what they look like on VRC.

Radar Phenomena on VATSIM


In the real world, and on VATSIM, you will encounter some unusual radar phenomena. We are going to look at some of the unusual things you may see on VATSIM while working a radar position.

https://web.archive.org/web/20100620045737/http:/www.vatusa.net/training/img/wiki_up/coastingac.PNG



Positions and Responsibilities

Departure


As a departure controller, your primary responsibility is to efficiently get aircraft from outside of Tower's airspace to a point at which the aircraft is established on its filed route, and clear of any traffic, prior to handing the aircraft off to Center. In addition to this you are also responsible for providing Safety Alerts as required.


Approach


As an approach controller, your responsibility is to get the aircraft from the en-route environment to the tower environment as efficiently as possible. You are also responsible for issuing Safety Alerts as required and coordination with the appropriate controllers.


Theory vs Practice


In the following sections of the S3 Guide, you will learn some of the different aspects of being an S3 controller. Due to the dynamic nature of the positions, you will only learn the "theory". Your instructor will show you how to take this theory and put it into practice.


Separation Requirements

Content contained within this section was written by Charles Rizzi.

Radar Separation


In the real world there are many complex standards and guidelines for radar separation that depend on the type of equipment being used and other factors. Fortunately for our purpose in VATSIM things can be somewhat simplified. Also before you can apply radar separation you must be certain that you know which target on your screen is which aircraft. This will be discussed in much greater detail later in the “Radar Identification” section.

As an Approach controller you will usually be responsible for different classes of airspace as described earlier under "The National Airspace System". Most major airports are surrounded by the typical inverted "layer cake" of Class B airspace. Generally the airspace around the class B is class E airspace but often there are class C and class D areas associated with outher nearby airports in and around the primary airport. There will also be areas of uncontrolled Class G airspace under the Class E airspace which generally starts at 1200 ft AGL. Although this may be more complex than the area you are training in if we take a quick look at the sectional chart depicting the area to the Southeast of Los Angeles we can see the jigsaw puzzle of airspaces in that area.

https://web.archive.org/web/20100620045115/http:/www.vatusa.net/training/img/wiki_up/SoCal.jpg



So what's your job as the controller as far as separation goes in the various types of airspace?

Class B - Separate all a/c IFR and VFR using minima described below. The only situation in which you are not responsible for positive radar separation is between VFR helicopters.

Class C - Separate all IFR a/c from both VFR a/c and IFR a/c using minima described below. You are not required to provide separation between VFR aircraft - just traffic advisories and safety alerts. This includes VFR aircraft operating in the "outer area" of the Class C airspace which generally extends out to a 20 mi radius from the primary airport and up to the ceiling of the approach control's delegated airspace.

Class D - Separate all IFR a/c from other IFR aircraft as above. No radar separation services are provided to VFR aircraft. In VATUSA Class D airspace is usually operated under the guidelines of local SOP. If the local TWR is not considered "open" as defined by local coverage guidelines then it is usually considered to have reverted to Class E airspace (to the surface).

Class E - Separate all IFR a/c from other IFR aircraft as above. No radar separation services are required for VFR aircraft. Generally controllers will provide IFR aircraft with traffic information about and even positive guidance around observed VFR traffic.

Class G - Uncontrolled airspace - not your responsibility.

So in summary the controller is always responsible for separating IFR traffic from other IFR traffic. The separation services provided to VFR aircraft vary with the class of airspace.

In VATUSA 3 miles separation between IFR aircraft has been the standard minimum for controllers working an approach position where their radar client is most likely zoomed such that the entire visible scope area is no more than 80-100 miles across. This is based on real world guidelines for the resolution of approach control radar systems. For center positions (where the scope is zoomed out further) we use 5 miles as the basic minimum IFR separation based on similar real world guidelines. When transitioning IFR aircraft from an approach position to a center position the approach controller is responsible for insuring that at least 5 miles stable separation is established before the aircraft enter center airspace unless the aircraft are on diverging courses or the lead aircraft is faster such that the separation will increase to 5 miles without further instructions from either controller.

Approach Separation Standards


  1. Approach – 3 miles laterally or 1000 ft vertically.
  2. Transitioning for Approach to Center – 5 miles laterally. If less then on diverging courses or the lead aircraft faster such that the separation is increasing to 5 miles.
  3. VFR Separation in Class B and Class C airspace

https://web.archive.org/web/20100620045115/http:/www.vatusa.net/training/img/wiki_up/SepSum.jpg


(Although it is not of great practical importance in VATSIM, it should be noted that the separation requirements outlined above can be applied to the edge of a controller's airspace to ensure that two controllers controlling adjacent airspace don't have aircraft at the edge of their airspace in such a way that the basic underlying separation requirements between the two aircraft are not met. Thus for approach airspace 1.5 miles (half the 3 mi standard) is required between the aircraft and the edge of the airspace (2.5 mi - one half of 5 mi for Center))

Wake Turbulence Separation


In the following ATCast video, brought to you by SATCA(external link) and the University of North Dakota, you will learn more about Wake Turbulence and how to apply it in the Terminal Environment.

Discover Simple, Private Sharing at Drop.io



Separate aircraft operating directly behind, or directly behind and less than 1,000 feet below, or following an aircraft conducting an instrument approach by:

(When applying wake turbulence separation criteria, directly behind means an aircraft is operating within 2500 feet of the flight path of the leading aircraft over the surface of the earth. Consider parallel runways less than 2,500 feet apart as a single runway because of the possible effects of wake turbulence.)

Separate an aircraft landing behind another aircraft on the same runway, or one making a touch-and-go, stop-and-go, or low approach by ensuring the following minima will exist at the time the preceding aircraft is over the landing threshold. (Consider parallel runways less than 2,500 feet apart as a single runway because of the possible effects of wake turbulence.)


Visual Separation


Visual separation means separating aircraft (IFR and VFR) by means of pilots seeing and avoiding other aircraft or by means of a tower controller directly observing and separating aircraft visually. Given the technical realities of the VATSIM network and simulator visibility this is not necessarily as easy or applicable as it might be in the real world but it is still extremely useful for VATSIM controllers. Visual separation does not apply in Class A airspace (FL180 and above). From the 7110.65:

Aircraft may be separated by visual means, as provided in this paragraph, when other approved separation is assured before and after the application of visual separation. To ensure that other separation will exist, consider aircraft performance, wake turbulence, closure rate, routes of flight, and known weather conditions. Reported weather conditions must allow the aircraft to remain within sight until other separation exists. Do not apply visual separation between successive departures when departure routes and/or aircraft performance preclude maintaining separation.


And for TWR:

The aircraft are visually observed by the tower and visual separation is maintained between the aircraft by the tower. The tower shall not provide visual separation between aircraft when wake turbulence separation is required or when the lead aircraft is a B757.



If a pilot can see another (multiplayer) aircraft you can instruct the pilot to maintain visual separation from the other aircraft as follows:

  1. Tell the pilot about the other aircraft including position, direction and, unless it is obvious, the other aircraft's intention.
  2. Obtain acknowledgment from the pilot that the other aircraft is in sight.
  3. Instruct the pilot to maintain visual separation from that aircraft.
  4. Advise the pilot if the radar targets appear likely to converge.
  5. If the aircraft are on converging courses, inform the other aircraft of the traffic and that visual separation is being applied.
  6. Advise the pilots if either aircraft is a heavy.
  7. Issue wake turbulence cautionary advisories and the position, altitude if known, and direction of flight of the heavy jet or B757 to VFR aircraft not being radar vectored but that are behind heavy jets or B757s and IFR aircraft that accept a visual approach or visual separation
  8. If the pilot advises he/she has the traffic in sight and will maintain visual separation from it (the pilot must use that entire phrase), the controller need only “approve” the operation instead of restating the instructions.


PHRASEOLOGY-

TRAFFIC, (clock position and distance), (direction)-BOUND, (type of aircraft), (intentions and other relevant information).

If applicable,

ON CONVERGING COURSE.

DO YOU HAVE IT IN SIGHT?

If the answer is in the affirmative,

MAINTAIN VISUAL SEPARATION.

If the pilot advises he/she has the traffic in sight and will maintain visual separation from it (pilot must use that entire phrase):

APPROVED.

If aircraft are on converging courses, advise the other aircraft:

TRAFFIC, (clock position and distance), (direction)-BOUND, (type of aircraft), HAS YOU IN SIGHT AND WILL MAINTAIN VISUAL SEPARATION.


Merging Target Procedures and Safety Alerts

Merging Target Procedures


In the following ATCast video, brought to you by SATCA(external link) and the University of North Dakota, you will learn about Merging Target Procedures.

Review - Merging Target Procedures


Why do Merging Target Procedures exist?

Merging Target Procedures exist to provide the pilot with an extra layer of safety by pointing out nearby traffic to a pilot to ensure the pilot that appropriate separation is being applied. Applying merging target procedures and issuing traffic calls are two of the most common procedures utilized in the real world and on VATSIM.

What is a Merging Target?

The FAA Order JO 7110.65 defines the term "Merging Target" as the following:

From The FAA – FAA Order JO 7110.65S § 5-1-8

“A Merging Target is a set of Radar-Identified Targets that appear likely to merge and are at the minimum vertical separation.”



So essentially, Merging Targets are aircraft that will pass over, or under, and are separated by the minimum required vertical separation. This does not include aircraft that are established in a holding pattern.


When do we apply Merging Target Procedures?

You will want to apply Merging Target Procedures to any aircraft in the following situations:





What do Merging Target Procedures consist of?_

Merging Target Procedures consist of two things: A mandatory traffic call and vectors around the traffic if requested by the pilot.

Let's look at what a Traffic Call Consists of.

Traffic Calls


Traffic Calls are required to be issued to the aircraft listed above if the aircraft is radar identified. A Traffic Call consist of six elements which must be stated in the following order:








Vectors Around Traffic


The second element of merging target procedures is to issue vectors around the traffic is a pilot requests it. Keep in mind that it is up to the pilot to request this service. When issuing a Traffic Call, be sure to issue it with enough time so that the pilots can determine if a vector is necessary.



Safety Alerts


A Safety Alert is a first priority duty. This means that issuing these are just as important as separating traffic. You issue a safety alert to an aircraft if you are aware the aircraft is in a position/altitude which, in your judgment, places it in unsafe proximity to terrain, obstructions, or other aircraft. Once the pilot informs you action is being taken to resolve the situation, you may discontinue the issuance of further alerts. Do not assume that because someone else has responsibility for the aircraft that the unsafe situation has been observed and the safety alert issued; inform the appropriate controller. There are two types of safety alerts: A Traffic Alert, and a Terrain/Obstruction Alert.


Traffic Alert


You should issue a Traffic Alert anytime you feel an aircraft is in close proximity to another aircraft. You need to make sure you issue an alternate course of action, and end with the word “immediately”. The phraseology would be as follows:

TRAFFIC ALERT (call sign) (position of aircraft) ADVISE YOU TURN LEFT/RIGHT (heading),

and/or

CLIMB/DESCEND (specific altitude if appropriate) IMMEDIATELY.

“Traffic Alert, American 113. Five miles north of you, level at 5,000. Advise you turn left heading 180”


Terrain/Obstruction Alert

This is issued to warn a pilot that they are in unsafe proximity to terrain and/or obstructions. Once the alert is issued it is solely the pilots prerogative to determine what course of action, if any, is to be taken. The phraseology would be as follows:

LOW ALTITUDE ALERT (call sign),

CHECK YOUR ALTITUDE IMMEDIATELY.

THE (as appropriate) MEA/MVA/MOCA/MIA IN YOUR AREA IS (altitude),

or if an aircraft is past the final approach fix (nonprecision approach), or the outer marker, or the fix used in lieu of the outer marker (precision approach), and, if known, issue:

THE (as appropriate) MDA/DH IS (altitude).

“American 113, Low Altitude Alert, Check your Altitude Immediately. The Minimum En-Route Altitude in your area is 4,000”


Radar Identification and Termination

In this lesson we are going to learn about Radar Identification and Termination. Let's begin by watching the following ATCast video, brought to you by SATCA(external link) and the University of North Dakota.

As you saw in the video there are six methods to radar identify an aircraft. They are divided into two categories depending on what type of information is available (Primary or Secondary).

https://web.archive.org/web/20100620045812/http:/www.vatusa.net/training/show_image.php?id=1&gallery=2What is the difference between a Primary and Secondary Target?

Primary target is one that does not have any information associated with it. There is an absence of information such as callsign, altitude, grounspeed, etc.

Secondary target is one that has this additional information.



Radar Identifying Primary Targets


When Radar Identifying a primary target utilize any one (or multiple) of the following methods:





Radar Identifying Secondary Targets


When Radar Identifying a Secondary target utilize any one (or multiple) of the following methods:





Cancellation of Radar Services


When we cancel an aircraft's Radar Services, it means we are no longer providing the aircraft the benefits that they would be receiving if they were in Radar Contact. In it's most bare form we tell the aircraft that their radar services are terminated. "RADAR SERVICES TERMINATED"


"American 113, Radar Services terminated. Frequency change approved. Squawk VFR"
"Skyhawk 5204N, Radar Services terminated. Squawk 1200. Contact McAllen Tower on 118.5"


Reading SID and STAR Charts

Reading Standard Instrument Departure and Standard Terminal Arrival Charts

Information in this section contributed by Andrew Podner. 

SIDs and STARs are preplanned routes to help efficiently get traffic into and out of the Terminal Area, the area in the vicinity of an airport. In busier airspaces, these routes are used to increase efficiency ans safety while decreasing workload on pilots and controllers. This is accomplished by providing as much information as possible to the pilot on the chart to reduce the number of instructions that an ATC will have to give. For ATCs it makes traffic management much simpler as aircraft are flying on more predictable routes.

http://www.youtube.com/v/nJ7c-02va_g

Leaving the Terminal Area


SIDs (also called DPs) facilitate traffic departing the airspace. SID stands for "Standard Instrument Departure". These procedures come in a few different types, but they all serve the same general purpose.

Radar Vector Departure


A Radar Vector SID is one of the simplest procedures to fly and provide ATC for. At the core, a Radar Vector departure is one in which the ATC is always expected to provide a vector to the pilot to put them onto their filed route. There are no transitions on a Radar Vector SID, and any waypoint or VOR shown on the chart is essentially there for reference. Sometimes the graphic or 'map' part of the SID is a little overwhelming to look at, but the narrative portion is usually fairly straightforward and will help you understand the chart better.

Let’s use the Memphis Seven (MEM7) Departure as an Example:

https://web.archive.org/web/20100620050445/http:/www.vatusa.net/training/img/wiki_up/MEM_7.JPG



The DEPARTURE DESCRIPTION tells us that the pilot should climb via Runway Heading or as assigned and expect a vector onto the filed route. It also tells the pilot not to make any turns until passing an altitude of 700 feet.

Additionally, it tells us that the initial altitude for Turbojets is 5,000 feet and it is 3,000 feet for props unless otherwise assigned by ATC, and that they pilot can expect clearance to cruise altitude ten minutes after departure.

https://web.archive.org/web/20100620050445/http:/www.vatusa.net/training/img/wiki_up/2.JPG



The graphical part of the SID gives us some additional information. It tells us what the ATIS frequency, Clearance Delivery Frequency, and Departure Frequencies are. It also gives us several VORs as points of reference. Since many positions are combined on VATSIM, these frequencies may be different than what is in use on the network.

In practice, a pilot filing the MEM7 Departure will takeoff flying runway heading while climbing toward 5,000 feet and will be expecting the departure controller to issue a radar vector (heading) toward the filed route.


Hybrid Standard Instrument Departures


Another type of SID which is more complex, but still very easy to understand is a Hybrid SID. If you recall from the S1 Section Introduction to Clearance Delivery a "Hybrid" Departure is one that combines elements of both the Radar Vectored departure, and a Pilot Nav departure. This type of departure provides for an aircraft to first fly a set of headings/instructions, then to be vectored to a defined route to exit the terminal area on a ‘transition’. The transition is a point at which the pilot leaves the SID and joins the en-route portion of their flight plan. For instance, on the Dallas Eight or (DALL8) departure below, the SID can start at the Maverick VOR (TTT) and end at one of several points such at Little Rock VOR (LIT), Meridian VOR (MEI), etc.

This type of departure is more specific and gives detailed headings and distances to fly to go from the beginning to the end of the SID. Let's look at the graphical and narrative portion of this departure procedure:

https://web.archive.org/web/20100620050445/http:/www.vatusa.net/training/img/wiki_up/DAL_8.JPG



Let's start by looking at the graphical portion of this chart.

https://web.archive.org/web/20100620050445/http:/www.vatusa.net/training/img/wiki_up/5.JPG



In this portion of the chart, the pilot flies from POTEN intersection to TEKBE intersection. The chart gives us the exact location of each intersection. On the line connecting the waypoints, we find the heading that must be flown to get from POTEN to TEKBE. The number below the heading in parenthesis is the distance between the waypoints in nautical miles, 44 in this case. The number above the heading is the minimum altitude required to be flown for the segment, 10,000 in this case.

The number pointing toward POTEN, 94, is a reference distance to a VOR. If we look at the larger chart, we see that the Belcher VOR (EIC) is opposite this arrow, and is at a distance of 94nm from POTEN.

The final piece of information, R-346, is another reference that tells us what radial of a VOR that a waypoint lies on. In this case, the chart is telling us that TEKBE lies on the 346 outbound radial of the Gregg County VOR (GGG).

Now let’s look at the narrative portion:

https://web.archive.org/web/20100620050445/http:/www.vatusa.net/training/img/wiki_up/4.JPG



This SID is much more specific in terms of what the pilot is expected to do. In this case, assuming the pilot is departing on runway 35L, he or she is expected to fly heading 360 on takeoff until 7.3 NM from the Maverick VOR (TTT), at which point they should turn to a heading of 005. From there, the pilot will expect a vector to the filed route, which could be a vector to intercept the route somewhere between two waypoints, or it could also be a vector to fly direct to a waypoint and then resume the departure.

From reading the chart we also learn that the initial climb is 10,000 feet. The pilot will expect their filed altitude 10 minutes after departure and also is instructed to fly at 230 kts IAS until passing 5,000 feet.

There are also other specific instructions depending on which transition the pilot’s route is filed with that will give more details about how to get to the transition.

Each departure procedure is unique with specific instructions and it is very helpful for both pilots and ATCs to understand what is expected from each so that traffic flow is as efficient as possible.


Pilot-Nav Departure Procedures


The final type of departure procedure is that of a pilot-nav departure procedure. A Pilot Nav departure is one that will allow the aircraft to get from the runway, to their assigned route with no vectoring required from the Air Traffic Controller. A lot of Pilot Nav departure procedures are RNAV (through its important to note that not all are).

RNAV stands for Area Navigation and conceptually, RNAV is the use of GPS technology to fly a particular route.

https://web.archive.org/web/20100620050445/http:/www.vatusa.net/training/img/wiki_up/6.JPG




To fly RNAV departure, specific equipment requirements exist to ensure that the aircraft can correctly fly the procedure. Typically a GPS or DME equipment is required. An FMC or Flight Management Computer is also used for this. This is a good example of why aircraft equipment suffixes are important. If an aircraft does not have the proper equipment, it cannot fly an RNAV departure.

Looking at the Clare Two (CLARE2) departure, we see that there are very exact headings given from the runway all the way to the transition. This cuts down on ATC workload, and in practice, an ATC will probably only have to do 3 things with an aircraft on an RNAV departure.

First, ATC will radar identify the aircraft, as he or she would with any departure. Then ATC will at some point issue a climb to the top of his or her airspace. Finally, ATC will hand the aircraft off to Center. No vectoring instructions are needed because the pilot has all of that information preprogrammed into their navigation system.

https://web.archive.org/web/20100620050445/http:/www.vatusa.net/training/img/wiki_up/7.JPG



Looking at the narrative, we see that the instruction are even more specific than in the previous 2 examples. An aircraft departing 35L will climb on a heading of 354 to at least 1,100 feet and then fly heading 011 to the MECHL waypoint and so on. Since all of the heading information is provided from the time the aircraft leaves the ground, no vectoring instructions from ATC are required. The initial altitude of 10,000 is also given in the departure description. One important thing to note: If the tower controller issues a heading for the aircraft to fly after departure, then that overwrites the SID, and you'll have to issue vectors to the aircraft to have them rejoin the route.

Coming into the Terminal Area


When entering busier Terminal Areas, a STAR, or Standard Terminal Arrival Route can be used by the pilot to fly a predetermined route. This is essentially the reverse of a SID and acts as a funnel to bring aircraft from a general direction down to a series of specific waypoints. Reading a STAR is just like reading a SID and the information is presented in a very similar fashion and is designed to be easy to understand.

The following video will help get you acclimated to how a STAR works:


http://www.youtube.com/v/qoY28hz8OXk



Non-RNAV STAR


Let’s look at a typical STAR for the Memphis International Airport:

https://web.archive.org/web/20100620050445/http:/www.vatusa.net/training/img/wiki_up/8.JPG



We can see on this chart that it is for aircraft arriving into the Memphis Terminal Area from the west and southwest. The beginning points of the STAR are called transition as pilots are transitioning onto the STAR from the en-route portion of the flight. This STAR will bring the pilot from the transition all the way to within about 10 miles of the airport without any vectoring needed. Let’s look at a single leg of the STAR:

https://web.archive.org/web/20100620050445/http:/www.vatusa.net/training/img/wiki_up/9.JPG



On this leg of the STAR the pilot is expected to fly from the Texarkana VOR (TXK) to the FAYEE intersection. The chart tells us that this is done by flying the 071 radial. The altitude above the heading is the minimum en-route altitude (MEA) for this leg, meaning that it must be flown at or above FL220 (22,000 feet). The number below the heading is the distance of the leg in nautical miles. We also have some specific location as to the latitude and longitude of the waypoints, VOR frequency, etc.

STARs also contain published hold points. These are in place in the event that traffic gets backed up and aircraft need to be held somewhere until the traffic situation improves and aircraft can resume their flight plan into the Terminal Area. Published holds are identified by a line that looks kind of like a racetrack and circles back to the waypoint. In this case, there is a published hold at the JAMEA intersection. It is published as a hold to the south of the waypoint.

https://web.archive.org/web/20100620050445/http:/www.vatusa.net/training/img/wiki_up/10.JPG



STARs also have points at which the pilot is expected to cross as a certain altitude. If the chart says “Cross at” a specific altitude, then the ATC should not have to give the crossing restriction to the pilot. If the chart says “Expect to cross at” then the ATC will have to issue a descent to the pilot to cross the waypoint at a given altitude. For example:

https://web.archive.org/web/20100620050445/http:/www.vatusa.net/training/img/wiki_up/11.JPG



On this STAR, the ATC will descend the aircraft to either 10,000 or 12,000 feet depending on which direction the airport is landing. The pilot will then have to descend at a rate that will allow them to be at this altitude when they reach the TAMMY intersection.

The chart also tells the pilot what to expect once they enter the terminal area:

https://web.archive.org/web/20100620050445/http:/www.vatusa.net/training/img/wiki_up/12.JPG



Here, the departure description tells us that from the UJM VOR, if Memphis is landing south (18’s) the pilot will fly to the TWIKL intersection and then turn to heading 355 and expect a vector onto their final approach course. If the aircraft is a jet landing north (36’s), then they can expect the vector to be issued from the TAMMY intersection.

RNAV STAR


Area Navigation, or RNAV, is also used for STARs, just like it is for SIDs. The charts are very similar, except that like SIDs, the RNAV charts are usually more detailed and contain more specific fixes and navigation information.

https://web.archive.org/web/20100620050445/http:/www.vatusa.net/training/img/wiki_up/13.JPG



The Tammy Three (TAMMY3) RNAV STAR is very similar to the UJM3 STAR and contains much of the same navigation information; however, a closer look shows us that after the TWIKL intersection, instead of a heading, there are additional fixes show that the pilot flies to. As with RNAV SIDs, there is also a more specific requirement for the equipment that must be on board for an aircraft to fly the STAR.

We also see the ATIS frequencies, and since this is an arrival chart, the approach control frequencies are provided as well.

SID/STAR Legend


Below is a legend courtesy of the FAA Instrument Handbook Chapter 8(external link) which outlines the various types of items you may find on the graphical portion of a SID/STAR

https://web.archive.org/web/20100620050445/http:/www.vatusa.net/training/img/wiki_up/14.JPG


Reading IAP Charts

Reading Instrument Approach Plates

In this lesson we are going to define the Instrument Approach Procedures. All images in this lesson are courtesy of the FAA Instrument Handbook, and are available here: FAA Instrument Flying Handbook, Chapter 8(external link)

Lets begin by looking at an Instrument Approach Procedure.

https://web.archive.org/web/20100620044122/http:/www.vatusa.net/training/img/wiki_up/1.PNG



Now depending on your level of experience, what you see here may or may not make sense. If it does, good! This will be a review. If it does not then don't worry. By the end of this lesson you have a good understanding of the Instrument Approach Procedure. The FAA did a fine job of breaking the procedure into parts, and lets start by explaining what each part is.

Pilot Briefing and Procedure Notes - This is more so useful to the pilot then the controller, but it does provide the basics such as frequencies and other information.

Plan View - This is a biggie. This is a top down view of the actual procedure. This part is VERY Important to you as a controller. Not only is it going to provide you with information required for the approach, but its also going to give you an idea as to what to expect from a pilot. Now due to the large amounts of information in these plans, below are some more images courtesy of the FAA to help pick out and distinguish what the items in the Plan View Mean. Lets start with a general legend. I recommend you print this out and practice viewing multiple approach plates to ensure you have an understanding of the information.

https://web.archive.org/web/20100620044122/http:/www.vatusa.net/training/img/wiki_up/2.PNG



Now that should give you an idea of what the items on the Plan View mean. Below is another legend for the Minimum Safe Altitude and the Terminal Arrival Area that you will see in the Plan View as well.

https://web.archive.org/web/20100620044122/http:/www.vatusa.net/training/img/wiki_up/3.PNG



Profile View - This next item on the Instrument Approach Procedure is the "Profile View" which is basically a side view of the procedure. It shows the altitude information which is important for you to know, as well as the pilot. Below is a legend explaining and describing the various pieces of the profile view.

https://web.archive.org/web/20100620044122/http:/www.vatusa.net/training/img/wiki_up/4.PNG


https://web.archive.org/web/20100620044122/http:/www.vatusa.net/training/img/wiki_up/5.PNG



Minimums Section - This section displays the various minimums for the approach. This is the lowest the pilot is allowed to fly before being required to have the runway/airport environment in sight.

https://web.archive.org/web/20100620044122/http:/www.vatusa.net/training/img/wiki_up/6.PNG


Introduction to Vectoring

In this lesson we will be discussing vectoring. Vectoring is a term that is used to describe any sort of turn or course change that we provide to the pilot. Lets start by looking at the different ways of vectoring an aircraft.

Methods


There are four different methods to vector an aircraft. They are as follows:







Vectoring Rules


There are some rules that must be applied when vectoring aircraft. We will review those now.





Proceed Direct


Vectoring is only half the battle when working aircraft. It is not feasible to vector an aircraft all the way to its destination so at some point in time, we have to tell an aircraft to proceed direct something.

Area vs Non-Area Navigation


The procedures we use to vector aircraft will depend on whether the aircraft has some sort of area navigation or not. Let's start with Area Navigation.

Area Navigation

These aircraft have some way of proceeding direct any point in space. The following equipment suffixes fall under this category.

/Y, /C, /I, /E, /F, /G, /R, /J, /K, /L, /Q, /W

If you see an aircraft without an equipment suffix, then assume that they do NOT have area navigation capabilities.

So regardless of where they are going (FIX/VOR/TACAN/NDB/LATT-LONG/AIRPORT/etc) it doesn't matter. The phraseology is the same, its also much simpler.

"(aircraft) CLEARED DIRECT (anything)"

"Jetblue 1202, Cleared direct the Orlando VOR"


Be careful to NOT use the term, "Cleared To" when issuing this instruction. That instruction changes the pilot's clearance limit (given to him in his clearance). If you issue that instruction, the pilot will arrive at the VOR but cannot proceed beyond it, and will commence to hold, awaiting further clearance.


Non-Area Navigation

These are aircraft that do not have any sort of GPS/FMS/IRU or anything else that can tell them exactly where something is, and how to get to it, regardless of their location. Lets first look at what equipment suffixes denote Non-Area Navigation.

/X , /T , /U, /D, /B, /A, /M, /N, /P

Before we can continue, let's look at the navaid limitations for FS9 Navaids.


So let's say you wanted to tell an aircraft with the above equipment suffixes to proceed direct a navaid. If they are within range of the navaid, then you can use the same phraseology that you used for those aircraft with area navigational capabilities: "CLEARED DIRECT". However if they are out of range, or you have any doubt that they may be, then you would use the phraseology below:

"(aircraft) (heading) PROCEED DIRECT (VOR/NDB/TACAN) WHEN ABLE"

"Skyhawk N5204N, Turn left heading 180, proceed direct the Ocala VOR when able."

What this means is that the pilot is going to fly whatever heading you give him, UNTIL he is receiving the navaid, THEN he will proceed direct.

What about going direct an intersection/fix? First let's remind you of what an intersection is. An intersection is a point in space that is defined by either two VOR/NDB radials/courses, or by DME. Because the aircraft with the above equipment suffixes have no method for knowing how to get to that precise point in space, we have to provide assistance.

We will vector the aircraft to join an airway/radial that will get it to that fix. You would vector just as you would to join the radial, but your phraseology would be different.

"(aircraft) (heading) to join the <Fix> (radial) (outbound/inbound) to (fix/intersection)"

"American 113, Turn left heading 030 to join the Cincinnati 052 Radial outbound to ICING"


Introduction to Instrument Approach Procedures

http://www.youtube.com/v/WxiX0ryjHnE

In this lesson we are going to learn about the different categories of Instrument Approach Procedures as well as introduce you to the PTAC acronym. Let's begin by defining an Instrument Approach Procedure.

Pilot/Controller Glossary

INSTRUMENT APPROACH PROCEDURE - A series of predetermined maneuvers for the orderly transfer of an aircraft under instrument flight conditions from the beginning of the initial approach to a landing or to a point from which a landing may be made visually. It is prescribed and approved for a specific airport by competent authority.



Instrument Approach Procedure Categories


We can classify all Instrument Approach Procedures into one of two categories: Precision and Non-Precision. Let's look at the difference between the two:




The PTAC Acronym


Let's learn about the PTAC acronym. PTAC is an acronym to help you remember the order of items in which to issue an approach clearance. Let's look at what the PTAC Acronym stands for:








If this does not make sense do not worry! We will show you how to use PTAC when issuing clearances in the next couple of lessons.


Vectoring to the Initial Approach Fix

In this lesson we will be discussing how to vector an aircraft to the Initial Approach Fix (IAF) or Intermediate Fix (IF). Lets start by looking at the PTAC acronym and how it is used when vectoring aircraft to the IAF/IF.

PTAC








Phraseology


Now that you understand the PTAC components, let's look at the phraseology for each:









Examples


Let's look at some examples. Remember that the procedures is the same regardless of the type of approach.


Scenario #1 - Skyhawk N5204N is a C172/A. He requested to be vectored for the VOR Runway 24 Approach into Cincinnati-Blue Ash (KISZ). He is located at the red "x". Let's look at this procedure and gather some information.

https://web.archive.org/web/20100620043950/http:/www.vatusa.net/training/img/wiki_up/1.JPG



What we can tell from the chart - Looking at this chart, we can see that the Initial Approach Fix is ICING (blue box). We know this because it is labeled IAF. We also know that according to the chart the Minimum Safe Altitude (MSA) around CVG is 3,000 (Green Box). We will be sure not to descend him below that altitude. We see in the vertical profile section that he is to cross icing AT OR ABOVE 3000 (Orange box). Let's take this information and issue his approach clearance.




So the full clearance would be:

"Skyhawk N5204N, Turn right heading 030. Join the Cincinnati 051 radial outbound direct ICING. Cross ICING at or above 3000. Cleared VOR runway 24 approach into Cincinnati-Blue Ash"


Scenario #2 - Learjet N838OM is a LJ45/Q. He is being vectored for the VOR Runway 36 Approach into Ocala International (KOCF). He is located at the red "X".

https://web.archive.org/web/20100620043950/http:/www.vatusa.net/training/img/wiki_up/3.JPG



What we can tell from the chart - Looking at this chart, we can see that the Initial Approach Fix is the Ocala VORTAC (blue box). We know this it is labeled IAF. We also know that according to the chart the Minimum Safe Altitude (MSA) around OCF is 2500 (Green Box). We will be sure not to descend him below that altitude. We see in the vertical profile section that he is to cross OCF AT OR ABOVE 1700 (Orange box). Let's take this information and issue his approach clearance.




"Learjet N838OM, Proceed direct the Ocala VORTAC. Cross Ocala at or above 1700. Cleared VOR Runway 36 approach into Ocala International"

Conclusion


The hardest part about vectoring to the IAF is understanding the chart. Once you understand the chart and how to read it, determining what to say to clear an aircraft for the approach is easy. In the next lesson, you will learn about vectoring an aircraft to the final approach course.


Vectoring to the Final Approach Course

The second way to vector for an Instrument Approach Procedures (IAP) is vectoring to the final approach course. This is most commonly used when vectoring for a Instrument Landing System (ILS), Localizer, or Localizer-Backcourse approach, but can be done to any approach. Let's begin by reviewing the PTAC acronym and how it will relate when vectoring to the final approach course.






Introduction to the ILS


In the following ATCast video, brought to you by SATCA(external link) and the University of North Dakota, you will learn about Merging Target Procedures.

Discover Simple, Private Sharing at Drop.io




Definitions

ILS - Instrument Landing System. It is a precision approach since it provides both vertical and lateral guidance to the aircraft. It consists of four elements: Localizer, Glideslope, Marker Beacons, and Approach Lights.

Localizer - The localizer is a radio signal that provides lateral guidance to the aircraft on an approach.

Established - When an aircraft is straight and level, and tracking the localizer (and/or final approach course), it is said to be "established".

Glideslope - The Glideslope provides vertical guidance to the aircraft. Most glideslopes provide a three degree descent angle, though this can vary slightly from airport to airport. Always be sure to assign altitude in your approach clearance that will allow the aircraft to capture the glideslope from below. You never want the aircraft to capture the glideslope from above as it will require steep descents and may be uncomfortable to our virtual passengers.

Marker Beacons - Marker Beacons comprise the third element of the ILS system. They exist to provide position updates to the pilot conducting the approach. If the pilot is flying a localizer only approach, then the marker beacons allow the pilot to judge if he/she is descending at the correct rate. There are three types of marker beacons.




Approach Lights - The final element of the ILS system is the approach lights, which aid the pilot when transferring from instrument flight conditions, into visual fligh conditions.

Approach Gate - The approach gate is defined as an area two miles from the final approach fix. The final approach fix for a precision approach is the point in which the aircraft is going to begin to descend via the glideslope. For a non-precision approach, it is depicted as a maltese cross. When vectoring to final, the aircraft must be established one mile from the approach gate (or three miles) from the Final Approach Fix.


Types of Approaches and Approach Clearance Phraseology


ILS Approach


An ILS Approach is one that contains an operating localizer and glideslope, thus making it a precision approach. There are three different categories of ILS approach, each offering a different level of precision. The following information is courtesy of Wikipedia(external link).








Localizer Approach


A localizer approach is one in which there is no glideslope to provide vertical guidance to the aircraft. Due to there being no vertical guidance provided, the pilot will descend in a "stair-step" type of pattern down to their decision height.


Localizer-Backcourse Approach


A Localizer-Backcourse Approach is similar to the localizer approach. There is no vertical guidance provided to the aircraft, thus the approach is non-precision. A big difference for pilots with this approach is that the localizer signal is reversed.


Phraseology for Issuance an Approach Clearance When Vectoring to Final


Now that you have a better understanding of some of the more common approaches that you'll use when vectoring to final, let's look at the phraseology that you'll use.









Vectoring for Visual Approaches

Visual Approaches are a very useful tool for approach controllers. A Visual Approach is simply an authorization for an IFR aircraft to proceed visually to the field.

That's very important to keep in mind. You never want to clear VFR Aircraft for a visual approach. It's an IFR procedure only. So with that, lets start by looking at what must be done for an aircraft to be cleared for a Visual Approach.

Requirements/Regulations


There are a few rules to understand about Visual Approaches:

1. In order to clear an aircraft for a Visual Approach the pilot must either report the field in sight, an aircraft in sight that is going to that field, or a landmark indicated on a Charted Visual Approach Procedure (CVAP)

2. When utilizing Visual Approaches to parallel runways, the aircraft must be vectored to to intercept the extended runway centerline at an angle of less than 30 degrees for fixed winged aircraft, and 45 degrees for helicopters.

3. Visual Approaches can not be applied when the visibility is less then 3 miles and the ceiling is less then 500 feet above the MVA (Minimum Vectoring Altitude), or the MIA (Minimum Instrument Altitude)

4. When instructing an aircraft to follow a B757/HEAVY aircraft, you must inform the pilot of the aircraft manufacturer and model.


Procedure


When issuing visual approaches you will utilize the following steps.





Example 1:

"American 113, Columbus Approach. Expect vectors visual approach 10R."

"Visual 10R, American 113"

"American 113, The airport is at your 12 o' clock, 10 miles, report in sight."

"We have the field, American 113"

"American 113, Cleared Visual Approach 10R"

Example 2:

"American 113, Columbus Approach. Expect vectors visual approach 10R."

"Visual 10R, American 113"

"American 113, Traffic 1 o' clock, five miles, on final runway 10R, a Boeing 767 at 3,000. Report in sight. "

"We have the traffic in sight, American 113"

"American 113, Follow the traffic, caution wake turbulence, cleared visual approach 10R"

Example 3:

"American 113, Kennedy Approach. Expect vectors Parkway Visual 13L approach."

"Parkway Visual 13L, American 113"

"American 113, The Breezy Point Residential Area is at your 12 o' clock, 10 miles, report in sight."

"We have it in sight, American 113"

"American 113, Cleared Parkway Visual approach 13L" 


Visual Approaches into Uncontrolled Fields


Whenever vectoring an aircraft to an uncontrolled field, you do not include the runway into the approach clearance. You simply state the airport name. At an uncontrolled field, the pilot will select the runway to land on when he switches to the advisory frequency.


Airspace Management Tip


When you clear an aircraft for the visual approach, you are authorizing them to do whatever they need to do to get to the airport from that point. A tip to help "cement" them to a particular place in the sky is to vector them to join a localizer before having them report the field in sight. In most airline SOP's they are required to have the localizer tuned in, if its available, so you're probably not utilizing a procedure that the pilot isn't expecting.

Even though you vector them to join the localizer you still need to have them report the field/other traffic in sight before clearing them for the approach. Your phraseology would be something along the lines of "TURN (left/right) (heading). JOIN THE RUNWAY (runway) LOCALIZER"

Remember as stated in the beginning of this lesson, when parallel approaches are in use, you must vector the aircraft to intercept the final approach course at no greater than 30 degrees, so whenever multiple runways are in use it's a good idea to utilize this technique.


VFR Procedures

In this lesson, we will discuss the often feared world of VFR operations. Believe it or not, once you understand a few rules associated with VFR operations, you'll see VFR Operations are all in all rather simple.

Lets start with VFR operations into, out of, and through Class Bravo and Charlie Airspace.

VFR Departures


There are occasions where VFR aircraft may depart the Bravo/Charlie airspace without being required to contact a departure or approach controller, for example when they will be flying below the floor of the airspace and not receiving any additional radar services. For those aircraft that will be handed off to departure or approach utilize the following procedures...









"Skyhawk N5204N, Squawk VFR, monitor my frequency for traffic advisories"

and then....

"Radar Services Terminated, Frequency Change Approved"

Departure Examples


Scenario #1 - You have a Mooney Bravo, N5478W, who was just handed off to you from Tower. You are at a Class Bravo facility. You have a moderate amount of traffic so you are going to issue a vector and assign a hard altitude, but you are still able to provide the flight following that the pilot requested from tower. Here is the excerpt of Communications. You are in red, the pilot is in blue.

"Cincinnati Approach, Mooney N5478W passing 2,600 for 4,500"

"Mooney 5478W, Cincinnati Approach, Good afternoon, Radar Contact. Maintain VFR at 4,000. Westbound departure approved"

"Maintain VFR at 4000, Westbound departure approved, Mooney 78W"

Aircraft is leaving the Bravo Surface Area...

"Mooney 78W, Leaving Cincinnati Bravo Airspace, Resume Appropriate VFR Altitudes, Monitor this frequency for Traffic Advisories, Squawk VFR"

"Resume appropriate VFR altitudes, monitor this frequency, squawk VFR, Mooney 78W"

Then...

"Cincinnati Approach, Mooney 78W, request frequency change."

"Mooney 78W, radar services terminated, frequency change approved"

Scenario #2 - You have a Cessna Skylane, N838OM, who was just handed off to you from Tower. You are at a Class Charlie facility. You have no traffic in the area and the aircraft did not request flight following. Here is the excerpt of Communications. You are in red, the pilot is in blue.

"Lexington Approach, Skylane N8380M passing 1,300 for 3,500"

"Skylane 8380M, Lexington Approach, Good afternoon, Radar Contact. Left turn on course approved"

"Left turn on course approved, Skylane 80M"

The aircraft is approaching the edge of the Charlie surface area

"Skylane 80M, Radar services terminated, squawk VFR, frequency change approved"

"Squawk VFR, frequency change approved, Skylane 80M"

Scenario #3 - You have a Cessna Skyhawk, N5204N, who was just handed off to you from Tower. You are at a Class Charlie facility. You have no traffic in the area and the aircraft requested flight following. Here is the excerpt of Communications. You are in red, the pilot is in blue.

"Evansville Approach, Skyhawk N5204N passing 1,500 for 4,500"

"Skyhawk 5204N, Evansville Approach, Good afternoon, Radar Contact. Right turn on course approved"

"Right turn on course, Skyhawk 04N"

Aircraft approaches edge of Charlie Surface Area...

"Skyhawk 04N, remain clear of the Class Charlie surface area"

"Remain clear of the charlie, Skyhawk 04N"

Then...

"Evansville Approach, Skyhawk 04N request frequency change"

"Skyhawk 04N, Radar services terminated, squawk 1200, frequency change approved"


VFR Arrivals


VFR arrivals involve four steps. Lets assume we have an aircraft that calls up and states that they are inbound to land, full stop, with the current ATIS. Lets look at the steps that are required to handle this operation.





Arrival Examples


Scenario #1 - A VFR Aircraft is arriving at a Class Charlie Field:

"Lexington Approach, Skyhawk N5204N, is 20 miles to the south, inbound to land, full stop, with Information Whiskey"

"Skyhawk 5204N, Lexington Approach, reset transponder, squawk 3402"

"3402, Skyhawk 04N"

Pilot resets transponder, you observe the change in the data block....

"Skyhawk 04N, radar contact, fly heading 360 for sequencing"

"360 for sequencing, Skyhawk 04N"

Pilot is 10 miles out, all ready to go...

"Skyhawk 04N, Contact Lexington Tower, 119.100"

"119.100, Skyhawk 04N"


Scenario #2 - The same scenario as above except at a Class Bravo Field:

"Cincinnati Approach, Skyhawk N5204N, is 20 miles to the south, inbound to land, full stop, with Information Whiskey"

"Skyhawk 5204N, Cincinnati Approach, reset transponder, squawk 3402"

"3402, Skyhawk 04N"

Pilot resets transponder, you observe the change in the data block....

"Skyhawk 04N, radar contact. You are cleared into the Cincinnati Class Bravo. Fly heading 360 for sequencing"

"360 for sequencing, Skyhawk 04N"

Pilot is 10 miles out, all ready to go...

"Skyhawk 04N, Contact Cincinnati Tower, 118.30"

"118.30, Skyhawk 04N"


Arrivals At Class Delta Fields


If the pilot calls up and states that they are inbound to land at a Class Delta field which underlies a Bravo or Charlie, you would follow the same steps as above, with two exceptions.



Lets look at the same scenario that we used in the arrivals section, except the pilot will be arriving at Lunken (KLUK)

Scenario #1:

"Cincinnati Approach, Skyhawk N5204N, is 20 miles to the south, inbound to land at Lunken, with Information Whiskey"

"Skyhawk 5204N, Cincinnati Approach, reset transponder, squawk 3402"

"3402, Skyhawk 04N"

Pilot resets transponder, you observe the change in the data block....

"Skyhawk 04N, radar contact. You are cleared through the Cincinnati Class Bravo. Fly heading 010 for sequencing"

"010 for sequencing, Skyhawk 04N"

Pilot is 10 miles out, all ready to go...

"Skyhawk 04N, Radar services terminated, squawk VFR. Contact Lunken Tower, 118.700"

"118.70, Skyhawk 04N"


Transitions


Transitions are the hybrid between the arrivals and the departures. When an aircraft is transitioning through the airspace, they are neither arriving, nor departing, simply flying through. Below are the steps to work a VFR aircraft that is transitioning the Charlie or Bravo Surface Area.






Flight Following


In this lesson we have referred to something that is known as "Flight Following". You may ask, "What is Flight Following?"

Flight Following is an additional radar service in which you provide traffic calls/advisories to VFR Aircraft. It is done on a workload permitting basis, meaning that if you are too busy for the additional workload, then you are not required to provide it. Simply state, "Unable". You are also responsible for issuing any applicable safety alerts.

There are three steps to providing flight following:




TRSA Operations

https://web.archive.org/web/20100620043530/http:/www.vatusa.net/training/img/wiki_up/15.JPG

A picture of a sectional chart around Monroe Regional, A TRSA Airport.



In essence a TRSA is a class Delta facility with OPTIONAL radar services. The VFR arrival can call up approach for radar services, or they can go directly to tower. A departure can choose to utilize the radar services, or may depart as it would from a Class Delta. For the controller, nothing changes. You would want to treat it as though it was a Class Charlie field, keeping in mind that any arrivals are not required to contact you. If you have a departure, it is the pilot's responsibility to inform the tower that they do not want to participate in the radar services.

VFR-On-Top

https://web.archive.org/web/20100620043530/http:/www.vatusa.net/training/img/wiki_up/4988009_f028b1520d.jpg



The last procedure we are going to talk about is VFR-On-Top.

The Pilot/Controller Glossary (PC/G)

VFR-ON-TOP - ATC authorization for an IFR aircraft to operate in VFR conditions at any appropriate VFR altitude (as specified in 14 CFR and as restricted by ATC). A pilot receiving this authorization must comply with the VFR visibility, distance from cloud criteria, and the minimum IFR altitudes specified in 14 CFR Part 91. The use of this term does not relieve controllers of their responsibility to separate aircraft in Class B and Class C airspace or TRSAs as required by FAAO JO 7110.65.



So VFR on top authorizes an IFR aircraft to operate in VFR conditions, and comply with all VFR visibility, cloud, and other requirements. This type of clearance is given only when the pilot requests it. This is usually done when a pilot has to fly through a cloud layer, in order to get to the VMC conditions above it. Since flying through clouds is not allowed by VFR aircraft, the pilot departs IFR, climbs through the clouds, and then maintains VFR.

There are a couple of things to remember in regards to VFR-On-Top procedures:







Example

"Skyhawk N5204N, Cincinnati Approach, Climb to and report reaching VFR-on-Top. Tops reported at 4,000. If not on top by 5,000, maintain 5,000 and advise." 

"Will report reaching VFR on top, if not on top by 5,000, we'll advise, Skyhawk N5204N"

Aircraft climbs and is VFR-On-Top.....

"Cincinnati Approach, Skyhawk N5204N, is VFR-On-Top"

"Skyhawk N5204N, Maintain VFR-On-Top"

"Wilco, Skyhawk N5204N"


Printouts and Handoffs

In the following ATCast video, brought to you by SATCA(external link) and the University of North Dakota, you will learn what a pointout is, when it is used, and the appropriate phraseology for it.

Discover Simple, Private Sharing at Drop.io



Review


What is a pointout?

The pilot controller glossary defines a pointout as the following:

From The FAA – Pilot Controller Glossary

"RADAR POINT OUT- An action taken by a controller to transfer the radar identification of an aircraft to another controller if the aircraft will or may enter the airspace or protected airspace of another controller and radio communications will not be transferred."




When do we use a pointout?

You utilize a pointout anytime one of your aircraft, will or may, enter another controller's airspace. If you think that you may need to issue a pointout, then you probably should. It is always better to err on the side of caution.

Phraseology


When initiating the handoff the following items must be included:








Once the receiving controller identifies the aircraft, he will issue one of the following instructions:

"POINTOUT APPROVED" - If the receiving controller states this, then your aircraft can enter his airspace as requested, and you can retain control of the aircraft.

"RADAR CONTACT" - If the receiving controller states this, then in order for your aircraft to enter his airspace, you must hand the aircraft off to him.

"YOUR CONTROL" - If the receiving controller states this, then you can do whatever you want to do with your aircraft inside of his airspace.

"UNABLE" - If the receiving controller states this, then your aircraft may not enter his airspace at all.


Another phrase you may hear in a point out is the following:

"TRAFFIC (position of aircraft)" - Along with an aircraft’s position used by the controller approving a pointout means "Separate your pointout aircraft from this aircraft of mine while in my airspace."

Once you have visual confirmation of the aircraft the receiving controller is referring to, then you can state the following:

"TRAFFIC OBSERVED" - This indicates to the receiving controller that you see his aircraft and are going to keep your aircraft separated from it.

Handoffs


The Pilot/Controller Glossary defines a Handoff as....

From The FAA – Pilot Controller Glossary

"HANDOFF- An action taken to transfer the radar identification of an aircraft from one controller to another if the aircraft will enter the receiving controller's airspace and radio communications with the aircraft will be transferred."



In the following ATCast video, brought to you by SATCA(external link) and the University of North Dakota, you will learn more about what a handoff is, when it is used, and the appropriate phraseology for it.

Discover Simple, Private Sharing at Drop.io




Review


There are three methods you may use to transfer radar identification.




Manual Handoff Procedures

When utilizing a manual handoff, the following items must be included in the following order:





If you are physically pointing to a controller's screen, then you may omit the position information, however the rest of the information must be given.

If the receiving controller issues the phrase "Radar Contact", then radar identification has been transferred and you may instruct the pilot to contact the next controller.


Automated Handoff Procedures

Preforming an automated handoff on VATSIM is simple. If using VRC you can simply right click on the aircraft, click handoff, and select the controller. This will request the transfer. Your instructor will give you more information on utilizing this feature.

Responsibilities of Transferring and Receiving Controllers



Transferring Controller

The controller initiating the transfer has five (5) responsibilities:







Receiving Controller

The controller receiving the transfer has for (4) responsibilities:





Issuing Holding Instructions

As an approach controller, you may be required to hold aircraft. This is often a topic which frightens some new approach controllers, but it is not a difficult concept to master. Aircraft may be required to hold due to weather, traffic, a late descent, or a variety of reasons. You can hold an aircraft via virtually any fix/DME fix/navaid. The standard hold is one that consists of right hand turns and 1 minute legs. Let's begin by looking at what is required when issuing a hold.







https://web.archive.org/web/20150718041327/http:/www.vatusa.net/training/show_image.php?id=1&gallery=2What is an Expect Further Clearance Time (EFCT)?
An Expect Further Clearance Time, or EFCT, is the time a pilot can expect to receive clearance beyond a clearance limit.



When calculating their EFCT, be as accurate as possible. Take into consideration the following items when calculating this EFCT:




Clearance Limit

When issuing a hold to an aircraft, you will always change their clearance limit. Use the phrase, "CLEARED TO" in order to accomplish this. We do this because a hold is simply that, a hold. The aircraft may not proceed any farther than that point in space, which becomes the new clearance limit. Once their clearance limit is given, you may omit item number two (holding fix/waypoint).

Examples

"American 113, Cleared to Ocala VORTAC. Hold North on the 360 Radial. Expect further clearance 1020z" 

"Skyhawk N5204N, Cleared to Little Rock. Hold South on the 180 radial, 5 Mile Fix, Expect further clearance at 0200z"

"Learjet N7845Q, Cleared to Ardmore. Hold West on the V161 airway. Expect further clearance at 2325z"


Published Holds


Certain Instrument Procedures, such as STARS, have what is known as "published holds".

https://web.archive.org/web/20150718041327/http:/www.vatusa.net/training/img/wiki_up/hold.JPG



Above is an example of what a published hold would look like. The phraseology for issuing a holding instruction to a published hold is: "HOLD (direction) OF (fix) AS PUBLISHED". Don't forget to issue an EFCT time as well.

"American 113, Hold south of JEMEA as published. Expect further clearance 0100z"


Issuing Speed Instructions

In this lesson we are going to talk about issuing speed instructions. Do not issue Speed Instructions as a substitute for good vectoring. Remember that vectoring should be for sequencing, and speed instructions should be used for spacing.


When assigning a speed, there are five key points to remember:







Speed Restrictions Issuance


You may not assign a speed adjustment to an aircraft:






Methods For Issuing Speed Instructions


There are four different ways to adjust an aircraft's speed:






If you want an aircraft to descend and make a speed adjustment you must tell it which one to do first: "(speed instruction) THEN (altitude instruction)", e.g "MAINTAIN 210 KNOTS THEN DESCEND AND MAINTAIN 7,000"
As soon as speed adjustments are no longer needed inform the pilot: "RESUME NORMAL SPEED"


Final Points to Consider







Uncontrolled Field Operations

An uncontrolled field is an Airport which does not have an operational control tower or the control tower is closed and not currently in operation. All IFR operations into and out of uncontrolled fields are issued using the One-In-One-Out rule. Let's start by looking at what exactly that rule entails:


One-In-One Out Rule


The One-In-One-Out rule states that only one aircraft is to be cleared for an approach or released for departure at a time. This is done in order to provide adequate separation, since there is no Tower service to provide separation and aircraft are below radar coverage. There are a few exceptions to this rule:




Keep in mind that if an aircraft departs VFR, or cancels IFR at any point in time prior to the other arriving, then this rule does not apply to that aircraft. Remember that VFR aircraft are responsible for maintaining their own separation from terrain/obstacles/aircraft, so this does not apply.

Now let's look at IFR departures from an uncontrolled field.


IFR Departures


When providing IFR departure services at airports with no operational Tower, or a tower that is currently closed a pilot has two options:





IFR Aircraft Receiving Clearance Prior to Departure


When issuing IFR clearance nothing changes in regards to the standard CRAFT clearance demonstrated in Issuing Clearances. Once the pilot reads the clearance back the controller has a few options:








IFR Arriving Aircraft

For IFR aircraft arriving into an uncontrolled field a few rules apply: First and foremost, the One In One Out rule, covered above.

When IFR aircraft are arriving into an uncontrolled airport the approach controller DOES NOT assign an approach or runway. The pilot is provided with weather conditions at the arrival field. If unavailable provide the nearest reporting weather along with the name of the reporting facility. The controller asks the pilot for the approach desired by transmitting: (aircraft)SELECT APPROACH (optionally) TO (airport)

"Cessna 480WA, Select approach to Gene Snyder"

When the aircraft advises the controller of the approach desired the controller will vector the aircraft for the instrument/visual approach into the field. If an aircraft proceeds on a visual approach it remains under IFR flight and the one in one out rule still applies. The aircraft must still cancel IFR or report on the ground though it should be noted that pilot may cancel IFR when reporting the field in sight.

Once a pilot is established on an approach to an uncontrolled field they will want to switch to the CTAF, or Common Traffic Advisory Frequency. This is used for a pilot to state his location and intentions over an open frequency to advise other aircraft operating within the uncontrolled field. To accomplish this, advise the aircraft to change frequency. Since they are going into an uncontrolled area, you will cancel their radar services at the same time. "RADAR SERVICES TERMINATED. CHANGE TO ADVISORY FREQUENCY APPROVED"

"November Three Zero Bravo, Radar Services Terminated, change to advisory frequency approved."

Since there are no tower personnel at uncontrolled fields to ensure that the aircraft has arrived at the field, the pilot must either cancel IFR prior to arriving or report when on the ground (or going missed). Advising the aircraft to report when on the ground is optional but a friendly reminder as many pilots may forget.



C1 Training (Center)

Introduction to En-Route Control

This VATUSA Center Study Guide is designed to expand on the knowledge you have gained from the previous guides. Many of the basic radar skills you'll need in the En Route Center position such as vectoring and speed adjustment were covered in the Approach/Departure Guide. However, the perspective at that time was from a terminal environment serving a single airport or several airports in a relatively small area. An En Route Center controller is much more involved with the "Big Picture." Each center controller is responsible for many thousands of square miles of airspace and for the airports within that airspace. Centers may control IFR aircraft from the time the aircraft departs an airport or leaves the terminal area's airspace until the aircraft approaches the airspace controlled by a terminal area or if the airport does not have terminal area control, until the aircraft lands. This is the "top down" concept where an En Route Center controller may have the entire airspace all to himself, and provide services from Clearance Delivery to high altitude cruise, descent, approach and landing.

Center controllers are responsible for climbing the aircraft to their requested altitude while at the same time ensuring that the aircraft is properly separated from all other aircraft in the immediate area. Additionally, the aircraft must be placed in a flow consistent with the aircraft's route of flight. This effort is complicated by cross traffic, severe weather, special missions that require large airspace allocations, and traffic density. In the VATSIM world it is also complicated by widely varying degrees of pilot knowledge and ability. The vast amount of airspace and multiple airports, some with and some without an approach control or tower, make working the En Route Center position a challenge. There will be times when you find yourself busier than you ever thought possible as you control aircraft arriving and departing from airports hundreds of miles apart. It may seem a bit daunting at first, but don't let that discourage you. Keep at it and practice all the things you've learned.


En-route Separation Requirements and Altitude Assignments

Separation Requirements


Radar Separation

Radar separation standards at the Center level are as follows:


You are required to keep aircraft separated from adjacent airspace by a minimum of 2.5 miles.

Vertical Separation

Vertical separation standards at the Center level are as follows:


Finally, Visual Separation can not be applied in Class Alpha airspace.


RVSM (Reduced Vertical Separation Minima)

AN RSVM HISTORY LESSON COURTESY OF WIKIPEDIA

Reduced Vertical Separation Minima or Minimum (RVSM) is an aviation term used to describe the reduction of the standard vertical separation required between aircraft flying at levels between FL290 (29,000 ft.) and FL410 (41,000 ft.) from 2,000 feet to 1,000 feet (or between 8,900 metres and 12,500 metres from 600 metres to 300 metres in China). This therefore increases the number of aircraft that can safely fly in a particular volume of airspace. Historically, standard vertical separation was 1,000 feet from the surface to FL290, 2,000 feet from FL290 to FL410 and 4,000 feet above this. This was because the accuracy of the pressure altimeter (used to determine altitude) decreases with height. Over time, Air data computers (ADCs) combined with altimeters have become more accurate and autopilots more adept at maintaining a set level, therefore it became apparent that for many modern aircraft, the 2,000 foot separation was too cautious. It was therefore proposed by ICAO that this be reduced to 1,000 feet. Between 1997 and 2005 RVSM was implemented in all of Europe, North Africa, Southeast Asia and North America, South America, and over the North Atlantic, South Atlantic, and Pacific Oceans. The North Atlantic implemented initially in March 1997 at flight levels 330 through 370. The entire western hemisphere implemented RVSM FL290-FL410 on January 20, 2005. Africa implemented it on September 25, 2008. Only aircraft with specially certified altimeters and autopilots may fly in RVSM airspace, otherwise the aircraft must fly lower or higher than the airspace, or seek special exemption from the requirements. Additionally, aircraft operators (airlines or corporate operators) must receive specific approval from the aircraft's state of registry in order to conduct operations in RVSM airspace. Non RVSM approved aircraft may transit through RVSM airspace provided they are given continuous climb throughout the designated airspace, and 2,000ft vertical separation is provided at all times between the non-RVSM flight, and all others for the duration of the climb/descent. Critics of the change are concerned that by reducing the space between aircraft, RVSM may increase the number of mid-air collisions and conflicts. In the ten years since RVSM was first implemented not one collision has been attributed to RVSM. In the US this program was known as the Domestic Reduced Vertical Separation Minimum (DRVSM).



For the purposes of VATSIM ALL aircraft are RSVM capable. This is why there is only 1,000 foot separation between FL290 and FL410 on VATSIM.


Advanced Weather Information

http://www.youtube.com/v/5IRfbC0RHsY

In this lesson we are going to be discussing the difference between an AIRMET and a SIGMET, what a PIREP is, and how to handle pilot deviations if requested due to weather. Let's begin by simply defining what an AIRMET/SIGMET are.

From the Pilot Controller Glossary (PC/G)

AIRMET - In-flight weather advisories issued only to amend the area forecast concerning weather phenomena which are of operational interest to all aircraft and potentially hazardous to aircraft having limited capability because of lack of equipment, instrumentation, or pilot qualifications. AIRMETs concern weather of less severity than that covered by SIGMETs or Convective SIGMETs. AIRMETs cover moderate icing, moderate turbulence, sustained winds of 30 knots or more at the surface, widespread areas of ceilings less than 1,000 feet and/or visibility less than 3 miles, and extensive mountain obscurement.

SIGMET - A weather advisory issued concerning weather significant to the safety of all aircraft. SIGMET advisories cover severe and extreme turbulence, severe icing, and widespread dust or sandstorms that reduce visibility to less than 3 miles.



AIRMET


An AIRMET is issued to amend the area forecast concerning certain weather phenomena which could potentially hazardous to aircraft that have limited equipment, instruments, or pilot qualifications. In a nutshell, this is generally issued to warn General Aviation aircraft of weather such as: icing, moderate turbulence, etc. There are three types of AIRMETS, each identified by its own phonetic letter.





Example

Below is an example of an AIRMET:

WAUS46 KKCI 081445
SFOS WA 081445
AIRMET SIERRA UPDT 4 FOR IFR AND MTN OBSCN VALID UNTIL 082100
AIRMET IFR...CA AND CSTL WTRS
FROM 20WNW RZS TO 50SW HEC TO 40ESE MZB TO 190SW MZB TO 70SW RZS
TO 20WNW RZS
CIG BLW 010/VIS BLW 3SM BR/FG. CONDS CONTG BYD 21Z ENDG 21-00Z.

A lot of AIRMETS utilize certain abbreviations that you would normally find in an AIRMET are the the same abbreviations that you would find in a METAR or TAF. These are pretty easy to read.

"This AIRMET (Sierra) is update number four, for IFR and mountain obscuration valid until 2100Z on the 8th day of the month. The AIRMET is for IFR off of Californa (CA) and coastal waters. It extends from 20WNW RZS to 50SW HEC to 40ESE MZB to 190SW MZB to 70SW RZS to 20WNW RZS, which if you were to draw on a map would create a box. Ceilings below 1,000, and visibility below 3SM. This is due to mist and fog. These conditions are expected to continue beyond 2100Z."

SIGMET


A weather advisory issued concerning weather significant to the safety of all aircraft. SIGMET advisories cover severe and extreme turbulence, severe icing, and widespread dust or sandstorms that reduce visibility to less than 3 miles. So when you compare a SIGMET to an AIRMET, a SIGMET is more severe. There are two types of SIGMETs: convective, and non-convective.



Example

DFWA UWS 051710
SIGMET ALFA 1 VALID UNTIL 052110
AR LA MS
FROM MEM TO JAN
OCNL SVR ICING ABV FRZLVL EXPCD.
FRZLVL 080 E TO 120 W.
CONDS CONTIG BYD 2100Z.

"This is SIGMET ALFA 1 which is valid until 2100Z on the 5th day of the month. Affecting Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi frm the KMEM airport to the KJAN airports. It is issued because occassional severe icing above the freezing level is expected. The freezing level extends from 080 degrees East, to 120 degrees west. Conditions continuing beyond 2100Z."

PIREPS


Pirep, or PIlot Weather REPort is a report of meteorological phenomena encountered by aircraft in flight. A PIREP must contain the following items.

Mandatory Items


Optional Items


Example

UA /OV 40SW PXV /TM 1046 /FL 250 /TP B744 /TB MOD

As you can see, once you understand the items, PIREPs are easy to decode. The above example is a routine pirep issued at 1046Z, 40SW of the PXV VOR at FL250. It was issued by a B744 and was issued for moderate turbulence.


Handling Pilot Deviations and Issuing Pertinent Weather Information


Next we are going to be discussing the phraseology and requirements for issuing weather information, and handling appropriate pilot deviation requests. It's important to keep in mind when reading the following section that our radar scopes do not display weather, and the pilots weather clients may not display the weather in the same spot, or even at all.

Pilot Requests Deviation

If a pilot was to request a deviation due to weather, your phraseology for acceptance would be as follows:

DEVIATION APPROVED, (restrictions if necessary), ADVISE WHEN ABLE TO
RETURN TO COURSE,
or
RESUME OWN NAVIGATION,
or
FLY HEADING (heading),
or
PROCEED DIRECT (name of NAVAID).

"Fort Worth Center, Southwest 2401 requests to deviate left of course for weather."
"Southwest 2401, Deviation approved. Advise when able to resume own navigation."

If you are unable to accommodate the pilot deviation, then you would use the following phraseology:

UNABLE DEVIATION (state possible alternate course of action).
FLY HEADING (heading),
or
PROCEED DIRECT (name of NAVAID).

"Fort Worth Center, Southwest 2401 requests to deviate left of course for weather."
"Southwest 2401, Unable Deviation, Fly heading 090."

Issuing Precipitation Information

You should issue weather information significant to the safety of the aircraft. Weather significant to the safety of aircraft includes such conditions as funnel cloud
activity, lines of thunderstorms, embedded thunderstorms, large hail, wind shear, microbursts, moderate to extreme turbulence (including CAT), and light to severe icing. Inform any tower for which you provide approach control services of observed precipitation on radar which is likely to affect their operations.

Any issuance of the above information is purely for "realism" sake as there is no guarantee that the pilot will see the same weather phenomena, or that it is even in the same location.

When issuing precipitation information, you should describe it as: LIGHT, MODERATE, HEAVY, or EXTREME. The phraseology is below:

(Intensity) PRECIPITATION BETWEEN (number) O'CLOCK AND (number) O'CLOCK, (number) MILES. MOVING (direction) AT (number) KNOTS, TOPS (altitude). PRECIPITATION AREA IS (number) MILES IN DIAMETER.

"American 113, Extreme precipitation between eleven o'clock and one o'clock, one zero miles moving east at two zero knots, tops flight level three niner zero."


Issuing Altitude and Crossing Instructions


Issuing descent and crossing instructions is probably one of the most important tasks that you will have as a center controller. In this lesson, we will be discussing all things related to altitude. Let's begin by looking at lowest usable flight levels.

Lowest Usable Flight Level


Flight levels are based on a standard altimeter setting of 29.92. If the local pressure falls below that there is no longer 1,000 feet separation between normal altitudes and flight levels. Some flight levels become unusable as the pressure drops. Which ones depends on how far the pressure drops. You may not assign these unusable flight levels to aircraft:




Altimeter Issuance


You are required to issue the altimeter in any of the following situations:




Issuing Crossing Restrictions

"Takeoffs are optional, landings are mandatory."



At some point in time, an aircraft will have to descend in order to reach the terminal airspace surrounding its destination. We are going to cover two different ways to descend an aircraft (other than the obvious "DESCEND AND MAINTAIN" that you learned during your S3 training). First, a more in depth look at the STAR.

Profiled vs Non-Profiled Arrivals

For the purposes of center operations, we are going to categorize all STARs as one of two possibilities: profiled or not profiled. How do you tell the difference? A profiled STAR is one that has multiple mandatory crossing restrictions.

https://web.archive.org/web/20150508130130/http:/www.vatusa.net/training/show_image.php?id=1&gallery=2Multiple mandatory crossing restrictions? What do you mean?

This is a question best explained via a picture. Lets look at a non-profiled STAR, the BRADFORD 5 ARRIVAL into KORD.

https://web.archive.org/web/20150508130130/http:/www.vatusa.net/training/img/wiki_up/bradford_five.PNG



You can see blue boxes around the crossing restrictions. Notice how there are no 'mandatory' crossing restrictions and instead the crossing restrictions say 'Expect to cross'. In instances like these the controller must actually instruct the aircraft to descend to cross the fix at an altitude. Does it necessarily have to be the altitude on the chart? No, You can have them cross the fix at a different altitude if needed. 
Just be sure to coordinate with the affected controller.

Phraseology

The phraseology for issuing this type of descent instruction is simple:

"DESCEND TO CROSS (fix/navaid) AT AND MAINTAIN (altitude)"

"Delta 2602, Descend to cross the Bradford VOR at and maintain FL240"
"Delta 2602, Descend to cross BENKY at and maintain 11,000. O'Hare altimeter 29.96"

Don't forget to issue the altimeter if he will be descending below FL180.


Now let's look at the EAGUL THREE ARRIVAL (RNAV) into KPHX.


https://web.archive.org/web/20150508130130/http:/www.vatusa.net/training/img/wiki_up/eagle_three_Fixed.PNG



Again, you can see boxes around the crossing restrictions to help you easily identify them. You can see from the chart that the pilot (if descending via this STAR) is going to cross TINIZ at or below FL300 and 280 knots, PAYSO at FL240 and 280 knots, etc. So the presence of these on the STAR indicate that it is profiled. It is important to know that although these restrictions exist, profiled arrivals do not activate themselves. You must still issue the following phraseology.

Phraseology

"DESCEND VIA THE (arrival) ARRIVAL"

"Delta 2602, Descend via the Eagul Three Arrival, Phoenix altimeter 29.96"

https://web.archive.org/web/20150508130130/http:/www.vatusa.net/training/show_image.php?id=1&gallery=2Is there any sort of regulation that states I "have" to descend an aircraft via an arrival if it is profiled?

There is no regulation indicating you are required as a controller to issue the "DESCEND VIA THE" instruction if the pilot is flying a profiled arrival. This is purely the controller's choice. The controller could have the aircraft cross any fix at any altitude (using the non-profiled phraseology). The controller could even have an aircraft descend via the arrival, but change a crossing restriction on the star. The phraseology in that case would be:

DESCEND VIA THE (STAR/FMSP) ARRIVAL EXCEPT CROSS (fix, point, waypoint) (revised altitude information)

"Delta 2602, descend via the Eagul Three Arrival expect to cross HINEY at 5,000"




Issuing Crossing Restrictions for aircraft not on a STAR


For aircraft not on a STAR, you can have them descend to cross a fix in their flight plan at an altitude in the same way that you would have issued the crossing instruction for an aircraft on a non-profiled STAR. "CROSS (fix/navaid) AT AND MAINTAIN (altitude)"
. You can even have an aircraft cross a certain DME of a navaid at a certain altitude. Just be sure to coordinate when necessary.

"Skyhawk N5204N, Cross Knox at and maintain 3,000"
"Skyhawk N5204N, Cross 10 DME south of Knox at and maintain 3,000"

Another handy tool for determining when to start an aircraft's descent is to use the term "DESCEND AT PILOT'S DISCRETION." You must still assign an appropriate IFR altitude to maintain e.g. "Descend at pilot's discretion, maintain 8,000" but this shifts the burden of choosing the right point to start descent from you over to the pilot.

"DESCEND AT PILOT'S DISCRETION" does not relieve you of your responsibility to assign an altitude which ensures separation from terrain, obstructions, or other traffic. If an aircraft calls outside of your airspace requesting descent, inform the aircraft of the altitude to enter your airspace and advise the pilot to "OUTSIDE CONTROLLED AIRSPACE, DESCEND AT YOUR OWN RISK, (crossing restriction)"

"Delta 2602, Outside controlled airspace, descend at your own risk. Cross 20 DME south of FLM at and maintain 11,000"


When to Issue the Descent


Before you can issue the descent instruction, the next thing to do is to determine is when to start its descent. The actual point can be affected by terrain, traffic, and adjacent airspace. Here is a simple formula to give you a general idea of when to start a typical aircraft down.


To use Chicago-O'Hare (ORD) as an example:


An aircraft inbound to ORD at FL310 should start descent approximately 120 flying miles from the airport.

Military jet aircraft descend even faster than civilian aircraft (4-6,000 fpm vs. 800-1,500 fpm). The formula for figuring their starting point is even easier. Add 10 to the first two digits of the flight level. FL370 = 37 + 10 = 47 miles.


Special Flight Operations

The information contained in this section was taken from the VATUSA Training Tip 1 PDF Document.

In this lesson we are going to be covering military operations that you may encounter. The ones we are going to discuss are just a few of the many that the Special Operations are capable of. We would also like to note that the information here is not ARTCC specific. Is is recommended that you check the SOP of your local facility for specific requirements and phraseology.

Military Operation Areas (MOAs)


A Military Operations Area or MOA is airspace of defined vertical and lateral limits used for military flight training. These large areas of the country are shown on VFR and low en-route sectionals as enclosed by a line of magenta hash marks with a sharp outer edge. The purpose of an MOA is to separate these flight training activities from IFR traffic. Numerous types of flight training occur within a MOA, including acrobatic maneuvers, spins, formation flying, air combat training (ACT), basic fighter maneuvers (BFM), traffic pattern stalls and instrument training maneuvers. In the real world, anytime these activities are taking place the MOA is considered HOT. Note that for the most part, Victor Airways and Jet Routes do not usually traverse an MOA. While many pilots do use Victor Airways or Jet Routes, many do not and try to proceed direct to their destination without proper flight plans. And as long traffic conditions permit and standard IFR traffic separation criteria can be met by the Controller, IFR traffic can be cleared through an MOA. VFR aircraft, on the other hand, can pass through an MOA at anytime but should always remain cautious when the MOA is HOT.

Military aircraft enter and leave an MOA through specific entry/exit points. There are two types of routes a military pilot can file. The first type uses a predetermined route which is usually developed by the owning agency of the MOA (in most cases the nearest military installation). These standard routes identify various fixes that take the aircraft from departure to the MOA entry point. Example: PACK 402 CONAN BULLDOG MOA

In this example the aircraft has filed to fly the PACK 402 route (most bases have different nomenclature for their routes) to the CONAN entry point of the Bulldog MOA. The second type of route usually begins with a published departure procedure followed by the transition entry point into the MOA, for example DAVIE2.CONAN BULLDOG MOA When issuing clearance, ATC at military installations will clear the aircraft on its route, issue a departure climb, and tell the pilot to contact the departure controller on a particular channel which is a locally assigned channel that corresponds with the departure controller's frequency. Finally ATC will issue a transponder code.

Under most circumstances military aircraft perform their missions inside the MOA under VFR and on a discrete frequency. As the aircraft approaches the MOA entry point the pilot will normally request from ATC to switch to his discrete frequency. When that happens the controller should say something like SWITCH TO DISCRETE FREQUENCY APPROVED. CONTACT ME ON (frequency) UPON MOA EXIT" For safety reasons, most military aircraft will monitor the guard frequency while inside the MOA in the likelihood that ATC needs to make contact. As a courtesy to the pilot, the controller might also give the pilot the operating dimensions of the MOA before leaving their frequency. For example, Felon 01, cleared into the Bulldog MOA, surface to FL400, switch to discrete frequency approved, contact me on 377.1 upon exit.

Some predetermined routes (as in the ones above) do not include a clearance to return to base. In that case the aircraft, after it has completed its mission inside the MOA will depart from an entry/exit point (just as it entered, but sometimes at a different point) and will contact ATC either to pick up an IFR clearance, which can be a reverse of the inbound routing or he may request VFR for the return. An example of a predetermined route with a clearance to return to base would be DAVIE2.CONAN BULLDOG MOA CONAN.MONTI3. This advises ATC that the aircraft will depart the MOA at the CONAN entry/exit point and fly the MONTI3 arrival back to base.

If the pilot is not returning to base after leaving a MOA he might include a delay time to signify that he will delay in the MOA for a certain amount of time (to complete his mission). If the aircraft will delay for 20 minutes for example, the pilot would use the format/D 0 +20 and include it in his routing usually after the MOA name. Adding the delay time keeps the flight plan active. When the pilot finishes the delay he will contact the controlling agency (Approach or Center) to complete the rest of his route.

Aerial Refueling



Aerial Refueling is the in-flight transfer of fuel between tanker and receiver aircraft. An aircraft's ability to remain airborne is limited by the amount of available fuel. Air refueling increases the range, payload, loiter time, and ultimately the flexibility and versatility of combat, combat support, and mobility aircraft. Aerial Refueling tracks are listed with an "AR" prefix followed by numbers and sometimes other letters located on specialty Refueling Tracks/Anchor maps. An example of one of these tracks would be AR12H.

The standard aerial refueling anchor pattern consists of a left-hand race track orbit with legs at least 50 NM in length. The legs will normally be separated by at least 20 NM. The orientation of the pattern is determined based on the inbound course to the anchor point. Four turn points are designated to describe the anchor pattern.

The standard anchor area consists of one or more entry points, an ARIP (air refueling initial point), anchor point, anchor pattern turn points, one or more exit points, and the designated refueling altitude block(s).

https://web.archive.org/web/20150508140837/http:/www.vatusa.net/training/img/wiki_up/anchor%20pattern.PNG



Tanker aircraft inbound to a refueling track use similar predetermined route structures to those used by aircraft heading to a MOA. In most cases it is an IFR flight plan and will include the air refueling control point (ARCP), the delay time while in the track, and the name of the track itself. Here is an example of what one might look like. Note that the delay time will usually follow the ARCP in a tanker's route:

EIL HAWGG BIG BUFLO EIL038020/DELAY 1+30 AR719 BIG BOGIE EIL

Controlling aircraft engaging in air refueling can be a little intimidating at first. To make it a little easier, here are some points to follow as well as some general phraseology. Note: normally the tanker aircraft enters the track at the ARCP (air refueling control point), and the receiver aircraft enters at the air refueling initial point (ARIP).

1. Tanker requests delay at the ARCP and advises ATC of the requested aerial refueling block altitudes.

TANKER: Center, (tanker) with Air refueling request

CENTER: (tanker), go ahead with request

TANKER: Center, (tanker) request delay at (ARCP) in the block (flight level) to (flight level) until (Zulu time) for (AR track) to refuel (receiver's callsign)

2. ATC approves delay and issues clearance, or advises tanker to expect clearance, for the air refueling block.

CENTER: Cleared to delay at (ARCP) in the block (flight level) to (flight level) until (ZULU) on (AR track), report accepting MARSA with (receiver's callsign)

3. Tanker enters orbit pattern airspace for delay at ARCP.

4. Receivers are cleared to requested altitude and IFR separation is established prior to ARIP and release to tanker communication rendezvous (C/R) frequency. Note that the receiver will switch to the tanker's discrete frequency during refuel delay.

Center: (Receiver), you are cleared to conduct air refueling operations in (AR Track) with (Tanker), maintain the block (flight level) to (flight level) and cleared to tanker frequency squawk standby 3 NM from the tanker. (Sometimes phrased as "Strangle squawk when 3 miles from tanker)

5. Tanker declares MARSA (Military Assumes Responsibility for Separation). This is a condition whereby the military services involved assume responsibility for separation between participating military aircraft in the ATC system. In other words once the tanker declares this ATC is not responsible for separating the receiving aircraft from the tanker. However ATC is responsible for separating the tanker from other IFR aircraft in the airspace.

TANKER: center, (tanker) accepts MARSA with (receiver)

6. ATC issues clearance to conduct aerial refueling along the track, and issues block altitude clearance, if not previously accomplished.

CENTER: roger, (tanker), you are cleared to conduct Air Refuel along (AR Track) with (receiver), maintain (block altitude)

7. Tanker and receiver aircraft complete rendezvous and proceed down track. During aerial refueling, the tanker is responsible for receiver aircraft navigation along the track and for all tanker/receiver communications with ATC.

8. Tanker advises ATC of tanker and receiver end aerial refueling altitude requests at least five (5) minutes prior to exit.

TANKER: center, (tanker) with end AR request
CENTER: (tanker), go ahead with your request
TANKER: (center), after AR, (receiver) would like to go direct (navaid) at (altitude) and (tanker) would like to go direct (navaid) at (altitude)

9. At or prior to the exit point, ATC issues tanker and receiver altitude clearances, transponder codes, and if requested, amended routing.

10. Prior to exit, tanker vertically positions the aircraft in the formation within the air refueling airspace to facilitate breakup at the exit point (normally, tanker at highest altitude of aerial refueling block and receiver at lowest altitude).

TANKER: (center), (tanker) is at (altitude) and (receiver) is at (altitude), we are finished with refueling.

CENTER: roger, you are cleared direct to (wherever), maintain (altitude) and for (receiver), he is cleared direct (wherever) at (altitude), have (receiver) come up~~ ~~red:to my frequency squawking (code)
TANKER: (readback clearance)

11. MARSA is terminated when standard ATC separation is established and ATC advises MARSA is terminated.

CENTER: (tanker), MARSA is terminated
TANKER: roger, MARSA terminated


Military Training Routes

http://www.youtube.com/v/sHAHyjoVv4c



Military Training Routes (MTR) are mutually developed for use by the military for the purpose of conducting low-altitude, high-speed training. Generally, MTRs are established below 10,000 feet MSL for operations at speeds in excess of 250 knots. However, route segments may be defined at higher altitudes for purposes of route continuity. For example, route segments may be defined for descent, climb out, and mountainous terrain. There are IFR and VFR routes as follows:



Four number characters (e.g., IR1206, VR1207, etc) shall identify MTRs with no segment above 1,500 feet AGL. MTRs that include one or more segments above 1,500 AGL shall be identified by three number characters (e.g. IR206, VR207, etc.). VFR Sectional charts depict all IRs and VRs. Please note that depicted routes only indicate route centerline. As with a MOA, each MTR has an entry and exit point that ATC should be ready to vector the aircraft to should he request it.

Formation Flights


If you've done much controlling on the network you've probably noticed some of the VATSIM military organizations flying together really closely in what is known as a formation. But are you familiar with the reason that the Military does this? Did you know that there actually are two (2) types of formations they use and that each has special requirements? Furthermore, do you know how to approve a request by military aircraft to join a formation, using the correct phraseology? What about how to approve a formation departure using the correct phraseology? Well let's take a look.

The Military's purpose of flying formation is to provide the mutual support required to accomplish a given mission. A formation is defined as more than one aircraft which, by prior arrangement between the pilots, operate as a single aircraft with regard to navigation and position reporting. Separation between aircraft within the formation is the responsibility of the flight leader and the pilots of the other aircraft in the flight. This includes transition periods when aircraft within the formation are maneuvering to attain separation from each other to effect individual control and during join up or breakaway. The smallest formation unit is a section that consists of two aircraft; a lead and one wingman. Next in size is a division, which is composed of two sections. Adding sections or divisions as required makes larger formations. It should be noted that the basic unit of any formation, no matter how large, is the section. Here is a look at the two types of formations, and their requirements:




When you are controlling a formation, whether it is a 2 ship (2 aircraft in formation) or even a 4 ship (4 aircraft in formation) you as the controller will only be in contact with the flight lead, and furthermore the flight lead will be the only aircraft in the formation squawking; each wingman will be squawking standby.

Formation usually starts on the ground and continues on until the pilot's mission is completed. But sometimes aircraft that are in a formation will depart separately, and when this happens they will make a request with ATC to rejoin the formation, which happens quite a bit on VATSIM. When this happens ATC should ask the flight lead if he will accept MARSA with the wingman. If the flight lead accepts, ATC should approve the request and then have the wingman squawk standby. If the aircraft will be outside a standard formation ATC should normally have the trailing aircraft squawk subset (example: Lead squawks 4321, Wingman squawks 4300).

Example:

FELON2: Center, Felon 2 with request
CENTER: Felon2 say request
FELON2: would like to join with FELON1
CENTER: FELON1, will you accept MARSA with FELON2?
FELON1: rgr, will accept MARSA
CENTER: FELON2, cleared to join with FELON1, strangle squawk when able.
FELON2: rgr, cleared to join, will strangle squawk.

Sometimes an aircraft in formation will have to depart, or break away. This is known as a formation departure. A formation departure consists of more than one aircraft at intervals of 1 minute or less which, by prior arrangement between the pilots, operate as a single aircraft with regard to navigation and position reporting. Usually when this happens, the flight lead will advise ATC that (call sign) will be departing. ATC should issue a squawk code for the departing aircraft and once the departing aircraft is squawking correctly and is identified ATC can issue vectors as necessary.