ATC IssuesA place where pilots may enter the 'lions den' that is Air Traffic Control in complete safety and find out the answers to all those obscure topics which you always wanted to know the answer to but were afraid to ask.
I would like to ask the audience their opinion about whether it is advisable to give pilots alternatives, when either would suit ATC just fine. Obviously it's good to keep pilots in the picture, but too much information uses lots of valuable RT for maybe a negligible gain when the ATCO can probably make a reasonable decision himself.
I expect there won't be a straight answer, because as usual it all depends on the workload, the situation and many other circumstances, but I hope that through the debate I can make better judgements in the future, and get ideas for more succint phraseology.
I couple of enroute examples to spark the debate, then:
1. Two aircraft at the same level will be traffic on a fix ahead. I don't mind giving a vector for separation or offering an available level. Possible phraseology:
"BAW1234, traffic at your level over DGO. Expect a left turn and 3 additional track miles for separation. Higher level is available without restrictions"
2. Two aircraft at the same level on the same route don't have enought miles between them to be passed as they currently are to an adjacent ACC which requires a bigger separation. Again I don't mind vectoring for spacing or offering a different level.
"IBE5231, expect vectoring and 4 additional track miles for spacing before ENDAY. Higher level is available without restrictions"
Papa - if only ATC the world over would do it your way. The number of times I have been given 45 degress l/r (to avoid disturbing a French aircraft's routeing ) to find WHEN I ASK that by changing level (up or down) I could continue on flight plan are numerous. I vote for it, as long as it does not compromise R/T space.
Personally I think pilots should be brought more into the planning, where convenient.
Too often we are left wondering what ATC are planning for us, and would like to play a part.
I have even been given a clearance to join airways and an IFR clearance across the London TMA when I had intended to route underneath (by an over-enthusiatically helpful London Mil ATCO.) He could have saved a lot of everyone's time by just asking. As it was I was too embarrassed to say that that wasn't what I wanted and just accepted it.
But I do agree that if we are given the choice we should decide quickly and convey our choice clearly and unambiguously.
To be fair, Bookie, you got some very reasonable answers then, not much requirement for a hard hat.
I have always worked on the assumption that if I put on a 7x00 squawk I can do pretty much what I like because the guys on the ground will wave a magic wand and keep me safe.
I think that this thread is much more workaday, and possibly arising out my question the other day.
There are often things going on in the pilot's mind unknown to the controller and vice versa where one might be indifferent between a pair of strategies, but it makes a big difference to the other, and it is in those cases where offering a choice would be helpful.