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Old 14th Dec 2012, 03:57   #1 (permalink)
 
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Vacate and contact ground...

When you are on the landing roll and passed the typical instruction "vacate left at alpha and contact ground 119.5" or whatever, when does the controller actually expect you to change frequency?

I would say after clearing the runway, passed the yellow lines of the hold you have been told to vacate at you should change frequency then. This way if anything goes wrong while on the runway you are talking to the tower controller still who ultimately controls the runway.

Some people say to change to ground straight away since you are about to enter a taxiway they control and they may want you to hold short somewhere.

I'm interested to know when an ATCO expects us to start listening on ground if say we had a puncture, or he needed us to expedite or stop how he would tell us after saying "contact ground"
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Old 14th Dec 2012, 04:49   #2 (permalink)
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In my view it's poor practice, largely for the reasons that you highlight. And, unfortunately, I can't give you an answer to your questions.

As a general principle though, an aircraft should be able to vacate onto any exit unless you are told otherwise. Therefore it is probably better to stay with TWR until you are on the taxiway.

BUT, it's just my view and I have no doubt others will have different views.

As for how a TWR controller controller can get a message to an aircraft that's on GND - the TWR and GND controllers will almost always be sitting very close to each other and can talk whenever something like this happens. The problem is that when it is left up to the pilot to choose when to change frequency time can easily be wasted trying to find out which frequency the aircraft is on - especially if it is in the process of changing when the controller calls.

On the whole, "vacate and call GND" may work OK somewhere quiet but at an airport where other aircraft will be landing, taking off or taxying around, and 'situations' can evolve quickly, it is too vague.

Last edited by Spitoon; 14th Dec 2012 at 04:58.
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Old 14th Dec 2012, 09:23   #3 (permalink)
 
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I can't speak for current procedures but I would only instruct an aircraft to change to ground once it was clean of my traffic.
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Old 14th Dec 2012, 11:36   #4 (permalink)
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Tower has already told you to vacate on to Alpha so there is no confusion on where to vacate.

I would expect you to contact me either just before entering Alpha or on Alpha (doesnt matter as the tower controller left that up to you to decide) but hold short of any other taxiway as your last instruction was only up to Alpha.

There is no point calling ground while still on the runway if you still have a while to go to Alpha, then rather just stay on tower freq until just about to turn in to Alpha.

Its always good practice to remain on TWR freq until clear of the runway but in this case ATC is giving you the option to change freq before else he would have said "Contact Ground on xxx.x runway vacated"

Thats my take.

Last edited by ASD; 14th Dec 2012 at 11:50.
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Old 14th Dec 2012, 12:50   #5 (permalink)
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As discussed on PPR before it is BAD PRACTICE to issue taxy and R/T instructions during the high speed part of the landing roll unless there is some sort of problem. Before or after, fine. Pilots are actually not still doing the crossword at 100kts on the runway.

You want me off at alpha and it is not in the airfield briefing - tell me at a decent range on finals so I can review the landing performance and re-brief if necessary. On the roll, the chances are I may ignore it and exit where I have planned.
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Old 14th Dec 2012, 13:10   #6 (permalink)
 
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I would expect you to change to ground once clear of the runway passing the holding point line, at the unit I work at it is a requirement for any aircraft on the runway to be on tower frequency just in case there are any issues (missed exit, burst tyre, FOD spotted etc...)

We do however use 'when vacated contact ground' quite a lot.
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Old 14th Dec 2012, 18:43   #7 (permalink)
 
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It is all semantics... Most of the time I contact ground after leaving the runway and approaching the holding point. OK, strictly speaking you haven't vacated the runway but the runway area is clear, you can get your taxi clearance and go on. Would be interesting to hear other experiences...
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Old 14th Dec 2012, 19:18   #8 (permalink)
 
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If you are instructed to contact GND, then do it as soon as you are reasonably sure that you will vacate the runway. If the TWR ATCo would like to keep you on his frequency, then he won't transfer you to GND.

If anything extraordinary happens and you are unable to vacate runway, call the TWR guy on TWR frequency.
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Old 14th Dec 2012, 20:54   #9 (permalink)
 
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Given the instruction vacate left at alpha and contact ground 119.5 I would acknowledge the message, continue along the runway, plan to vacate at Alpha and when convenient contact ground, whether still on the runway or on the taxiway.

If you wish me to remain on the tower frequency until vacated then instruct me to vacate left at alpha and when vacated contact ground 119.5. In this case I would acknowledge the message, continue along the runway, vacate at Alpha and then without further interchange with the tower contact ground.
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Old 14th Dec 2012, 22:05   #10 (permalink)

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Quote:
As discussed on PPR before it is BAD PRACTICE to issue taxy and R/T instructions during the high speed part of the landing roll unless there is some sort of problem. Before or after, fine. Pilots are actually not still doing the crossword at 100kts on the runway.
I agree. I often get such calls when still airborne. Some ATCOs don't seem to understand that a helicopter is in the most critical stage of the final landing after LDP, even over a runway and should be allowed to operate "sterile cockpit" until clear of the runway (at least then I can have a spare hand to change frequency).
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Old 28th Dec 2012, 18:41   #11 (permalink)
 
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I use "When vacated contact ground xxx.xxx". I always use that once I see the aircraft has broken enough and is taxiing at a constant speed to avoid disturbing the pilot at a high workload moment (specially helicopters). What I expect with that is that the aircraft switches frequency when is vacating the rwy, turning into twy and is aware that he will be able to pass the HP without any issue.I want it to remain in TWR frequency until the very last moment but to contact GND before having to stop after the exitway, where the traffic has to stop if no further instruction has been given, in order to receive taxi instructions.
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Old 31st Dec 2012, 04:34   #12 (permalink)
 
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At hyper busy airports I frequent (KORD, KLAX, KATL) often times the ground controller is calling you as the aircraft crosses the hold short lines. Makes it easy when it works.
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Old 31st Dec 2012, 05:01   #13 (permalink)
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The wide variety of 'takes' on this simple question highlights why it is poor practice. Similar questions arise from time to time regarding the point at which a pilot can/should report vacated. Once again there is a variety of viewpoints and opinions - add this to the ambiguity of "vacate and call ground" and it is no wonder that we see such practices contributing to incident reports. And the incident reports are only the times it goes wrong for some reason.

Phraseology and procedures like this may sound 'slick' but it is much better to be standard, precise and unambiguous - that way there isn't any doubt in anyone's mind about what should happen and you don't get to feature in incident reports!
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Old 31st Dec 2012, 07:54   #14 (permalink)
 
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ATC passing you frequency changes whilst decelerating on the runway are not only a distraction to the pilots, but also "asking" to lose contact with the pilots. Best practice would be to ignore the call and then tx "say again" as vacating and the workload is lower, but we all try to help, and mumble an acknowledgement.

Usual result is when things under control Pilot 1 to 2 "what freq did he say", and not unusual to then select wrong freq so now not talking to Twr or Gnd

As BOAC says above, there is also little point in telling pilots at 1-2NM "please vacate at XX". The whole approach, flap and brake setting etc. has been determined well before, and I suspect if you were down the back, would not want to know you have 1 (or worse 2!) pilots at the critical landing stage trying to find exit XX in the plates

NoD
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Old 31st Dec 2012, 09:19   #15 (permalink)
 
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Nigel.. Lots of that doesn't tie up. I've had aircraft on short final say "can we roll to 79?" or "OK to take xx turn-off", which suggests their decision was not made 10 miles out. Most pilots operating scheduled services know what the next frequency will be and have it on the other box.

I was trained never to talk to pilots on take-off or landing except in an emergency... One day a 747 half-way down the runway on the roll said: "Er, can you just run through the SID with us?" One Christmas we put cracker riddles on the ATIS... "answers on 118.5 or 118.7 as appropriate". I well recall a DC-9 pilot not only asking for the answer but giving us a riddle too.... as he landed.

Happy days - almost.
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Old 31st Dec 2012, 09:49   #16 (permalink)
 
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I've had aircraft on short final say "can we roll to 79?" or "OK to take xx turn-off", which suggests their decision was not made 10 miles out.
That indicates to me they had planned / briefed / discussed options and decided 79 would help and "we'll ask". What I cannot cope with, having decided to do a Flap 3 landing iaw my company's SOPs, is when LHR tower @ 500' direct me to make exit XX which I have not planned for, and realistically cannot (easily) make without altering Flap and/or autobrake and/or a mini rebrief at 1NM - all possible but undesirable and not optimal safety. Altering Flap I can do, but will get me a phone call / b*llocking.

Quote:
Most pilots operating scheduled services know what the next frequency will be and have it on the other box
"Most" might be so, but in that I have operated out of LHR for 15yrs+ and still cannot tell you which Gnd I will get (.9? .7? .85?) and that's somewhere I know. Try looking at the plates for large foreign airports and the box gives 5+ Gnd Freqs. Secondly, people have been picked up on route checks for pre-selecting the Gnd Freq with some *** about the App frequency being better in case of a GA. I am not of that school, but again, do not think it an appropriate SOP to be trying to guess the Gnd Freq on short finals and have 1 pilot dialing it up.

So I agree with your points if we want to "gash/hack it". Not if we want good practice. We whould not be relying on "local knowledge"

NoD
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Old 31st Dec 2012, 10:11   #17 (permalink)
 
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OK NoD.. well, I'm l-o-n-g out of it now and I realise that things have changed dramatically.

Take care and happy landings..
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Old 31st Dec 2012, 11:04   #18 (permalink)
 
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Originally Posted by NigelOnDraft
I agree with your points if we want to "gash/hack it". Not if we want good practice. We whould not be relying on "local knowledge"
As with HD I have been long out of it, and clearly things have changed, no doubt for the better and safer. It seems that gone are the days where we were 'winging it', shouting, pointing and gesticulating animatedly in a 'stock-exchange'-type environment in the old tower using inventive 'on-the-hoof' controlling! (eg. 'keep 'im coming', 'come around the corner and be ready immediate', keep the speed up and vacate at blah blah, ' a short landing and off at 83 would help you', 'cross now and keep 'im', 'Outer Marker, any chance of a switch?. " We'll take a land-after' etc, the list is endless, just don't hear it any more these days...). In those days many ATCOs operated in their own 'individual manner' for which allowances were made by other ATCOs. Maybe it's all cloned now with tight SMS SOPs reducing discretionary options. If, however, you crews are still being co-ersed to achieve unrealistic demands then you gents and ladies really need to communicate this to the ATC authorities rather than sit on it.

In recent years as aircrew I have been told not to 'second-guess' the next freq and any possible ATC needs and that my ATC experience should be ignored. The culture seems to be moving towards operatives becoming binary reactive automatons.

Whatever, it was great fun whilst it lasted, especially when HD was on...

Wishing you all safe ops especially those at the Heathrow Sausage Machine.
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Old 31st Dec 2012, 12:23   #19 (permalink)
 
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If, however, you crews are still being co-ersed to achieve unrealistic demands then you gents and ladies really need to communicate this to the ATC authorities rather than sit on it.
The problem is also our goal posts shifting, maybe quicker than ATC's?

For instance "pressure" to now use Autobrake more (so it'll stop where it wants to), previously altering Flap Setting late on was "encouraged" when appropriate, now "forbidden" [not achieved final flap by 1000R = compulsory GA].

We cannot start our before TO checks until ATC (LHR only) explicity transmit our TO line up / intersection point to us (we cannot anticipate it), and must give us X mins notice to change it etc. etc.

NoD
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Old 31st Dec 2012, 12:54   #20 (permalink)
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Indeed, talkdown, those days have 'gone' - both NoD and I being ex mil were well used to 'winging it' and (nearly always) quite capable of doing so safely. All controllers need to NB NoD's info on any change in flap setting in order to accomodate a 'changed' landing roll.

HD - all the examples you gave were, I think, as NoD says, where the crew have briefed and planned options which is quite different to catching a curved ball at 500' and I'm sure you understand that 'slackening' a landing roll (ie 'roll to the end') is far easier than 'tightening' it. What helps is, as some airfields do, to publish 'preferred' exits for different categories in the plates.
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