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Old 7th Aug 2017, 06:29   #1 (permalink)
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Vectoring at Gatwick

Can a controller please remind me why it's not feasible, possible to hold in stacks and then proceed for the procedure rather than being vectored for the approach at Gatwick.

Also re Gatwick, I thought a couple of years ago by an NTC the phraseology was changed to Cleared for the Approach rather than descend on the glide once established on the LOC!

Thanks

Whilst we are at it, what is the definition of "Good Rate" when climbing. Why not specify a rate therefore you know straight away if its possible to achieve said rate.

Thanks Again.
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Old 7th Aug 2017, 08:47   #2 (permalink)
 
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Traffic inbound to Gatwick is vectored because it is deemed to be 'radar only' approach control , actually done from London Terminal Control at Swanwick. Procedural plates are only for backup in case of an (unlikely) total radar failure.
Radar vectoring is more efficient than procedural approach as separation on final approach can reduce to 2.5nm if there are no departures and slightly more if there are departures whereas it would be time based without radar probably something like 5 minutes, although this would need to be confirmed by someone current on Gatwick Approach.
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Old 7th Aug 2017, 09:11   #3 (permalink)
 
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Simbad.... as my friend Chevvron says, radar vectoring is more efficient and I'm surprised that as a commercial pilot you do not appreciate this. Every major airfield in Europe employs radar vectoring. If they did not, delays would extend to days, not just minutes! There is no system - yet - which can beat radar control both in terms of safety and expedition.
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Old 7th Aug 2017, 09:13   #4 (permalink)
 
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Simbad,
I think it would be better that you were able to visit an Approach Radar facility anywhere in the world and you'll soon see why you are vectored.Gatwick isn't an exception.
As a controller we were encouraged to see it from the pilots side.Shame more aircrew aren't able to do the same.
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Old 7th Aug 2017, 15:43   #5 (permalink)
 
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Although, with the coming of pbn and rnav transitions from the primary holds onto the ILS, I can see a day in the next 5-15 years when radar vectoring onto the ILS will be the exception rather than the norm.

Point merge at Dublin, Copenhagen, Paris and, before long, Manchester, will see the demise of race track holds and radar vectors.

These approaches will remain radar monitored and as such radar separation will be applied rather than procedural, however, they will be pretty much pilot interpreted rather than having controller intervention. The advantage to the pilot, you can see from your fms exactly how far you are from touchdown rather than our best guess allowing you to set up and fly the aircraft as you see fit.

From a controller point of view, a much reduced workload and RT loading allowing us to move more aircraft.

There are drawbacks of course. It only works providing aircraft are reasonably similar in performance, it won't work if the rnav route is taken out due weather or a cat b flight or something like that. It requires a fair bit of airspace to contain point merge arcs.

There may still be a little radar vectoring by a finals director to either tighten up or loosen off a sequence. However, the radar vectoring by an initials controller will go by the way side.

I am a radar controller by the way, and I happen to enjoy the radar vectoring side. Just, I believe it's getting to the point where it's had it's day.

I'm going to go and grab my hard hat now as I'm sure I've just opened the flood gates to all kinds of abuse from fellow professionals. However, before anyone starts, I would ask that you have a look at the various YouTube clips of point merge in action and see that it does work!

Cheers
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Old 7th Aug 2017, 17:06   #6 (permalink)
 
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How does a point merge system with 'arc' provide an exact distance from touchdown? Surely it provides, at best, a 'maximum distance'?
If pilots prefer this to range given by a controller then fair enough, but doesn't exactly seem to be a huge benefit.
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Old 7th Aug 2017, 17:42   #7 (permalink)
 
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Routing around the arc is the equivalent to going round the race track hold. You are absolutely correct, the pilots will only have a theoretical maximum distance. However, once cleared to route direct to the merge point, the fms updates the rest of the distance to touchdown.

Pilots are cleared to the merge point as soon as the one ahead is established inbound to the merge point and is the appropriate distance ahead.

It works. When I first heard about it I wasn't convinced either, but I'm slowly coming around to the idea. 😀
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Old 7th Aug 2017, 18:13   #8 (permalink)
 
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I know it works, I'm just not convinced that it has as many benefits as it was 'sold' to have. Like much in air traffic....
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Old 7th Aug 2017, 18:15   #9 (permalink)
 
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Recall when Concorde started, one of the first officers came up with a brain wave. ATC would simply clear them for a "standard" approach and keep other traffic out of the way. It didn't last because it was a hopeless idea. One day a colleague of mine said to the inbound Conc: "Do you want a standard approach or a hand job?" Conc replied: "A hand job please any time". That's what crews thought of that!
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Old 7th Aug 2017, 18:47   #10 (permalink)
 
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Originally Posted by Doody2007 View Post
Routing around the arc is the equivalent to going round the race track hold. You are absolutely correct, the pilots will only have a theoretical maximum distance. However, once cleared to route direct to the merge point, the fms updates the rest of the distance to touchdown.

Pilots are cleared to the merge point as soon as the one ahead is established inbound to the merge point and is the appropriate distance ahead.

It works. When I first heard about it I wasn't convinced either, but I'm slowly coming around to the idea. 😀
All very well for an arrival runway only, but what if you're single runway with lots of departures? And what about the much vaunted 'mixed mode' ops?
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Old 7th Aug 2017, 18:58   #11 (permalink)
 
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I'm not going to say anything else about it as I've seen these arguments turn nasty and I have no intention of getting into one.

As a last thought, I asked a local 738 pilot, who regularly flies into Dublin, what he thought of the Point Merge there. I fully expected the answer to be, "we hate it, it takes too long, uses too much fuel, etc". Instead, "we love it, it works a treat for us, we can fly the aircraft according to our range. etc"

As the original poster seems to intimate, the pilots, our customers, seem to want this rather than be radar vectored all over the sky. I know, a fully trained controller can provide accurate ranges to touchdown, but this isn't what the customer seems to want.

With regards to single runway operations, you just let the first aircraft heading to the merge point get a little further ahead before you clear the next aircraft to the merge point, thus building in your gap for a departure that the tower wants. The system can be made to work according to your airport's requirements and ATC needs.

That is all.

Cheers
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Old 7th Aug 2017, 19:49   #12 (permalink)
 
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"Customer"! Sorry I have never viewed pilots as customers. It's horrible management yuckspeak.

I haven't understood much of this thread (too old probably) but it sounds too much like old fashioned procedural control!
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Old 7th Aug 2017, 21:08   #13 (permalink)
 
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Time based arrival spacing is on the horizon for mixed mode operations. Personally speaking I'd like to see it even earlier than planned.
Aircraft touchdown times are easily predictable, and accurate, with PRNAV approaches and "live" weather.
Artificial Intelligence can also add to the accuracy, using airline/aircraft specific data to predict touchdown time and alert approach controllers if the time-based separation required by the tower controllers is being eroded (or, is being stretched = inefficient).
IMHO it's high time that this technology was employed at mixed mode runways to increase airport efficiency.

(Bug bear of mine.)
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Old 7th Aug 2017, 21:56   #14 (permalink)
 
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So what happens when ten aircraft, all with the same landing estimate; all converge at once?
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Old 7th Aug 2017, 22:39   #15 (permalink)
 
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Originally Posted by Out Of Trim View Post
So what happens when ten aircraft, all with the same landing estimate; all converge at once?
I think the idea is that they don't.
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Old 8th Aug 2017, 04:43   #16 (permalink)
 
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And back to the original question. If aircraft are not regularly vectored out of the holds the TMA have no where to put the incoming planes. We still,regular see the TMA vectoring inbounds all at FL 150 around the Soutn East preying a level will become vacant soon.

As for new techniques, yes they will work, but not without a large scale airspace redesign.LAMP 2 anyone?

System has been creaking badly this year, combine that with low staffing levels and it's going to get ugly!!,
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Old 8th Aug 2017, 08:29   #17 (permalink)
 
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For the last who knows how long, aircraft have been holding for Heathrow 0600 arrival having known the second they turned the keys on the ramp in whichever US airport exactly when they would arrive and theoretically land. Has this resulted in them arriving at an appropriate time for the curfew, let alone the relative to the other 30 inbounds wanting to land first? No. Perhaps the airlines need to agree amongst themselves a landing order, let the aircraft know, and fly appropriately. Then we really all could just sit back and 'monitor' the situation, presuming there's only one airport in the vicinity naturally. I'll be off then of course. The chances of being able to usefully intervene having been just 'monitoring' for the last thousand hours are not appealing.
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Old 8th Aug 2017, 09:03   #18 (permalink)
 
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"Customer"! Sorry I have never viewed pilots as customers
No HD, and I don't think many ANSP's view the pilot as the customer, however it is the airlines who pay the user charges and who ultimately, will pick up the tab for the incredible amount of money that the EU is currently ploughing into SESAR deployment and the development of future PBN and related implementation through the ANSP's - the idea being that eventually, with future ADS-B 'In' capability, self separation will in fact become a reality and in some ways, perhaps a return to procedural control, but with the FMS maintaining separation and ATC monitoring as suggested by Not Long Now.

I like speaking to a human rather than a computer however and I foresee, rather in the same way we have seen a deterioration in basic handling skills and situational awareness in the airlines through increased technology and automation, a gradual reduction in capacity due to controllers in busy TMA's being unable or unwilling to vector when necessary to help alleviate flow during peak periods. I personally hope that ATC does not go the same way that flight deck philosophy has gone in the last couple of decades where the pilot has been effectively designed out of the system (almost). PBN appears to offer many benefits but ultimately, the path it takes is not being determined by ATM experts or aircrew but largely by lawyers, accountants and the aviation manufacturing industry.

I have had the pleasure of spending much time in the company of civilian controllers from many parts of the world, however now and again (and I mean very occasionally) I have met those who feel, and particularly in the US I discovered, that aircrew are there to make their lives difficult and are largely treated with contempt - where would European ANSP's derive their shareholders profits and pension pots from if not from their customers, the airlines, and their airborne representatives, the pilots?

Last edited by Reverserbucket; 8th Aug 2017 at 10:07.
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Old 8th Aug 2017, 09:27   #19 (permalink)
 
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Originally Posted by Simbad View Post
what is the definition of "Good Rate" when climbing. Why not specify a rate therefore you know straight away if its possible to achieve said rate.
There is no definition of "good rate", it's not standard, you should be asked to keep the best rate for the best result.
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Old 8th Aug 2017, 16:50   #20 (permalink)
 
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Originally Posted by Reverserbucket View Post
No HD, and I don't think many ANSP's view the pilot as the customer, however it is the airlines who pay the user charges and who ultimately, will pick up the tab for the incredible amount of money that the EU is currently ploughing into SESAR deployment and the development of future PBN and related implementation through the ANSP's - the idea being that eventually, with future ADS-B 'In' capability, self separation will in fact become a reality and in some ways, perhaps a return to procedural control, but with the FMS maintaining separation and ATC monitoring as suggested by Not Long Now.

I like speaking to a human rather than a computer however and I foresee, rather in the same way we have seen a deterioration in basic handling skills and situational awareness in the airlines through increased technology and automation, a gradual reduction in capacity due to controllers in busy TMA's being unable or unwilling to vector when necessary to help alleviate flow during peak periods. I personally hope that ATC does not go the same way that flight deck philosophy has gone in the last couple of decades where the pilot has been effectively designed out of the system (almost). PBN appears to offer many benefits but ultimately, the path it takes is not being determined by ATM experts or aircrew but largely by lawyers, accountants and the aviation manufacturing industry.

I have had the pleasure of spending much time in the company of civilian controllers from many parts of the world, however now and again (and I mean very occasionally) I have met those who feel, and particularly in the US I discovered, that aircrew are there to make their lives difficult and are largely treated with contempt - where would European ANSP's derive their shareholders profits and pension pots from if not from their customers, the airlines, and their airborne representatives, the pilots?
An interesting point. But, realistically speaking, I can see the day (not too far off) when Approach Control is basically a monitoring function - for when sh*t happens.
Every ANSP wants to squeeze costs, which is done by more aircraft with same/less "controllers".
Yes, in bad weather, arrival rates will suffer but in "normal weather" (which, statistically speaking, is the norm) then the reliance will be on technology, with minimal ATCO input.
It's what the world (customer) wants....cheap fares, OTP, etc., etc.
Same goes for Tower controllers....more (accurate) info on arrival touchdown times with warnings provided about when it's safe to clear a departure for take-off etc, until it too is a monitoring function.
Technology creep, first "tools" to assist controllers, then automation/ATC being "monitors".
Not always a bad thing, however - humans make random errors (I'm human, I make them).
We're closer now to the "monitoring function"/"only take over in emergency situation" than we've ever been.
Ye olde controllers will say "yes, but when I started X years ago we were all told that we'd be (effectively) out of a job in 20 years" due to this 'techno creep'. Now, more than ever, this is true. Less ATCOs, less cost. 90% of the time it'll work better/more efficiently/with less cost, and equally safely (if not better).
It's what happens with the other 10% that matters...
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