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Old 7th Aug 2003, 07:47
  #14 (permalink)  
DickyBaby
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Oz
Posts: 21
Manwell, it's not de rigour for traffic to be passed TO VFR but certainly on KNOWN VFR. Thus we have a responsibility where we can see VFR traffic (within radar coverage) or we've been providing services to VFRs and hence know about them.

In response to what we can see, the reality is that the coastal ccorridor coverage is pretty good but thins dramatically the further west you go until by Mudgee low level is invisible. Doesn't stop you getting a service but we can't see those pesky VFRs. As has been mentioned in several other threads a reply light on your transponder doesn't necessarily mean a corresponding return on our screens. We do the best we can with what we have.

Frequency management is much more problematic. Where we combine positions the SOP is to rebroadcast all transmissions on all frequencies that are being serviced by the one ATC. There are excellent reasons for this but the real decider is that we don't have as much over-transmission. So whilst each frequency gets busier, more info gets through. When positions are decombined then there's a lot of coordination going on with the operators of adjacent airspace. Thus if you're landing DU from the north, inbound IFR traffic from the south will be given directed traffic on you by the southern operators and thus have warning prior to transfer to CTAF. All "good" VFR operators will be monitoring the appropriate Area VHF and thus note your arrival.

When ATC says "Standby" generally this is to allow them to check with other ATCs or seeks more detailed info sources for you. It's not just to finish the story about the fishing last Thursday (although it might be).

The system isn't foolproof - and as you know we get a better and better class of fool each time we change something. We pass on what information we have, we alert VFRs that are doing something that could put the flight in jeopardy - even when they're not paying for a service. Anybody who operates in around the Hunter Valley knows how many times we have to warn VFRs that they've penetrated R532 whilst the AJs are happily lobbing mortar shells at them, thinking "Wow, they've got some real moving targets in this exercise!"

A good controller is sometimes a lazy controller. That is, interfering with traffic to the smallest amount possible that yields everyone arriving in one piece. If you have just one teeny little mid-air you get tied up with barristers for years and years. Keep 'em apart and you get to go home and think about almost anything except work.
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