View Full Version : Direct tracking

Night Watch
1st Dec 2003, 13:24
Why are BN ATC STILL not allowing direct tracking?

I know, I know " management directive"..... I just find it completely stupid that a 3am in the morning, on a weekend, with more than likely not another aircraft in the whole of the country at FL240, I can't get direct tracking. :mad:

I thought NAS was supposed to make our airspace more efficient!

I am all for things that increase safety, but let be sensible here! Fair enough that I wouldn't expect direct to BN during peak times, or direct to SY during the day, but what about when there is not another aircraft within 500 nm!

just doesn't make sense :confused:

:mad: Air NOservices.... has never been more appropriate saying.

Sperm Bank
1st Dec 2003, 14:05
Alas Night watch we are operating in Australia mate. Efficiency and common sense are adjectives not in the Airservices vocabulary. We have some of the dumbest operating procedures in the western world and it really is a crying shame. It could be so good!

1st Dec 2003, 14:40
Have a yell at CASA. This is all as per the CASA audit from a year or so ago. They made it so that dct SY and BK were no longer available because it caused a head to head scenario. After Impulse stopped the night time operation and the metros took all the work much of the operation is out of BK. We are supposed to give dct CAA for SY arrivals and dct BK for BK. This then went on to create more problems.

After a few pretty serious breakdowns of separation involving dct tracking it is mandated that we do nothing at all. From an aside one of the above mentioned NAS making all this better. I don't think it will be long before there is absolutely no track shortening at all as one of the primary mitigators to allow VFR into E seeing and avoiding is that they avoid published IFR routes. If you get taken off you IFR route, you take away another layer of safety.

I myself don't really give a whoop where you track because I have a big shiny screen with lots of radars and it gives us something to do on the otherwise boring night shifts (130.1, 132.35). The bean counters and empire builders are the ones to play. Just remember that when you get knocked back it may seem reasonable to give hate to the controller but we are hands tied.

Night Watch
1st Dec 2003, 15:57
Thanks tobzalp for the reply......

I understand that the controllers hands are tied, and although very frustrating for us the pilots..... I agree it should not be taken out on those sitting behind the radar screen.

I will direct this to the ignorant ******s at CASA then...... Why does this situation have to be so black and white? If there is aircraft within a certain radius of each other "direct tracking not availiable".... fine! But if the bloke sitting next to me and myself are the only two human beings in the air within 500 nm radius of our position...... why not?

Also where is the consistency? Why can we track DCT SY ELW, but not DCT SY JCW? This does not make sense.

Duff Man
2nd Dec 2003, 05:07
Night Watch

Both the Minister for Transport (A.R.S) and the CEO of Airservices pride themselves on NAS adding to 'the efficiency' of Australia's airspace system (whatever that is).

I suggest your company run a concerted media campaign against Airservices and their block headed attitudes to servicing paying IFR customers vs VFR freebies. I'm sure the ALP will be happy to help.

TOBZALP - did any of those head-to-head BOS incidents occur on the doggo?


2nd Dec 2003, 05:34
Here's a tip for you all.

If you want track shortening, don't ask for it. Instead advise of a flight plan amendment.


2nd Dec 2003, 06:17

TOBZALP - did any of those head-to-head BOS incidents occur on the doggo?

heh. Since when does something like details make any difference to pen pushers.

2nd Dec 2003, 06:47
Extract from ATSB Report: http://www.atsb.gov.au/aviation/occurs/occurs_detail.cfm?ID=507

With regard to the use of direct tracking, the Airservices investigation noted that the route structure was designed to segregate traffic where conflicts may occur and that to some extent direct tracking could reduce the separation assurance provided by the route structure. Had the two aircraft operated on their respective planned routes it was estimated that they would have crossed about 50 NM south of Townsville and that their descent profiles would have resulted in a vertical distance of 16,000 ft between them. The investigation also estimated that the difference in track length between the planned and actual routes was 1 NM. Thus, the efficiencies achieved by the provision of direct tracking were minimal compared with the increased risk to aircraft associated with the reduction in separation assurance.
AsA love to spout this occurrence as proving that direct tracking causes incidents. It probably also stops a lot more, but where's the proof? Without proof, there will be no change. :yuk:

Night Watch, direct tracking is available but due to the management directive it squarely lies on the controller who gives it away if anything goes wrong ... and they will make examples of people to prove a point. And yet some still give it away.

The most frustrating thing at our end apart from having our hands tied is when an aircraft asks for direct tracking, you (rightfully) deny it, and then as soon as he calls the next sector he gets given the world. Then the pilot thinks we're just trying to screw him over.

You will find that the majority of controllers want to provide a better service, but don't want to risk their career for it (can you blame them?) ... and not just with direct tracking ;)

It doesn't help either when the Wx diversions hit big time and everyone is pointing at each other anyway. What to the bean counters have to say about that?

SM4 Pirate
2nd Dec 2003, 07:49
You are all missing the big picture; just squawk 1200 with mode C and go where you want.

Call approach directly at 40/50 miles and ask for clearance direct; never talk to sectors they only stuff you around; that is their primary purpose after all.

Then if everyone does it we'll need less ATCs on the doggo. ED coverage for bad weather nights...

Bottle of Rum

Night Watch
2nd Dec 2003, 08:37
Blastoid , you are exactly right.... where is the proof?

To add to your frustration, I said to the FO before we took off from BN last week (to prove a point about the inconsistency) "we will ask everyone we talk to tonight for DCT tracking, in the hope that someone has some balls". Sure enough it took to the Feq change abeam CH but well got DCT SY.

I have always said that I don't blame the blokes/chicks sitting behind the radar screen for this, it's the idiots upstairs and in CB that :mad: me off.

It is interesting that you said....

direct tracking is available but due to the management directive it squarely lies on the controller who gives it away if anything goes wrong

If my arse and career was on the line I wouldn't take the risk either, when things are busy. But what about when there is no one else in the air.... I'm sure all you controllers out there have done the graveyard shift at one time or another, therefore you would know how quite it gets, especially on the weekends! So have a thought for us freight dogs, who every time we go to work we are on the back of the clock. DCT tracking when the sky is empty will not get you fired. So have a thought for us in the air that could get on the ground earlier, save our company money and get more sleep!

2nd Dec 2003, 09:55
I have been told there are about 400 people in the brissy building, some controllers, some not.

And not all follow the directive......

Maybe you just get the wrong ones. :E

Gone Fishing
2nd Dec 2003, 10:57
Night Watch

Its not about "having balls" mate. Its about making sure I still have a job next week to pay the mortgage. I have no doubt that the next controller in Brisbane who has an incident where direct tracking is involved will be made an example of.

While I think the management directive is a crock of :mad: I will be abiding by it to the letter. I don't care if there is only one ACFT in my airspace.

You would be surprised to know how many incidents happen when things are quiet, putting 2 in close proximity is not the only way you can get stood down, missed coordination is a big one. The subsequent investigation will hang anyone who gave away direct tracking. I can see it now "By giving away Direct Tracking Controller A reduced by 10 seconds the amount of time he had available to coordinate the ACFT to the next sector BLAH BLAH BLAH".

You know that Brisbane controllers have been given a directive not to issue direct tracking, I would suggest that by constantly asking for it in the BN FIR you are behaving irresponsibly. We have voiced our concerns internally and I would suggest that if you don't agree with this directive both you and your company lobby ASA and CASA to get it changed.

Night Watch
2nd Dec 2003, 14:00
I've said it twice now and so will say it again for the third time..... I don't blame the controllers as I know that there hands are tied. It is CASA and ASA that have gone crazy.

Gone Fishing , point taken..... I'm sure your balls are huge ;)

I would suggest that by constantly asking for it in the BN FIR you are behaving irresponsibly.

As for that statment..... if YOU and the bloke next to you were consistent in the issuing of DCT tracking, we wouldn't ask. If you don't ask you don't get!

2nd Dec 2003, 15:19
Think some of you guys overestimate the benefits of direct tracking. Try drawing a few triangles some time and measure the actual difference between DCT and via the apex. Most times its less than a couple of miles. I used to laugh in the days before GPS when guys would ask for direct between 2 omnis, only to scallop all over the sky and add about 10 track miles.

2nd Dec 2003, 15:48
It is an absolute disgrace. Aussie Controllers have been far too slack for far too long. Being too lazy to offer direct tracking and vectoring services is one thing...:rolleyes: ..but to then, in the same breath, claim your "hands are tied" and "it is someone else's fault" is frankly, an outrage.:* These bludgers should all be required to undergo a few days ATC training in the US. Or preferably fired and replaced. You could teach any monkey to do a better job than that...:rolleyes: For cryin out loud, if you are that sensitive bout your arse on the line, you are in the wrong job.:hmm:

Gone Fishing
2nd Dec 2003, 16:08

I would love to offer a radar vectoring service, only problem is there is nor radar in my airspace mate.

If you want to compare AUS to US contollers then give us exactly the same system and tools, not some crappy weekend warrior hybrid system.

I don't know the exact figures but US 85% radar coverage AUS 15%.

It is my humble patriotic opinion that Aussies manage to do most things better than Yanks.

You just have to compare apples with apples. Of course that is hard when the Aussie apple on sale in the US has a 25% Tarrif put on it.

2nd Dec 2003, 18:05

You really are a complete [email protected]

That would probably explain why so many Aussie controllers have been snapped up by CAAs overseas and fit in better than most.
I can assure you they generally last a lot longer than your average loud mouth, opinionated Yank who spits the dummy when things get a bit hot.

3rd Dec 2003, 05:11
Night Watch,

I hear you - all alone up there at night at not allowed to go direct (by many, not all!).

I will let you in on the concern shared by most - it is not necessarily that you might put a couple close together when direct tracking was involved, it is more a case of if anything happens which requires paperwork.

e.g. You inadvertently dial a wrong number up on the freuqncy transfer, forget to call, and think nothing of the silence (don't worry, it has been done many times!). You only realise after you have been cruising along for 90 minutes that you are top of descent and nobody has given it to you yet - oops!

In the meantime, we have been watching (for those lucky enough to have RADAR) you trundle along in a perfectly straight line. Even the supervisor has commented on the cleared route as he takes down the details, but says nothing more. But all is OK when you pop up again, right?

That is until the paperwork goes in, just a friendly phone call to the company perhaps. But somebody's ears prick up out the back, and they ask you "just out of interest, why was he tracking direct SY?" "umm...." They decide to take it further, and if it's not your first indiscretion, well .... who knows. They have started making a big deal about this.

And nothing here was to do with you tracking direct.... :hmm:

3rd Dec 2003, 06:21
Our route structure manages many things, but there has to be some room for ATC initiative. [email protected] spoutings from Winstun don't affect the problem that ATC like myself have employers who have the right to issue instructions to me and my colleagues. Unless such instructions conflict with what I believe to be safe practice I don't have any alternative than to follow them. There is no point in bagging individual controllers, but I at least understand your frustration and won't expect you all to stop doing so. Even offering an opinion on ASA policy, (erm, like what I'm doing now,) is against my conditions of employment, which is why we hide behind the labels like KARRANK%, Topzalp, WWT, Neddy, ferris, etc... Another amazing DICK SMITH innovation:*

On the other hand, if I have a reason not to give direct tracking I won't, even if you ask 42 times...

On the other, other hand, if there is the remotest possibility of conflict with two aircraft (thinks: "well they come within 25nm of each other, but they are vertically separated, umm, AH! he might change level" TRACK DCT) we can sometimes unreasonably justify track shortening, just not if you the only aircraft in the sky.

Reasons the instruction is stupid:

We have race-track separated routes into SY & AD, yet when the curfew is on THEY AREN'T REQUIRED. The traffic at night just doesn't justify them, especially with noise abatement at AD putting arrivals and departures over the same end of the runway.

Some routes have procedural separation built in for occasions when the radar isn't working or to avoid Restricted airspace. Leaving the route there is nicely "failsafe", I don't have to reclear everybody when the sh1t hits the fan. An example is B469 north of AD, the only reason it goes through PAG is to miss R265 and give flights departing AD for the north a chance to get over crossing traffic. If R265 is released to us and the radar is working THERE IS NO REASON to not track-shorten.

3rd Dec 2003, 11:47
Oh goody, Whingestun is back.

So glad you could join us Whingey. Thankyou for offering your vast expertise in air traffic management to help solve this little conundrum.

I had not realised you were also an Air Traffic Controller, that really is quite some resume you have! Tell me, were you an ATC before you became a combat medic? or was it just after your stint as an Astronaut? Anyway it doesn't really matter, we don't need to see your credentials to see you know exactly what you are on about, that much obvious from your erudite post.

I for one am glad to see you back, your posts have done more harm to NAS than AFAP, AIPA and CIVILAIR combined. You provide an outstanding example of the lowest common denominator to which the system must be resistant. Every time you switch on your computer, the various Smiths must just cringe.

Better let you go Whingey, I think I hear Delta Force calling for you. Hate to keep you from winning the war on those pesky terrorists.

Night Watch
3rd Dec 2003, 12:48
Blastoid ..... Thanks for your informative posts. When I started this thread, I was really pissed off. Your (and the other ATCers) posts have helped shed some light on what you have to deal with control room. I have come to realise that your job job really sucks! To have management hang this over your head would really :mad: me off!

So.... whats the answer? Are we never going to see any more direct tracking for the rest of our aviation career? Is this permanent management directive or will it be reviewed after a period of time? It seems that both pilots and controllers alike, believe that the directive wont make things any safer.

After all.... pilots can be flying the PLN RTE and still forget to call after the transfer. Stuff ups by both aircrew and controllers will continue to happen, therefore i will be very surprised if after 12 months of no DCT tracking there are any less incidents. Then again they just introduced NAS....:ugh:

3rd Dec 2003, 15:23
99% of ATC think this instruction is foolishness. Unfortuneately ASA dont care much what we think, if you are dissatisfied with this situation, take it up with your management - hopefully if QANTAS and Virgin start complaining we can get something done about it.

4th Dec 2003, 05:24
Is a good point WWT, the 400kg gorilla with the red tail says they don't want track shortening, so nobody else should get it either. They appear to be getting their way...

Duff Man
5th Dec 2003, 04:56
Red tail management say they don't want track shortening. They tell their pilots not to ask for it. They tell their pilots to stick to timetable. Pilots see a corner cut can save 1.5 min off flight time. Pilots can't ask for direct tracking. Directly. Red tail pilots mention any track shortening, should it become available, would be greatly appreciated
what a crock

5th Dec 2003, 07:28
And an ATC may say "DCT to XXXXX is available, advise?"