View Full Version : QF94, You just don't get it: or MAESTRO and the "Mates Rates" button.

6th Sep 2005, 08:35
For the second morning in a row, the cash cow QF94, KLAX-YMML hasn't stopped whinging about having to slow down for preceding traffic.

Now, for those who are not aware, there is an agreement between airlines operating between the US and Australia (Direct) and ASA that a maximum delay of 5 mins will apply.

Fair enough I say, but fair suck of the sav fellas. On days where there is holding, 15 mins for some aircraft, you waltz on through with a 2 or 3 minute delay. Invariably you are following another aircraft from the TARAX stack. On the first occasion 94 was 10 miles behind and closing by 60 knots meaning minimum separation in five minutes.

Controller vectored 94 to be met with the 'QF WHINGE' read: "I am the only aircraft in the sky", or "we've been flying for 14 hours, who are you to slow us down"

Now it might not mean too much to you but apart form the safety of your pax and yourselves, if there's a breakdown in sep, controller gets stood down, perhaps re-training, naughty check or worse a training contract.

If you don't like slowing down or prefer vectors, why don't you say so instead of this petulant, juvenile behaviour you carry on with?

6th Sep 2005, 09:06
It is not just big aircraft. A certain privately owned BE20 piped up the other day that 'we are a King Air after all' when they had to maintain under an active notamed military area. The response from the controller was quick as a flash 'well the area is notamed as active, after all'.

Feather #3
6th Sep 2005, 09:15
Interestingly enough, if it were a flight arriving at LHR, they wouldn't quibble as there's no "deal" to c/x holding there.

Might be worth a chat to the powers that be.

G'day ;)

Earl Hadlea
6th Sep 2005, 10:07
........"we've been flying for 14 hours, who are you to slow us down"

Try that [email protected] in any busy European or US airport and they would be laughed out of the sky.

Waste of time talking to the powers that be - they are the worst culprits of the lot.


6th Sep 2005, 10:53
He flew through CAN a couple of weeks ago, was quite proud of myself remembering to push the "mate's rates" button. Everybody else was holding and he got a clean run.

The Middle-Eastern foreign-type flight from Dubai doesn't whinge.

Uncommon Sense
6th Sep 2005, 12:17
Does he complain to himself if the airport is fogged in?

Or just curse himself that he forgot to pencil in CAVOK in the diary?

No good getting uptight with these types - they are past learning anything new.

They probably never consider that plenty of the Oz voices they speak to in Oz are the same Oz voices they hear in Canada, Europe, HK etc. and have seen it all before.

(Anyhow, if you really need to slow a QF 744 down I am sure you know the precise phrase that works every time: "Request Maximum Speed".)

Cockpit Door-Closed
6th Sep 2005, 12:46
Can't understand his complaint about having to slow down. He's on overtime! Which is probably the reason why he chose to do that sector in the first place.


VH-Cheer Up
6th Sep 2005, 21:02
proud of myself remembering to push the "mate's rates" button

Pray tell... What's the "mate's rates" button do, how does that work?

SM4 Pirate
6th Sep 2005, 22:34
"Mates Rates" Maximum delay that MAESTRO is allowed to apply to that particular aircraft.

It is most embarrassing if you forget to apply a maximum delay and MAESTRO applies something over the 'agreed' maximum delay, like 30 minutes...

VH-Cheer Up
6th Sep 2005, 22:57
Thanks SM4 Pirate...

Interested how a max delay is determined for any particular aircraft.

Is there a preference give to particular carriers or flights?

Who decides?

Does this mean crews need to negotiate better with controllers for more favourable treatment?

Or does it all come down to some kind of deal between the management of AirServices and the airlines?

Or is it just good luck on the day?



SM4 Pirate
7th Sep 2005, 00:16
Nothing sinister VH-CU,

MAESTRO works everything out based on your estimate for the threshold, applies the landing rate (set by the flow) and works out the order and the delay needed for each and every aircraft. MAESTRO picks it based on the estimate nothing more or less; this is why it's important to have an acurate TAS in your Flight Plan, the FDR works the estimate from your flight planed TAS, Grib winds and a 'predicted trajectory'. all these things may be inaccurate so that is why it doesn't always get it right, but it applies the same method to all so law of averages says it gets it mostly right.

If you get a mates rate (defined offline who gets them, Med1 etc; flights from Continental USA, Africa etc. aircraft in an emergency scenario, MIL VIPs etc.) we need to remember who gets priority otherwise it doesn't always workout correctly.

MAESTRO works everything out on 'planned' times taken from our FDRs. It is very flexible (sometimes not!) but is getting smarter every upgrade. Aerodromes such as Canberra - Sydney; get put in the sequence based on a slot time for departure; which is a strategic decision but often needs to be modified in a tactical way to ensure slots are not lost; this can be tricky.

If 7 aircraft are arriving at 0831 in the morning, maestro will pick the order; but if you speed up ever so slightly you may go from number 7 to number 1. The order is stabilised about 30 minutes before landing... But things can still change for tactical reasons.

When we start applying a delay early; it's because we've taken the order and 'frozen it' so that variations in the FDRs don't affect the entire order. If you've got 7 aircraft at 0831 and a 2.5 minute landing rate number 7 needs about a 15 minute delay; get in early if you can rather than just go to holding, right? Sometimes of course there is nothing at 0829 so we start making 1st go fast etc. and tighten the line behind.

There are different Mates Rates too, Zero Delay applied, 5, 10, 15, 30 maximum applied. Sometimes we give a MIL VIP Zero Delay, establish a line behind that aircraft and then get a call that "we need to meet a specific on blocks time"; which means 3 or 4 need to get in front, embarrassing if you’ve just finished applying the delay already; answer usually means slots lost…

The classic slow down, now speed up scenario.

Another reason for the slow down then speed up is "separation"; often pilots assume we could have just given an interim speed instead of the too slow speed; but this doesn't always work for 'separation' it's not always just about the sequence, hey QFA94?

7th Sep 2005, 02:32
If I may, this is exactly what PPRuNe is all about, we learn about others problems from each other.

7th Sep 2005, 03:13
Good grief Pirate! This post should be cut'n'pasted into MATS to replace the gibberish that's there. You could almost be forgiven for assuming you understand it!!!:cool:

VH-Cheer Up
7th Sep 2005, 05:12
Of course you may, Woomera. Handing out bouquets must make a pleasant change from jury, judge and executioner duties.

SM4 Pirate Wow. Thanks. That is a truly breathtaking piece of clarity and one which I hope will be appreciated by many other Ppruners.


Contract Con
7th Sep 2005, 07:30
Good onya SM4:ok:

Now, any chance someone from NZ ATC may read SM4's post and take some of it in:confused:

Flow? Co-ordination between sectors?? Naaaaah!:mad:


Contract Con:ok:

Uncommon Sense
7th Sep 2005, 13:05
These flowed sequences may also be achieved by augmenting the descent speeds.

Such instructions to achieve this include:

MX - Maximum Cruise, Descent Speed
CSR - Cancel STAR Speed Restrictions
PISSOFF - Pilot Initiated STAR Speed until Over the Final Fix

7th Sep 2005, 14:07
Maestro requires accurate profile information from the airlines as well. This data must be updated in the software other wise you have maestro telling you what the aircraft should be doing as opposed to what the aircraft is actually doing. One enormous p!ss off for us was when QF decided to fly econ descent speeds. The first the operational controller found out about this was when a controller had a 737 following a QF 767, the 737 was catching the 767 by around 60kts on the descent. To minimise delays a controller 'streams' aircraft, that is, when maestro indicates no delay an en-rooter controller will aim to have 8 miles between the aircraft (with no closing speed) at hand off to approach (40 miles or so) you are running a happy 10 miles, it starts closing rapidy to 8 and the aircraft are still 60-70 miles out. VECTOR TIME!

We now have QF 767's doing around 265kts, QF734's 300kts QF737 and 8's a mixture of speeds and the 330's doing all sorts of wierd and wonderful speeds.

Everyone used to do 300kts above ten thousand, try working out the above mess? You don't know what they are doing now unless you ask, it's a pain in the ar$e to have to ask every QF pilot what he will be doing on descent.

The communication between ASA and Qantas is appalling. If the communication isn't appalling, why isn't is getting through to the console?

7th Sep 2005, 21:15
None of this explains why Aust ATC flow control remains the worst I have seen anywhere in the world.

25 years of operating to LAX, LHR, FRA and assorted other dearly departed destinations with very complex airspace requirements and with shedloads more traffic than Syd, and rarely are we dicked around as much as we are in australia.

Sorry to the ATCO's, it may well not be your fault (could be systemic I realise), but there is another side to the coin.

Oh, and if the 94 is such a cash cow why arent Delta, American and Virgin Blue flying mel-lax also ?

king oath
7th Sep 2005, 23:38
En Rooter.

Its good to hear from the other side of the fence.

When QF introduced these "econ" descent speeds the rank and file were told not to worry. QF and ASA had been in discussions and everyone knew what was going on, and everyone was happy. Now from the coal face we find out this was all bullsh*t.

The amount of fuel saved on these descents is 3/5 of 5/8 of f**k all. However Managers being bonus driven, are looking at unreasonable solutions with no consideration for the bigger picture or those who have to work with this rubbish.

Thanks for exposing the lies.

Silly Sosij
8th Sep 2005, 01:55

I've never had to wait for over an hour on the ground for a startup clearance and departure slot in Australia, the way I frequently have to in Europe. In fact, apart from the occasional speed up, no slow down, now speed up again (which has been explained pretty well above), and the ridiculous LTOP modes forcing me to land with downwind at YSSY, I've never been "dicked around" here. Yes, maybe it's because there's less traffic, but maybe, just maybe, these guys and girls are doing a decent job of it. I appreciate your efforts anyway, En-Rooter and others.

As to your final question, I wasn't quite sure if it was rhetorical or not, because it seems to indicate a distinct lack of awareness of how the industry works. Just in case you did want an answer though, I can't comment on whether QF94 is making a killing, but I daresay that the minister for Qantas (and all his predecessors and successors) won't grant third and fourth freedom rights to the likes of Delta and American, ESPECIALLY if it's a cash cow! And Virgin Blue probably won't do it either because they're a domestic airline! :rolleyes:

8th Sep 2005, 02:21
None of this explains why Aust ATC flow control remains the worst I have seen anywhere in the world.

25 years of operating to LAX, LHR, FRA and assorted other dearly departed destinations with very complex airspace requirements and with shedloads more traffic than Syd, and rarely are we dicked around as much as we are in australia.

Sorry to the ATCO's, it may well not be your fault (could be systemic I realise), but there is another side to the coin.

Oh, and if the 94 is such a cash cow why arent Delta, American and Virgin Blue flying mel-lax also ?
fartsock, you weren't QFA94's Captain by any chance? :ouch:

8th Sep 2005, 02:35
No (too junior to get LA's) - and I never winge over the radio, its pointless.

I dont condone those that do either, they make the rest of us look bad

Jenna Talia
8th Sep 2005, 05:17
Could one of the controllers from Sydney explain why the idiotic PRM system is used?

It is not unusual to be slowed to min speed in the climb upon entering Class E and maintain this all the way to Sydney then 20 miles further out before finally landing.

I was told when this system started it was to fit more traffic into Sydney per hour, but it seems so inefficient and must cost airlines hundreds of thousands throughout the year. Not to mention the dominoe effect for the remainder of the day after arriving at the gate up to 30 minutes late.

Can't just simple ILS approaches with radar vectors be used?

Not having a go at ATCers, just after the reasons why were are burdened with such a frustrating and inefficient system.

8th Sep 2005, 05:33
A little birdy once told me that whenever the Approach/Departure procedures at Sydney are modified, the first thing they do is overlay the TAC with an electoral boundary map, and then go from there. Please direct all complaints about SY (delays, track miles, holding, vectors, SIDs, STARs etc etc et fkn c) to your local member :mad:

Uncommon Sense
8th Sep 2005, 07:56

Why would an ATC be able to even vaguely answer your question?

Like you, they only look at the black and white no bullshit approach to the fastest simplest operational solution.

Everything else is political bullshit - elected and company varieties.

The poor bastards flying the planes and controlling the planes just have to work around the ever increasing piles of it.

Bitching amongst ourselves just makes it worse.

8th Sep 2005, 11:51
The Middle-Eastern foreign-type flight from Dubai doesn't whinge.
Same one that was whinging that a 'domestic flight' had his optimum level over WA enroute to Melbourne?

8th Sep 2005, 22:06
"The amount of fuel saved on these descents is 3/5 of 5/8 of f**k all."

Shame really, coz it regularly costs you a slot in the sequence. It's always safer to make QF #2 now.

"Same one that was whinging that a 'domestic flight' had his optimum level over WA enroute to Melbourne"

And being WA it was probably a King Air with no Y or W??? Would appear they expect to be d*cked around near airports but have the desert to themselves:}

9th Sep 2005, 01:48
King Oath,

I'm sure that someone from QF and ASA were in 'deep' discussion about the new speeds, no doubt augmented by company expense accounts and allsorts of posturing about how good each other was and how important the relationship was!

Unfortunately, nobody told us! The first we knew was after a couple of days of trying to work out why everyone was catching you fellows by 40, 50, 60 knots on the descent. A sneaky little memo appeared in our new info book.

As Karrank states above, it's easier in alot of cases to make the bloke that gets in the way no2, it really should be impressed on you fellows and your company that you are losing slots due to this policy which in the long run will cost you more money, ironic really.

You've had 25 years at this game and still too junior to get LA, man that's a long que!

9th Sep 2005, 02:18

It doesnt surprise me that noone told you. We were all given a nice shiny memo from 'dolly' which said that the whole thing had been coordinated ect ect.

Having said that, is it going to help if we tell you what speed we would like to do on descent. ?

If so we can put the word amound as best is possible.

Actually, now I think about it, I dont even want to go to LA, but it gives me something else to winge about


9th Sep 2005, 02:52
Having said that, is it going to help if we tell you what speed we would like to do on descent. ?

99 times out of 100, if you ask for it the controller will try and make it happen. Information is power, speak up or forever hold your peace.

Duff Man
9th Sep 2005, 06:32
PRM increases the landing rate during peak periods affected by low cloud, to a number more-or-less equivalent to IVAs.

It reduces overall holding (but you get an extra 20 track miles for free).

It avoids the situation where a PA31 backs up the whole sequence to minimum approach speed from 15NM by allowing overtaking during IMC.

It gives a couple of controllers a couple of hundred bucks each for coming in on their day off for the privilidge of staffing PRM.

From what I'm told, it's a inefficient traffic management tool however the "saving to industry" is enough to warrent continued use.

9th Sep 2005, 06:57
Fartsock and other QF's,

What will work when you come onto 132.2 (can't speak for the the other freq's, perhaps an ATC from the others sectors could contribute??) is:

"Centre, QF... speed on descent 265kts, estimate Narel..... unless it affects our slot in the sequence or slows the aircraft behind we can descend at 300, 320kts etc, new estimate for Narel......."

Believe it or not even 1 minute later at the fix can shove you back 5 to 10 (or even more) minutes in the sequence.


Roger Standby
9th Sep 2005, 08:16
Maestro, the tool the airlines asked for. A slight digression if I may...

There has been recent complaints about aircraft in the hold being allowed to track and speed as desired in the pattern to meet a feeder fix time. No Stack Departure time. We realize that this is harder to do with the little boxes, but feeder fixes require you to be at the fix at the time specified. A stack departure time allows you to be a minute early or 30 seconds late out of the hold. If two aircraft in a row are at these extremes then we either get two at the fix at the same time or at the other extreme, a slot disappers and everyone gets pushed back again.

The airlines asked for this system. We all have to work with it.



9th Sep 2005, 09:30

Will give it a crack. The only problem is that revised estimate / different crossing time thing at Narel might be hard to organise on the fly given the limitations of some a/c's FMC's.

All this begs the question of course - why didnt the line pilots get togther with the line ATCO's and short this ***** out in the first place?

Our pilot managers really are abymismal, more focused on bonuses than the operation.

Uncommon Sense
9th Sep 2005, 11:03
Instead the respective Managers get together (probably interstate or over a free 5 Star Lunch) and compare bonuses and Frequent Flyer Points - and who has got the flashest leased German Car.

They probably even believe their own rhetoric.

9th Sep 2005, 12:33
It is quite some revelation that essence of Maestro is based on flight plan data rather than the use of real-time radar speed and positional data.

That would appear to be the magic ingredient that makes it so wonderful in producing such quizzical and shocked looks across the flight deck when receiving conflicting speed control instructions from sequential control agencies!

I hope we have a copyright on that software so no one else in the world is allowed to use it!

9th Sep 2005, 14:12
It is quite some revelation that essence of Maestro is based on flight plan data rather than the use of real-time radar speed and positional data.

That would appear to be the magic ingredient that makes it so wonderful in producing such quizzical and shocked looks across the flight deck when receiving conflicting speed control instructions from sequential control agencies!

I hope we have a copyright on that software so no one else in the world is allowed to use it!

eeets Frrench sheet :mad:

9th Sep 2005, 22:43
Not only is it French, but it costs a lot of money to buy the licence to use it!

It's not the only ATC Flow management tool used around the world, but it is considered one of the better ones!

It still requires a lot of human intervention, eg. into BN the heavy has to do the instrument star with the 737 doing the visual star, MAESTRO will put both acft at the same feeder fix at the same time. Instrument star has more track miles, hence for a nice 150 second sequence, feeder fix time computed to be the same. Outcome, ATC will either re-route the 737, or the FLOW will manipulate MAESTRO to get an achievable result.

Of course with major weather diversions, MAESTRO can't cope, and the FLOW works his ring off!

Jenna Talia
10th Sep 2005, 01:51
Uncommon Sense,

Why would an ATC be able to even vaguely answer your question?

I assume that Duff Man is ATC and he had not problem answering my question in an informative and succinct manner.

Bitching amongst ourselves just makes it worse.

No one is bitching amongst anyone. I even stressed at the end of the thread that I was not having a go at ATCers.

Duff Man,

From sitting in the pointy end, it is difficult to see how there are any savings to the industry. There are no worse delays in Sydney (IMHO) than this system.

Thanks for your explanation, it is much appreciated.

Uncommon Sense
10th Sep 2005, 02:15

Quite right.

I over reacted after a shitty day.


Jenna Talia
10th Sep 2005, 02:20
No worries :ok:

10th Sep 2005, 22:02
So what are the critical "fields" that MAESTRO looks at from the flight notification ??

Our company uses a generic TAS for each a/c type and a nil wind time interval. Would fine tuning these items in the notification help MAESTRO better sequence us ?? (The differences are rarely more than 2 to 3 mins on the TI and maybe 5 kts TAS)

Do radar derived groundspeeds and ETI's come into play ??

10th Sep 2005, 22:27
Radar speed is not used at all. The times are based on your estimate for the feeder fix calculated via you flight plan TAS and the forecast winds. That 3 minutes you talk of will shunt you back.

I note Virgin aircraft plan an economy cruise often but don't actually fly that slow (around a 380 TAS). Even though you may really be doing 440 TAS, unless you tell us and we change the flight plan, Maestro will calculate you order in the sequence using the actual TAS in the flight plan and you will find yourself being pushed back down the line.

Times when you are being sequenced with aircraft around you, it is obvious when the TAS is wrong but if you are following a stream from the other direction, you will just have no chance of us picking it up.

Additionally for Eastern Dash 8 types, when you change aircraft and the change is to get a 200 or 300 when initially flight planned as a 100 series, your company usually changes the rego and type but not the TAS resulting in your TAS being 240 as opposed to the usual 270 for the other types. This often costs you slots as well. We have no need to check it and coming into Sydney from the north it is not obvious as usually some are from the north west and others from the north east and with the prevailing wind, your groundspeed wont give it away unless you are following directly in trail.

All of this said, we as do physically update the feeder fix time using the ground speed but in a full runway situation a wrong TAS will still cost you when you are dead heating with 1 or more aircraft.

11th Sep 2005, 01:37
It is somewhat simplistic to state that the radar data is not used by Maestro. Maestro is sold by Sofraevia with a version that does update from radar, however in Australia this would be of limited use as there is only limited radar coverage.

Maestro receives updates from the electronic flight plan that is held in the Eurocat system. The electronic FP in turn receives regular updates from RADAR, ADSB, ADS and Controller input.

If you are on a long sector it would probably be worth updating Cruisin TAS / MACH which the controller can then input to the TAAATS electronic flight plan. Even better review the company FP so that it is correct when submitted.

11th Sep 2005, 07:05
True but those updates only say I am 'here' 'now' and then calculates the onwards times using the Flight Plan TAS. With respect to Radar, nothing gets locked in until well into Radar coverage so i reckon that that Radar version would rock. In true AsA fashion, the buy the wrong tools.

coitus interuptus
11th Sep 2005, 09:47
Tobzalp. I have never seen a TAS anywhere near that low (380 knots), either on a flight plan or in the FMC with a very low cost index. Perhaps with a u/s pack and we are flying at or below FL 250, but certainly not at normal cruise levels.

Typically with a strong head wind, cruise TAS would be around 450-460 and with a strong tail wind around 430 - 440 (depending on weight , level and type etc).

Not trying to be smart, just letting you know what we see.

11th Sep 2005, 11:08
Useful info ! Thanks guys :-)

11th Sep 2005, 11:35
Coit. We do indeed see such things. Many times there are TAs's in the 380s 390s. It seemed to start with the De Icing issues out of Tassie in the mornings but recently the speeds have occured again. Some of my minions have asked the crews and they claim it is economy speed. Always in 7 or 800s. Sometimes these speeds are actually flown and when a QFA 800 73 gets behind you and has 50 or so knots closing it becomes very obvious.

QFA sometimes plan not above M.68 and F260 but more often than not go above that level and faster with no revision of the plan.

11th Sep 2005, 12:48

Backin' up tobz on the tas issue, have seen it in the 380's often.


If it uses radar data at all it does a very bad job. One of the other problems with the FPOFS (Farkin' Piece Of French Sh!t) is you 'lock in' an estimate for the fix, and the FPOFS keeps re-calculating the estimate and continues to change it. Then you change it back and then it changes it back and then you change it back etc etc etc.

coitus interuptus
12th Sep 2005, 21:36
Sorry to keep this away from the original topic but there is some good info here.

ATCO's, perhaps you could PM me with some actual stats next time the low TAS scenario presents itself.

The only time I can imagine a low TAS being the norm is if a ECON cruise is planned at low level (approx FL 280) or below due to strong headwinds up at altitude.

To quote some figures from a B737-700 performance manual at LRC (long range cruise), (which is slightly faster than ECON most of the time).

At an average of 60 tons the following applies,

FL 310 Mach 0.721 / TAS 429
FL 330 Mach 0.751 / TAS 437
FL 350 Mach 0.765 / TAS 441
FL 370 Mach 0.779 / TAS 447
FL 390 Mack 0.790 / TAS 453

In a 800 series a/c a 65 ton average would be applied so the speeds would be slightly higher. (These figures are based on short sectors. Longer sectors would have considerably higher weights and therefore higher speeds).

It would be nice if we were all singing from the same hymn sheet to enable a more pro-active assessment of traffic processing.

12th Sep 2005, 23:45

thats all well and good, but it doesn't help much if it's not in the flightplan :ouch:

13th Sep 2005, 00:35
Thta is the point as Hempy made. How the actual aircraft flown is neither here nor there. It is when the way it is flown and the flight plan are different. these slow TASs are done at normal levels(planned).

coitus interuptus
13th Sep 2005, 06:55
The point I was trying to make is the plans we are issued with NEVER have a 380 kt TAS at normal cruise levels. NEVER! At the heavier weights the stick shaker would be having a field day.

As a general rule most pilots do not change the ECON configuration either, so there is quite obviously a difference in the info you are given and what we operate to.

As our EBA drags on you may find more and more crews upping the speed to burn more gas and get the morons in head office to listen to our concerns.

I just want to know why you have a 380 etc TAS on your paperwork and we do not.

P.S. ANY time you want us to go faster , please ask. Most will only be too happy to oblige. (0.81/335)

Tks for the feedback.

13th Sep 2005, 08:39

Check PM's


Capt Claret
13th Sep 2005, 11:41
380 TAS is what most One Fower Suxes plan at. Most still have a red tail and white roo.

Uncommon Sense
13th Sep 2005, 11:48
Do any VB drivers know what the FPL interface is from COY despatch to NAIPS / TAAATS?

I wonder if you as the driver are getting a cockpit copy that is different to whatever is punching in to the ATS system?

Not doubting what your FPL and CI says - just what our system is capturing. Out of interest I looked this morning at a few VB DEPS out of BN and noticed quite a spread in the FPL TAS.

Todya would have been all academic anyway due to the inability of the FPOS to handle the varying westerlies.

As someone who used to do Flow the 'old' way, there is a common sysing that if the FPOS was being checked on most days it would 'fail' the rating check! I think if it had the ability to dynamically update it's descent profiles through real-time 'actual' winds aloft (via ACARS or other DATA link) it would do a much better job.

But then again I am just a dumb controller.

Dookie on Drums
13th Sep 2005, 22:18
Uncommon Sense and others,

The issue that presents itself is that the flight plan will always be planned at ECON no matter what the level may be. Therefore with say a CI of 15 up at FL410 you may get a M.77 CRZ while down lower at FL260 or thereabouts it will drop it back to M.64 in the interests of fuel conservation.

The problem lies when the drivers blast off and reach a planned CRZ LVL of FL260 for example and see that the CI is only giving them M.64 that they then intervene and wind up the speed on their accord.

A headache for you guys as whatever was planned to go through MAESTRO you may as well discard. To top it off some drivers then question why the planned fuel burn was different from actual :hmm:

The drivers get the same copy as is punched through the ATS system via the AFTN.

Hope this helps :ok:

Here is a question for you guys (ATC) now. If we ask an aircraft enroute to make best speed due curfew or whatever then what is the best way to inform ATC of the new TAS? Via a CHANGE MSG? I don't know if that would apply for an already airborne aircraft.

Look forward to your replies :)

Uncommon Sense
14th Sep 2005, 07:20
Thanks for the answer.

I am not an ENR controller, but I would say the quickest way is the pilot simply telling the controller (VHF or CPDLC). He/She can quickly punch it in to TAAATS. Perhaps a sector dude/dudette can confirm/deny?

coitus interuptus
14th Sep 2005, 23:19
The issue that presents itself is that the flight plan will always be planned at ECON no matter what the level may be.
With the greatest of respect, that is not entirely correct. I have operated high speed plans for curfew restraints or schedule requests by ops. Sometimes an actual plan is delivered to the a/c and other times it is a verbal request. The high speed plans are typicaly around 330 kt climb, M0.80 crz and M0.80/330kt descent.
The verbal requests from ops are probably the ones that cause some confusion by ATC as the original plan was at ECON (as is usually the case).

Dookie, perhaps if the drivers were informed of this info it may enhance the level of understanding. We are given nothing and are told nothing. The whole relationship between ATC/flight planning (submission and execution) and our operation should be in writing for all to learn. The information vacuum in both training and line operations is a disgrace. We read dozens of pages of BS daily and along with the forrest of amendments, it is becoming farcical. I would like some good gen we can actually use as opposed to memorising cabin crew evacuation commands.

Dookie on Drums
14th Sep 2005, 23:29

Apologies. You are in fact correct. What I should have stated is that a flight plan will
normally be planned at ECON. Yes, a MINTIME plan will be given for curfew restraints whilst the aircraft is still on the ground and as you say sometimes verbally should we foresee an issue down the line and you are already en route.

As far as I know your department is supposed to inform you guys and keep you up to speed but as it turns out it is not always the case.

Totally agree with your sentiments. I would love to see more interaction between the drivers and our operations but more often than not the drivers are more interested in their rosters!:p

15th Sep 2005, 01:01
but I would say the quickest way is the pilot simply telling the controller (VHF or CPDLC). He/She can quickly punch it in to TAAATS.


Dookie on Drums
15th Sep 2005, 02:01
Thanks for that Hempy and Uncommon Sense! :ok:

15th Sep 2005, 11:42
My thoughts on this whole speed stuff!

1. On reaching TOC ATC are informed if your TAS will be say+/- 10kts from FPL. We can then amend the FDR in the blink of an eye and all sectors down the line will have the info. So will MAESTRO.
2. With respect to descent speeds and the current situation i.e. Raffertys Rules. If you are not asked what your speed will be on descent prior to TOD then when assigned descent clearance read back the assigned level and your planned descent speed.

Simple stuff really. Maybe i`ll start the paperwork tomorrow. We should have something in AIP by 2007.

15th Sep 2005, 12:30
Don't be too harsh on the old Q.

Let em have their glory down under as anywhere else they are just that little airline from down there somewhere.

Up our way they are generally well behaved as the fish bowl is a whooole lot bigger and I guess their chests a little less puffed.

Waste Gate
16th Sep 2005, 03:41
This was a great/interesting/informative thread until you chimed in Roadrunner:hmm: :hmm:

20th Sep 2005, 01:11
Erm. I may be displaying my profound ignorance of the system here, but what effect would FPL TAS have on the descent?

Taaarts processing uses FPL TAS & GRIB wind data for calculations in the cruise, and this is why AIP says please tell us if you are doing other than planned. The fix time MAESTRO posits would be largely based on this also I expect (don't know, don't care).

But for climb or descent Taarts uses the performance data files from the bowels of the system plus GRIB rather than anything in the flight plan, and I understood MAESTRO does much the same, from it's own performance data files that know there's a difference to how CSN & QFA fly the same aircraft type.

Whatever the pilot says and we punch in to the flight plan won't change what the machine says. Unless I'm wrong again...

20th Sep 2005, 01:18
But it all gets locked in prior to descent. The descent speed is only an issue as it is so inconsistent from day to day. 2 like type company (Q) aircraft can be descending at 40 or so knots different. TARTS is not smart enough to know that.

21st Sep 2005, 07:55
While we are on the subject, I just love these columns:

"Center, you mean to tell me we've got to hold for 30 minutes to get into Hickory?"

Let me be blunt here, folks: This is not a good way to start a relationship with a controller you just checked in with. If you get a 30-minute hold into a small airport, I can understand that you might be surprised. What you -- the pilot -- need to understand is that controllers don't hand out lengthy holds because we're bored. It's usually because we are very, very busy. The best thing you can do -- the very best thing -- is to read the clearance back and comply with it, and hopefully the controller will find a spare moment to explain the situation

From: http://www.avweb.com/news/columns/190503-1.html

By the way - almost unique to Australia - there is no 'D- side'. It's a one-man(woman) show.

Roger Standby
21st Sep 2005, 16:26
Karrank is correct- the data on speeds of a/c type for the route from the feeder to landing are defined offline by ASA's TMA gurus and are updated if they find regular inconsistencies.

TAS, SHMAZ. Put 120k as a TAS in a 738 plan and you'll more than likely still cross the feeder at the same time if you had the correct TAS in the plan. The fact is if Maestro inputs that you'll cross narelle at 34 and our Bearing and Range Line says 26 and we allow for a couple of minutes for reduced speed on descent, we manually input the revised untouched revised time of 28 and that's what goes in the system. We check every time and update as required. Once locked in, Maestro CANNOT change that time, it simply calculates the delay required to get you evenly spread at the field.

It is surprising how much controllers are focusing on TAS in this thread. The only time this may affect your slot is if things are so busy and delays are extensive, controllers may abandon revising fix times and say stuff it, we'll go with what the system says.

Most of the time the times are set by us based on our estimates from the radar data, expected time loss on descent, crappy or not so crappy descent expected speeds. Patterns are also taken into account eg. we expect the cowboys in the westwinds will go like the clappers as long as they can, Qf can lose the standard two minutes plus an extra couple for the bean counters and some carriers like PAL want to be at A090 by 65DME so we add 5 minutes for them. Pure difined data does not work.



SM4 Pirate
22nd Sep 2005, 02:21
Once locked in, Maestro CANNOT change that time, it simply calculates the delay required to get you evenly spread at the field. The TAS is very important, whenever there is a runway configuration or a rate change the FDR times are 'reposted' for the feeder fix; the more accurate they are in the first place the better. How many times have you seen a Dash-8 get replace with a lesser model and then have to 're-enter' the ETA_FF, again and again. Can effect the sequence dramatically if the 'flow' freezes on the reconfig, aircraft can lose valuable slots because the TAS is wrong. Generally the effect is minimal, but I certainly have seen a 3 or 4 slot shift because of a wrong TAS.

How many times have you adjusted an ETA_FF and the flow or someone else adjusts it back, because it's showing a -1 or +1 not a zero. The correct TAS can certainly help reduce the 'fiddling' by those who can't help it.

RS I can't believe that you would ever 'fall back' on system times for your sequence, even when busy...

FS, hang on a minute, he's talking about a Class D aerodrome with E airspace all around, that means no delay beacuse it's a flexible, efficient system, isn't it? Surely the NAS people haven't lied to us.

Roger Standby
22nd Sep 2005, 13:26
SM4 Pirate, a late night post, and I should clarify... the only time I wouldn't reinput times is when working arrivals, a runway configuration change occurs and there are no blank slots for the next 60 mins or so. Generally the flow sorts the mess out the way he/she wants it and we get on with it. I'm sure that if you've got aircraft in the hold/vectoring all over the sky and a runway change occurs, you don't go re entering all the data again.

Quite frankly I don't know anyone who looks at the + or - as that is what Maestro thinks the error is, and is probably wrong.



23rd Sep 2005, 01:23
R S,

Not quite sure where you're sitting when it comes to maestro but a time is not locked in once you change it. It's locked when the flow or maestro 'freezes' it, but not before. I find it a major pain to be changing a time to better reflect what the aircraft is doing and to have to make a note of that time and to constantly change it because maestro persists in re-calcualting it every time it gets an update.

It is a dumb system that should rely more on radar derived data and controller input rather than having about 10 different parameters input.

I just don't get it, why spend all this money on a system that requires more intervention than before? Remember prior to maestro the flow set the order and we complied, if things weren't running to plan he'd adjust the order. Now we've got maestro, the flow, an en-root controller and an arrivals controller (multiplied by three feeder sectors and arrivals sectors) all adjusting and updating the elephant????

Stupid system complicated to make it look good to the customer!

24th Sep 2005, 05:00
En-Rooter, has the move by the EK for their flights to operate ECON speed descents contributed to the situation or is the frequency not significant enough?

Do any other airlines appear to do the same?

26th Sep 2005, 00:18
G'Day SandIgger,

The problem is any aircraft that does something other than what they've told us they are doing. That is, if maestro is told that you are doing 300 knots til 10,000ft and you are acually doing 265kts, maestro will sequence you and perhaps more importantly the aircraft behind you based on the 300kt data.

I tend to ask internationals what speed they are doing on the descent, it's not that we don't trust you, it's probably that if you don't operate into a port often you probably descend a little slower??

Not quite sure how many internationals have started the econ descents, but yes it does affect how you sequence. Perhaps that's what happened into CS the other day, perhaps they knew the bloke behind was going to go balls out and the other fella was going to econ descent??


26th Sep 2005, 14:28
Roger Standby,

Sorry, a bit off thread, but please don't label Westwind pilots cowboys. Name calling can be dangerous, even if not meant maliciously.

Hops down from soapbox... you must have hit a nerve.


26th Sep 2005, 17:37
Once locked in, Maestro CANNOT change that time, it simply calculates the delay required to get you evenly spread at the field.

I'm with you R-S.
The estimate must be locked in otherwise, if you slow the aircraft to make good the FF estimate without locking in the time, Maestro will start recalculating the "pecking order" for landing and start bumping the aircraft back.
Once the FF is stable then the die is cast (unless the FLOW wants to rearrange things):ok:

27th Sep 2005, 09:56
Think you blokes need a refresher, it won't change when it's frozen. Making a time stable is not making it frozen.

Next time you check a time and have to change it, check it again in about 5 minutes and let me know what happens?

Boags premium six pack in it for both of you if you prove me wrong.


27th Sep 2005, 14:11
I will take 3 of those because you can change it when frozen. But you are correct if you mean a slot opens in front.

Roger Standby
27th Sep 2005, 15:28

My apologies if I offended. I love the way you guys fly your aircraft. I would love to see the world from the angle you guys do with cancel speed, no height requirement!

Back to the Maestro thing. I'll try to be more specific. Once the ETA-FF is set in place (that is the time that we think the aircraft will cross the fix untouched- all aircraft are checked and the times modified if maestro has suggested the wrong time, which is usually) it does not change. Regardless of the TAS in the flight plan, we recheck the time and enter ourselves and it stays fixed. Maestro then sorts the order it wants the planes in based on these times AND system data which the flow has determined offline for each aircraft type and the time it takes that type to reach the field from that particular fix.

The time from the fix to the field is not determined by TAS, but by data locked into the syestem which the flow ammends every now and then on a data upgrade.

Certainly times at the fix do change constantly and are a pain in the a$$, but we fix the initial estimates and maestro cannot change them unless reconfigured.


27th Sep 2005, 15:37
Config change or recalc will be based on TAS.