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7378FE
24th Dec 2009, 18:47
On 22/12 there was a breakdown in separation between a Cathay Pacific A330 (B-HLV) (HKG-MEL) and a Virgin Blue B737 (VH-VUJ) (MEL-DRW) at FL370 somewhere over NT.

from the ATSB

An Airbus Industrie A330 was southbound at FL370 and a Boeing Company 737 was northbound on the reciprocal track also at non-standard FL370. When the crew of the A330 questioned the controller, the controller instructed the A330 crew to climb to FL380 and cleared the aircraft to divert right of track. The crew of the 737 then advised the controller they were diverting 10 NM right of track. There was a breakdown of separation standards. The investigation is continuing.


Merry Christmas
DJ737

chimbu warrior
24th Dec 2009, 22:58
Non-standard levels are a risk especially outside radar coverage. If I ever end up at a non-standard level (rare), I fly a strategic lateral offset. The accuracy of modern nav systems is too good........

What irks me even more are people who ask for block levels covering about 4,000'. In turbulence maybe a 2,000' block can be justified, but some carriers are just plain inconsiderate when regularly requesting block levels.

Checkerboard
25th Dec 2009, 00:09
I noticed in the last ammendment in the ATC section of Jepps it now states that any request for a non standard level has to include the phrase "due to operational requirement".
I would not consider winds or travelling closer to optimum level an operational requirement unless fuel critical. Maybe ATC needs to be less generous with non standard level approvals unless pilots start using this phrase and they have a genuine need for a non standard level.

Keg
25th Dec 2009, 04:17
...but some carriers are just plain inconsiderate when regularly requesting block levels.

If it's not available ATC don't grant it. If having been granted it the clearance will subsequently become a problem ATC modify or cancel it. I'm not sure what the issue is for you if someone else gets a block clearance whether it's 2000' or 10,000'. :confused:

waren9
25th Dec 2009, 13:11
And further to Kegs post,

I'm not sure what relevance "operational requirements" should have on whether or not a non standard level should be requested or given.

Like Keg says, either its available or its not. If you're at a non standard level, you're the first one to get shifted if it doesn't suit anyway (in my experience).

ferris
26th Dec 2009, 21:28
either its available or its not Yeah, but you are talking about error catching. In the ME, we don't use N/S levels for cruise, and only ever (rarely) as a confilct fix. Just removes another 'hole'.

preset
27th Dec 2009, 00:29
Yeah, but you are talking about error catching. In the ME, we don't use N/S levels for cruise, and only ever (rarely) as a confilct fix. Just removes another 'hole'.


Given the standard of ATC & level of traffic congestion in some parts of the ME, especially India, I wouldn't be requesting non standard anything !! Thankfully OZ is a totally different case IMHO.

waren9
27th Dec 2009, 01:30
All that is absolutely fair enough and I agree, but we're talking an incident in Australian airspace and a new requirement (AFAIK) in the Australian ATC Jepp section (page AU-805).

If you're in the middle of nowhere and don't feature on a screen somewhere then fair enough, but up and down the east coast of Aussie? Surely we have the capability and skill to do non standard levels quite safely. Surely??


Worlds best pract..............and all that.

Any comment from a controller?

Tarq57
27th Dec 2009, 01:55
Removing holes is generally regarded as a good thing in ATM.

If they can't be removed or plugged, then some kind of operating practice/tips/auto-alert thingy provided to mitigate a perceived high risk situation.

This has been an evolving practice in a lot of ANS providers since day one, hugely aided (and at the same time made more complex) more recently by technology.

Unfortunately it seems to me that in mitigating against a lot of these "gotchas", the exposure of the human element in dealing with unusual or non-standard procedures has become very limited.

In ancient times the "non-standard" was almost the norm, most were well practiced at dealing with it and the tools used were regularly dusted off and given a work out. There were other "gotchas" that could catch the unwary out, but I believe the operating environment "way back then" cultivated and encouraged a different order of situational awareness and maintain-a-good-scan type mentality.

With the more systems-based technology we are now using it is more likely in my opinion that doing things in a non-standard manner, or approving a non-standard operation rarely is more likely to be risky than approving it (space and procedure permitting) either more regularly, or not at all. Ever.

It's my view that it's best to not try and come up with rarely used procedures aimed at mitigating risk for infrequent situations. The procedure will be forgotten unless called on regularly. If it is in a QRH, one has to remember and know there is a procedure in the QRH, then look for it. And at the same time the OS still requires monitoring, there is often less time and attention available for dealing with ancillary tasks.

Not a thing to want to be doing (if applicable) at 2.52 in the morning.

Either (1) make the procedure routine enough, and train for it, so it is almost instinctive to carry out safely, or (2) never use the procedure. I think ATM generally is moving toward option (2).
Whether that is the correct direction to be moving, I don't know. In my experience, sooner or later, there will always be a legitimate and sometimes pressing requirement to handle something non-standard.
thank goodness for TCAS!!!!
I say thank goodness to an alert flight crew that had the situational awareness, and the luxury of a common language, to query it.
Without wanting to second-guess the result of the inquiry, that was possibly the second last hole in the cheese.
<Worlds best pract..............and all that.>That's where we're all heading. (http://www.dilbert.com/strips/comic/2008-09-03/) ;)

[edit to add:] My comments, in case it is not obvious, are concerning occurrences of this type, particularly where a non-standard element is involved, generally. I have no inside knowledge of this one, nor of the way area control is performed in Australia.
I think it is high time a holistic overview of training/technology is entered into.

Super Cecil
27th Dec 2009, 02:33
Direct no speed it's the same with GA, while ever there are people prepared to work those hours for that pay under that pressure then it's only going to get worse. Does knowing those conditions are dangerous and still working breach your duty of care legally? You have to watch those legal folks always out for income maximumisation. Isn't stating an opinion of such on a public forum an admission of problems? Can'o'worms stuff.

STFU
27th Dec 2009, 04:30
No supervisor awake though. I find it odd that there is no night shift supervisor in that part of the world seeing as it is the peak of complexity and traffic around 3am.

divingduck
27th Dec 2009, 09:37
You can expect a standard knee jerk reaction to this incident...the use of non-standard levels will probably be henceforth banned.

There are probably multiple factors to consider here.
First is the "can do" culture that has sprung up in Oz over the past 20 years.
There is also the push from management that the controllers have to facilitate their "customers" as much as possible, often to the detriment of safety.

I have no idea of the circumstances of this incident other than what has been mentioned here, but making a stab at it anyway, IMHO controllers in Oz are trained these days to pretty much say "yes" to most requests...in the old days some were trained to think "no" and then look for a reason to justify it. If no reason could be found, he got the level/routing etc.
There has to be a happy medium there somewhere.

The "back of the clock", disengaged workforce argument I do not think is the reason (although I hasten to add, I do not work in Oz anymore).
We have had two nose to nose STCA (Short Term Conflict Alert) sorted incidents in my patch in Europe recently, in full radar coverage, with a fully engaged and well rested workforce.

Sh!t happens, humans make mistakes, and happily all the holes in the cheese didn't line up.
Good work from the pilots for having good situational awareness.

Keg
27th Dec 2009, 10:49
ferris, I was responding to someone's comments about large block clearances rather than operations at non standard levels.

I don't mind using non standard levels* if I need to but I make sure that I'm more tuned in with the traffic around me if I do.

*(current operations limit this to Continental Australian Airspace. I'd never do it in Indonesia, Phillipine, Thai, Indian, Pakistani, or Burmese airspace.....and probably a few others that I haven't included there also).

blueloo
27th Dec 2009, 10:54
Havent most of QFs incidents in Indonesian/Asian airspace occurred when we were operating at standard levels?

Quite frankly i don't think it matters if you re at standard or non standard levels... you can still be at risk. (Think of jets changing levels through yours - deviating around weather without a clearance - loss of comms through indo /Philippine airspace with crossing traffic)

40years
27th Dec 2009, 12:35
The introduction of RVSM in Australian airspace has produced a parcel of "convenient" levels above F290 that were not an option in prior times. The natural tendency has been to make use of these levels as desired, consigning the 'non-standard' aspect to the 'doesn't matter' bin.
Over the North Atlantic, and similar, RVSM has a real needed purpose. In Australia it is a luxury. (but, dare I say, world's best practice?)

FlexibleResponse
27th Dec 2009, 12:50
It's kind of funny to reflect that we fly along designated air routes (railway tracks in the sky) at set altitudes within +/- 50 feet vertically and +/- 100 metres laterally to such an extent that two a/c pass each other head-on at 1800 km/h in the middle of absolutely nowhere on a regular basis with only 1000' of separation. The much reduced probability of this happening if aircraft used random tracks and altitudes in remote areas (no ATC) would seem to be a far better option sometimes.

Someone with a brilliant theoretical, but practical mind will solve this problem sometime in the future and we will all sit back and say, why didn't I think of that?

ferris
27th Dec 2009, 22:00
Keg, I wasn't responding to you either- the quote was taken from waren9's post. I was talking about (from an ATC perspective) the use or not of n/s levels.

In oz, although being a legitimate sep standard, we never used assigned rates of climb/descent. In the international environment, people do it all the time. N/S levels used for cruise in oz, not elsewhere (M.E.).

Could go into a big post about risk and the GAFA, but no time. Agree with DD that there will prob be a knee-jerk rule made. It's the way modern management operate.

FR: the world is moving away from opp direction tracks, which is the only place where offsetting helps. But where opp dir. tracks still exist- yes, offset should be mandated (in the RPT world).

kalavo
27th Dec 2009, 22:33
It's kind of funny to reflect that we fly along designated air routes (railway tracks in the sky) at set altitudes within +/- 50 feet vertically and +/- 100 metres laterally to such an extent that two a/c pass each other head-on at 1800 km/h in the middle of absolutely nowhere on a regular basis with only 1000' of separation. The much reduced probability of this happening if aircraft used random tracks and altitudes in remote areas (no ATC) would seem to be a far better option sometimes.

Someone with a brilliant theoretical, but practical mind will solve this problem sometime in the future and we will all sit back and say, why didn't I think of that?

David Gunson summed it up beautifully... "We force them down narrow corridoors, therby greatly increasing the risk of collision, while at the same time justifying the job of the Air traffic controllers to keep them apart."

Flying on North Atlantic routes, pilots now have the approved option of flying 2nm off track (to the right!) this beautifully solves the head on case and the difference in speeds of following traffic should really make it a non-event.

dsham
28th Dec 2009, 02:54
The problem associated with the non-standard level debate is that unfortunately they are sometimes required to facilitate an expeditious flow of traffic. During the night over central australia there can sometimes be up to 30+ aircraft in a congo line heading to YSSY/YBBN/YMML... Without non-standard levels we would have people cruising at FL280 ect ect... However it must be said that whenever a controller assigns a clearance then seperation becomes HIS/HER responsibility. We can say we are all pissed off/fatigued ect ect but once we plug in and assume control then we are bound by law/duty to perform our role.

Tarq57
28th Dec 2009, 03:11
The problem associated with the non-standard level debate is that unfortunately they are sometimes required to facilitate an expeditious flow of traffic. During the night over central australia there can sometimes be up to 30+ aircraft in a congo line heading to YSSY/YBBN/YMML... Without non-standard levels we would have people cruising at FL280 ect ect... However it must be said that whenever a controller assigns a clearance then seperation becomes HIS/HER responsibility. We can say we are all pissed off/fatigued ect ect but once we plug in and assume control then we are bound by law/duty to perform our role.
Absolutely.
So, having, say, chosen to approve a non-standard level at, say, 3 in the morning (or any time, really) what are you personally going to do to mitigate against the possibility that you might not notice someone coming the other way?
Are there any tricks you use? Does the unit give you any guidance, or a procedure to follow? Are there any automated warning systems? Or is it just down to you keeping your eye on the ball? (Lets face it, that's what is often the case.) There are a handful of controllers around the world who probably relied on that last method, sometimes in adverse conditions, (Like eqp outages, or poor display design) who probably have a few serious regrets.
Not to get too maudlin, here, but really, what do you do?

dsham
28th Dec 2009, 04:32
Unfortunately alot of it has to do with keeping your "situational awareness" ect ect, what I personally do is set a timer (an audible alarm) for 20 minutes before the 2 contacts meet. That gives me enough time to issue the requirement to ensure separation before 10 minutes to time of passing. However at 3 in the morning, the caffeine has worn off, you are on your 9th shift in a row and your neighbours garage band was practicing all arvo and you have had 2 hours sleep.... well, then anything is possible. The scary thing is that in procedural airspace the first alarm we receive is you guys responding to a TCAS RA.

C-change
28th Dec 2009, 04:48
Some areas of the media have reported this as a "Near miss" which is typical of them.

Does anyone know if if was actually a near miss (as reported) or a breakdown of sep and by how much ?

I feel for the individual who was plugged in, a sep breakdown is never a good feeling but well done to the aircrew's SA.

STFU
28th Dec 2009, 05:10
Second hand information tells me the required separation standard was not infringed. This was not due to positive control, the aircraft decided to move themselves off track.

In large pieces of airspace such as this, an unfortunate happpening is that aircraft are at the same level and are known that in the future they will be in conflict. This can be known for hours in advance. There are memory prompts that can be used to remind of who is going to hit who but often the aircraft are only in the airspace that they will break down in for a small time and these memory prompts can not be used. What happens then is that a situation you are on purpose forgetting, get forgotten. As a contrast in a small scale radar environment, a conflict is seen and pretty much immediately fixed.

For the record I do not work on the airspace this occured in and am just summarising a rumour I heard.

Dick N. Cider
28th Dec 2009, 05:53
In Radar environments in Oz there is Short Term Conflict Alert - 90 second look ahead and not really about collision risk, focussed upon break down of radar separation.

GAFA (no surveillance) no alert yet available. Flight Plan Conflict Probe (utilising pilot reporting) is functional but not yet operationally validated and implemented. It will be as good as the data fed into it. Awaiting system upgrades prior to roll out.

Regardless of how good the alerts might or might not be, the best defence is alert controllers and pilots. Either can make a mistake and what's important is that something is done to fix the mistake when recognised - TCAS, STCA, GPWS etc. are all last ditch defences. The systems should be robust enough that you don't get to the last throw of the dice.

Random tracks work on the big sky theory but navigational tolerances on some aircraft can be huge. Proving separation when not on fixed route structures without significant system improvements will push controller workload in some airspaces so high that there will be an elevated risk of operator errors. Reciprocal tracks at standard levels help, plenty of track crossings where standard levels put you at the same level. A place for everything.

There are probably multiple factors to consider here.
First is the "can do" culture that has sprung up in Oz over the past 20 years.

20 years is quite a long time for something to "spring up". The guys and girls that do this stuff are very good. That being said we are all human, yes even those with 4 bars on their shoulders. Operators within Australian administered airspace expect more flexibility, optimum route and levels than they would consider safe in many other parts of the world (indeed in much of the world), they can't have it both ways. Either accept the additional fuel burn or look again at the risk modelling and let us know what you want.

No doubt this incident will attract very close scrutiny. It's not the first time that it's happened, nor will it be the last. The reporting will always strive to sensationalise. I look forward to reading the final report on the investigation. What we don't need is a knee jerk trying to make someone a scapegoat, rather the simple "just culture" premise that we need to focus upon preventing repeat occurrences and treat those involved fairly.

DNC

Tarq57
28th Dec 2009, 06:21
Unfortunately alot of it has to do with keeping your "situational awareness" ect ect, what I personally do is set a timer (an audible alarm) for 20 minutes before the 2 contacts meet.
I very much like simple timers as an aid to situational awareness. They have the advantage of being relatively foolproof, and easy to set.
One thing I used to do in such a situation (when I was an area controller) is also let the pilot know the future plan. I'm a big fan of keeping the crew in the picture.
there can sometimes be up to 30+ aircraft in a congo line heading to YSSY/YBBN/YMML... Without non-standard levels we would have people cruising at FL280
I don't know the airspace, but is this good old fashioned procedural area control at its best? No (or limited) radar coverage, not many navaids, lots of reciprocal/converging/crossing tracks? (Primary separation tool the good old T10? Or D15 if you're lucky?)
If that's the case it might actually be time to start saying "unavailable" when at all busy, or below par due to time of day etc. I don't know. There is nothing wrong at all with a "can do" culture- I think most of us want to do the best we can for the flight crews, but it needs to be backed-up by a "can do" attitude from management in regard to tech upgrades. Time for radar (or similar), perhaps? The powers that are capable of making decisions about expensive upgrades often can only act or press for funding for same when enough operators complain about it loud enough.
What we don't need is a knee jerk trying to make someone a scapegoat, rather the simple "just culture" premise that we need to focus upon preventing repeat occurrences and treat those involved fairly
I sincerely hope that's how it pans out. (The "just culture" thing, not the "scapegoat" thing.) For the sake of your workforce, and for future safety in the region.

Tarq57
28th Dec 2009, 06:25
What happens then is that a situation you are on purpose forgetting, get forgotten. Yeah, a big "gotcha", that one.
What do you do?
Maybe say "unavailable, one coming the other way at that level"?
Sounds like maybe it needs a bit of work from Aus's finest minds.

Dick N. Cider
28th Dec 2009, 07:16
Tarq57,

Yep, good old fashioned procedural (now called non-radar) but in a plan-view display scenario. Bugger all navaids and dependent upon aircraft nav capability anything from the suite up to 10 minutes.

WhatWasThat
28th Dec 2009, 09:08
I have said it before - and now I'll say it again;

In a modern Nav environment two way routes are a dangerous and stupid anachronism.

I takes only a little imagination to establish race tracks where possible - and where there isn't room for race tracks, formalise the strategic lateral offset.

The large navigation tolerances ATC apply to aircraft are largely fantasy in this day and age - if two are going to hit in the cruise, it will happen on track, not 14NM either side of it.

ATCMonkey
28th Dec 2009, 09:55
Originally Posted by WhatWasThat
I takes only a little imagination to establish race tracks where possible - and where there isn't room for race tracks, formalise the strategic lateral offset.I agree but this all goes out the window when weather is involved. I have had aircraft up to 300NM off track. Whilst this is extreme, it's not uncommon for a/c to be 50NM left and right at this time of year in northern Aust.

Originally Posted by WhatWasThat
The large navigation tolerances ATC apply to aircraft are largely fantasy in this day and age - if two are going to hit in the cruise, it will happen on track, not 14NM either side of it.We are told ADSB will fix this and 5NM between a/c can be used. Whilst almost all of Aust has ADSB coverage, unfortunately not all a/c have the gear, so not much use at the moment, except for crossings or change of levels. The gear is to be mandatory by 2013 for all a/c above F290, however I'm sure there will be exceptions just like RVSM.

Dick N. Cider
28th Dec 2009, 10:29
7, 14, 30, or 50 cross track might be fantasy but ATCs don't get to choose. ICAO sets the standards, all we can do is apply them.

topdrop
28th Dec 2009, 11:14
It happened near Tindal and was in radar coverage - 2 acft nose to nose, same level - seems most likely to me the controller f..ked up - but, these days, instead of admitting it, we try to find every other excuse under the sun. :rolleyes::rolleyes::ugh::ugh::ugh:

gobbledock
28th Dec 2009, 12:02
direct.no.speed,

But let me suggest you have a look at staffing levels, shift lengths, FRMS, mandated overtime, and working on the back of the clock on top of all that - add to that morale, aggressive management practices / Industrial Relations techniques, and what has happened over the last 5 years in all of those aspects of Australian ATC.


Now Now.Surely none of your mentioned items would ever be thought of as being part of the causal factor ? Surely not ? We are talking safety here,never would a government put cost saving and penny pinching before safety,surely ?

Keg
29th Dec 2009, 04:36
When did incidents start being reported in the media?

With this incident I note that it was a couple of days after it started being discussed on PPRUNE. :suspect: The incident you mentioned didn't rate a mention on PPRUNE (that I recall) and thus hasn't appeared in the papers.

Captain Peacock
29th Dec 2009, 10:09
We are told ADSB will fix this and 5NM between a/c can be used.......ADSB takes the pilot out of the loop. I don't know how many times I've been flying along and then look at my TCAS and wonder "who the f%^k is that". Turns we have both been on ADSB on the same track for hours and didn't know each other existed.

We need offset tracks right now!

topdrop
29th Dec 2009, 10:27
direct no speed
there you go, Topdrop has it all wrapped up - judge, jury and executioner.No, I'm fed up with controllers that won't take responsibility for their own actions. It's become more and more prevalent in the last 10 years - and you provided a list of 7+ other excuses for a f..kup.

Tarq57
29th Dec 2009, 10:40
<It's become more and more prevalent in the last 10 years>
Why do you think that might be the case?

Jabawocky
29th Dec 2009, 10:48
Pilots nuts are on the line, put your nuts on the line as well or move on http://images.ibsrv.net/ibsrv/res/src:www.pprune.org/get/images/smilies/wink2.gif

Good point.........from someone whose nuts are on the line TWICE :eek:

fixa24
30th Dec 2009, 07:44
Keg and Topdrop have pretty much got it right I reckon

You want to get paid $144,000:00 a year, take some responsibility. Radar or no radar? What's the difference?

If 370 is in the CFL you still cleared it there. Racetrack or not, you still cleared it there.

Weather diversions or not, if you clear an aircraft to a level, separate it with other weather diversions. That's your job.

Pilots nuts are on the line, put your nuts on the line as well or move on

Your seriously joking i hope.

How many pilots get stood down when ATC may have made an error that they may have caused?
I can tell you about 2 incidents that have happened to me where formal counselling and stand down happened because of Pilots mistakes (im an ATC):ugh:

No, I'm fed up with controllers that won't take responsibility for their own actions.
Amen. I'm over pricks who won't stick there hand up. Get out if you can't handle the responsibility.

mikk_13
30th Dec 2009, 07:54
I believe the sectors involved are very short of staff. Is this true?

This probably wouldn't even be reported in europe.

You want to get paid $144,000:00 a year, take some responsibility. Radar or no radar? What's the difference?

Ok, so would be you be happy to be paid $72,000 a year and take the same responsibility?

disturbedone
30th Dec 2009, 10:13
Ok, so would be you be happy to be paid $72,000 a year and take the same responsibility?
well said mikk, not everyone is on the top bracket.

Having said that, if you don't like the responsibility, there are plenty of jobs out there where you can turn up, f**k up, and go home. This isn't one of them.

mikk_13
30th Dec 2009, 16:36
Whatever occurred it certainly had nothing to do with industrial issues. Why the hell do people keep dragging industrial Us vs Them crap into safety threads anyway?

When you are tired, do you make more mistakes? When you have too much traffic in your sector because there is not enough staff, do you make more mistakes? When you have a manager beating you with a stick to work longer and harder, and never be sick, do you feel the pressure? When you have to work amongst the angst and hatred, do you distracted by the many conversions with your peers about you and your family's future?

It has EVERYTHING TO DO WITH INDUSTRIAL ISSUES.

I am not saying that in this particular case, it was totally because of industrial issues. But to come out and say it had nothing to do with industrial issues just shows your ignorance. We don't comment on safety related issues in your cockpit since we don't know enough about it, so you should think about this and consider not commenting on the relationship between industrial issues and atc safety since you have probably have no idea how things work in atc.

Dick N. Cider
30th Dec 2009, 22:38
Why does this have to be a pitched battle between ATC and pilots? When there's a prang there are mostly voices urging caution and "Wait until we have more facts" etc.

It looks like something has gone wrong - well duh. Just culture is not about patting someone on the head if they are culpable but ensuring that there is fair treatment. If there was an honest mistake then work to prevent repeat occurrences. If it was a deliberate attempt to put 2 together or criminal negligence then that has its own path. As I said before people make mistakes. That may be the case here. Equally it may be something else. Anyone who's had even a passing brush with Reason would know that it's rarely a single error that leads to an accident or incident.

For the bush lawyers to sit here arguing the merits of immediate procedural change is quite simply bullsh!t. Start a new procedural change thread. When the facts are known about this then cite it as appropriate evidence if that's the way it pans out.

As for industrial matters - issues in the workplace that affect operations are safety issues. Believe it or not a safety concern raised is not always about more money. Unions are active in OH&S because their charter is to represent their members.

Is any of this relevant to the actual incident? [email protected] if I know - nor does anyone else out there unless one of the investigators is posting. I do know that there is a full investigation under way and I await the EVIDENCE.

AlJassmi
31st Dec 2009, 00:39
It's all well and good to say vote with your feet. Not so easy when there's only 1 employer in the country. It's a pretty big call (though it's one that a number of ATCs have made) to move overseas because you're peeved with the place. There is also a good chance that the spiteful people in charge will unofficially blacklist you so there is not an option of working again in your own country. When you've got 30yrs left to work I'd consider that a difficult choice.

C-change
31st Dec 2009, 05:10
Another quality thread where controllers turn on one another over an incident. Let the investigation run its course before you string this indiviual up from the balcony of the Ops room.

Maybe some of you can look forward to a better year in 2010. ;)
All the best to ASA staff and pilots ect working tonight.

Have a Happy New Year. I will be. :ok:

keepemseperated
31st Dec 2009, 05:51
Heard a rumour that short break procedures were in place at the time - any truth to it??

Delta Whiskey
31st Dec 2009, 07:14
Non Standard Levels - I'm an ATC and I'm happy to allocate them in the knowledge that if any one aircraft uses one then it may as well be all in - any protection afforded by using standard levels is gone and that's now the case across the Tasman and South West Pacific. If the driver airframe is sensible then strategic offsets are the only way to go - in my unit we allow up to 2 miles without any requirement to notify ATC.

Because it's my job to SEPARATE aircraft one from another, if I allocate a NS level to someone I only do it after considering what may crop up any time in the next hour to 90 minutes down his track - questions like where are the SE Asian carriers' overnight eastbound flights likely to be and am I going to be putting someone into their faces. Usually a quick check with neighbouring ATSUs is all that's required to settle the matter and that gives them a heads up on what's coming too.

With the automated exchange of flight data across airspace boundaries 30 minutes before the eta at the boundary, each ATSU gets the information about incoming flights without the ATC having to remember to make a phone call which further lessens the risk of having a head on at the same level.

Fitness for work - If you're not fit stay home, get better and don't bloody come to work and infect me. Ditto to having a hangover or other impairment - I don't want my name featuring in the report on your incident!!

Workload - when it all gets too much HOLD the traffic, don't accept departures, impose start up restrictions, in other words, use your loaf and don't allow yourself to be pressured - while you may think your behaviour in allowing yourself to accept more and more traffic will be somehow appreciated by management and your peers, it's got definite potential to be a career shortening move and could do a hell of a lot more harm than that.

And that's the gospel according to Moi - wishing a happy New Year to all you aviation people in the aiar & on the ground - have a safe 2010.

Tarq57
31st Dec 2009, 10:13
C-change, I was attempting to come up with something expressing pretty much the same sentiment after a couple of wines too many, and you've expressed it far more eloquently.
Nice post.:ok:

Plazbot
31st Dec 2009, 21:57
Fitness for work - If you're not fit stay home, get better and don't bloody come to work and infect me. Ditto to having a hangover or other impairment - I don't want my name featuring in the report on your incident!!

Workload - when it all gets too much HOLD the traffic, don't accept departures, impose start up restrictions, in other words, use your loaf and don't allow yourself to be pressured

I don't know what country you are controlling in but I am pretty certain it is not OZ. While I personally agree with your above points and they are how I conduct myself and have done so (people sit up and pay attention very quickly when you hit a hot line and say "keep those ones clear of mine"), the culture of management intimidation to the new joiners puts a stop to this very quickly.

When individuals pay increases are directly influenced and decided by your immediate supervisor, there are a number who are just plain ''shit scared'' to rock the boat. When Airservices has a sick leave process in place that you receive a letter of caution as a 24 hour shift worker when taking an amount of days that is LESS than the average taken by the clerical staff, it is quite obvious that safety is not the concern but the dollar and protecting bonuses based on service continuity.

As for traffic metering, I suggest knowing the Airservices application of Operational Command Authority would make it clear that stopping departures is not an option for the enroute controller. Even during complete systems failures we have had departures allowed by individuals holding OCA.

Above someone mentioned that the controller 'just stuffed up'. Sure that may be the case at face value but to completely disregard that things like staffing and management supervisionary practices do not have a part to play in incidents such as these shows an extreme lack of understanding of risk identification aand management.

This will be my last comment on things AsA as I officially am off the books after today. Best of luck to you all. You are going to need it.

Plazbot, out.

C441
31st Dec 2009, 22:27
Airliners avoid collision over Northern Territory - The Autralian

....and apparently that is news!:rolleyes:

ferris
31st Dec 2009, 23:05
Well said plazbot.

AsA is such a toxic workplace (look no further than this thread, for evidence). Many just don't realise it. Good luck with your endeavours, whatever they are.

mikk_13
1st Jan 2010, 01:23
I absolutely support what plazbot said. He is absolutely correct.

It is a load of sh*t. You pricks flying your jets around have no idea. Don't tell the readers how it is when you have no frigen idea what it is. If you have no idea, stop pretending you know or understand what happens in ASA. Piss off, and fly your own shit and stop telling us who f*ucked up.

most are leaving, so when you have a dumb shit manager controlling your plane don't come on this forum and winge about the quality of controlling.

We told you. I fully support the controller no matter what ever happens. I have met him and he/she is a fine character. Even if they ****** up, I support him. It is only a matter of time before we all do it at some time. We either do it or get lucky.

I have saved the situation with many pilots ****ups, many.......... Many of us have.
^y
Mikk, 72k a year? No I wouldn't. If you think you are worth the same as a 10-20 year controller you are kidding yoursleves. When I got my first endorsement it was 52k a year, we've all had to work our way through the increments, some of us got a better deal than others (mine wasn't that particularly good but better than some others).#

news for you champ. no 10-20 year controller is watching or taking notice to your 1 year controller. It makes not difference to you. You are talking to one person, and that is it. They have the same responsibility as the 10-20 year controller. Don't kid yourself.

mikk_13
1st Jan 2010, 10:31
If it means that a 10-20 year controller just watches their own console and doesn't keep an eye out for the newbie, you are wrong, and it's not about dobbing, it's about keeping an eye out and helping out. Yes, the newbie has the same over-all responsibility but they don't (in most cases) perform to the same efficiency levels as the more experienced.

There is no way any controller can watch what is happening in the airspace around them when they are busy. The only traffic they will be watching is the stuff that is coming to them vs the stuff that is leaving them. It just doesn't happen. It is even quite possible you have 2 or 3 new controller sitting in a row.
And here comes the industrial bomb shell here, you think 10-20 year controllers are important, well most of them in the sector that is in question are in Germany or the middle east right now.

Its all very nice to say your 10-20 year controller can do it better. Maybe they can, maybe they can't. Do you really think this would not happen to an experienced controller.

Just culture to me doesn't mean finding touchy feely, politically correct excuses for occurences.

Thats all great, but you are going to miss the possibility of finding why he made the **** up. You don't know if pressure was put on him to work a night shift before an afternoon shift, you don't know if he was told he has to work 10 in a row, you don't know if there were not enough staff to split the sectors and he felt the pressure to keep going, you don't know if he tried to call in sick that morning and they talked him into coming iin so not to let down his mates. But I can tell you it is very very possible that all these things did happen and may have contributed to the problem. It will happen again and most people who I talk to say that it is just a matter of time before something gives. I can tell you every day pressure is applied to run it lean and thin at the cost of safety.

It seems most people are living in a dream because this is how it is. Maybe it wasn't always like this and they haven't caught up to the fact that it has changed. Now I'm an outsider looking in and I can tell you it is not good.

C441
1st Jan 2010, 21:48
Has Minister Albanese commented on the environment within this area of his portfolio?

Hempy
2nd Jan 2010, 03:36
Owen, agree with most of what you have to say, except for this clanger..

Thats all great, but you are going to miss the possibility of finding why he made the **** up.
Suggest that if the controller is honest that he/she will be treated fairly, we have a great union to back he/she up as well.We all know that 'incident response' is directly related to staff numbers in place at the time.

mikk_13
2nd Jan 2010, 10:00
well, this is my last post on this.

I am overseas, and thanking god it wasn't me sitting in Brisbane who did the bad. I hope that he is treated fairly however I know it is unlikely.

Wakeup, because the world isn't how you see it. Its apparent you don't believe me so good luck to you.