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Who's working the traffic?

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Who's working the traffic?

Old 5th Oct 2016, 08:45
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Who's working the traffic?

I've noticed lately that there seems to be an increase in ORCAM/CCAM squawks being used outside controlled airspace. I am also seeing new controllers being taught that this is normal.
I can understand the use of these codes inside the known traffic environment of controlled airspace, which is desginated to a specific controlling authority. However, in the unknown traffic environment of class G airspace these code do NOT indicate which agency is providing a service to which aircraft.
Take this to it's logical conclusion and it will result with all aircraft on a flight plan being on a squawk which is, in effect, no better than a conspicuity code. When this happens, how do you know who to co-ordinate with?
In my view these codes have no place outside controlled airspace. It seems that SARG have their usual "bury their heads in the sand" attitude to this.
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Old 5th Oct 2016, 11:06
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This practice has been in use for many years. It is usually used when IFR traffic is departing from or inbound to an airfield outside controlled airspace and is intended to keep cockpit workload down by not requiring a change to transponder code and also for ATC to identify an aircraft departing from an airfield outdside controlled airspace earlier. For inbounds it allows terminal control to see when a flight has landed. At Farnborough post 'Londoon LARS', we had code/callsign conversion activated in our SSR PAC (Plot Assigner-Combiner) so we got the callsign displayed on our screens instead of just the 4 digit code.
Additionally in the UK at least, the IFR flight plan is automatically activated when the SSR code for a particular flight is detected on radar.

Last edited by chevvron; 5th Oct 2016 at 12:03.
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Old 5th Oct 2016, 11:41
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For coordination, in these cases, the overlying civil sector sounds like the best bet. They will be more likely to know who is controlling it if it isn't them and it's on an orcam squawk.
Most units I transfer to will change to their own codes if it's a lengthy transit from inside cas to landing.
Is there any specific area(s) where this is more prevalent and causing you problems?
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Old 5th Oct 2016, 16:38
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It would be nice to know if Toadpool is an aviation professional.
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Old 5th Oct 2016, 16:53
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It would be nice to know if Toadpool is an aviation professional.
Whilst I suspect he is because 6 years ago we were discussing a very similar topic on this forum I don't see why it matters for this topic.
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Old 5th Oct 2016, 17:11
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I'm curious why it matters who's "working" aircraft outside CAS.
If the aircraft wasn't on a code who would you "co-ordinate" with?? And what are you co-ordinating if you're not controlling either flight??
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Old 6th Oct 2016, 00:51
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"It would be nice to know if Toadpool is an aviation professional."


Are you?
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Old 6th Oct 2016, 06:35
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No, sir, just an elderly spotter.
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Old 6th Oct 2016, 09:30
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The fundamental question has not yet been answered. How do you quickly and easily identify which unit is providing a service [B]outside[B] CAS to an aircraft that is not on a specific unit code?
There are at least seven other units providing a service in the same airspace as me (yes, HD, I am, as you put it an "aviation professional"). Knowing which unit is providing a service to which aircraft means that, to a certain extent, you can anticipate what the traffic is likely to do and act accordingly. Also, if there is a potential conflict you know who to contact. No guessing or ringing around asking "are you working the 1234"? This is more difficult if the traffic is not on a unit code.
I am aware that this has been in use for years. You will see that my concern is that it seems to be on the increase. I feel that should it continue there will eventually be a form of anarchy where most traffic will be on an ORCAM/CCAM code and it will become increasingly difficult to identify who is working what. It is only the unit that is providing the service to traffic on one of these codes, and possibly the previous unit that handed it over, that knows who is working it. Remember I am only talking about outside CAS.
I am also aware of the argument regarding the reduction of cockpit workload. I don't think that the few seconds it takes to change a squawk should be too onurous to most competent pilots. Most of these aircraft have two crew and I am not suggesting that it's done during a critical phase of flight. Is the slight reduction in cockpit workload sufficient justification for a reduction in situational awareness for all other units in the area?
I do find the assmuption that I'm a "he" rather interesting!
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Old 6th Oct 2016, 16:23
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I agree completely. There's no point in a unit having their own set of codes if they do not use them.

It might be worth expressing your concerns to a wider audience, perhaps via CHIRP or a 4114 or equivalent?

LTP
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Old 6th Oct 2016, 17:03
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I do find the assmuption that I'm a "he" rather interesting!
Apologies that had more to do with brevity of response than anything. Aviation professionals can of course be of any gender.

The answer to your question is you can't. What you are experiencing might be an unforeseen impact of the use of CCAMS where flights are allocated codes for the whole flight and therefore the pressure to release the en-route code as soon as possible so it can be reused isn't as great as it once was. Have you asked the units around you why they aren't using their own codes?

One potential issue is that if the aircraft switches from the CCAMS code the current NATS systems and anybody using code callsign data provided by those systems may lose the code callsign conversion on that flight and revert to the Mode A code display only.
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Old 7th Oct 2016, 11:19
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Our unit which is situated OCAS in an area where a lot of test flying takes place with a LARS unit near by has various codes for our company aircraft. We have different codes for A/c conducting Instrument approaches and a generic code for transit A/C. And the feedback from adjacent radar units is that it they find it really useful.
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Old 8th Oct 2016, 21:53
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HD again

HD,kind Sir
Why do you attack me and others in that 'do you know who I am'view of the world????it is unfair when people like me or others askk questions and you immediately attack.Carryon with your job of talking to planes and stop being anti
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Old 9th Oct 2016, 21:32
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Carryon with your job of talking to planes
If you check his profile you may discover he's long retired.
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Old 10th Oct 2016, 17:23
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Although, occasionally, has some salient points wrg to current procedures...
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Old 10th Oct 2016, 20:02
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One potential issue is that if the aircraft switches from the CCAMS code the current NATS systems and anybody using code callsign data provided by those systems may lose the code callsign conversion on that flight and revert to the Mode A code display only.
Which is more useful, 1 or 2 units having code/callsign ability, or all units knowing who is working what?
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Old 25th Oct 2016, 16:07
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Toadpool. Where I work we have traffic outside CAS all the time on ORCAM/CCAM squawks. Although the unit itself has a specific block of conspicuity codes there are only enough to assign two to each sector. In general we reserve these for freecallers who want a radar service outside CAS. On some sectors it wouldn't be uncommon to have quite a few outside CAS on the ORCAM squawks. Also,as has been mentioned,we lose our code callsign conversion if we take it off the ORCAM code. Hope this helps.
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Old 25th Oct 2016, 19:24
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One potential issue is that if the aircraft switches from the CCAMS code the current NATS systems and anybody using code callsign data provided by those systems may lose the code callsign conversion on that flight and revert to the Mode A code display only.
If the aircraft is known to the Swanwick AC system then pairings are maintained even if the SSR code is subsequently changed.
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Old 2nd Nov 2016, 15:53
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Working at a procedural airfield in class G, I was always taught to keep them on their allocated squawk, (that is providing london have not dropped them out, put them on 7000 and told them to free call ) because in the event of a divert im told its easier to gain an airways clearance if london can see the squawk (albeit with Callsign conversion). Though I'd be happy if someone corrects me on that.
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Old 4th Nov 2016, 00:10
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We have the luxury of mode S operating outside CAS with many other aircraft leaving CAS to route to other ATC or NON ATC units. Looking at callsigns, track, levels it's easy to work out where the aircraft is going to and whom it is likely to be working.

Really is a no-brainer and a non-issue IMHO.

Fred
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