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ATCO Shortage UK

Old 28th Oct 2018, 12:03
  #81 (permalink)  
 
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ATCO's are licenced to provide services in specific areas. If an area has a zero flow rate applied due to no controller being available during a specified time then no aircraft are permitted to fly through that area, even under the control of another controller who does the adjoining airspace unless there are procedures allowing such.
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Old 28th Oct 2018, 14:18
  #82 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by verticalhold View Post
Like 30W I am a pilot who flies out of various London are airports, depending on where my boss wants me (corporate jet) in the last few days myself and a colleague heard of a scheme to allow non-valid controllers to vector on sectors close to their airspace due to staff shortages. I doubt this can be accurate, but it worries me sick. Is there something the pilots should know? Is our safety about to be compromised due to the p££s poor planning of NATS HR and the parsimony of the large carriers who own a chunk of NATS? I'm used to controllers giving me bad news, usually with a smile and a delay, If you don't want to be seen on here feel free to PM me.

VH
yep indeed it is true. A procedure has been written, training was due to start, until the controllers and the union raised some very serious issues. As well as working sectors, the procedure allows approach controllers to vector onto the ILS to an airport they are not valid on. This procedure has not gone away. Watch this space.
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Old 28th Oct 2018, 17:05
  #83 (permalink)  
 
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Good God. What is happening to the UK ATC Service?
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Old 28th Oct 2018, 19:16
  #84 (permalink)  
 
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reference the post from nimmer. I believe and have heard substantial rumours that there is also a similar procedure in force in Northern Ireland and this has been the case for some time. Allegedly controllers from Belfast International (NATS) routinely vector inbounds to the ILS at Belfast City (NATS Solutions) during short staffing at Belfast City with the blessing from both Prospect and SARG. Allegedly there is no formal training undertaken or assessed for said routine practise. Not quite sure what would happen in the event of an incident where a controller is vectoring an aircraft to an airfield where they don't hold a validation but thats one for the grey wig brigade I suppose!
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Old 28th Oct 2018, 20:12
  #85 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by HEATHROW DIRECTOR View Post
Good God. What is happening to the UK ATC Service?
It's all about the money. People want cheap air travel, airlines want cheap ATC and stupid ideas like this one is the result. The problem is that once this is in then they'll keep running with it until there's one atco in TC and one in ac for the night shift doing everything.
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Old 28th Oct 2018, 20:28
  #86 (permalink)  
 
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1985,

Spot on, and it was a lack of 'appropriately-qualfied' buttocks on seats that produced both Zagreb and Uberlingen.
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Old 28th Oct 2018, 21:05
  #87 (permalink)  
 
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It is up to working ATCOS to stop these sort of “convenience” changes to cherished principles & safety standards. These sort of developments would not have been allowed in the past ; either by the ATCOS or the SRG - where are they in all of this now ?
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Old 28th Oct 2018, 21:53
  #88 (permalink)  
 
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Heathrow Director,
It sounds to me that you joined a SERVICE as I did.
Around the turn of the millennium the term The Company started to be used and that's when I could see the future course that the job was going to take.
Luckily I was fortunate to be able to bale out and took that opportunity with both hands. No regrets but disappointed for our colleagues.
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Old 28th Oct 2018, 22:22
  #89 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by ZOOKER View Post
and it was a lack of 'appropriately-qualfied' buttocks on seats that produced both Zagreb and Uberlingen.
...and Nantes
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Old 29th Oct 2018, 07:07
  #90 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by kcockayne View Post
These sort of developments would not have been allowed in the past ; either by the ATCOS or the SRG - where are they in all of this now ?
SRG has been neutered due to lack of staff/money as well. NATS if they can prove a safety case, which they will, will convince them that's it ok and they don't need to look at it themselves. I personally think that's it alot down to the numbers of ex military ATCOs in SRG/CAA that, with the greatest respect to them, don't understand civil atc. Their way of thinking/working is different (btw I'll also throw that at a lot of senior management in NATS).

I think individual controllers are kicking up a stink, along with the union but if a safety case is proven and the regulator signs off on it, how does the individual atco justify not doing it? Very wooly area the "I don't like it" argument.
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Old 29th Oct 2018, 08:01
  #91 (permalink)  
 
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Er isn't it still called 'SARG' (rather than SRG) or did I miss another change of title?
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Old 29th Oct 2018, 10:56
  #92 (permalink)  
 
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1985.....Another accurate and truthful post
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Old 29th Oct 2018, 14:23
  #93 (permalink)  
 
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Er isn't it still called 'SARG' (rather than SRG)
SRG = CAA Safety Regulation Group
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Old 29th Oct 2018, 14:44
  #94 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by 1985 View Post
SRG has been neutered due to lack of staff/money as well. NATS if they can prove a safety case, which they will, will convince them that's it ok and they don't need to look at it themselves. I personally think that's it alot down to the numbers of ex military ATCOs in SRG/CAA that, with the greatest respect to them, don't understand civil atc. Their way of thinking/working is different (btw I'll also throw that at a lot of senior management in NATS).

I think individual controllers are kicking up a stink, along with the union but if a safety case is proven and the regulator signs off on it, how does the individual atco justify not doing it? Very wooly area the "I don't like it" argument.
I can’t find anything to disagree with you there, 1985. It all seems very regrettable & third world ish - the sort of thing that you might experience in Zimbabwe, Indonesia or Mauritania etc. Where has professionalism & standards gone ? It would not even have been thought about in my day - glad I’m retired; but there again, I am still a regular passenger ! Or, maybe not any longer.
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Old 29th Oct 2018, 15:03
  #95 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Reverserbucket View Post
SRG = CAA Safety Regulation Group
Last I heard (about 2013) DAP (Directorate of Airspace Policy) and SRG had been merged to form 'SARG' - Safety and Airspace Regulation Group.
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Old 29th Oct 2018, 17:38
  #96 (permalink)  
 
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SRG/SARG, what does it matter ? Seem to be pretty much emasculated & ineffectual , if 1985 has his facts straight. A very poor state of affairs !
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Old 1st Nov 2018, 13:55
  #97 (permalink)  
 
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Sounds like a similar situation to Radar in the Tower, which is a procedure now in use at a few UK airports. At the college we were taught that you can NEVER use the ATM as a Radar while in the tower or the universe would explode. Now, thanks to a "Risk Assessment" it's deemed fine. So we now have the situation where a single Tower controller is covering 3 positions during the night, the usual TWR/GMC things, vectoring on the ATM, dealing with WIP on the airfield, Weather Observing, answering the Assistants Phone and whatever else needs done. Individuals have voiced concerns but it falls on deaf ears. All about the money these days tbh, and it's going to take a serious incident before the people running the show (most of whom have never worked traffic in their life these days) wake up to the situation.
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Old 1st Nov 2018, 14:25
  #98 (permalink)  
 
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1985...I agree totally. Having spent time in both CAA (though not SRG) and NATS I witnessed what you describe extensively. And as someone else further up said, the changes coming in after the turn of the century is where the rot started. I got out 18 years ago and it pains me to read these posts....
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Old 1st Nov 2018, 19:37
  #99 (permalink)  
 
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These developments appear to be aimed at treating the symptoms (arrival regulations) rather than the cause (low/understaffing) in order to keep the ATC cost down.
The continuous squeezing of costs is driven by the airlines (who have a stake in the major ATC provider), passengers and the regulator.
Old-school rules are being challenged in all areas (En-Route, Approach & Towers) in the quest for “progress” down this route.
The above posts are testament to that - and add to that proposed ‘remote tower centres’.
“Operational and efficiency benefits” is a phrase more popular than ever in certain circles.
Out of all the players the regulator certainly has an interesting role - how on one hand to demand ANSP cost-cutting whilst on the other hand improve on an already impressive safety record (or, at least, not diminish it).
Every rule bent introduces some new risk simply because it hasn’t been done before - by one ATCO. Sure technology can help to mitigate the new risks but the more eggs (good or otherwise!) that you put in one basket the greater the risk of breakages.
Palatable at the supermarket perhaps, less so at the pointy end.
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Old 2nd Nov 2018, 22:11
  #100 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
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Could not agree more. The myth of the PPP (public-private-partnership) as it was sold at the time. Sure, there were inefficiencies across the operations, but what happened to "Safety Is No Accident" and "our top priority?" The danger of leadership bleeding in without deep enough understanding.

"ATCO capacity is just an HR issue, right? Like checkout operators? What's so different about that????"

In the late 90s we used to joke about Heathrow approach suddenly only being reachable by 0898 premium rate phone line following "the change". And then sitting in the phone queue being told "your call is important to us".

Reading this recent stuff makes me think we may not have been that far of the mark
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