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Read back rate of climb/descent

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Read back rate of climb/descent

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Old 10th Apr 2018, 11:13
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JVE
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Read back rate of climb/descent

Flying commercial jets for a while sometimes you run into a question that you can not find the answer for:

Last week on a line flight we where cleared from cruiselevel to descent to FLxxx with a rate of 1500 FPM.

FO read back: "cleared descent FLxxx with given rate"

I kindly requested him to read back the full clearance what he did without discussion.
But he mentioned that read back of the cleared rate is not required.
Until know I have not been able to find the correct answer. (OM-A,CAP413, ICAO9432 etc).

The thing that I am looking for is the written legal requirement to be read back (eg. FL, Heading, QNH, heading etc). Practically speaking I feel it is more politeness and professional behaviour to do it. But that is not the point here. Thank you for any input.
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Old 10th Apr 2018, 11:56
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ICAO Doc 4444 states

4.5.7.5 READBACK OF CLEARANCES
4.5.7.5.1 The flight crew shall read back to the air traffic controller safety-related parts of ATC clearances and
instructions which are transmitted by voice. The following items shall always be read back:
a) ATC route clearances;
b) clearances and instructions to enter, land on, take off from, hold short of, cross, taxi and backtrack on any
runway; and
c) runway-in-use, altimeter settings, SSR codes, level instructions, heading and speed instructions and, whether
issued by the controller or contained in automatic terminal information service (ATIS) broadcasts, transition
levels.
I would interpret Level Instructions to include any rate of change given, and as an ATC if this was not readback I'd probably restate Confirm you copy the rate 1500ft or more or something similar.

ICAO Doc 9432 does not state with a specific rate but does use the term Expedite
ATC: FASTAIR 345 CLIMB TO FL 240 EXPEDITE
UNTIL PASSING FL 180

Pilot Readback CLIMBING TO FL 240 EXPEDITING UNTIL PASSING FL 180 FASTAIR 345
or
UNABLE TO EXPEDITE FASTAIR 345
So if you substitute Expedite for the given rate then you would be required to read that back as you would be required to readback the expedite part - at least in my opinion as an ATC its what I'd expect
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Old 10th Apr 2018, 13:43
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Read back rate of climb/descent

Yes please!

LTP
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Old 11th Apr 2018, 08:56
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JVE
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Little One, thank you for the reply.

I came to the same conclusion, the requirement is there however indirectly written. Strange that it is not mentioned literally anywhere.
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Old 12th Apr 2018, 04:55
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Originally Posted by JVE View Post
Little One, thank you for the reply.

I came to the same conclusion, the requirement is there however indirectly written. Strange that it is not mentioned literally anywhere.
Basically, the rate of level change is part of the ATC clearance, so yes, it does need to be read back. The docs can't cover every scenario otherwise they would be more unwieldy than they are already. Sort of common sense.
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Old 12th Apr 2018, 16:57
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Have to agree with your original assessment, JVE, too. It needs a read back. I think it’s what we used to call airmanship, although that’s a dirty word these days!
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Old 12th Apr 2018, 19:30
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The question is;
Do you really want to NOT read it back?

What if you got it wrong?

The rate is usually for traffic, and often when in mainland europe it will be to maintain exactly 5 miles. The difference between 1000 and 1500 over a 5000foot decent is about one minute- which is between 6-9miles depending on wind etc.

And also the rate is not an average! I have many discussions with flight crews when they fly the average rate. It can be that you need to pass below multiple traffic, so the rate is required to cross all levels.
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Old 2nd May 2018, 02:08
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The required readbacks don't limit you chasing other information if you require it to ensure understanding.

But don't chase stupid things that don't matter - pilots readback enough superfluous info without ATC adding to the burden.
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Old 2nd May 2018, 15:16
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JVE

Poor controlling technique. Controllers should not try to fly the aeroplane......that's your job. Don't think I ever used that during a long career. Instruct or clear "level by" and let the pilot choose the solution..... would be my preference. Of course the real answer may be the particular traffic scenario at the time.......a friendly query letter to the ATC agency might explain.
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Old 2nd May 2018, 15:24
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Little One

One interpretation of the 4.5.7.5.1 [c] could be that "speed instructions " might include vertical speed.......although I appreciate that a normal scenario would be horizontal speed.....maybe.
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Old 2nd May 2018, 16:25
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I used it several times in a 'radar environment'. It was taught to me by a mentor for whom I, and many others had great respect, and in the applicable scenarios, it worked well. Obviously, you have to get the ROC/ROD restrictions the correct way round, and get readbacks of them both. But you could then do other stuff.

One of my colleagues didn't use it one morning with a couple of a/c on crossing tracks....And was very surprised when the Vanguard's climb-rate matched that of the BAC 1-11.

Last edited by ZOOKER; 2nd May 2018 at 17:25.
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Old 14th May 2018, 08:29
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Originally Posted by 055166k View Post
Poor controlling technique. Controllers should not try to fly the aeroplane......that's your job. Don't think I ever used that during a long career. Instruct or clear "level by" and let the pilot choose the solution..... would be my preference. Of course the real answer may be the particular traffic scenario at the time.......a friendly query letter to the ATC agency might explain.
ATC instructions specifying rate of climb and descent are largely redundant these days. The original intent was to reduce the number of multiple transmission in step climbs/descents.
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Old 15th May 2018, 08:36
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ATC instructions specifying rate of climb and descent are largely redundant these days.
Are they ? Kindly tell you colleagues in Europe, there is hardly any flight on which we donīt get a "descent rate of 2000 or greater" or something like it. (and I have zero issue with that, just sayin..)

And the read back is bloody standard. I only ever usen "with the given" if we get several step descents in a row without level off and the controller had given us a rate before and does not specify a new rate - its a read back and a query in that case.
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Old 15th May 2018, 17:58
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Originally Posted by 055166k View Post
Poor controlling technique. Controllers should not try to fly the aeroplane......that's your job. Don't think I ever used that during a long career. Instruct or clear "level by" and let the pilot choose the solution..... would be my preference. Of course the real answer may be the particular traffic scenario at the time.......a friendly query letter to the ATC agency might explain.
I'd have to disagree from an AC perpective. Often a/c are now on 3Di directs that are 100's miles in the distance and level by restrictions are not as common as they once were. A rate of descent/climb calculated correctly is an expeditious way of gaining the required separation and being able to ensure the BADA model with iFACTS can be monitored rather than watched.
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Old 16th May 2018, 07:19
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Poor controlling technique. Controllers should not try to fly the aeroplane......that's your job. Don't think I ever used that during a long career. Instruct or clear "level by" and let the pilot choose the solution..... would be my preference. Of course the real answer may be the particular traffic scenario at the time.......a friendly query letter to the ATC agency might explain.
In our sectors we are too busy for that. I don't have time to measure and calculate distances from waypoints as aircraft are never on standard routes.

'level by' is a waste of time and doesn't work when you must cross under 3-4 different flights at multiple flight levels.

I would suggest you let controllers answer the questions
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Old 17th May 2018, 13:30
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Good point mikk_13. I retired after 44 years 11 months and 18 days. My last customer was a Boeing 737 on airtest on my last day....operational to the end. Tower/Approach/Approach Radar/Area Radar. Over 25 years at West Drayton/Swanwick as Area Radar Controller with the rest at a variety of big and small aerodromes.
If you want a tip......just say "be level in X minutes". You should have time vector lines as one of the tools available. In answer to another earlier post.....as soon as you impose an artificial operating profile on an aircraft, the BADA model is no longer accurate.
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Old 17th May 2018, 14:34
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Ezy123 cleared flight level 250, cross flight 350 before time35, cross flight level 320 before time 36, cross flight level 290 before time 39. ........

or

easy 123 decend flight level 250, fl 350 in 3 mins, fl320 in 4 mins, fl290 in 6mins

or

ezy123 cleared flight level 250 maintain 2500 or more

also 1 minute is a variation of 5-8 miles, it is too inaccurate as we are working down to the mile (10-15sec)
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Old 5th Jun 2018, 11:51
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Originally Posted by His dudeness View Post
Are they ? Kindly tell you colleagues in Europe, there is hardly any flight on which we donīt get a "descent rate of 2000 or greater" or something like it. (and I have zero issue with that, just sayin..)

And the read back is bloody standard. I only ever usen "with the given" if we get several step descents in a row without level off and the controller had given us a rate before and does not specify a new rate - its a read back and a query in that case.
Depends which part of Europe, I guess. Regardless it is redundant or at best, really old fashioned. It had its origins in trying to avoid excessive step descents and climbs. Best practice is to have properly designed STARs that eliminate the whole problem, or otherwise or when en route to specify to be at or crossing a level by a place or time. That leaves it up to the pilot as to how they are going to fly their aircraft to achieve such a requirement.

Regarding readbacks - there are so many variations around the world - by both regulation and local practice/culture, the best answer is if it seems like part of a clearance then read it back (concisely).
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