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Mega Merged: AsA ATC staffing levels

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Mega Merged: AsA ATC staffing levels

Old 26th Oct 2007, 02:16
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Mega Merged: AsA ATC staffing levels

There has been a fairly heated discussion going on in the ATC section about break relief on nightshifts in Australian ATC centres, specifically Melbourne Centre http://www.pprune.org/forums/showthread.php?t=296753

You can as pilots probably disregard the parts about inner politics and concentrate on the factual posts. It would be interesting to know what you think about the proposal that a person unqualified on the position will be responsible for at least 20 minutes at a time for your flight, and so you will probably get a "will advise" to all requests during that time.

Keep in mind that after the Uberlingen collision it was found that their should be at least 2 qualified controllers available at all time day or night for each sector, so that if things get tough there is someone to call for help. This proposal means that for a 7 hour period there will be only one person qualified for each group of sectors in the centre.

I don't work in Oz anymore so no skin off my nose directly but would be interested to get a pilots perspective. Maybe even Dick Smith might weigh in as surely he will agree this is a serious safety issue that needs to be looked into further.
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Old 27th Oct 2007, 03:20
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Thread disappearance!

ITCZ,

The thread seems to have been pulled/deleted from the ATC issues area. We are inquiring as to why...

I guess from my perspective I equate it somewhat (no offence intended) to a long haul flight (being a 7 or 8 hour shift) where one pilot is encouraged to rest during quiet cruise times. This somewhat equates to having 2 controllers rated in a position rostered on to provide qualified relief at all times during the night shift. At the moment this allows for some napping and much more alert controllers at the console.

AsA are introducing a roster whereby only one rated controller will be rostered for a sector. They intend to provide breaks to that controller using atc not rated on that sector (or even not qualified to do Enroute in some cases).

This raises many issues which are in the process of being raised with CASA but on a pilot level I would be interested in the effects. For example the controller monitoring your flight may have no (and I mean absolutely no) idea of safe airfields in the event of an emergency. This is just one example.

Let us know your thoughts on this,

Blue
ps. Will the companies seek a refund of avcharges???
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Old 28th Oct 2007, 00:33
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Worth thinking about that if you make a request of ATC on the night shift, and the response is "Standby", he is either considering your request, or is not qualified to respond to it and is waiting for the real controller to come back...
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Old 28th Oct 2007, 03:54
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So you make a 'request' within minutes of the 'Non rated' controller sitting down at the console, and he tells you to "standby".

While you are waiting (for the 'rated' controller to return 20 mins latter) your request turns into a 'Requirement'. What happens then?
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Old 28th Oct 2007, 04:48
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Standby/Will Advise

Great question Monopole!

AsA management assure us it would never happen

In an emergency or urgent situation we are supposed to do our best to assist. However without local knowledge of airports/procedures/coordination/seperation standards/airspace etc I have difficulty in imagining the unqualified controller would be any help at all!

Also, remember this unqualified break is to let AsA reduce the qualified night staff from two to one. Not only are you getting unqualified "help" but the qualified ATC will have their eyes hanging out of their head with only minimal breaks (20 min over an 8 hour shift). The lack of night staff was seriously implicated in the Uberlingen(sp?) disaster and here we are trying the same thing. Onya AsA

Keep the comments coming - Blue.
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Old 28th Oct 2007, 12:35
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Blue,

Think you might find fatigue management controller style enacted, what was that about TIBA procedures?

Betta start boning up on those people!

Go TFN you good thing.
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Old 28th Oct 2007, 22:31
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If I, as a Bonanza driver, was sitting merrily in Economy Class on QF1 and the FA came up to me in the middle of the night and asked me to come up to the pointy end and give the sole pilot a rest break .... I think I would have the intelligence to say no.

If I was a QF 737 jockey, repositioning back to base on QF1, and was asked the same question .... what would I say?

If I was a QF 737 jockey, on duty, with the task of providing the 747 Captain with a rest break ... what would I do?
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Old 29th Oct 2007, 00:03
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If I was a QF 737 jockey, repositioning back to base on QF1, and was asked the same question .... what would I say?
"show me the money!"
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Old 29th Oct 2007, 20:55
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Maggot,
Yep, that's a good point also.

AirNoServicesAustralia,
My point is that if your colleagues are silly enough to hop on a position that they are not endorsed on ... well, they'll likely get what they deserve. Pity about their families though.

When I'm paying $2500 to fly to London at 35,000ft, I don't want, nor would I accept, an unendorsed pilot up the front, whose job was to monitor the lights and buzzers ... and then come and get the captain if something happens. I want someone there to take over immediately if the autopilot dis-engages.

I assume ASA has passed this by CASA and it has been signed off.
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Old 30th Oct 2007, 02:12
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CASA Signoff

Hi Peuce,

That was one of the first questions we asked! CASA apparently have given the nod but refuse to put it in writing. Thanks CASA

Blue
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Old 31st Oct 2007, 10:00
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Angry Airservices Australia & providing breaks by unrated controllers

to all you pilots out there,

AsA have decided in their lack of judgement and due to an admission of staff shortages, to cut the midnight to dawn rosters on most groups back to single man, but they have a problem with breaks though.

they have now decided to use say an approach rated person to break one of the area guys "for up to 20 mins to provide a listening watch only and service for emergencies only.., but not actually control.

what a joke, it is like saying to a dash 8 driver, look the 744skipper needs a break for a little while so even though you are a pilot but dont hold a rating on a 744 you can take control for while just to keep a listen out and sort out an emergency, you see my point.

this is in total contravention to CARS part 65. Please post your comments and make a lot of noise.

this is a copy of the circular to ASA ATC staff from one of the managers re the above followed by a cut and paste of the TLI (temp local instruction) from another manager which has since been re written but says same but do not have a copy to hand yet.


ECS SY – ML Information Sheet
17 October 2007
ML TMA


CONTEXT

ATC numbers, Airservices wide, are currently 29 below requirements - ATCs including C& SS. This is reflected in the disruption to services we have been experiencing in the ML FIR. Part of the strategy to handle this staff shortage is to reassess operational requirements. It is no longer sustainable for the organisation to have staff sleeping for up to fours hours on doggos in our current staffing situation. It is also at odds with how the rest of the organisation staffs its night shifts for low traffic positions, Brisbane included. It is not a requirement of the Fatigue Management Policy which states that a 20 minute break is required.


PURPOSE
To advise the ECS ML SY ATCs of the staffing changes and requirements in the room.


OUTLINE OF CHANGES

ECS ML-SY
  • We are currently training Regional Service controllers on Central trained on YAS/JVS sectors.
  • After consoles moves on the night of October 29 the Central Roster will be split along the ECS/RS lines:
    • RS sectors OVN/SNO will take on YAS/JVS – now report to Anne Brownhill and her ALMS
    • CB TCU and ELW/ BLA will become a combined roster
  • As part of this split single doggos will be rostered for both Central ECS ML-SY and RS Central
  • Canberra Group roster commences 11/11. It will contain single doggos.
  • As SNO/OVN now has YAS/JVS, ELW/BLA rated people cannot provide breaks to SNO/OVNs as they do not have the YAS/JVS training.
  • From Oct 30 only ECS ML SY staff will be in Aisle 1 – that is CB GP, CB TMA, Central “High” ELW/BLA and ML TMA.

RS
  • Desert’s new roster commences 26/11. It will contain single doggos


ECS AD-ML
  • BASS and BAROSSA will transition to single doggos by the end of the year. Exact dates to be advised shortly.
  • Aisle 2 will rotate the accountability to provide the extra person once all the rosters in that aisle are single manned.


FATIGUE BREAK PROVISION
The following TLI will be issued this week. It has the sign off from the OOLC and was subject to a HAZID. The SS will be required to review traffic levels in each of the groups to ensure it is an appropriate time to provide breaks. TMA staff will be required to help with the short breaks in ECS ML SY only.

To facilitate short breaks from an active console or position, a supervisor or Manager may approve a person who holds an Air Traffic Controller licence and who holds a valid Class 3 Medical Certificate, but who is not currently endorsed for the position/function, to:

(a) maintain a listening watch at the relevant console or position; and/or
(b) relay to an aircraft, verbatim recorded instructions issued by an appropriately endorsed controller for that console or position.

Additional requirements and/or limitations:

1. As a guide, a ‘short break’ would not be expected to exceed 20 minutes. Timing of short breaks needs to take account of pending activity and the actual break should, whenever possible, be delayed until a time of little or no expected activity.
2. A normal comprehensive handover and takeover is to be conducted prior to the endorsed controller vacating the position and when the endorsed controller returns to the position. Verbatim instructions from the endorsed controller shall be recorded in the same way that the handover/takeover is recorded. The endorsed controller shall also advise what Eurocat inputs are allowed in this handover. All instructions shall be recorded on a scratch pad for use by the non endorsed controller.
3. The endorsed controller must advise adjacent units that he/she is vacating the position and again when he/she returns.
4. The endorsed controller must be on call to return to the console.
5. In the absence of specific instructions to be passed from the endorsed controller via the person maintaining a listening watch, a person maintaining a listening watch, must not initiate communication and must limit replies to phrases such as STANDBY or WILL ADVISE; and
6. The person maintaining the listening watch must not provide any clearances or instructions to aircraft (except as permitted in (b) above) unless there is a threat to the safety of air navigation; but
7. The person to whom the endorsed controller issued the handover in 3 above:
· Is permitted to provide a flight information service; and
· Is expected to respond to issues affecting the imminent safety of air navigation.
8. Any situation which does not constitute an immediate compromise to the safety of air navigation must be dealt with in accordance with clauses 5 and 6 above and must be resolved and/or handled by the endorsed controller. All transmissions received shall be recorded on the scratch pad noting time, callsign and response.
A specific handover and takeover is to be conducted prior to the endorsed controller resuming the position.


The ECS ML SY ALMs are happy to provide a briefing one on one to the TMA staff.


Susan Smith




TLI_07_0341 which has been replaced by TLI_07_0548

Title

Short Breaks from a Console or Position

Valid From

UTC (10 fig) 0706150630

Replaces

Nil


Valid To Incorporated into relevant documents


Units Affected

BN OM Reef MC OS 1 Essendon Tower

BN OS 1 Tops

MCOS 2 Hamilton Island Tower BN OS 2 Sydney TCU

MC OS 3 Hobart Tower BN OS 3 Sydney Tower MC SS Jandakot Tower

BN SS Adelaide TCU Melbourne TCU Launceston Tower

Barrington Adelaide Tower Melbourne Tower Mackay Tower

Brisbane Tower Barossa West Procedural Maroochydore Tower

Byron Bass West Radar Moorabbin Tower

Cairns TCU Bight Albury Tower Parafield Tower

Cairns Tower Canberra Group Alice Springs Tower

Perth TCU Coolangatta Tower Canberra TCU Archerfield Tower

Perth Tower Fraser Canberra Tower Avalon Tower Rockhampton Tower

Moreton Central Group Bankstown Tower Tamworth Tower

Ocean Desert Group Camden Tower Outback MC OM

Coffs Harbour Tower



Amend

Brisbane Centre

Local Instructions Part 2 - CATSOAM 8

Rostering Business Rules Assistance to staff during night shifts (SR#52/53).

Melbourne Centre

Procedures Manual Centre Administrations Manual – Team Operations

TAAATS Procedures Manual – Part 15

Night Shift Arrangements MCO 15.11.0.0.20.43 Version 3


ATC Operations Manual Volume 1 – Part 11 CATSOAM (New Section)


Background

The information contained in Brisbane and Melbourne instructions relating to
short break provision on a night shift have been reviewed.

The instruction in this TLI applies to all shifts.


Instruction

Short breaks from a console or position

To facilitate short breaks from an active console or position when a controller
holding the relevant endorsements is not available, a supervisor or
Operational Command Authority holder may permit a suitably qualified
person (e.g. an air traffic controller or person with relevant air ground
communications skills) to:


(a) maintain a listening watch at the relevant console or position,
and/or

(b) relay to an aircraft, verbatim recorded instructions issued by an
appropriately endorsed controller for that console or position.



Notes:



1. As a guide, a ‘short break’ would be for only a few minutes – e.g. to
facilitate a toilet break. Timing of short breaks needs to take account
of pending activity and the actual break must be delayed until a time
of little or no expected activity.

2. In the absence of specific instructions to be passed from the
endorsed controller via the person maintaining a listening watch, a
person maintaining a listening watch, must not initiate
communication and must limit replies to phrases such as
“STANDBY” or “WILL ADVISE”.

3. Verbatim instructions from the endorsed controller shall be recorded
in the same way that the handover/takeover is recorded.

4. The person maintaining the listening watch must not provide any
clearances or instructions to aircraft (except as permitted in (b)
above) unless there is a threat to the safety of air navigation.




Authority

Brian Joiner – National ATC Service Support



References

NRFC 4972

ASID

SAIR

HAZLOG Register No:

Nil

Hazard ID:

Nil

Control No – SR:

Nil

Register Title:

Nil

Title/Description:


over and out
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Old 31st Oct 2007, 11:14
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Yeah...this will work..what a GREAT idea
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Old 31st Oct 2007, 11:21
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The floggings will continue...until morale improves

One has to wonder why a very conservative group of professionals need to highlight their plight. Could it be the mis-management is as bad as at Qf...?
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Old 31st Oct 2007, 11:36
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Not surprising, I have found a few instances of "Less than normal" service in the last week. Nothing dangerous, but being ditched off the system in an unusual manner from IFR and when VFR not be able to pick up some services (I think it may have been a trainee at the time so I understand) but it does seem that fewer are asked to do more with less.

SQ
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Old 31st Oct 2007, 14:15
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Snoop A thought

permit a suitably qualified person (e.g. an air traffic controller or person with relevant air ground communications skills
IS that like say....a pilot visiting the centre?
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Old 31st Oct 2007, 14:19
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Thanks Capt Zorro. Sounds very dodgy. If in fact it contravenes the CAR then there is no problem. Call CASA then the ATSB followed by a media release to all major Australian media outlets.

I find it very difficult to believe that AsA management would not have run this by their legal people first. If they did not then they really are dumb. Also I do realise that two lawyers will give three opinions.
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Old 31st Oct 2007, 15:19
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You would think it would be a risk legal people wouldn't be willing to take.

Where would the management of AsA lie if a midair was to occur whilst the rated person was on the toilet and a non rated person was in the chair?

What also happens if the only rated person on duty has a family emergency or medical problem that needs for them to go home immediately, who would fill the chair then ?

I can guarantee one thing, rather than be dealing with the issues in that memo the people that issued it are probably attempting to hunt down whoever posted it on here too!
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Old 31st Oct 2007, 17:22
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I think a call to CASA and/ or the AFP would be a good start
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Old 31st Oct 2007, 19:19
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AsA's office of legal counsel have approved this. CASA have apparently given verbal approval but nothing in writing. Seems like they've just readjusted the affordable safety threshold.
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Old 31st Oct 2007, 19:29
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I think there are a few European air traffic managers looking for jobs, why not hire them?....If they aren't in jail.
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