Australia, New Zealand & the Pacific Airline and RPT Rumours & News in Australia, enZed and the Pacific

Melbourne Air Traffic Control

Old 10th Dec 2016, 03:50
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Melbourne Air Traffic Control

What has happened to air traffic control in Melbourne? The performance has plummeted. You get a COBT (that system isn't particularly effective anyway) and then get holding. Some aircraft carry the required holding fuel and then have to divert as ATC gives them additional holding on top of that promulgated. The wind may be 150/10 and they are using one runway. The ATIS gives a ten knot tailwind (as do tower reports) but the tailwind isn't reflected on the TTF nor the windsocks. You get a delayed COBT by anywhere up to an hour then get track shortening and a high speed descent with the next closet aircraft ten miles ahead. The supposed congestion doesn't show on the TCAS nor on Flight Radar 24.
What is going on?

Last edited by EPIRB; 11th Dec 2016 at 08:07.
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Old 10th Dec 2016, 03:58
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'G' n/a

One little thing like that and it collapses like a house of cards
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Old 10th Dec 2016, 04:04
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'G' n/a ?????
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Old 10th Dec 2016, 04:05
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No Golf for you!!
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Old 10th Dec 2016, 04:16
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Of course, but it still doesn't preclude the use of runway 27. I don't understand why the tower reports such a strong tailwind on the ATIS but it isn't reflected elsewhere.
And it's an absolute disgrace that taxiway Golf is still out of action. Do those sort of runway works overseas and it would be completed in weeks, not years like here.
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Old 10th Dec 2016, 04:47
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Some time ago I was pushing the Sydney Curfew as we called for push in Melbourne.

There was a strong South Easterly at the time and 16 was the duty runway. The queue of taxiing aircraft extended along Alpha as far as Tango. There was no way we could join the queue and still make curfew.

I requested 09 and was promptly told, "Not Available". On querying why I was told Ambulance traffic into Essendon. I asked when it would be available and was told, basically, never. A quick spin of the figures and it transpired we could take 10 knots tail wind on 27 as our only hope of making it. This option was requested, and approved. Good ole overpowered 767.

The next day I was back in Melbourne and phoned the tower to find out why they don't use 09. I have used it, years ago on a classic 747. Why not use it any more? Admittedly Easterlies are rare, but why restrict to one runway with an Easterly? I was initially told, once again, it was ambulance traffic into Essendon. I have a finely tuned BS detector that went off at that point. Sure, ambulance traffic may be a restriction for 5-10 minutes, but that didn't account for the fact 09 hasn't been used in years.

Finally, after much friendly probing (over the phone, get your mind out of the gutter) he finally admitted that there was nobody left in tower/approach that knew how. It was used so infrequently, that the corporate knowledge had gone and nobody left had any idea how to run the sequences.

I was flabbergasted. How could one of Australia's major airports effectively halve its capacity during an Easterly just though lack of training, experience, exposure and corporate knowledge?

I hope things have improved.
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Old 10th Dec 2016, 05:10
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Any sign of recent tailwind over 5kts and they'll can 27. Usually available on rqst, its helped me a bit in the recent weeks.
I'm also staggered how long Golf has been and but moreso the affect it has.
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Old 10th Dec 2016, 06:06
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Essendon has a lot of RFDS traffic which gets priority. Your corporate story doesn't ring true. Often when there is an easterly wind, 09 only will be the duty runway and controllers know how to use it. 09 departures with 16 as the duty runway and as busy as you said poses a number of problems.

Not only may there be Essendon traffic on RWY 17 but a 09 departure to Sydney will have to cross the tracks from New Zealand, Tasmania, Canberra and Sydney.

You can only cross RWY 16 on E TWY. With 16 only operations, the Dash 8s and many QANTAS 737s will vacate at E, the exit must be kept open.

Finally, if you were to get RWY09, you may be waiting a long time to cross RWY 16 when busy
.
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Old 10th Dec 2016, 09:53
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Couldn't agree more with the above.

I'm normally in the camp that defends ATC but I'm over Melbourne and I'm over both MEL and SYD incessant ATIS changes. Its to the point where its actually is a distraction and adversely affects safety. Thought about starting an identical thread many a time.

No doubt the COBT followed by LIZZI and ARBEY times and holding in CAVOK light winds is about staffing levels. Regardless, the Airlines pay top dollar for a cut price service and it seems to me that unless you are a pilot flying the line everyday then it doesn't matter. Everyday, every sector 365 days a year its the same story. COBT's have benefited Air Services and just added yet another item for pilots to deal with.

The ATIS changes has to be legal ar$e covering, as a 2 knot wind change unless a tailwind makes absolutely no difference whatsoever apart from the other pilot putting there head down to write it on a card thats covered in changes.

Another favourite on descent "reduce speed to 210 kts" at about 5 miles to a limiting altitude without offering a height waiver. We're over it. And don't talk to us when we're on the rollout with a fistful of max landing weight with yet another tailwind on a wet runway.

Maybe its just me..
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Old 10th Dec 2016, 11:00
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Originally Posted by Berealgetreal View Post
Couldn't agree more with the above.

I'm normally in the camp that defends ATC but I'm over Melbourne and I'm over both MEL and SYD incessant ATIS changes. Its to the point where its actually is a distraction and adversely affects safety. Thought about starting an identical thread many a time.

No doubt the COBT followed by LIZZI and ARBEY times and holding in CAVOK light winds is about staffing levels. Regardless, the Airlines pay top dollar for a cut price service and it seems to me that unless you are a pilot flying the line everyday then it doesn't matter. Everyday, every sector 365 days a year its the same story. COBT's have benefited Air Services and just added yet another item for pilots to deal with.

The ATIS changes has to be legal ar$e covering, as a 2 knot wind change unless a tailwind makes absolutely no difference whatsoever apart from the other pilot putting there head down to write it on a card thats covered in changes.

Another favourite on descent "reduce speed to 210 kts" at about 5 miles to a limiting altitude without offering a height waiver. We're over it. And don't talk to us when we're on the rollout with a fistful of max landing weight with yet another tailwind on a wet runway.

Maybe its just me..
Two words. "Unable" and "Require".

"I can go down, or I can slow down. Pick one!"

Oh and on the subject of ATIS changes. Many other countries outside the sheltered workshop that is Australia seem to manage just fine by changing the ATIS very half hour on the half hour. These are airports with four times the active runways and traffic the Melbourne or Sydney manage. Seems to work just fine.
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Old 10th Dec 2016, 11:26
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Is this industrial or have all the good controllers left? What is going on?
Yep, sorry, left about a year ago. Shit rosters, even poorer incompetent immediate managers.

Australian ATC will tell you anytime you ask them they are the best in the world. There is a severe lack of 'can do'

You'll notice one post above with a raft of excuses parading as reasons. Says it all really.
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Old 10th Dec 2016, 11:47
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Isdon - the majority of airports overseas do not train their Tower ATCs as Met Observers but Airservices does. Hence the ATIS you get overseas is just the current METAR spoken onto the tape. In Australia you get the controller observations but only changed in accordance with a set of instructions, not every two minutes as you contend. That's why Australian Towers were not in the habit of giving a wind with every landing or take off clearance. The ATIS wind is accurate not what the MET man saw 30 minutes ago.
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Old 10th Dec 2016, 12:42
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Do those sort of runway works overseas and it would be completed in weeks, not years like here

It may depend which trade union is involved in the runway works. Some are very militant in Victoria.
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Old 10th Dec 2016, 13:50
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Industrial action? You really are an utterly uninformed peanut EPIRB.

And Porter, acceptance rates are the line controllers fault exactly how? You're a bloody peanut as well and should know better than to bag your former colleagues for nothing they have any control over.

I'll be telling anyone who asks in future that the pilots are on a go slow because they get paid by the minute so they stay aloft as long as possible. Makes about sense as the crap being piled on ATC.

Signed

The Grumpy Controller.

Last edited by le Pingouin; 10th Dec 2016 at 16:10. Reason: Grumpy
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Old 10th Dec 2016, 14:09
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EPIRB, do you understand the difference between strategic and tactical? Do you understand the idea behind COBT and that we as line controllers have neither access to nor influence on it.

We don't decide the acceptance rate, we don't decide all the rules, we just work with the traffic disposition we're given. Sure you might have been delayed by an hour but how does that position you with reference to the actual sequence? It doesn't does it? We have to tweak things to make it all fit.

We're as mystified as you as to where all the delays come from on some days.

If you've got a bitch about the way it all works get your bean counters to talk to our bean counters to talk and the airport bean counters. They're the ones controlling it all.
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Old 10th Dec 2016, 20:11
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You know, feedback is a gift! That's what the comments from the "customers" are.
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Old 10th Dec 2016, 20:23
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My understanding is that COBTs are arranged in Canberra. What I fail to understand is why they delay aircraft when there is very little traffic. We can see it on our TCAS.
Have to agree about some pilots slowing down (not all get paid by the minute either). Some appear to not have any situational awareness - rolling through to Golf on 16 in a turboprop so your taxi isn't as far. Bugger the other aircraft waiting to take off that you have just prevented.
Still curious as to why Melbourne only uses 16 only in light winds when 27 is available.
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Old 10th Dec 2016, 21:50
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Why is the COBT system designed so that it favours airlines with big fleets, and those with small fleets are made to cop delays so huge, that it just ruins your day right from the start? 74mins one morning into Melbourne!!

I've been looking at taxiway Golf the last few days, scratching my head as to why it's still closed

morno
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Old 10th Dec 2016, 22:05
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Originally Posted by Mr Approach View Post
Isdon - the majority of airports overseas do not train their Tower ATCs as Met Observers but Airservices does. Hence the ATIS you get overseas is just the current METAR spoken onto the tape. In Australia you get the controller observations but only changed in accordance with a set of instructions, not every two minutes as you contend. That's why Australian Towers were not in the habit of giving a wind with every landing or take off clearance. The ATIS wind is accurate not what the MET man saw 30 minutes ago.
Yes. That may be all true.

From an end user perspective. i.e. The pilot. It's just another embuggerance to efficient operation.

If we're on the limit of performance we'll ask for a wind check. If we're not then the average wind over the last 30 minutes is just fine.

And it's not me who contends that the ATIS changes every two minutes. Even if it did, what makes a two minute old ATIS more valid than one issued 30 minutes ago?

The fact is the ATIS can be incorrect 5 seconds after it's recorded.

Far better to have general conditions in the ATIS changed every 30 minutes and changes to that issued with takeoff and landing clearances.

You may think you're helping, but you're not. Take the feedback or not. It's up to you.
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Old 10th Dec 2016, 22:05
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Essendon has a lot of RFDS traffic which gets priority. Your corporate story doesn't ring true. Often when there is an easterly wind, 09 only will be the duty runway and controllers know how to use it. 09 departures with 16 as the duty runway and as busy as you said poses a number of problems.

Not only may there be Essendon traffic on RWY 17 but a 09 departure to Sydney will have to cross the tracks from New Zealand, Tasmania, Canberra and Sydney.

You can only cross RWY 16 on E TWY. With 16 only operations, the Dash 8s and many QANTAS 737s will vacate at E, the exit must be kept open.

Finally, if you were to get RWY09, you may be waiting a long time to cross RWY 16 when busy.
Bollocks.

1. Your arguments are departure based. None of this explains why 09 can't be used only for arrivals. Ie at least turboprops from the south and west.

2. QF can be directed to exit 16 at the high speed like every one else to keep Echo free for taxiing aircraft. Straw man argument.

3. Doesn't explain why you suddenly won't use 27 when there's a couple of knots downwind.

I've been told they won't do simultaneous ops on Rwy 09 and 16/34 because the tower position and height doesn't allow the tower controller to monitor both flight paths and runways. Or is that just another excuse?

Without a doubt the most inefficient traffic flow in Australia. Note I didn't say the most inefficient ATC, I guess they're just working within the constraints and procedures they are given.

Something needs to change.
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