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Do I need a squawk code for IFR?

Old 27th Jan 2015, 09:51
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Do I need a squawk code for IFR?

Interested to hear various responses to the following scenario.


Pilot files an IFR flight plan and at a regional aerodrome.


A normal departure and calls airborne to ATC.


Assuming they have set 2000 on their transponder prior to the departure.


What I found interesting was that the controller never actually gave a squawk code... because they were identified on ADSB.


They then continue the remainder of the flight on 2000 or even 1200 if they forgot to set 2000 and never had to change codes.


I didn't think that ADSB coverage was live in Australia below FL180 and I thought it was tertiary to radar?


Does this mean after the changeover to ADSB codes will go for IFR flight?
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Old 27th Jan 2015, 10:29
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Identification should be transparent to the pilot - ie ATC don't discriminate between SSR-identification or ADS-B-identification. Both are good for five miles separation and some flights will transit between being identified on ADS-B only, on SSR only or on both at the same time with no change in the service you get from ATC.

There are a lot of areas around the place (namely near the ADS-B receivers) where there's ADS-B coverage virtually down to the ground but no SSR coverage. If you're in one of those areas your incorrect/missing SSR code won't show on ATC screens (naturally, because you're outside SSR coverage) but because there is a matching ADS-B return it will couple correctly to your flightplan. If you do subsequently enter SSR coverage the controller will then see two returns flying along at the same place at the same height, your correctly coupled ADS-B one and a radar track showing 2000 or 1200 or whatever incorrect code you may be sqwarking. That's where you'll get 'sqwark xxxx' to correct it and as soon as the system picks up the allocated code it will all couple correctly.

Having said that, we're *supposed* to issued a code every time but occasionally ATC or the pilot forgets/mucks it up. It'll become apparent as soon as you do enter SSR coverage though and there's usually no harm done.

(It works the other way around as well, when departing from an aerodrome inside radar coverage the SSR code might couple correctly but the ADS-B Flight ID might still be showing the last flight number, for example)

SSR codes won't go anywhere anytime soon. The existing enroute SSR network will remain in use particularly around the J curve for some time yet - AsA is in the middle of a significant replacement project of the radars around the country which will keep them operating for another twenty years or so at least.
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Old 27th Jan 2015, 10:33
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This is PPRuNe at its best. Good question, great answer
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Old 27th Jan 2015, 10:39
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If you are flying completely out of SSR coverage then there isn't much point in being issued an squawk code. There are plenty of regional airports that have no radar coverage at levels an unpressurized aircraft fly at.
 
Old 27th Jan 2015, 10:51
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And there's NO NEED to ask for a "squark code" - abc departed whoop whoop, tracking who cares, request squark.

When ATS want you to squark a code, they'll tell you. Until then 1200/2000/3000 or whatever is appropriate as per the AIP.
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Old 28th Jan 2015, 20:46
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Excellent response. Thanks track shortener.
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Old 30th Jan 2015, 09:48
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Spot on, CC!

Also many calls beginning with, "XX Centre, XYZ, IFR Taxi".
You have a flight plan in. No need to notify. The only time notification is mentioned in AIP is for a position report.
No need to say request traffic and code. They are going to give it to you when you mention IFR and taxiing in your call. Try it and see. Works for VFR as well. You call ACD and mention a class C aerodrome destination, the controller doesn't need to be reminded to give you a code...

Departure reports also do not need a heads up. There is a ten minute sartime in place from your taxi call. They are expecting you to contact them.

'Spose people think it sounds cool. Bit like "with you"...
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Old 30th Jan 2015, 15:17
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Also many calls beginning with, "XX Centre, XYZ, IFR Taxi".
You have a flight plan in. No need to notify


Isn't it simply done for the purpose of being polite and helpful? I do exactly as the above and have done so for decades simply because I can't see the other person. For all I know they might well be engaged in something other than waiting for me to blurt out my details staccato style. The pre-emptive call lets them know I am reading to give them location, runway, POB and destination.


Of course I could be wrong, any FS folk care to comment.
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Old 30th Jan 2015, 17:04
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...any FS folk care to comment.

Unlikely as FS no longer exists.
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Old 30th Jan 2015, 19:21
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Obadiah,
With frequencies getting as busy as they are these days, it's actually quite frustrating for those of us who want to make a radio call. In 8 years of giving a taxi call without a "heads up", I've never had a problem.

morno
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Old 30th Jan 2015, 22:34
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It was introduced when we moved into TAATS. The original software and procedures were very clunky, especially for OCTA traffic, and we were all unfamiliar with them. The promoting of calls was to give us a chance to find your flight data record or electronic strip or start writing things on the TAATS 'scratchpad" (which looked a lot like a sheet of paper with blank strips drawn on it, because thats what it was). Many software upgrades and years of practice later and it became unnecessary.

It's exactly like our requirement to say "STAR clearance available" before issuing a STAR.
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Old 31st Jan 2015, 02:34
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Ok got that.....I think, well maybe not....


If ATC rattle off a STAR without pre-emption and it has happened once or twice, invariably I will ask for a repeat if there is any doubt about what I heard due to being busy with something else at the time. The courtesy heads up works for me.


Is the IFR taxi report pre-emption I give the same principal as you suggested for the STAR or is one or both now redundant.


Most of the CTAF's I use are below Centre reception level so HF is used, what is the protocol here? I am certain a non pre-empted taxi call would often step on someone else or due the poor quality of HF need repeating.


As an aside it also appears apparent that my movements are not known to the Flight Watch troops when I call in. This strikes me as odd as the "system" knows I will leave VHF coverage yet my details don't appear held by Flight Watch. It would seem like common dog to me if they did have a heads up I will be communicating with them.


Where Centre VHF ground coverage does exists it seems plausible I likely may not hear another distance aircraft talking to Centre. To enter straight out of the blue with a full blown taxi report so to speak runs a risk of being missed or stepping on another.


Right or wrong??
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Old 31st Jan 2015, 03:30
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Yes sorry that was a little confusing. As far as I know, even though they are the same principal, according to the book a taxi or departure report does not require a pre-emption, but a STAR clearance does.

I really don't mind if you do or don't pre-empt a taxi or departure report, but it obviously annoys some others if you do.

Fortunately I've never worked HF so I'm not that familiar with the protocols for calling. However Flightwatch won't know you exist until you call them. The ATC on VHF is the one holding your sarwatch, HF can be considered a third party relay, much as if you ring briefing to cancel by phone. They take your message and pass it to us.

In two way VHF coverage it shouldn't risk over transmitting anymore than any other transmission. The original intent was to give ATC time to prepare before you went ahead. These days though the system is better and we are familiar with it.

Now a taxi call only requires me to find your strip in the preactive strip window and mouse click on it once. This brings up a track and associated label data block (callsign, requested level, track, a/c type etc) at the departure point, and automatically sets a timer for now+10 minutes for sarwatch. Another few clicks and I can record any traffic passed.

Previously I would have to process your electronic strip on the screen, and then write your callsign, taxi time, sarwatch time and any traffic on a sheet of paper, while still scanning the screen and the sheet of paper for traffic, expired sarwatch times etc.

Bear in mind we had gone from a paper strip system that we had years if not decades of experience with to something very different and frankly, at the time, not very good. Everything that we used to do instinctively and automatically was new and complicated. The pre-emption was a risk mitigator (amongst others).
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Old 31st Jan 2015, 05:19
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Thanks NB,


I will give it a try without pre-emption, it will undoubtedly feel odd though.

I don't particularly worry about those that are annoyed by the fact that some do, these poor souls are destined to walk through life peeved at all manner of things from anti clockwise rotating ceiling fans to crooked paintings. Such is their lot.

The reason I mentioned over transmitting upon other VHF users is the fact when on the ground VHF propagation has some limitations from shielding and poor antenna location. Once airborne other airborne stations are easier to hear.


"Now a taxi call only requires me to find your strip in the preactive strip window and mouse click on it once. This brings up a track and associated label data block (callsign, requested level, track, a/c type etc) at the departure point, and automatically sets a timer for now+10 minutes for sarwatch. Another few clicks and I can record any traffic passed."


I thought you also needed to note POB and departure runway?

Interestingly I am required to pass information already known to you such as type, IFR status, location and destination which begs the question as to why if you already have all that?

To answer my own question one presumes to confirm that we are all on the same page. Also aids VFR aircraft not yet on CTAF for their situational awareness.

Last edited by Obidiah; 4th Feb 2015 at 14:47.
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Old 3rd Feb 2015, 11:53
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What would happen at an aerodrome with no vhf coverage on the ground. I typically would call "xx Center Xyz departure" and wait for a go ahead. Is this also not needed? Can I go straight into a departure call without warning? I understand if the frequency is busy it might be worth doing a preemptive call but otherwise maybe not.

Also. Have noticed on a few occasions now if I forgot to give POB. I haven't been asked for it. I always have it in my flight plan, however I had thought it was a requirement to give POB in the initial call. So when I didn't get asked it was a little unusual.
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Old 3rd Feb 2015, 13:41
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Obidiah, yes, it confirms we're on the same page. Pilots change planes and destinations and forgot to change the type or the change hasn't come through yet or we forget to change the details for subsequent legs. You might fly VFR for a leg or two and not tell us.

When you say "IFR" I know to look for your strip and I know I have to provide traffic - I might have to scroll the list to find you or you ETD might be too far in the future and I won't even have a strip but I can find your plan. But at least I'll know to go looking because you've said "IFR". If all else fails I will note your details, provide traffic and then make up a plan, becasue you've said "IFR".

Nose_Wheel
, basically we're not policemen and we don't need POB to provide traffic or hold SAR so don't ask. If you're uncertain as to VHF coverage it makes sense to not block the frequency with a call the intended recipient won't hear.
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Old 3rd Feb 2015, 14:12
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As an aside, in a regional tower at least, we don't receive contact details or POB on the message we get with your Flight Plan. We effectively get the same information you get as a confirmation message from NAIPS. If you tell me your POB I write it down, not sure what centre does with that info though.
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Old 4th Feb 2015, 09:33
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in regards to the preemptive call:

First thing to know:
My airspace is large, several times larger than than the country large. My airspace has boundaries with Brisbane, Jakarta, Colombo, Male, Mauritius, Johannesburg, Antarctica and New Zealand. It also covers most of Western Australia, takes 23 frequencies to cover it, and it takes a 777 6+ hours to transit.

Second thing to know:
We have to coordinate details of every flight that enters or exits our FIR with our international partners. This is usually: Callsign, Boundary position, estimate and flight level. Sometimes more details if the other FIR doesn't have the plan. All this info also has to be read back to confirm correct.

Third thing to know:
It's not uncommon to have jurisdiction of 30+ aircraft and have no one within VHF coverage. All the communication is done with CPDLC and HF relay.

All this means that even though you might be the only aircraft in the state on frequency and it sounds awful quite, we can be working pretty hard in the background.

The eventual point is this:

Most controllers don't have to do all the coordination that my group does but if I'm listening to a coord readback from another FIR and an aircraft jumps straight into a long winded call it means firstly you're going to get told to standby, then the other FIR controller is going to have to readback all the info a second time so I can confirm correct then you're going give the call a second time. Not only wasting your time and my time, but the time of an entirely different FIR.

While it's perfectly fair that it's not for every controller, if you're in my airspace (250nm outside PH north and east. Kalgoorlie to Port Hedland), give me a heads up.
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Old 4th Feb 2015, 14:41
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Kieran,


Thanks, not for a moment did I think cold launching into an IFR taxiing HF report would ever be a success.


le Pingouin,

Can I take it you are a Centre operator and you do prefer a heads up prior to launching into a VHF taxiing report.


Because it seems we now have two from the same field with somewhat opposing views, well at least in so far as being superfluous, personally my gut instinct is a quick 3 to 4 second "ML Centre XXX IFR taxi", can't really be an imposition on anyone but an aid to some.

Are there any guidance notes that give a detailed insight for pilots on what and how each division of ATC operates?
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Old 5th Feb 2015, 01:00
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Because it seems we now have two from the same field with somewhat opposing views,
If you ask six ATCs a question, you will get at least seven different answers

From memory the books only require a prompt for a position report now (someone who knows the books better than me i.e. nearly everyone, may correct that). However a lot of controllers as well as pilots are used to them for taxi and departure.

I agree that it not a problem to prompt and I don't care if you don't, but some rules fanatics will be upset if you do, and sooner or later a grump on the other end of the radio will be upset if you don't.

I generally find that when the freqs become busy both sides of the conversation are aware of it an phraseologies become pared back.


Are there any guidance notes that give a detailed insight for pilots on what and how each division of ATC operates?
We are all supposed to use the same procedures (air ground anyway), so any local differences should not be your problem but something we should sort out. As always I think mutual famil visits are very valuable for understanding the others job.
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