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"Leaving FL" Call

Old 15th Feb 2020, 07:35
  #41 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2020
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Without pilots there's no ATC
I would agree.

and without ATC your flight won't be safe.
I would disagree. That's an extremely broad statement. Perhaps in the 'olden days' ATC had more input. These days, modern aircraft have the equipment to provide the required safety without any ATC input, even GA aircraft are getting this equipment at a good price. This is certainly the case in an en-route phase. Your argument is more valid, perhaps, in the terminal area.

Flow control will never be perfect. In these times, there is so much more information available to make flow better. In Australia it's getting worse,

Why?

In my experience, the

ridiculous minutae?
is perpetuated by Australian branded ATC. Whinging about not getting a 'left or leaving' call. Why? It's alarmed.

I'd suggest getting in touch with this person's manager. This particular frequency has far greater priorities than this tripe.

Last edited by Hoosten; 16th Feb 2020 at 00:03.
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Old 15th Feb 2020, 13:10
  #42 (permalink)  
 
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Now that's a point I can get behind. There is literally no worse book I can think off than AIP in terms of construction.

Not to mention that the index was removed 3 years ago due to the apparent difficulty of upkeep? Are you ####### kiddin' me?! Suspiciously the same time Airservices ran its famed 'Accelerate' program.
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Old 16th Feb 2020, 03:46
  #43 (permalink)  
 
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Isn’t/wasn’t there a requirement to, when not having left a level but having been assigned another level, when ready, if a frequency changed to advise maintaining flxxx, assigned xxx. The previous Jepp references seem to make it clear that a report leaving, having left or vacating or vacated or however you wish to express it, is required
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Old 16th Feb 2020, 03:57
  #44 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by BlackPanther View Post
And herein lies the arrogance of this entire thread. The ATC was being arrogant in the OPs example if he does this all the time, however it could be a genuine statement, he may have just missed it.
​​​​​​
The OP was being arrogant by arguing. He is wrong. It is in AIP. Unfortunately whilst many many things in AIP are ignored, you have to be willing to fall on the sword when caught out.

KingRB has made an arrogant statement about sequencing when it's clear that he obviously hasn't spent any actual time trying to learn how sequencing in Australia works. Don't forget the system is from pre2000 - the ATCs work with what they have got. Not to mention a set of priorities and procedures which affect sequencing can make it too dynamic in Australia.

The point of my post is that this is meant to be a team effort. Without pilots there's no ATC, and without ATC your flight won't be safe. Can everyone just work together and not argue over these ridiculous minutae?
That's a pretty arrogant post Panther
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Old 16th Feb 2020, 04:25
  #45 (permalink)  
 
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Well, I just believe people (on both sides) should have more humility about the things they don't understand. I apologise if I sounded arrogant or I offended someone.

I am not taking a side on either position of this debate. The ATC was correct but unprofessional. The pilot was wrong but probably makes a fair point. I see both perspectives. Of course, the whole point of this forum is that we can all discuss openly and honestly.

Hoosten, you are correct what you said about the technologies available. However, they don't exist in the Australian context (either from a technical, or regulatory perspective). Consider the investment that is being put into OneSky, I wouldn't expect things to change anytime soon either.

I am not sure what you mean by "it's alarmed" but the notion in this thread that ATC's get a notification from their scope when an aircraft leaves a level is is not true in Australia (unless of course the aircraft does it in contravention of their clearance, in which case your transponder will dob you in). They have to actively scan your track to see it. And if they are working intensely on another task this can be missed quite candidly.

Once again - this is not a defense of anyone. This is me putting out some facts.
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Old 16th Feb 2020, 04:45
  #46 (permalink)  
 
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Ramble on.

It has been. Many years ago when I did my ATPL the chap that was running the course had a student who day job was a Barrister. Having too many stray neurons (as occurs with these chaps) did not like the way all the guff was written in legalise. So rewrote it in normal talk, submitted, told will review and rewrite and I think the main change was an added an or, or.
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Old 16th Feb 2020, 05:56
  #47 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by 4runner View Post
it’s the same with Saffers too. Left in their own world and country, they’re petty tyrants. Outside of SA or Oz and they’re a beacon of control and calm.
As a South African this amused me greatly and will be repeated many times in the coming years
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Old 16th Feb 2020, 10:23
  #48 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Hoosten View Post
Whinging about not getting a 'left or leaving' call. Why? It's alarmed..


No, it isn't. If you've been given a 'when ready' descent, there will not be any active alert when you leave your level. All that will happen is a '>' symbol will become a '
˅' symbol and three digits on your track label will begin decreasing. There is no beep, alarm, notification or any active system means of alert.

the new system does notify us so we don't require a 'leaving' call as we will be notified electronically'
Partially true, or at least partially understood and slightly out of context. If an aircraft is within surveillance coverage and somewhere between its current level and its cleared level (and traveling the right direction) there will be no alarm. If an aircraft steps outside of these bounds it will generate a CLAM alert (Cleared Level Adherence Monitor). A track has a 200ft tolerance applied from the cleared level and the CLAM alert will only be generated outside of this tolerance. F350 can wander between FL348 and 352 without alert. An aircraft in a block FL350B370 can wander between FL348 and 372 without alert. An aircraft at FL350, assigned FL250 'when ready' will not generate an alert until it hits FL247 descending. We don't need alarms to tell us an aircraft is complying with its clearance, it's not particularly good HMI to have 'Everything's OK Alarms'.

There is also the Predicted Flight Level (PFL) alert for aircraft equipped with Mode S transponders. This will compare the Cleared Flight Level for an aircraft track to its down-linked selected flight level and generate and alert if a discrepancy exists. This is when you'll hear "Confirm assigned level" from ATC, there is no display presented to ATC of what level is selected, only that there is a difference.

Moving on...

ATC will have several aircraft under their jurisdiction at any point in time, in moderately busy times, I typically had 25-30 aircraft on my combined frequencies, at busy times 35+ (more than I had time to count). The most I had one night with everyone on the rails was 75 aircraft in my airspace. This doesn't include aircraft approaching my volume of airspace, those of which are getting the lions share of my attention because if the flight wasn't been planned through my airspace before it reached me, I was already five steps behind. Add to this the 'behind the radio' work of coordinating with other sectors, FIRs, managers etc.

If you were given 'when ready' descent by me then and didn't advise leaving, there's a pretty high chance that it would go unnoticed in the short term. I would not be instructing aircraft to 'report leaving' the cruise level because it's expected that you do it and a waste of radio time on my behalf if I did.
There are reasons why full descent may not be issued with 'when ready' from the cruise level, generally they include conflicting traffic, airspace or procedures. The controller my not be responsible for the underlying airspace at the time that descent was issued and can't clear you through another controllers airspace. It can also be for task trigger actions such as a frequency transfer gets issued at top of descent when the aircraft reports leaving.

That said, if the first that I knew that an aircraft was descending on their clearance was the pilot piping up saying they were approaching their cleared level I'd just give more descent and move on, I don't see the point of point of being bitchy of frequency, there's more important things to do. Some ATCs, just like some pilots, have their grumpy days, their pet hates, their long tiring shifts, and days when they got out of the wrong side of bed.

For the original post, maybe the controller was approaching the end of a long shift, genuinely didn't notice you leaving, believed he had missed your call and got a smart-arse (and incorrect) response in return for the explanation offered. Maybe he's just a tool. Most likely, as with all things, it's somewhere in between.


I appreciate pilots asking these questions, we can't learn from each other if we don't ask. I encourage my colleagues and trainees to do jump seat flights when ever they get a chance, it's a great way of seeing your world for a few hours.I also encourage all the pilots I meet while doing so to visits towers and centres to get that same experience.

If anyone one has spare time in Melbourne or Brisbane or at any tower location, give us a call, come visit and have a chat. I believe the more that we all know about each others jobs, the better it gets for everyone. The rising tide and all that...


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Old 16th Feb 2020, 18:12
  #49 (permalink)  
 
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Hoosten

The promised efficiencies were never delivered by TAAATS, I'm sceptical that any operational efficiencies will be delivered by 'onesky.' Perhaps the only thing delivered will be management bonuses and Line Controller overtime.

I am not sure what you mean by "it's alarmed" but the notion in this thread that ATC's get a notification from their scope when an aircraft leaves a level is is not true in Australia (unless of course the aircraft does it in contravention of their clearance, in which case your transponder will dob you in). They have to actively scan your track to see it. And if they are working intensely on another task this can be missed quite candidly.
The bolded part, is this not part of your job description? I doubt you would ever rate on a position if something as simple as this is not demonstrated?

Quite frankly Australian ATC needs to go back to the drawing board. You are in service delivery. The treatment of some of your customers is appalling. The dismissive attitude of 'without me your operation would cease' is not good enough.
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Old 16th Feb 2020, 23:33
  #50 (permalink)  
 
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Further on from leaving an assigned level when given a pilots discretion descent, would you intercept the regulations to require a response such as “ climb/descend x , leaving y” when given a climb or descent instruction without a “when ready” included?
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Old 17th Feb 2020, 02:54
  #51 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Hoosten View Post
The bolded part, is this not part of your job description? I doubt you would ever rate on a position if something as simple as this is not demonstrated?

Of course it is. But sometimes human factors gets in the way and when there are 20 outstanding tasks to complete, scanning an aircraft that is 'on the rails' is not something you prioritise as number 1. You might prioritise the emergency aircraft inbound from the next sector, or a pending conflict that requires a level change from another aircraft, or you might be looking ahead at the sequence to start to form a plan.

Naturally, an ATC scan will return to ALL aircraft in good time. But mental prioritisation is important and checking if an aircraft has left a level after you have already assessed descent and issued a clearance is not that high up the list.

Originally Posted by Hoosten View Post
Quite frankly Australian ATC needs to go back to the drawing board. You are in service delivery. The treatment of some of your customers is appalling. The dismissive attitude of 'without me your operation would cease' is not good enough.

Yes, the system needs to go back to the drawing board in regards to the framework in which Australian ATC is done. TAAATS is poor and the regulations are less about efficiency and more about decreasing risk for Airservices. However I think that the kind of behaviour you describe is only evident in a small number of ATC's here.
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Old 17th Feb 2020, 04:50
  #52 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by BlackPanther View Post
Well, I just believe people (on both sides) should have more humility about the things they don't understand. I apologise if I sounded arrogant or I offended someone.

I am not taking a side on either position of this debate. The ATC was correct but unprofessional. The pilot was wrong but probably makes a fair point. I see both perspectives. Of course, the whole point of this forum is that we can all discuss openly and honestly.

Hoosten, you are correct what you said about the technologies available. However, they don't exist in the Australian context (either from a technical, or regulatory perspective). Consider the investment that is being put into OneSky, I wouldn't expect things to change anytime soon either.

I am not sure what you mean by "it's alarmed" but the notion in this thread that ATC's get a notification from their scope when an aircraft leaves a level is is not true in Australia (unless of course the aircraft does it in contravention of their clearance, in which case your transponder will dob you in). They have to actively scan your track to see it. And if they are working intensely on another task this can be missed quite candidly.

Once again - this is not a defense of anyone. This is me putting out some facts.
Point taken BP- but I WOULD point out this particular sector has a reputation for exactly this, so, no, it wasn't a one-off.
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Old 17th Feb 2020, 06:49
  #53 (permalink)  
 
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This question should have been answered in one sentence as there is only one right answer. Unfortunately, I have been out of the air for a while so I can't help. Try posting in "Australia NZ and the Pacific" as the majority of pilots responding should be current airline pilots regularly leaving flight levels in controlled airspace.
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Old 17th Feb 2020, 11:45
  #54 (permalink)  
 
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I think that the kind of behaviour you describe is only evident in a small number of ATC's here.
Yes, I would agree with that, but any sort of this behaviour should be rubbed out. More press in the SMH about the cultural problems inside ASA. It would be hard to modify behaviours when your management is so poor.
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Old 17th Feb 2020, 15:30
  #55 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by cx8za View Post


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Great info, thanks for your post.

i have one question. Probably more for approach controllers, but when we have an “at or below” altitude is it annoying if we level off when we are cleared lower? Example, cleared to 6000’ (or whatever) the at or below 9000’ often has us low on profile, so the aircrafts solution is to make the 9000’ “at or below” then level off. Most people will override this and continue a gentle descent until re-intercepting desired profile, but if you don’t and let the aircraft level off at 9000’, is it annoying for ATC?
thanks
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Old 17th Feb 2020, 19:36
  #56 (permalink)  
 
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My airline, which is “non-English as a first language” mandates a leaving call. The reason was different ATC phraseology and procedures around the world had occasionally led to misinterpretation of descent clearances. The “leaving” call, while cumbersome and not mandatory in most areas, does provide a final confirmation of the clearance and has saved face a few times.
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Old 17th Feb 2020, 22:46
  #57 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Occy View Post
Great info, thanks for your post.

i have one question. Probably more for approach controllers, but when we have an “at or below” altitude is it annoying if we level off when we are cleared lower? Example, cleared to 6000’ (or whatever) the at or below 9000’ often has us low on profile, so the aircrafts solution is to make the 9000’ “at or below” then level off. Most people will override this and continue a gentle descent until re-intercepting desired profile, but if you don’t and let the aircraft level off at 9000’, is it annoying for ATC?
thanks
Hi Occy.
Biggest problem with that situation is if you let the aircraft do it all and the FMS reduces your speed as well.
You are probably in a stream of traffic and if old mate behind you is hand flying or overriding the FMS then we all have closing when the Star is meant to make it a sausage factory.
I tell you to speed up and the guys behind to slow down and everyone says FFS we met our FF time, second best in the world!
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Old 18th Feb 2020, 05:49
  #58 (permalink)  
 
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Why would the FMS slow down in that situation?
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Old 18th Feb 2020, 08:41
  #59 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by AerocatS2A View Post
Why would the FMS slow down in that situation?
Because the descent path is very flat/shallow from the push down waypoint. If the cost index is low enough, the FMS will command a low speed (idle) for the shallow descent. The other option is to maintain a higher speed with thrust which does not comply with low cost bias.
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Old 18th Feb 2020, 17:54
  #60 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by travelator View Post
Because the descent path is very flat/shallow from the push down waypoint. If the cost index is low enough, the FMS will command a low speed (idle) for the shallow descent. The other option is to maintain a higher speed with thrust which does not comply with low cost bias.
not on the FMS i use. Using the SMOKA star jnto BNE as an example, if the box is left unchanged it will pass over SMOKA at the maximum alt, (7000 I think) and then continue its descent at 750fpm to assigned level at 260 kts. It will reduce to 230 by GORRI, as required.
There are many ways to skin a cat. Mine is to insert an alt restriction at GORRI of 5000feet.
you end up with a continual 500fpm ~ descent after SMOKA to GORRI.
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