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Pre-noting Class D transit requests

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Pre-noting Class D transit requests

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Old 1st Jan 2018, 16:36
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Pre-noting Class D transit requests

Anyone else noticed this?

See Y095/2017.

NATS | AIS - Home

Yes, only a trial at this stage but:

Is this a pre-cursor for a future requirement for a full flight plan for Class D transits?

Will it give ATC the option to refuse a crossing in advance, where an "ad-hoc" crossing request by RT might not have been refused?

How are RW operating from remote locations where there is no internet connection and (as is by no means unusual), the pax turn up at non-specified times, expected to fit in with this?
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Old 1st Jan 2018, 18:23
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From a source in NATS, it is to help them during the transition to electronic strips. At the moment you free call and the controller writes a VFR transit strip out and issues a clearance based on what you want to do.

When E strips start this month the controllers will be doing a lot of on the job training alongside their simulator details. The app is to help them in a very complex change process. The creation of an E strip for a VFR transit is actually quite complex and takes them from their priority task. If you use the app your strip will be ready and you shouldn’t get any delays.

When East Midlands went the electronic route they NOTAMed no transits due to the training. Now transits are no problem.

When you book into Luton, Stansted and I believe Gatwick, the first the radar controller knows about you is your initial inbound call. For some reason there is a huge disconnect between the airports and the radar controllers in Swanwick. You book with your handling agent, they book the airport and the airports don’t tell TC Ops about you.

Until the E system is running properly and safely expect delays unless TC know about you. I was told that to create a VFR transit strip takes a dip into at least 3 sub menus all in different places and several minutes. At the same time controlling a bunch of airliners into the right sequence.

It is a huge change at Swanwick, but given time and practise you won’t notice the difference, however for a few months the radar controllers are going to be working bloody hard.

I’d be interested to hear what the experience of the East Mids controllers was, but the no transits notam was in place for quite a while.

SND
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Old 1st Jan 2018, 19:00
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SND, So any clue to whether or not is this a requirement for routing into the LHR CTR to EGLW?

I note that the "abbreviated flight plan" will be discarded if not used. How long after the notified time, I wonder. I note that the accuracy should be +/- 15 minutes of the ETA - this is far too tight for a VFR flight plan where the actual departure time is very often subject to the vagaries of "actual passengers turning up time".

All very well for those with a manned ops department, not practical for those of us without.
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Old 1st Jan 2018, 21:14
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Very many thanks Shy - well-spotted. What's a handling agent?

The creation of an E strip for a VFR transit is actually quite complex
..to create a VFR transit strip takes a dip into at least 3 sub menus all in different places and several minutes..
...so the system is being designed to fail before it's even introduced? Sounds to me like an agency didn't take a look at the daily tasks faced by ATCUs with the aim of producing a suitable workaround. Perhaps they used a programmer/ consultancy to design it, rather than a controller who's actually going to have to make it work. That, or they're trying to turn Class D into the Class A of old only more so.

Our VFR low-level, national-infrastructure (another Class D-related term...) reactive ops all around the S, SW and middle of the UK frequently require us to carry out tasks within, and short-notice transits through, Class D. Fortunately for us we don't have to spend too much time in the SE where this trial will be conducted. I shall follow this one with interest.

Last edited by Thud_and_Blunder; 1st Jan 2018 at 21:16. Reason: added comment about our work in and through Class D
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Old 2nd Jan 2018, 08:22
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Looks like making everyone's jobs (for a simple task) harder just for the sake of digitisation............
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Old 2nd Jan 2018, 08:58
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Anyone tried to use this?

My quick sample identified that it requires the callsign but it has to be the a/c registration - that will possibly create confusion etc. not just for the police/SAR/HEMS/corporate/pipeline/etc. but also the ATC controller who is aware of G-$$$$ but then hears Police/Helimed etc.

You also have to select the zone that you require to transit - then ADD it before being allowed to submit.
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Old 2nd Jan 2018, 09:46
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And even if you do file electronically - it doesn't give you any advantage
ATC will acknowledge the transmission and consider the request. If possible, and depending on traffic, workload etc, an ATC
clearance or alternative clearance will be then provided, which if acceptable to the pilot shall be read back in full.
3.10 The aircraft must remain outside any CAS until such time as ATC have provided a clearance and it has been acknowledged and
read back by the pilot.
3.11 Whilst there remains no guarantee that a suitable ATC clearance can be provided on every occasion that a request is
made, the pre-notification of Abbreviated Flight Plan details should enable some measure of pre-planning by ATC.
Having flight details available in advance should also significantly reduce the amount of RTF required to facilitate such
requests.
perhaps the last sentence is the only advantage - less RT.
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Old 2nd Jan 2018, 09:54
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Good spot Shy. But this is just nuts. So many points:

The amount of admin time to request a Class D transit on line is quite significant - I'd guess 5 mins. And that's a lot. And as you say, many of us don't have ops departments.
Many of us don't always have ready on line access to do this. The 3 or 4G coverage is far from good when away from wifi. Then what?
What routes you get are clearly influenced by other traffic, so you may well get another to that requested.
A lot of flights cannot be timed to even within 15 mins - we go when we're ready, we're not scheduled flights.
This just seems sure to create more admin work overall, given the inevitable lack of precision of routes and timing, thus usually ATC will have to rely on the initial radio call info anyway to approve and route.
If pre requested transits don't have to be cancelled and just fall away if not used, how's that going to help with accurate co-ordination of busy airspace? Requests might be refused because someone else has pre requested it - and never shows.
ATC controllers also sensibly take into consideration the apparent competence of the pilot from his RT before issuing clearances.

And that's just a start!
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Old 2nd Jan 2018, 09:56
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Moving to EFPS is a big change, and yes creating a strip for a free calling aircraft, be it a transit or arrival is more complex than just scribbling on a paper strip. Even now 3 years on it takes time and concentration. That said the TC controllers will get the hang of it, and going from our experience a period of adjustment will be needed. The trial sounds interesting, but not sure how effective it will be, and not sure if it is planned to be rolled out to non NATS units, we do get the odd VFR plan drop into our displays so guess the system has the ability to deal with them.
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Old 2nd Jan 2018, 10:00
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Should have added, it's more understandable for a transit actually to the airport for a landing there - but this is not limited to that.
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Old 2nd Jan 2018, 10:11
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Having put more thought into this, I worry that it will cause more pilots to route round Class D, rather than bother to "advance book" a transit, especially when people have been refused a crossing request, which will almost undoubtedly happen (human nature being what it us). There are a number of choke points in the London area and this will possibly make them even busier. Farnborough LARS often struggle to cope as it is due to controller workload, especially at weekends. Flight safety compromised in the name of progress?
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Old 2nd Jan 2018, 10:15
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Originally Posted by rotorspeed View Post
Should have added, it's more understandable for a transit actually to the airport for a landing there - but this is not limited to that.
Yes, so it's likely we will have to PPR the landing and PPR again to enter the airspace. Hence my concern about EGLW.
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Old 2nd Jan 2018, 12:18
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I suggest you get a few US controllers and some FAA style “ tower airspace “ otherwise you will follow Australia into the destruction of a once viable GA industry!
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Old 2nd Jan 2018, 13:22
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Shy;

I understand PPR was high on the agenda, but was elbowed very early by CAA and others.

Your question about routing through the TMA to LGW is bloody valid. I don't know the answer. I'll see what I can find out and I'll post it here. Also anybody who wants to PM me with feedback is very welcome to and I'll make sure it gets passed on.

Just for info I was on a trip this morning that involved a Luton crossing. P2 stuck the relevant bits into the NATS system while we were at the pick up site, I got a lovely e-mail thanking me and telling me they had it, but this in no way constituted a clearance ETC. When we called Luton they'd never heard of us. Call me old fashioned, but progress seems to be sending us back a fair bit on this one!

SND
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Old 2nd Jan 2018, 13:33
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Originally Posted by Dick Smith View Post
I suggest you get a few US controllers and some FAA style “ tower airspace “ otherwise you will follow Australia into the destruction of a once viable GA industry!
Agreed...from the US perspective, this seems so un-neccessary. There's almost nowhere in the US that one can't transit VFR on a whim, save the DC FRZ.
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Old 2nd Jan 2018, 14:06
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Originally Posted by Sir Niall Dementia View Post
Shy;

Just for info I was on a trip this morning that involved a Luton crossing. P2 stuck the relevant bits into the NATS system while we were at the pick up site, I got a lovely e-mail thanking me and telling me they had it, but this in no way constituted a clearance ETC. When we called Luton they'd never heard of us. Call me old fashioned, but progress seems to be sending us back a fair bit on this one!

SND
Now, ask me if I'm REALLY surprised...

A similar thing happened to me when we first had to phone up the LTC Group Supervisor to obtain a clearance to land in the "inner area" of the LHR CTR. I phoned as required, only to be given quite short shrift by the controller at the other end of the phone. He seemed quite angry, asked me why on earth I was phoning him and wanted to know who had given me their phone number! I quoted the AIC number and he went very quiet - I don't think he was aware of it!
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Old 2nd Jan 2018, 14:08
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Originally Posted by MikeNYC View Post
Agreed...from the US perspective, this seems so un-neccessary. There's almost nowhere in the US that one can't transit VFR on a whim, save the DC FRZ.
Same in UK....or WAS! We seem to be suffering from creeping legislation all the time. All we RW pilots want to do is get people efficiently from A to B - it's not rocket science!
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Old 2nd Jan 2018, 15:30
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This is the thin end of a very large wedge - the AIC quotes some of the benefits as :

Enable better planning of transit flights through Class D airspace;
Reduce the RTF loading when requests are made;
Reduce ATC workload and therefore enable more efficient use of the airspace.
There is only one way to action the above - you'll get an email back saying "no, go away"
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Old 2nd Jan 2018, 20:15
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Another concern is that - like may have happened over the Thames less than a handful of years ago - pilots will try to interact with walk-on comms devices in flight to the detriment of their other duties. An example of an ATC requirement leading to a reduction in flight safety.

I can think of a particular watch supervisor at a particular airport who must be rubbing his hands with glee at the prospect of using this one against GA.
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Old 2nd Jan 2018, 21:44
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I can think of a particular watch supervisor at a particular airport who must be rubbing his hands with glee at the prospect of using this one against GA
Let's face it about 30% of the ATC units in the UK are hostile towards GA - doesn't matter if they have one or ten inbounds/outbounds .... or as I found recently at one major international airport, none. Yep, very early morning, nothing in the air (truly nothing at that time and only one departure in the next 20 minutes) and I got the usual, "remain clear of controlled airspace" and then given more track miles than if I had planned to avoid their airspace completely.

Of course, there are many great units but it's embarrassing when compared to the USA and Canada. Over the last few years I've found the professionalism deteriorating rapidly. It certainly has changed.

Finally, as 3 out of 4 of my VFR flight plans never make it to a controllers desk I don't expect this to work.
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