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Shifting the blame to ATC

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Shifting the blame to ATC

Old 14th May 2006, 14:33
  #41 (permalink)  
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Too much delay attributed to the ANSP means they get hit by penalties
Yes, but it i not the passengers who make the decision on the penalties is it? I will be the actual recorded delays attributable to the ANSP, so it still makes no odds.

As far as blaming CFMU rather than ATC for the slot is rather difficult. The avergare layperson will know what Air Traffic Control is but not Central Flow Management Unit, and the distinction to them will be very slight, so I wuld suggest that a PA explaining who CFMU are and that they are the ones who have issued the slot will become far to rambling and technical.

I am sure that ATC'ers are quite rightly proud of what they do, but occaisionally we all have to take one on the chin for the "cause". The ones who really have to take one on the chin are the cabin crew. No matter how well you explain the reason for the delay the pax always give then cabin crew s**t for it.
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Old 14th May 2006, 14:56
  #42 (permalink)  
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So if you get a slot due weather do you still blame ATC?
So if you get a slot due to the runway at destination being blocked do you still blame ATC?
So if you get a slot do you still blame ATC?
If you miss a slot can we blame you?
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Old 14th May 2006, 15:15
  #43 (permalink)  
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As I said earlier on:

I always tell the pax that atc have told us that our earliest take off time is....

Thereby nobody gets the blame and no lie has been told.
If I know what the slot is for, which I often don't, then I will explain that the reason we have a take of delay is due to poor weather at...

If you miss a slot can we blame you?
erm..yes you can, oh but hang on a sec, what if it was because the agents were late loading the bags, I might get a little precious and upset if you blame me for it!!!

Come on guys, it's not rocket science, a few little white lies or half truths never did any harm, I am sure that most ATC chaps will appreciate that saying "Sorry, Ladies and Gentlemen, we hae an air traffic delay of.." or something along those lines is not a personal attack but a plausible and as close to the exact facts as is required to tell the pax.

As I said earlier I do not advocate laying the blame at the feet of ATC if it is say a tech problem or something else like that.
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Old 14th May 2006, 15:20
  #44 (permalink)  
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Also, what do we mean by blaming ATC?

We know that a slot can be for a number of reasons, such as wx, flow management, blocked runways, apron capacity etc, so all we are saying is that the delay is being enforced by ATC. Nonody is saying that ATC are at fault for that.

Yes I know that ATC don't issue the slots it is the CFMU but as I said earlier on making that distinction to the Pax is just too difficult.
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Old 14th May 2006, 15:32
  #45 (permalink)  
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Weather -No, Runway blockage -No, ATC slot -Yes, miss a slot -No.

So often when a departure slot to London has been brought forward, you find that there are no delays on arrival and you could have gotten in even sooner. Very frustrating for all concerned to have an unnecessary delay and it loses the confidence of the pilots. It is the function of ATC to prevent collisions- by allowing ATC to impose flow constraints, it is like the Police, who's task is to keep traffic flowing freely on the roads, to set what time I may leave home in my car to drive to work in the rush hour so too many people don't arrive at the xxxxx junction/work car park at once. By interfering with the natural flow, it possibly masks where and when the real congestion is occuring so schedules are not licensed correctly. If your Basle flight is always going to get a slot delay like that, then the schedule must be changed according to how it actually performs when uninterfered with, otherwise you are skewing the results. That is where schedule manipulation should come in, not some faceless adminitrators in Brussels deciding 'we'll delay this one 50 minutes just in case'. I think too often their predictions for expected congestion at LHR in 2 1/2 hours time are way off.
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Old 14th May 2006, 16:08
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I'm still not sure how you would undertake the
"the function of ATC to prevent collisions" en-route without any flow control to prevent major overloads.

Possible explanation for your Basle-LHR experiences; your slot from Basle might have been an en-route restriction, not an LHR arrival restriction; you might have launched on the -5, and everyone else on the +10 (+15). There are many reasons why it appears quiet when you turn up at LHR. We might have outperformed our declared capacity over the past half an hour, or many of the a/c with slots to bring them to LHR at the same time as you might have missed their own slots.

I think too often their predictions for expected congestion at LHR in 2 1/2 hours time are way off.
It's a feature of the system. The flexibility of the -5/+10 departure, speeds in the departure TMA, direct routeings etc all have large effects on traffic flow, and it cannot be predicted with any great accuracy. AFAIK that's the main reason for the 250kt trial in the london TMA; to ascertain if it improves flow management due to a more predictable flight profile.
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Old 14th May 2006, 16:36
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How about ATC just turn off flow, and whilst we are at it, turn off the radars.
After all, you got TCAS to sort it all out i suppose
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Old 14th May 2006, 16:49
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Thats not a bad idea! Do you think it would work?
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Old 14th May 2006, 16:50
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I was on a THAI 747 when it aborted the approach into HKG Kai Tak after the last 30 degree right turn was completed, must be 20-30 secs before landing. The captain announced it was because "another airplane was still on the landing strip"...
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Old 15th May 2006, 11:15
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Weather -No, Runway blockage -No, ATC slot -Yes, miss a slot -No.
How do you know the slot wasn't due to weather? If there's a strong headwind at heathrow the arrival rate plummets, same if there has been weather avoiding or fog previously. weather might have improved but you'll still get a slot as the backlog is cleared.

To reduce delays into heathrow would you advocate a ban on weather avoidance? 2 mile spacing in strong wind conditions? Perhaps LVPs with land after clearances?

A couple of years ago, working Heathrow approach in LVPs, we had the misfortune to see the fog come back in just as restrictions had been taken off and a massive wave of inbounds was appearing on the radar.

The TMA was creaking at the seams and several sectors were close to being overloaded as 48 per hour arrived at the inner stacks just as the landing rate went down to 28.
This unforecast fog dissapeared as suddenly as it had come and we started landing more and cleared the holding traffic.

The Traffic Manager did a fantastic job removing the flow rates quickly and we soon had another wave arriving, the first of which I was able to put straight in. and as it caught up the last in the sequence of the holding traffic (ensuring we hadn't wasted a single landing slot) the pilot had a good old moan about why he'd had to sit on the ground in brussels for half an hour when there was no delay!

You can't possibly see the bigger picture from the flight deck but remember
1. safety always comes first for us
2. we can't control the weather
3. don't argue with the guy that decides when you land
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Old 16th May 2006, 11:06
  #51 (permalink)  
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with all the due respect that a retired pilot such as yourself deserves - you are talking utter b locks.

Other pilots on this thread are saying they will still blame ATC with a little white lie - that I can live with. The utter ill informed drivel that you are spouting however, beggars belief.

The airline industry is run for passengers - it is a consumer industry. Those passengers want to get to the same destinations at the same time as each other, for the same reasons.

The airlines, because it is a competitive market, try to do what the customers want.

The infrastructure (Airspace, tarmac etc) cannot cope with this - it's not about ATC ability, it's about physical dimensions of airspace, landing rates etc. As an ATCO I work bloody hard at times in the London TMA - I take great umbrage in someone stating that delays are my or any other ATCOs fault.

The delays at heathrow for example are caused by a multitude of things. Do you even know how far in advance planning has to take place to try to prevent this??

At the start of the day, with the help of slots, the traffic may be reasonably spaced to prevent any significant delay.. however, during a 10 hour flight, who is to say what will happen to an aircraft?? How about the severe headwind or great tailwind it experiences - therefore causing it to arrive at the 'wrong' time. How about the direct routeings some helpful ATCO gave it - to cause the same effect (or is ATC to blame for trying to give expeditious routeings as well?)

When traffic starts backing up, flow is put on for arrivals, but it can take hours to take proper effect. If the traffic manager at does a bad job during the nightshift with flow restrictions for example, it can take until early afternoon to sort out the backlog, even if the oncoming traffic manager at 0700 tries to implement flow.

A/C are held on the ground because we cannot cope with more at that time - or would you rather we let everything take off and just hope it's safe??

Speaking purely from the london TMA point of view, as a TMA controller we can have Dover departures from Heathrow (busiest international passenger airport), Gatwick (busiest single runway airport), Stansted, London City, Luton all trying to get out through DVR at the same time - how are we supposed to do that safely without delays happening??

So Delays are the fauly of ATC?? well, i suppose if you take it in black and white they are - however, they are caused because more and more aircraft are trying to use the same piece of sky. They are caused for the sake of safety.

When passengers are happy to take flights at unsocial times and the airlines can reschedule departures/arrivals accordingly, we may see a reduction in delays. However that ain't going to happen as it is against customer wishes.

As an aside - The ATC infrastructure has little or no say on what happens - they only manage the airspace - they do not 'own' it. If airlines try to set up new routes or fly from new airports, the CAA etc will look at it, then give it the OK if they think it is appropriate - they do not usually consult with the ASNP before dong so - they just have to cope with the impact.
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Old 16th May 2006, 11:33
  #52 (permalink)  
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We've gone off the thread a little here, but at least in Europe you are told the length of the delay and given a slot time. The standard response to a start clearance in China is "Standby". After further questioning the next response is "No time" which means length of delay is unknown.
After further questioning the standard response is "Military" or the blame is passed on to the next sector.
The longest delay I've had is 3hrs40mins, it's difficult explaining to Pax that we've no idea when we will be under way!

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Old 16th May 2006, 11:59
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Blaming ATC...

A couple of years ago a pilot did a PA to his passengers after a go-around at Gatwick saying that 'ATC had made a cock-up' - not the case at all, unfortunately for the pilot the PA had actually been transmitted to ATC instead of the cabin by mistake. He later apologised!

Also, any passengers flying with United Airlines usually have the facility to listen to all the RT communications from their seats, except during PAs!
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