VFR traffic procedures and flight handling

Ken Greenwood

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VFR traffic procedures and flight handling
« on: May 29, 2020, 10:16:56 AM »
hithere - have noticed an increase in VFR and local circuit procedures lately which I think is great - one of the more interesting aspects of the tower is integrating VFR and IFR operations.  My 2 tower positions were both miltary but think the procedures were virtually identical to Transport and Nav Canada.  With all that being said - thought I'd jot down a few 'notes' on how I was trained and operated with VFR aircraft throughout my career in Shearwater and Portage la Prairie towers

as a tower controller - you are responsible for aircraft within the confines of your control zone, indeed all ATC can only issue clearances within their designated airspace - it's a MAJOR nono to issue a clearance in another controllers airspace - there are allowances in VATSIM to allow some 'cross pollination' of duties but be aware of that fact.  Also you must be aware of clearing a VFR aircraft to do something - ie assign a heading - that may take him into cloud is unwanted.  You certainly can advise him to remain clear of a certain area due to traffic but rarely do we vector VFRs - and if we do we always state "maintain VFR"

class D control zones are located at airports with operational control towers and provide positive control
class E control zones are located at airports with FSS stations and provide advisory control

the dimensions of the CZs are usually circular in shape and vertical dimensions are defined in the DAH

so, with that basic info - let's discuss a few scenarios

working CYHZ_TWR with a request for VFR circuits

"Halifax Tower, good afternoon Cessna CGLJK at IMP requesting 1 hour local VFR in the circuit"
"CGLJK - Halifax Tower, good day runway 23 - winds 200 at 10 - time minute 40 - Halifax altimeter 29.80 confirm ready to taxi"
note  --  was always trained taxi instructions included rwy-winds-time-alt
"affirmative and we'd like a departure from DELTA - LJK"
"LJK plan left hand circuits for 23 at 1500' taxi ALFA DELTA hold short rwy23"
"ALFA DELTA short of 23 - LJK"
"Tower - LJK holding short rwy23 in DELTA"
"LJK - report downwind - winds 200 at 10 - rwy23 from DELTA - cleared for takeoff"
"LJK on downwind for a touch and go"
"LJK number 1"  or  "LJK #2 traffic is an A320 on a 5 mile final extend downwind"
note  --  was trained the downwind call give the sequence  --  the final call give the airport clearance
"LJK turning final"
"LJK winds 220 at 10 rwy23 cleared touch and go"

working CYQM_TWR with an inbound from the north

"Moncton Tower - Piper Navajo CFRED with you 25 north inbound from Pokemouche VFR at 2.5 for landing"
"CFRED - Moncton Tower - ATIS J - rwy 29 - winds 270 at 5 - Moncton altimeter 30.00 - cleared to the circuit report right downwind" or  "report right base rwy 29"
"Tower - RED is downwind for rwy29 fullstop"
"RED - #1"  or appropriate sequence # with traffic information
"RED turning final 3 down and locked"
"RED winds 270 at 5 - rwy29 - cleared to land"

this is just a very basic intro into to the care and feeding of VFRs - there's a myriad of other procedures for military jets, helicopters, training flights wanting IFR procedures under VFR flight rules, and many other scenarios which you may, or may not, see in VATSIM  --  hopefully this will spur discussion and we can expand our knowledge base together

cheers - zedex

Mark Walsh

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Re: VFR traffic procedures and flight handling
« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2020, 10:42:29 AM »
Excellent material, thanks Ken!

paul dean

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Re: VFR traffic procedures and flight handling
« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2020, 02:18:22 PM »

Good explanation Ken. Here in the UK military we have calls "initials, on the break, report final (with variations)".
On final the pilot is to report gear down, even with a 172. If not reported, controller has to prompt the pilot.
The best reply I've come across... "gear down and welded".


Brad Crockett

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Re: VFR traffic procedures and flight handling
« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2020, 01:03:22 AM »
Thanks for posting this, Ken!

When the runway is busy (IFR traffic on final as per your example, for instance) and it will be a while and there's a single-engine prop on the downwind, would you make use of other things to delay the base turn besides extending downwind? I've been teaching orbits (opposite direction to the circuit) and a 270 degree turn to base. How far would you send a 172 on downwind instead of doing other things?

Ken Greenwood

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Re: VFR traffic procedures and flight handling
« Reply #4 on: June 02, 2020, 07:16:56 AM »
certainly a 360 on downwind and the 270 turn to base leg are available options

extending downwind is the most common - it is a VFR 'see and be seen' procedure  - once the circuit a/c has the arrival he is to follow in sight, it is up to him to provide appropriate spacing.  If he does not report him in sight you can use the extend downwind and I'll call your base turn - but definitely wouldn't extend so far as leave the confines of the control zone. 

have had situations were it was so busy with IFR arrivals that there was no space to fit in a VFR circuit - imagine a scenario with 5 or 6 spaced 3-5 miles apart 'down the pipe'  --  where you going to fit your 172 into that stream?  Occasionally you'll have to advise the aircraft that circuits are temporarily unavailable due traffic and perhaps suggest alternate activities.  Usually most large airports have a 'satellite' field that's not too far away that you can send the VFR to if required

Travis Chan

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Re: VFR traffic procedures and flight handling
« Reply #5 on: June 10, 2020, 10:20:11 PM »
This is brilliant, thanks for sharing your knowledge. I'm always trying to improve my controlling to be closer to real-world and post like this really help.
Travis Chan (1402756)
Deputy Division Director

Jacques Lauzon

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Re: VFR traffic procedures and flight handling
« Reply #6 on: June 14, 2020, 08:52:58 AM »
Very interesting and informative Ken. Thanks for sharing your experience.