care and feeding IFR departures

Ken Greenwood

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care and feeding IFR departures
« on: June 15, 2020, 10:07:10 AM »
well...since my last 'dissertation' was met with some approval - thought I'd jot down a few thoughts on IFR departures

worked terminal in CYPG with a mix of training BE23 Musketeers, CT114 Tutors and CH139 JetRangers, then Moncton with departures from QM/SJ/FC/YG/QY and the rest both radar and procedurally and for the last while terminal at HZ with full radar  --  will say that some of my 'procedures' are not 100% by the book, nor was my R/T always exactly according to MANOPs - but I realized thru my career what was critical and what could be bent

small f'rinstance - book says frequency changes to be...

contact Moncton Centre now on frequency wun too fower dee-see-mal tree

the amount of times I got incorrect readbacks using that format was considerable, rarely did I get a wrong readback using...

contact Halifax Tower one nineteen two g'day

there were other instances, some small - others large, that caused discussion during my twice yearly 'tape checks' and over the shoulders - but suffice to say - I said what I thought communicated my wishes for pilots to perform what I wanted in the most efficient format

Note that there are a variety of flightsim pilots - from realworld pilots and enthusiasts who plan and load their aircraft with realistic pax and fuel, and are extremely proficient at 'flying' their aircraft - to beginners who kick the tires, light the fires and let 'er rip  --  and all in between.  As online ATC we are enhancing their simulation to the greatest extent possible, might be a learning process but just try and empathize and assist where possible

IFR clearances
in the old days we would relay full route clearances to tower or FSS with clearance validation times, specific procedural departure instructions but with the advent of modern procedures, SIDs, PDCs and the like our jobs have been quite simplified.  Here's an example of an IFR clearance to a Jazz DH8 off CYQY back in the day...

ATC clears Jazz8822 to the Halifax VOR via V312, maintain 16thousand, depart runway 25 turn right make climb from 4thousand to 12thousand established on the YQY 295 radial, not above 4thousand til 17DME squawk 4312, clearance cancelled if not airborne by 1425Z

so you can imagine, for both pilots and ATC - standardized SID and departure routing make life much easier

AirCanada622 cleared to the Toronto airport Halifax4 departure F/P route, depart runway23 and squawk 0522

would say in 99% of the cases we'll see on VATSIM - use a SID and more or less in that format.  You may see cases where the F/P route is no good - that usually can be worked out beforehand with a discussion with the pilot before issuing the clearance...
...not using the preferred IFR routing - not a biggie but there are published routes - pilots should use them  --  filing IFR CYHZ  --> CYYC at FL400 in a gulfstream might be cause for a discussion.  Did have a Irving HS25 file direct WG one time and told him...ahhh no.  Medevac flights I would clear as far down the line direct as I could coordinate
...route makes no sense - have seen this realworld, usually a dispatcher snag - flights going eastbound over the ocean filing CYHZ EBONY YHZ...  I would ask - do you really want to fly 100 miles west before heading to Europe?
...wrongway altitudes and filing FL180 when altimeters low - again quick discussion and fix it up

initial contact
so our virtual aviator has managed to get his airbus, or boeing or dash into the air.  As a terminal controller or the first radar ATC to talk to the flight it is your responsibility to verify the altitude readout of the aircraft's transponder and we can radar identify an aircraft if he is observed in a position within 1 mile of the departure end of the runway at a time consistent with his departure

Halifax Departure - Air Canada622 is with you on the SID runway23 through1500'
AirCanada622 - Halifax Departure radar identified, altitude checks turn right heading 305 and climb FL230

Halifax Departure - AirCanada622 airborne
AirCanada622 - Halifax departure radar identified through 2000' turn right heading 305 and climb FL230  or
AirCanada622 - Halifax Departure radar identified say passing altitude

this leads to my second point - note I assigned a vector H305 to this flight  --  I was taught early in my career that pilots can be quite busy during the initial climb - retracting flaps on schedule, setting climb power, configuring Nav and FMS  --  the easiest thing a pilot can do is fly a heading.  If there is potential traffic - heading clear is golden, if his first waypoint is clear and you think direct KELSO will clear the inbound, heading is still golden as he might not configure everything correctly, overshoot the outbound track and you end up nose to nose.  I assigned an initial vector to EVERY departure I worked - it's not in the book, but I never had a pilot error in navigation lead to a nose to nose with an arrival.  I can hear a few of youse saying I did not state the purpose of the vector - take on that is that the SID chart states 'fly heading 233 or as assigned for vectors...' so that states the purpose for me.  If you say 'vectors traffic' invariably they will ask - where's my traffic...if you say 'vectors oncourse' they will - occasionally proceed on course

So I've assigned a heading for traffic, or spacing, or kinda direct his first waypoint - when do I clear on course?  My procedure was when I was ABSOLUTELY certain I would not need to vector him again.  Nothing would get my clipboard upside the back of a trainees head quicker than...

AirCanada622 proceed direct MLT and resume normal navigation  followed by
AirCanada622 turn right H330 vectors traffic followed by
AirCanada622 proceed direct MLT followed by
AirCanada622 ahh turn left H270 vectors for CYR724 restricted military airspace

I can just imagine a couple of airbus drivers looking at each other thinking wha'fook - does this guy know what he's doing  --  drove me nutz when I heard controllers do that.  Now, if your previous plan is not working and ya gotta vector to avoid severe nastiness  --  ya gotta do what you gotta do.  But terminate the vector when you are reasonably certain laddiebuck can proceed on course with no further intervention

there's lots more to discuss...
...initial separation between 2 departure
...separation between departures and arrivals
...speed control

but think my post is getting longwinded so I'll end it here and perhaps discuss further if questions/comments arise  (I never actually smacked trainees with a clipboard  <g>)

cheers  --  zedex