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ATC Tutorial

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Departure clearance
| xxxx_GN
| Ground
| Controls the movement of aircraft on the ground at an airport (stands, apron, taxiways). Issues taxi clearances, assisting pilots if needed. Does Controls the ''inactive'' runways, but does not control the runways''active'' ones; thus, a pilot generally needs to contact Tower to enter or cross them (at some fields, Ground coordinates with Tower and is able to issue runway crossing clearances).
|-
| xxxx_TW
The "xxxx" in the table replace a code used to identify the area that controller is using; these are known as ''ICAO codes'' and can be found on the [http://www.airport-technology.com/icao-codes/ Airport Codes list]. For example, London Gatwick is "EGKK" so a Gatwick Tower Controller would log-in as ''EGKK_TW''.
 
At large airports, multiple controllers may man the same positions.
Center controllers also have ICAO identifiers, but they are not for one airport, but for a larger area. For example, ''LFFF_CT'' is France Center, and ''LFFF_FS'' is the France Flight Service Station.
! scope="col"| Chart type
! scope="col"| Description
|-
| Airport information
| Describes the characteristics of the airport and provides a list of radio frequencies.
|-
| Ground (aerodrome chart/airport diagram)
== Phraseology ==
=== A sample IFR flight ===
We will teach the phraseology through an IFR sample flight from LEBL (Barcelona) to EDDF (Frankfurt am Main). For simplicity, we assume that all controller positions (delivery, ground, tower, approach/departure and center) are manned; also, we assume our callsign is ''BAW1542'' (to be read as ''Speedbird 1542'').
==== Planning the flight ====
{{Main article|Flight planning}}
It's a good practice to file a flight plan on [http://flightgear-atc.alwaysdata.net/ Lenny's website] so that the controllers will be able to know your departure/destination airports, cruising altitude and route without asking you about that every time.
Follow the instructions in on the [[Flight planning]] article to file a flightplan from LEBL to EDDF with a cruising altitude of FL250.
==== Getting the departure clearance ====
We start on the airport apron at terminal T1, stand 246. The first thing we need to do is to check the current air pressure and which runway is being used; as a general rule, planes should be heading into the wind for takeoff and landing. To accomplish this, we need to listen to the ''ATIS'' (Automatic Terminal Information Service), a prerecorded message describing weather information, the runways in use and other important information for pilots and transmitted continuously on a dedicated radio channel. The frequency to use is written in the Airport information chart and can also be found by clicking on ''AI -> ATC Services in Range -> LEBL'': in our case, it's 121.970 MHz. We open the Radio panel, set the COM1 frequency to 121.97 and listen to the ATIS message:* '''LEBL ATIS:''' ''This is El Prat information Alpha. Landing runway 25R. Departure runway 25L. Transition level 50. Wind 200 degrees, 10 knots. Visibility 10 km or more, few 2500 feet. Temperature 22, dewpoint 10. QNH 1018. No significant change. On initial contact advise controller you have information Alpha.''This tells us that:# We're going to depart from runway 25L.# We need to set the altimeter to 1018 hPa<ref>European airports generally use hPa (hectopascals) for the QNH while American ones use inHg (inches of mercury). Some airplanes allow you to enter QNH values using both units; if that is not the case, you will need to use a converter.</ref> and set it back to standard pressure (STD) at the transition level (FL050, or 5000 feet).# Every ATIS broadcast is identified by a progressive letter of the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NATO_phonetic_alphabet NATO phonetic alphabet]; we'll need to tell the delivery controller that we have information "Alpha" so that (s)he can checkwhether we have the latest information or not. We now get the clearance (authorization to fly to a destination airport) from the delivery controller. The process is as follows.# We get the Delivery frequency from the Airport information chart or the ATC Services in Range window (in this case, the frequency is 121.800 MHz) and tune COM1 to it (or connect on Mumble and joining the delivery channel).# We contact the controller and ask for the clearance. (It is the pilot who needs to initiate contact with ATC, not the opposite). ''Tip: note down the clearance on a piece of paper as it's difficult (and risky) to memorize it.''# The Delivery controller gives us the clearance including:#* our callsign;#* whether we've got the latest ("current") ATIS information or not;#* our destination airport;#* the departure SID/waypoints;#* the route we'll need to follow (if it is not mentioned, we'll follow the route we wrote in our flight plan);#* the initial and cruising altitude;#* the squawk ([[transponder]]) code we'll need to set.# We read back (repeat) the clearance to confirm we understood it correctly.# The controller corrects any mistakes we've made and then hands us off to the Ground controller. * '''BAW1542:''' El Prat Delivery, this is Speedbird one five four two at stand two four six, requesting delivery to Frankfurt, flight level two five zero, we have information Alpha.* '''El Prat Delivery:''' Speedbird one five four two, Alpha is current, cleared to Frankfurt via OKABI3W, initial altitude five hundred feet, squawk four zero zero zero.* '''BAW1542:''' Cleared to Frankfurt via OKABI3W, initial altitude five hundred feet, expect flight level 250 after ten minutes, squawk four zero zero zero, Speedbird one five four two.* '''El Prat Delivery:''' Speedbird one five four two, readback correct, contact El Prat Ground Center on one two one decimal six five zero.* '''BAW1542:''' Contact El Prat Ground Center on one two one decimal six five zero, Speedbird one five four two. The controller asked us to follow the OKABI3W SID after departure - get the SID charts, find it and look at the chart or read the text route descriptions. In this case, the SID prescribes pilots to climb to 500 ft, turn left to intercept radial 199 PRA and be at least at 2500 ft at 8 NM from PRA; intercept radial 287 VNV and pass VNV at 5000 ft; turn right to KARDO, pass KARDO at FL120 and proceed direct OKABI. If you've got the Level-D files from [http://www.navigraph.com/ Navigraph], select the SID in the [[Route Manager]] dialog for the route to be automatically entered; otherwise, use the Route Manager to input the VORs and waypoints manually. We also set the transponder code and switch the transponder to Ground mode (if the aircraft we're using supports this functionality).
The first thing we need to do is to check the current air pressure and which runway is being used; as a general rule, planes should be heading into the wind for takeoff and landing.
==== Starting up and pushing back ====
==== Taxiing to the runway ====
== Lesson 3 ==
Let's look at a plane taxiing to the runway and taking off now. So, to do this, we'll consider two controllers:
''ground control (_GND) and the tower (_TWR).''
 
First, we have to know which runway is being used so that ground can get the plane to the right place. The rule is 'planes always like to be heading into the wind for takeoff or landing'. The winds are given in the METAR like 'xxxyy'. The wind heading is given first in 3 digits, and the speed after that in 2 digits; so 11007 indicates winds of 7kts that are coming from 110 degrees (magnetic heading). Winds under 5 kts can be considered 'calm' and can be ignored. Thus, the basic idea is to match the heading of the wind, and the runway heading (add a '0' to the runway number - 17L is 170) as closely as possible. Runways are numbered by knocking the '0' off the heading, and appending 'L' for left or 'R' for right if there are parallel runways.
 
At Heathrow, there are runways 9L and 9R, and the same runways (used in opposite directions) 27R and 27L. If the wind is 110º @ 15 kts then runways 9L and 9R are most suitable, as 90 and 110 are only 20 degrees away, but 270 and 110 are 160º away! At Heathrow, where there are parallel runways, one runway can be used for landing and the other for taking off - so a plane can be leaving on 9L while another is almost landing on 9R. Where there is only one runway, the same runway can be used to landing and taking off. It is important to notice that if an aircraft is taking off on runway 7, and another lands shortly after on runway 7, they are travelling in the same direction, so they are not approaching each other, and a collision is impossible.
 
Knowing about your ATIS which can be read by all planes to avoid you repeating information, you would want to put the active runways in your ATIS so that other controllers know which runways you have chosen, and so planes have an idea of what they will be expected to do. Always keep your ATIS short (as it is hard for the pilots to read a long ATIS), and delete any blank lines at the end. The other component of your ATIS should be the current weather, so a good ATIS for a tower or ground controller would be:
 
''London Heathrow Ground/Tower Information <alpha/bravo/charlie/delta/echo...>. Active runways are 9R for departures, and 9L for arrivals. Weather is'' '''(copy from METAR)''' ''110@15 FEW030 OVC090 Q1015 NOSIG. On initial contact report you have <alpha/bravo/charlie/delta/echo...>'' ; the only detail to note here is the use of alpha/bravo, etc. Each time you update your ATIS change the identifier up by one, so start with alpha, then use bravo, then charlie. This is used so that when a plane calls you and says 'information alpha' you know if he has current information or an old version.
 
Now that the active runway has been established and the ATIS set-up, you can go about controlling. First, though, you need to know some basic guidelines about contact. Usually, expect a plane to call you first. They should give their current location, callsign (used to identify each plane) and which ATIS they have, so:
 
'''B-ELIO: Ground, this is B-ELIO at the terminal, Information Alpha. Request clearance to Paris Orly.'''
 
B-ELIO, a plane, has called you telling you where he is, what information he has, and what he wants. To reply, you need to tell him whether the information is current ('Alpha is current') or new information ('New active runway is 23') and reply to his request.
 
First, we earlier mentioned IFR clearance. This allows the controller to know where the plane is going, and to plan ahead for the aircraft. If you remember looking at a Flight Strip in lesson 1, you will recall it allows a controller to see the destination of the aircraft, the route the aircraft will follow and the requested altitude. The aim of the clearance is just to confirm these details with the pilot, especially in the real-world where they may be altered due to traffic levels, to make sure there aren't any mistakes and everyone knows what's going to happen. The clearance is as follows:
 
'''<Callsign> is cleared to <destination> as filed''' (give any changes to the flight plan here). '''After takeoff c/m''' (climb and maintain) '''<altitude> on runway heading / and turn <left/right> to <heading>, expect <requested flight level> after 10 minutes. Squawk <transponder code>.'''
 
Here's an example clearance:
 
'''You: B-ELIO is cleared to Paris Orly as filed. After takeoff c/m 6,000 and turn left to heading 180 (south) expect FL310 after 10 minutes. Squawk 5201.'''
 
The clearance can be given whilst on the ground, and is given by Clearance Delivery (_DEL) if one is online, else the GROUND (_GND), or TOWER (_TWR) controller. The pilot must read-back the whole clearance, to which you confirm by saying 'readback correct'. The Squawk code is a number used to identify the plane. It can be seen on the flight plan (will default to 1200) and means - in the real world - a controller can tell the dots apart as each one has a number. Just assign an available number in the 5000 or 6000 range (eg: 6001, 6002, 6003, etc.).
 
'''B-ELIO: B-ELIO cleared to Orly as filed. c/m 6000 left 180 - expect FL310 after 10, and squawk 5201.'''<br />
'''You: B-ELIO, readback correct, call when ready to push-back and start-up.'''<br />
'''B-ELIO: B-ELIO requests start-up and push-back.'''
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