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WNFlyer
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« on: January 13, 2007, 08:55:17 PM »

Forgive me if this has been brought up before, but I'm kinda a newbie, plus I didn't have time to do a search.  When a controller refers to a "company" aircraft, do they mean the airport's main airline?  I hear it a lot in PHL referring to US aircraft.  Thanks for you info!

Jeff
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justinsul1
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« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2007, 09:04:47 PM »

when the controller says company, s/he means to follow an aircraft of the same company. That's why you heard it a lot at PHL when taking to US Airways flights.
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sierra yankee
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« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2007, 11:40:00 PM »

Also, pilots tend (understandably) to be more cooperative/helpful when the controller mentions that the conflicting traffic is from the same company.  Sometimes I'll say to the #2 traffic "reduce to Mach .78 for sequencing, just keeping you in trail of your company 10 miles ahead," and wouldn't you know it, a few seconds later the #1 traffic comes back and says "hey Toronto if it'll help out, we'll increase to .80 so our company behind doesn't have to slow down."  They'd never volunteer to do that if it was their competitor behind them.  I've also had good luck, when clearing an aircraft for an approach into an uncontrolled field, mentioning that company traffic is looking for a departure clearance -- this almost guarantees a near-instantaneous IFR cancellation from the inbound traffic if his company SOPs permit it.

Anyway, that's just another reason why you'll hear this lingo used quite a bit when applicable.
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Pygmie
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« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2007, 03:20:33 AM »

Yah, I try to use it as much as possible as well.  Anytime I say, "for company traffic" the pilots are much more quick to comply, and much for helpful then usual.

And SY hit the nail on the head with the cancel IFR comment.  The amount of times aircraft will cancel as soon as they're advised company traffic is behind them or on the ground waiting, but then not cancel if some other airline is waiting, is actually a little shocking.

Pilots always claim they don't try and delay the competition, but I've seen some pretty compelling evidence to the contrary. . .
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Scrapper
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« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2007, 07:46:54 PM »

Is there no way to clear an aircraft to depart while another ifr is on approach to an uncotrolled airport? can you not employ procedural seperation (ie. for example, getting the arrival to come in on one radial and the departure to depart on another which assures seperation... what is it 15 deg, or 30 or whatever?)
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Scrapper
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« Reply #5 on: January 16, 2007, 07:48:33 PM »

For that matter, why couldn't you use vertical seperation (restrict the departure to say 5000 feet, and the arrival to 6000 feet, until the departure reports over a position which is beyond the inbound...)
Someone help me out here... i'm not a civvy controller, but it seems i've read about this somewhere... (in the navy, we don't use this, because a ship is not uncontrolled...)
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sierra yankee
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« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2007, 10:50:37 PM »

Yes and yes.  We do use both omni-track (based on radials) and vertical (restricting a departure below an arrival until some form of lateral separation has been achieved) in order to get aircraft through each other non-radar.  However, that only works if there is a reasonable amount of time to get the departure out before the arrival actually reaches the airport.  I was referring more to a situation where the arrival is 5 minutes out (or less) and is already on the approach.  At this point omni is unavailable since the arriving aircraft is not going to be on a consistent track -- he'll be on his outbound track, then doing the procedure turn, then inbound on the final approach course -- and vertical doesn't work either since being cleared for the approach authorizes him to descend as low as he wants (all the way down to the pavement, we assume).  So the only way to guarantee separation is to wait until the arrival is down and clear before issuing a clearance to the departure.  Thus the only way to get the departure out prior to the inbound aircraft landing is for the inbound to cancel IFR and become a VFR aircraft, for which I don't have to provide any kind of separation and can thus release another IFR.

One of the basic principles of ATC is that aircraft in the air have priority over those on the ground (with rare exceptions, such as medevac flights that are always first priority whether they're departing or arriving), so generally if getting the departure out has the potential of delaying the inbound, we won't do it.  At most of the uncontrolled, non-radar fields that I work, if you call up looking for departure clearance and I've got an IFR inbound that's less than 10 minutes away, I'll tell you to call back once the arrival is down.  But that's only a loose guideline -- there are lots of different non-radar standards (same track, crossing track, reciprocal, omni etc.) and which one I'll use depends on the speeds and routes of both aircraft involved.  (Also, some operators say "we're ready to go now" and by that they mean that while they're reading back the clearance they're taxiing onto the runway and punching the throttles, if not already airborne -- while for other operators "we're ready to go right now" means they'll be airborne within 5-10 minutes.  We take these things into account as well.)

This is also a situation where things can change a bit if you have two company aircraft involved.  Sometimes a departure will call up looking for clearance, with company traffic inbound in less than 10 minutes, and I'll tell him to call me back when his company lands.  Then he and the other guy will go to company frequency to discuss it, and often the inbound will cancel, or in some cases if SOPs don't allow cancelling IFR in the air, the arrival will come back to me and tell me that he'll accept a hold in order to get the departure out.  This happens a lot in the winter if de-icing is going on, since if you don't depart within a certain window of time after you've been de-iced, you have to go back and do it again.  But it also may simply mean that the departure is already behind schedule so it's better for him to go right away and hold the arrival up for a couple of minutes.

Hope this helps.
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Scrapper
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« Reply #7 on: January 22, 2007, 07:31:48 PM »

actually that helps quite a bit, but I do have one last question for you. If the inbound aircraft is close enough that you've cleared him already for one of the approaches, then I can understand why you couldn't clear the departure until the other inbound lands, however, is there anyway for him to report where he is (ie. if he's outbound the runway prior to his procedure turn doesn't that mean that he's BEHIND the aircraft waiting to take off (presuming of course that they are taking off from the same or parallel runways...). In that case, is there a procedure in place where you can release the outbound knowing that the inbound is behind the runway and doing a procedure turn?
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sierra yankee
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« Reply #8 on: January 23, 2007, 09:45:31 AM »

No (well, not exactly), because you don't know how much longer he'll be on the outbound part of the procedure turn, and you also don't know the exact spot where he started the PT.  In general, the aircraft will turn outbound at or just past the final approach fix, do the 45-degree turn to the outbound leg of the procedure turn, and fly that heading for 30-60 seconds before making a 180-degree turn back to the inbound leg.  Even at an airport where I have a transmitter on the ground and can thus talk to the pilot directly, that's not a very long time to read an entire clearance eg. "C-FMVY is cleared to the Toronto Buttonville airport via direct blah blah blah, maintain 5,000, depart runway 12, turn right on course, squawk xxxx, contact Toronto Centre airborne on this frequency, clearance cancelled if not airborne by (time)" and so on.  Then even after I do that the pilot has to read it back, change to the UNICOM frequency to announce his intentions, taxi onto the runway and take off.  It might work, barely (by which I mean there wouldn't be a collision on the runway) but there's no guarantee of any separation so it would count as a technical loss of sep every time.  At most airports, I don't even have the luxury of being able to talk to the pilot directly, and am relaying the clearance through an FSS or being patched through to the pilot on a landline phone;  in either case that adds more delay.

In that situation, however, if we really need to get the departure out and the arriving aircraft doesn't mind, we can use a non-radar separation standard called reciprocal track over a fix (controllers usually refer to this as "tail to tail").  Basically the arrival reports northwest of the NDB/VOR, northwestbound on the outbound leg of the approach, and I say "approach clearance cancelled, maintain 4,000, continue outbound on your present track."  Then, assuming the departure is going to use a runway that will have him depart in a southeasterly direction, I can give him departure clearance and have him fly runway heading until he reaches 5,000 feet (and thus has altitude separation with the arrival).  This way, the arrival is northwest of the NDB/VOR heading northwestbound, the departure is southeast of the NDB/VOR heading southeastbound, ergo they can never hit.  But they have to both be flying consistent tracks, with no turns, until they get vertical.  In other words I can't give the arrival a hold somewhere northwest of the NDB, because then he'd have to turn southeastbound, toward the departure.  Likewise I can't have the departure take off in a northwesterly direction, even if I give him an immediate turn southeast once airborne.  So if the runway is 12/30 and the departure wants to go off 30 for whatever reason, this doesn't work.

Even when it does work, you're looking at the arrival aircraft flying at least an extra 20-30 miles (probably an extra 10-15 while the departure gets his clearance, takes off, and passes through 5,000, then another 10-15 miles coming back toward the airport) which is like a 10-minute delay, so that's why it would be REALLY unusual to do this, and far easier to just wait for him to land (if he's just turning outbound then he should land within 5-6 minutes) and then roll the departure.  It would only happen if the two aircraft were company and insisted on it, or if the departure was a medevac.  Even in the latter case, you'd normally get a strip for the medevac departure at least 30 minutes or so before he actually called, which would have a proposed departure time on it.  So you'd be able to plan this better and keep the arrival high and issue a hold (rather than an approach clearance) while the medevac departed underneath (eg. hold the arrival at 8,000 and give the medevac 7,000 until he's laterally clear).

At a towered airport, this is a lot easier -- the rule for the tower we work with is that any departure must be airborne before the arrival reaches 5 miles from touchdown.  We have radar right down to the ground at this airport and tower has a drop on it, so they can time it perfectly and move traffic way more efficiently.  In a situation where it's going to be really close, they'll already have given the pilot his clearance, taxi instructions, etc., and all I have to do as the radar controller is release the departure.  So I can clear an arrival for the approach, hit the hotline, and tell tower "Jazz 7865 is released, runway 12, cancelled when Air Bravo 700 reports DURLU" and they'll say "ok show Jazz rolling now."  They say "cleared for takeoff" and like 20 seconds later he's airborne, no messing around with full readbacks and cancellation times etc..  But you can't have radar to the ground everywhere, and it costs a lot of money to have a tower controller, so at the vast majority of the airports that I work it's some kind of one-in-one-out, non-radar separation similar to the above example.

Hope this clears it up -- non-radar separation isn't the easiest thing to understand (nor the most logical, often) so I tried to keep it relatively simple.  The tail to tail over a fix standard is only one of 20 or so that we use on a daily basis, but it's one of the easiest to apply.
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Scrapper
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« Reply #9 on: January 23, 2007, 06:18:49 PM »

Actually, once again, that helps quite a bit... being an air controller in the navy, just about everything I do involves radar control, and of course the entire job is more tuned to tactical control then it is on actualy seperation, so although I understand the radard seperation rules that nav canada applies quite a bit, I find non-radar control (especially to and from an airport) absolutely facinating...

For my original question, it totally slipped my mind that the clearance would have to be relayed from you to the pilot via fss or landline, so I can understand why you wouldn't want to just release him with an inbound coming into the runway (because with no radar, you have no way of knowing where he is on his approach, unless he tells you...). The example you told me makes sesne I guess but is this for a radar equipped or non-radar equipped tower? for a big field like montreal or toronto or halifax, I imagine that you can release aircraft pretty easily the way you mentionned... read the clearance through the tower in advance, then release him from the runway when the tower asks, as long as the other aircraft is not within 5 miles like you mentionned... but what about at small towers like st-jean or st-honore, etc. these are tower controlled but have no radar (as far as I know...) so does this work the same only more work for you I guess? (you release departures through the tower if your approaches are far enough still from the airport?) or do these work like non-controlled airports as well or what?

so many questions, so little time... haha... one of these days, I might bite the bullet and switch over from the navy to you guys, and then I'll learn the answers for myself I guess! haha... especially since I'm at the point in the navy where controlling is almost a thing of the past and I'm moving on to other things in the navy... if I were to switch, now would be the time to do it! haha... there's an exam and interviewing session coming up soon in halifax, that I'm going to sit, and I'll make a decision at that point whether it's time for a career move or not...
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Pygmie
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« Reply #10 on: January 23, 2007, 10:05:21 PM »

Quote
...read the clearance through the tower in advance...

Actually, most (if not all) towers with on-site radar use SIDs (standard instrument departures) and allow the tower to give standard clearances to every aircraft without talking to the terminal/center controller.

The clearance would go something like "ABC123 cleared to the Calgary airport via the Regina 9 departure, flight planned route, sqawk ****", and this clearance is given out well before the aircraft actually taxies out for departure.  When the aircraft taxies, the tower controller will then get clearance validation from the radar controller, who simply has to say "ABC123 clearance valid".  If there's traffic, then he would state the restrictions that need to be met for separation.

Because of the SIDs, there is no need for the radar controller to give a full clearance to the tower controller.  SIDs state the headings to fly after departure, altitudes, etc.  In the case of the above example, the SID instructs all departures to fly runway heading and maintain 5000ft.  This way there is no need for lengthy coordination with the tower, as every aircraft will take off following the exact same procedure.

Now when there is a terminal controller working the airspace around the towered airport, most towers will use Automatic Departure Release which allows the tower to provide initial IFR separation for departures without having to get clearance validation from the radar controller.  The tower can launch departures at will, and it is their responsibility to ensure separation exists between succesive departures, as well as separation with aircraft on the approach.  In this case, the only time they need to get clearance validation is when they want to depart an aircraft from a runway other then the active.
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Greg01
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« Reply #11 on: January 24, 2007, 09:34:49 AM »

Here's a question:

Let say two different control towers have radar. One is a Class C and the other is a Class D (USA). Therefore the tower in the class C is associated with a TRACON. Which towers can use their radar for separation, etc. and which can't and why?

Greg
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davolijj
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« Reply #12 on: January 24, 2007, 10:19:46 AM »

The 7210.3 addresses this issue here:

Quote from: 7210.3   10-5-3
10-5-3. FUNCTIONAL USE OF CERTIFIED TOWER RADAR DISPLAYS

a. At towers combined with full radar approach control facilities where controllers rotate between the approach control and the tower, CTRDs may be used by local controllers for any terminal radar function provided their ability to satisfy FAA's air traffic responsibilities regarding the aircraft operating on the runways or within the surface area for which the tower has responsibility is not impaired. The conditions and/or limitations for the radar usage shall be specified by a facility directive.

b. At towers combined with full radar approach control facilities where controllers do not rotate between the approach control and the tower, or at towers not combined with full radar approach control facilities, CTRDs may be used by local controllers for the following functions:

1. To determine an aircraft's identification, exact location, or spatial relationship to other aircraft.

2. To provide aircraft with radar traffic advisories.

3. To provide a direction or suggested headings to VFR aircraft as a method for radar identification or as an advisory aid to navigation.

4. To provide information and instructions to aircraft operating within the surface area for which the tower has responsibility.

5. To ensure separation between successive departures, between arrivals and departures, and between overflights and departures within the surface area for which the tower has responsibility...

There are some criteria which have to be met for the last subparagraph but that's the jist of it.  Here's the link if you want to know the specifics: http://www.faa.gov/airports_airtraffic/air_traffic/publications/atpubs/FAC/Ch10/s1005.html#Section 5. Terminal Radar
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JD
Greg01
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« Reply #13 on: January 24, 2007, 11:15:48 AM »

muchas gracias!

Greg
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Scrapper
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« Reply #14 on: January 24, 2007, 07:10:32 PM »

pygmie, I'm very familiar with SIDs but thanks for the info anyway... the question I had for SY though was more about IFR approaches into towers that were non radar capable... you would have to seperate departures and arrivals using procedural control alone, so I was wondering if those flights were restricted as well (ie. do you delay those departures until the arrival arrives using the 1 by 1 rule) or can you use the tower to get the clearance out and let the departure go before the other guy starts his procedure turn, or is there so many possibilities that it's really a case by case basis? I'll give you an example... an IFR guy is coming into a controlled (albeit not radar capable) airport... I'm making this up as I go, so stop me if any of it doesn't make sense... let's say you have no radar coverage for this airport, so as the guy gets lower, you give him a radial inbound, etc.) if he hasn't started his approach yet, then of course you can do lateral seperation by giving the departure a radial that seperates the two (as discussed a few posts ago), but let's say you clear him for an approach which envolves an outbound leg, and a procedure turn into the only active runway... once he switches to the tower's control (at what point does this happen), can you then clear the tower to let an IFR departure go while the other guy is doing his procedure turn into the runway (since this is happening behind the departing aircraft?) or does the same rule still apply since you don't really know EXACTLY where he is? (it just occured to me as well that I guess you would have to restrict the departure to a radial that doesn't interfere with the approach either so I guess this is overly complicated, instead of just waiting until the guy lands... never mind... just answered my own question I think...)
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sierra yankee
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« Reply #15 on: January 25, 2007, 01:01:17 AM »

Honestly, I'm not entirely sure about all of the answers here because my specialty only deals with one tower, and we have radar to the ground there.  That is the case at most towers in our FIR that I can think of, as well.  The specialty that sits on the other side of the aisle from us does deal with one tower where there's only radar down to 4,000 feet or so, and I'll see what I can find out from them.

What I can tell you is that, in most circumstances, tower only assumes "control" of an IFR inbound once he has touched down.  Until then, it is the radar controller's responsibility to separate him from any other IFR arrivals or departures.  That's why, even though tower knows where the arrival is (we give them not only an ETA for each IFR inbound, but also a radar pointout when we clear them for the approach, eg. "20 miles southeast, Jazz 7850, doing the backcourse 30 approach") and knows he can get the departure out way before the arrival gets there, he still has to call me on the hotline so I can validate the departure.  Until I do that he can't launch any IFR departures, regardless of whether there's anyone on approach or not.

The only real exception to this that I know of, in our FIR anyway, is Toronto Tower -- they are authorized to provide IFR separation between arrivals, departures, and combinations thereof, within their control zone.  Because of this, the terminal controllers are only responsible for separation up to the boundary of the control zone, and also because of this, as Pygmie wrote above, tower can launch departures at will without having to obtain validations from the IFR unit.

Like I said I'm not 100% sure about the requirements at towers that don't have radar to the ground, but my guess is that it's (logically) somewhere in the middle, between an airport that's uncontrolled where it's strictly one-in-one-out, and a radar tower where we can launch with no restrictions as long as the arrival is more than 5 miles out.  There are some non-radar initial separation standards that involve using a turn of 45 degrees or more for the departure, provided an arrival has not reported the final approach fix inbound, etc. etc. and I'd imagine that these come into play.  Because the time between the validation and the aircraft actually rolling can be so quick with a tower (as much time as it takes to say "cleared for takeoff," pretty much), there are a few things you can do that you wouldn't be able to do at an uncontrolled airport -- but at the same time because you don't have a full picture of where an aircraft is like you do with radar, you can't be quite as efficient.
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Scrapper
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« Reply #16 on: January 28, 2007, 10:02:25 PM »

That absolutely makes sense in my head now... That would also explain I guess why at towers like Montreal or Halifax, the takeoff clearance is usually immediately preceded by the instruction to the pilot to contact departure once airborne, instead of at Toronto where the pilot stays with the tower for the initial takeoff and a few seconds later switches to the terminal (once they are exiting the control zone...). So YYZ tower controllers are IFR controllers then? or are they just given that part of the training that they need (ie. do they do the full IFR course, with all that it entails, ie. procedural, etc. or do they only learn job specific stuff?). Is there any other tower in canada where the controllers are IFR capable? or is it just Toronto? (On rare occasions I've heard Montreal tower controllers ask the pilot to stay with them on takeoff, but as far as I can remember, the last time I heard it, it was because they had another aircraft on downwind to the runway, and they wanted to insure that the aircraft was clear before it did it's turn as required by the SID, at which point they cleared him to switch to the departure controller at the terminal... does that make any sense?
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sierra yankee
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« Reply #17 on: January 29, 2007, 03:15:28 PM »

Actually, a tower controller hanging on to a departure for awhile can happen at any airport.  As you say, it usually has to do with traffic -- even at a smaller airport, tower often has a few VFR guys in the circuit, and might hang onto an IFR departure for a minute to give traffic information.  It probably happens more often in Toronto than elsewhere, and that has to do with the fact that we're often departing off two parallel runways simultaneously (05 and 06L, or 23 and 24R).  Normally the procedure for this kind of operation is to give diverging headings right off the ground -- for instance, the guy off 24R (south side of the field) would turn left as soon as he's climbing and wheels-up, and the guy off 23 would turn right, to minimize the amount of time they're tooling along on parallel headings.  However, because of noise abatement regulations, the airport authority wants aircraft to stay on runway heading, or as close as possible, until they get some altitude.  So if there are two aircraft departing simultaneously the tower guys will want to watch for a minute to make sure they're flying runway heading properly, not converging etc..  There have also been cases where aircraft have been assigned a heading to fly and have bungled it (one guy departing 23 got a right turn to 290, input 190 instead, and started turning left -- right toward the aircraft coming off 24R), and that's something that the tower controller would want to fix right away -- by the time the aircraft switched frequencies, checked in with departure, etc., especially with radar lag, it could be too late for departure to correct it.

In other cases, though this is not used too often where I work, there is a non-radar separation standard that involves assigning a slower aircraft a turn after departure, then departing a faster aircraft behind him on runway heading after a specified period of time.  To do this, though, the slower aircraft must have reported starting the turn before the faster guy can be given takeoff clearance.  So that's another situation where the tower controller wouldn't switch him right off the ground, because he needs to get the report that the aircraft is in the turn before launching the second aircraft.

I don't know if there are any other towers that have the same sort of arrangement that they do in Toronto.  I would suspect that Dorval and Vancouver probably have something similar, and possibly Calgary as well, but I'm not sure.  Regarding training, controllers destined for Pearson take the same course that all VFR controllers do, bolstered by additional training once they get to Toronto.  It's nowhere near the amount of "IFR" training that enroute controllers get, though, just a basic primer on the standards that they'll actually be using within the control zone.
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Greg01
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« Reply #18 on: January 29, 2007, 03:36:43 PM »

SY,

In your last paragraph, when you say "arrangement" are you talking about how the tower's laid out or procedures.

Interesting post!

Thanks,
Greg
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sierra yankee
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« Reply #19 on: January 29, 2007, 05:11:21 PM »

Sorry, bad choice of words.  By that I meant Toronto Tower's responsibility/ability to provide IFR separation inside the control zone vs. the more typical procedure of the IFR controller being responsible for IFR separation all the way down to the ground (ie. tower assumes "control" of an IFR aircraft only once it lands, as I wrote a few posts above).  I have never actually read the written arrangement between the tower and the TCU, so I only know a few generalities and not the particulars of how it operates.  I also don't know if other high-volume towers have that ability, although I would be surprised if there wasn't something similar in place at Dorval and Vancouver, at least.

For those who are confused by the above, in Canadian ATC-speak an "arrangement" is a written document that spells out agreed-upon operating procedures between two Nav Canada units.  (In the USA these are generally known as "letters of agreement.")  An arrangement can be between two ACCs (there's a Toronto-Winnipeg one, for instance), or between a tower and an ACC (Toronto Tower and Toronto TCU), or between an ACC and a flight service station or flight information centre, etc. etc..  There are written procedures in place between different specialties within an ACC (eg. one of my specialty's sectors adjoins the TCU, so we have certain responsibilities to them and they to us), as well, but these are included in sector manuals and not as stand-alone documents.
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Greg01
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« Reply #20 on: January 29, 2007, 06:58:32 PM »

Thanks, I'm more familiar with LOAs.

Greg
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Pygmie
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« Reply #21 on: January 29, 2007, 11:26:34 PM »

Toronto and Vancouver are the only two "IFR" towers in Canada.  Alot of other towers (the ones I work with anyways) get control of the IFR arrivals when they are inside the zone, but only in VMC.  If the weather gets crappy, it's our control to the ground.  Also, the towers I work with are able to provide initial IFR separation to departures through ADR, but only during the hours the terminal is open.
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Greg01
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« Reply #22 on: January 30, 2007, 02:39:03 PM »

Pygmie,

That's interesting how that works. Control to the ground, do the planes ever talk to the tower, then if it's low IMC?

It's quite different here in the USA!

Greg
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Pygmie
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« Reply #23 on: January 30, 2007, 06:49:49 PM »

It's our control to the ground, but we still switch them to tower as the tower has to issue the landing clearance, as they are still responsible for ensuring the runway is clear, etc.
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Greg01
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« Reply #24 on: January 30, 2007, 06:55:19 PM »

Right, okay. That makes sense, i thought there was something weird about that.

Thanks,
Greg
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