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Author Topic: "Company" Aircraft  (Read 12898 times)
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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