Changes to FNOs for the time being

Jackson Gilliam

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Changes to FNOs for the time being
« on: April 11, 2020, 01:00:16 AM »
Hello all,
There is a big change coming to FNOs.  Beginning with the FNO on April 17 going until the FNO on June 26, all FNOs must have at least TWO (2) ARTCCs staff featured airports.  This will hopefully alleviate the problem with airports being too overloaded and it will put some of that pressure on another ARTCC and airport.  This rule is subject to change but, this is what needs to happen for the time being.

Questions, comments, or concerns?  Email me or message me in discord.
Thanks
Jackson Gilliam

Matthew Kramer

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Re: Changes to FNOs for the time being
« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2020, 01:29:48 AM »
Apparently this was talked about in the events discord, but I think there are some fundamental issues.

Mandating a dual facility FNO is useless for a pair like ZOA/ZLA, ZFW/ZHU, ZJX/ZTL and so on. Two major airports in proximity is going to draw crossfire and exacerbate traffic levels. The better solution would be to ask the facility hosting the FNO to work with a facility further away. Better, I think instituting slots and sign ups a la CTP could help. Some facilities can split up event traffic better without needing a neighbor because of their layouts. ZLA could team up with the new Hawaii/Alaska thing and that would satisfy this request but do nothing for traffic levels, and would still require our neighbors to be online like any other FNO. We could also feature all 3 of our major airports, creating crossfire hell in the process, by metering traffic to accommodate and not stack finals (hello hour and a half taxi times).

Moreover, a blanket solution isn’t going to be much of a help here. Each facility should take a hard look at their event plans and find a workable solution that fits their own needs and airspace configurations, and we as a division and as neighbors can help get them the assistance required.

Lastly, maybe this is network wide, maybe it’s broadcast on the network every half hour, but we must redouble pilot outreach efforts to set expectations and encourage flights into other-than-the-Bravo fields.
Matthew Kramer
ZLA DATM

Nolan Danziger

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Re: Changes to FNOs for the time being
« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2020, 02:05:57 AM »
I agree with Matthew. Every facility needs to look at this from their own perspective. BUT more than that, EVERY facility has to be willing to play ball. One weak link in the traffic management chain and the whole thing goes out the window. I totally agree that FNOs have been crazy lately, but a blanket solution isn't going to help much imo since every facility faces different issues. In ZFW, our airport is very central to the geography of the ARTCC so we can do a lot of work in our own borders. Not every facility has this luxury though.
ZFW Air Traffic Manager and Zoomer 😎

Ryan Parry

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Re: Changes to FNOs for the time being
« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2020, 08:21:30 AM »
Hot take: lets just get rid of FNO. I've been on this network for a long time and the story is always the same, some FNO got jacked up, people are mad, how do we fix it, we don't, rinse and repeat. We bang the same drum every so often and nothing fixes it, what's the point? We've done regional FNO's, we've had crossfires, here we still are, it's not a solution. Either accept that these events draw a lot of traffic and something bad is bound to happen or get rid of it. It's that simple. Until we have the right traffic management tools and policies, and dare I say training, FNO will always be an unorganized free for all that leaves somebody with their panties in a twist.

Ryan Parry - 965346
FMR. Western Region Manager
Pilot Central

Matt Bromback

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Re: Changes to FNOs for the time being
« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2020, 09:46:55 AM »
Hot take: lets just get rid of FNO. I've been on this network for a long time and the story is always the same, some FNO got jacked up, people are mad, how do we fix it, we don't, rinse and repeat. We bang the same drum every so often and nothing fixes it, what's the point? We've done regional FNO's, we've had crossfires, here we still are, it's not a solution. Either accept that these events draw a lot of traffic and something bad is bound to happen or get rid of it. It's that simple. Until we have the right traffic management tools and policies, and dare I say training, FNO will always be an unorganized free for all that leaves somebody with their panties in a twist.

Honestly....your right. The FNO is outdated, unorganized, and right now IMHO it is impossible to come up with a workable solution to the traffic levels. Cancel/postpone them to June 26th which will allow time to come up with a long term solution to this problem. Let the entire country staff up every Friday from now until then and just the pilots fly where they want to fly. I bet the traffic will spread out immensely, mini light up america every Friday.
Matt Bromback

Lance Harry

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Re: Changes to FNOs for the time being
« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2020, 12:12:13 PM »
Getting rid of FNO is a good idea, however, there will still be those pilots who will complain about taking FNO away. If you must keep FNO, I think it'd be better if we just staff the entire United States like Light Up America. I understand that there are problems with this. There could be a staffing issue, but that's why there's the ACE TEAM. More people are home so that should help too. Give pilots a choice of where to fly on FNO. Don't encourage them to fly to one or two certain airports anymore. If they all flood to ATL or LAX, then that's their own fault. I'd have a lot more fun being guaranteed full ATC across the entire US rather than flying into one airport expecting to get holding instructions and topping the tanks off with fuel.

I agree with Matthew Kramer that featuring two FNO fields then just turns into a giant crossfire. If you staff the entire US, in a perfect world, the pilots will distribute themselves to different fields. The traffic we get on the weekends is already at an all time high. On FNO nights, that number of aircraft will just get a boost instead of just taking them all and packing them into an airport that can't handle the traffic. What we are doing right now is definitely a step in the right direction.
Lance Harry - LH
ZMP - Deputy Air Traffic Manager
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Marcus Miller

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Re: Changes to FNOs for the time being
« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2020, 02:38:40 PM »
I think having "regional" FNO's would be a better use of everyone's resources.  I.e. Southern Region, Northeastern Region etc... That way pilots have a larger choice of where to fly to/from without one airport being inundated with 300 arrivals.   

I am going to be having the ZHU EC work with the RealOps (https://realops.kermout.us/index.php) program to see how it works, and, hopefully giving pilots preferred departure airports and routes will help cut down on the conga lines from nearby airports.
Marcus Miller
Former ZHU Air Traffic Manager
Instructor
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Toby Rice

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Re: Changes to FNOs for the time being
« Reply #7 on: April 12, 2020, 01:13:25 PM »
I agree with Marcus.

I think it might be interesting to staff up several airports in a certain area, maybe several underlooked class C airports. Events featuring a regional night around JAN (ZME), MLU (ZFW), BTR (ZHU), TLH (ZJX), and BHM (ZTL).



This could be a nice change for pilots and controllers. Lightens the load some. Plus, ARTCCs could open their major airports as well to spread it out further. Just a thought.
Toby Rice
Jacksonville ARTCC
ACE Team | Former HCF ATM | Former ATC Instructor

Mark Hubbert

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Re: Changes to FNOs for the time being
« Reply #8 on: April 13, 2020, 02:01:59 AM »
Quote
I think it might be interesting to staff up several airports in a certain area, maybe several underlooked class C airports. Events featuring a regional night around JAN (ZME), MLU (ZFW), BTR (ZHU), TLH (ZJX), and BHM (ZTL).

Its not about having something interesting.  Its about what to do with the influx of traffic that we are seeing during FNO's because more members are at home in self isolation due to this Corona Virus Pandemic. 
Mark Hubbert
Division Director VATUSA Retired

Mark Hubbert

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Re: Changes to FNOs for the time being
« Reply #9 on: April 13, 2020, 02:30:15 AM »
Quote
Hot take: lets just get rid of FNO. I've been on this network for a long time and the story is always the same, some FNO got jacked up, people are mad, how do we fix it, we don't, rinse and repeat. We bang the same drum every so often and nothing fixes it, what's the point? We've done regional FNO's, we've had crossfires, here we still are, it's not a solution. Either accept that these events draw a lot of traffic and something bad is bound to happen or get rid of it. It's that simple. Until we have the right traffic management tools and policies, and dare I say training, FNO will always be an unorganized free for all that leaves somebody with their panties in a twist.

Ryan, you bring up some good points.  I would hate the long standing tradition of FNO's go away.  I do think that as a Division, we need to look at making some changes to how we promote and manage FNO's.  The first thing that I want to say is that when I mention "As a Division", I think that each ARTCC needs to look at themselves as a member of the Division.  Not trying to take away from an individuals pride in their respective ARTCC but the Division exists because of the ARTCC's and each ARTCC is a spoke in the big wheel.  I recognize that each ARTCC is different and each ARTCC has unique challenges.  If everybody could just come together in a grass roots effort and work together to identify challenges and also ideas that could be a solution, I think the Division (All ARTCC's) would truly benefit.
Mark Hubbert
Division Director VATUSA Retired

Matt Bromback

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Re: Changes to FNOs for the time being
« Reply #10 on: April 13, 2020, 09:07:58 AM »
I do hope that VATUSA takes a bigger stake at this issue of FNO's. You will hear a lot of "Let the ARTCC's decide what is best for us..." Well unfortunately its been that way for years and one ARTCC might do a good job, while another one does not resulting in many fluctuations of users experience from pilots to ATC. We are in a unique time period right now for us and we need to adapt, even if its temporary. I think sometimes we forget we are here to provide a service to the pilots (ATC) and we should all try and work together to make sure of a good pilot experience.

Looking forward to what you all come up with.
Matt Bromback

Mark Hubbert

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Re: Changes to FNOs for the time being
« Reply #11 on: April 13, 2020, 09:50:07 AM »
Quote
I do hope that VATUSA takes a bigger stake at this issue of FNO's. You will hear a lot of "Let the ARTCC's decide what is best for us..." Well unfortunately its been that way for years and one ARTCC might do a good job, while another one does not resulting in many fluctuations of users experience from pilots to ATC. We are in a unique time period right now for us and we need to adapt, even if its temporary. I think sometimes we forget we are here to provide a service to the pilots (ATC) and we should all try and work together to make sure of a good pilot experience.

Looking forward to what you all come up with.

Matt, I appreciate and value your comments.  There are some difficult decisions to consider, what works for one ARTCC may not for another.  There are things that I would love to see in the Division that I think could potentially help but finding the manpower to accomplish these things is the challenge.  I am hopeful to begin doing additional research and look more in dept to the challenges that we face.  I just hope moving forward that people will approach this with as much of a positive attitude as possible.  Negative attitudes makes the challenge even greater and we are blessed in that we have a lot of people who are very intelligent and have real world backgrounds.
Mark Hubbert
Division Director VATUSA Retired

Toby Rice

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Re: Changes to FNOs for the time being
« Reply #12 on: April 13, 2020, 06:59:59 PM »
Quote
I think it might be interesting to staff up several airports in a certain area, maybe several underlooked class C airports. Events featuring a regional night around JAN (ZME), MLU (ZFW), BTR (ZHU), TLH (ZJX), and BHM (ZTL).

Its not about having something interesting.  Its about what to do with the influx of traffic that we are seeing during FNO's because more members are at home in self isolation due to this Corona Virus Pandemic.

The multiple airports staffed in my theoretical event would help spread out the traffic into more manageable levels. Events that crossfire between two airports tends to build horrendous "congo lines" that clog up the works. Having four or five airports to create a 'regional night' could be an exciting way to mitigate the increased traffic levels at underexposed locations. Hopefully, the resulting traffic will be more manageable, with 300 pilots split between 5 airports instead of 2. I suggested these particular airports as an example; the purpose still being to spread out the traffic to help solve the main issue.
Toby Rice
Jacksonville ARTCC
ACE Team | Former HCF ATM | Former ATC Instructor

Derek Hood

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Re: Changes to FNOs for the time being
« Reply #13 on: April 13, 2020, 09:49:39 PM »
Do away with FNO's all together.  The pressure for ARTCC's to "perform" is pushing the staffing thin it seems, especially during this pandemic.  Having conga lines to the airport, especially when exceeding real world AAR is not enjoyable for the pilot and or controllers working it.  The crossfire idea is a good one as long as its a reasonable distance between both airports / ARTCC's.  It will be interesting to see the drop in traffic when the SIP orders expire and we all go back to the real world. 

Alex Ying

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Re: Changes to FNOs for the time being
« Reply #14 on: April 13, 2020, 09:50:46 PM »
Quote
I think it might be interesting to staff up several airports in a certain area, maybe several underlooked class C airports. Events featuring a regional night around JAN (ZME), MLU (ZFW), BTR (ZHU), TLH (ZJX), and BHM (ZTL).

Its not about having something interesting.  Its about what to do with the influx of traffic that we are seeing during FNO's because more members are at home in self isolation due to this Corona Virus Pandemic.

The multiple airports staffed in my theoretical event would help spread out the traffic into more manageable levels. Events that crossfire between two airports tends to build horrendous "congo lines" that clog up the works. Having four or five airports to create a 'regional night' could be an exciting way to mitigate the increased traffic levels at underexposed locations. Hopefully, the resulting traffic will be more manageable, with 300 pilots split between 5 airports instead of 2. I suggested these particular airports as an example; the purpose still being to spread out the traffic to help solve the main issue.

The Northeast Corridor FNOs have been pretty successful the past couple years, does a decent job of spreading planes out over 3 airports / TRACONS. In the current environment, though, I'd agree we would want more than just 3 airports.