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Messages - Matthew Kramer

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General Discussion / Re: Retired ATCS
« on: August 10, 2022, 08:52:27 PM »
Question. As a retired ATCS (35 years) do we still need to complete all of the academy training. My last 17 1/2 years were at SBA ATCT/TRACON and before that numerous towers (including VNY). I currently work for a company doing training (mostly AT Coach on STARS) at SBA.
Tony Megowan
ATCS Retired
Under new management, see spouse

Hi Tony, I believe there is a accelerated course available. If you’re interesting in doing ATC in the SoCal area, shoot me an email at [email protected] and we’ll work with the training department to figure out a solution.


PS: I’ve been flying out of VNY for about a decade. Would love to chat about your experience there sometime.

Events / Four Stacks Frenzy
« on: July 23, 2022, 01:22:07 PM »

Maintain 5,000, report the four stacks in sight. Join ZLA and SoCal Area 1 as we staff up Burbank, Van Nuys, and Whiteman. Get that VFR practice in, shoot the Four Stacks Visual to 15, see if you can fly the LDA-C using raw data, and enjoy an afternoon in the San Fernando Valley.

Airports: KBUR, KVNY, KWHP
Date & Time: August 25th, 1659 - 2100 PDT
Date & Time (Zulu): August 25th, 2359 - 0400z

USA Division Updates / Re: 2021 Mid Year Update
« on: July 04, 2021, 01:11:30 PM »
The Independent Federated States of ZLA are happy to report that we, too, controlled a lot. We would like to extend our warmest greetings of friendship to the newly doubled Republic of ZBW.

Bless you, Justin.

News / Re: New ATM in Oakland!
« on: January 17, 2021, 08:41:25 PM »
Welcome back to the best coast, friend.

Events / Re: ZHU Presents "Just Ground" 2100z-2230z
« on: July 04, 2020, 02:34:38 AM »
I know COVID times are all warped, but April 1st was actually 3 months ago.

The Flight Deck / Re: What's the point - point 8, point 9...
« on: June 24, 2020, 02:20:02 AM »
Hi Gez,

It's in the FAA's governing document for ATC comunication, the 7110.65 under section 2-1-17

Transfer radio communications before an aircraft enters the receiving controller's area of jurisdiction unless otherwise coordinated or specified by a letter of agreement or a facility directive.
Transfer radio communications by specifying the following:

The facility name or location name and terminal function to be contacted. [...]
Frequency to use except the following may be omitted:
FSS frequency.
Departure frequency if previously given or published on a SID chart for the procedure issued.
Ground or local control frequency if in your opinion the pilot knows which frequency is in use.
The numbers preceding the decimal point if the ground control frequency is in the 121 MHz bandwidth.

The Flight Deck / Re: Recommended call sign for war birds
« on: May 16, 2020, 01:59:19 AM »
Old "heritage" aircraft that still fly are given new civilian registrations, e.g. N12345 for the US. I would look up the new civil registration for the aircraft you are flying, or come up with a call sign that may be similar to one used by the aircraft during its service in the military.

General Discussion / Re: A Controllers Reminder and Request
« on: April 16, 2020, 02:00:24 PM »
Great post, Mike.

I would like to add for any pilots around, radio checks are unnecessary unless you suspect an actual problem. Maybe it's AFV, maybe it's something else, but the last center session I did nearly every pilot called for a radio check before their actual request.

Just make the request!


Will anyone mind if I grin evilly while stroking the back of the purring cat sitting in my lap and remind everyone of the time that we completely closed KLAX (left it unmanned and completely unstaffed) during California Screamin' II? We actually outdid our numbers between ZOA, ZLA, and ZAB compared to the first CalScream held the year prior, and since everyone only thought it was a huge LAX fly-in, we closed it, and denied any services to/from the field. Pilots treated LAX as closed (with full on CTAF), canceled their flight plans with us in the air or on the ground, and picked up IFR in the air with us should they have needed it. Anyone wanting IFR practice approaches or services went to the next closest Class C or D airport.

Ahh yes... Good times there indeed... now.. can someone put a cucumber on the floor behind this cat so it can get the heck off my lap?  ;D


You know, with CalScream XX coming up you are giving lots of very.... dastardly ideas!  ;D

General Discussion / Re: Changes to FNOs for the time being
« 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.

Lonnie, the CoC is pretty vague about specific requests because it's meant to cover the entire globe, and the entire globe has different local procedures, rules, and regulations.

In the US, where we're simulating, VFR Practice Approaches are an optional service that can be denied by ATC on a workload permitting basis, just like Flight Following. Multiple IFR approaches in a row can not be "denied" per se, but just like in the real world you will be delayed until the system can figure out a slot for you. During a large event like Friday Night Ops, it's a faux pas to try and do something workload intensive such as multiple approaches into the main arrival airport. We are all volunteers working an event that mimics the real arrival rates of these airports normally staffed by dozes of controllers who spent literal years training to work single positions.

The question for you should be, "what is more important?" Did you need the approaches or to fly into PHL. If you needed the approaches, flying into a satellite airport that was fully staffed and less busy would satisfy you. If you wanted to fly into PHL, then a single approach is the option you have.

A real example of this happened to me a few months back IRL. It was IMC and calm, a good opportunity to replenish my  IFR currency by shooting approaches. I ended up sitting on the ground holding short for a half hour before getting a take off clearance, and was held multiple times to be sequenced into the airport behind larger, faster jets.

General Discussion / Re: Event Times
« on: March 01, 2020, 04:36:20 PM »
Literal decades of doing events have shown us that the 2359z start time is the best "catch-all" time that is neither too late for east coasters nor too early for west coasters. It's never going to be perfect. Let's say we start a ZLA event at 7pm pacific time. That's 10pm in New York, and we'll be less likely to see east coast pilots fly as they are now limited to shorter haul routes if they have a reasonable bedtime for themselves. Likewise, it's hard to ask an east coast controller to stay awake until 1 or 2 in the morning to accommodate. The 5pm/8pm time captures the most compromise to get people to show up.

Lowerkey events we'll start at more leisurely times, but the traffic levels are far lower to begin with.

Part of the FNO cram is that it's that it's a recurring event. That consistency during prime time really drives those numbers.

The Flight Deck / Re: High Speed Climb
« on: February 16, 2020, 01:34:10 AM »
Thanks for the response Ryan, however in the video, the controller clears the aircraft before they call with any sort of emergency. It's immediately after contacting him he is cleared for a high speed climb.

The 7110.65 has no provision for approving an aircraft to exceed 250 knots below 10,000. As Ryan said, pilots and controllers are taking advantage of the ambiguity of the words "high speed climb" and "approved as requested." This is not a clearance to exceed speed limits. However, controllers aren't sky police and only see ground speed.

91.117 permits aircraft to exceed speed limits if the minimum safe speed for any particular operation is greater than the the speed limit. The 7110 has this to say about it:
14 CFR Section 91.117 permits speeds in excess of
250 knots (288 mph) when so required or recommended in
the airplane flight manual or required by normal military
operating procedures.

91.703 provides an exemption for civil aircraft outside the US (I believe that's 12nm offshore), but mentions you must still comply with certain sections of 91.117 if conditions exist.

Good topic James,

Not being familiar with FAA, Is there any requirement for an IFR departure (or I guess VFR for that matter) to call once airborne?

It obviously helps a lot, if they do, but the practice of acft reporting “airborne thru 3200” seems not to be a practice in my experience.

In the VATSIM top-down environment, when flying on the network I call the controller in roughly the spot I would have been told to contact departure. Generally around the end of the runway or climbing through 1,000.

"Center, American 1-2-3 2,500"

"American 1-2-3 radar contact, climb and maintan FL320"


"American 1-2-3 radar contact say altitude"

"2,500 climbing 5,000, American 1-2-3"

"American 1-2-3 climb and maintain FL320."

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