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Messages - Don Desfosse

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The Classroom (Controller Tips) / HOW TO START MY TRANING
« on: May 07, 2010, 07:57:48 AM »

Now that you've passed your Basic ATC exam, you'll be able to select an ARTCC.  I'd suggest that you log back into the VATUSA home page and scroll to the bottom where you'll see links to all the ARTCCs' websites.  Take a look at the ones you may be interested in controlling in; generally, there are links on each ARTCC's website that will bring you to their policies and training material.  Compare the ones you may be interested in to see what seems to be a good fit for you, and based on that, select which ARTCC you'd like to transfer into.

To initiate a transfer, go to the VATUSA home page, look under MyVATUSA, and select ARTCC Transfer (this might be your second item down on that MyVATUSA menu).  Once you're accepted into an ARTCC, you'll be able to begin their training process.

NOTAMs / Congrats to the New VATUSA1!
« on: April 28, 2010, 08:09:27 PM »
My deepest and heartiest congratulations, Gary!  You will, of course, again, be fabulous.  Still hope to see you at the Tea Party!

True enough.  But even if they forgot... by removing the ability to use "taxi to" from 7110.65 when referring to taxiing to a takeoff runway, you'll end up with a rule in 91.129 that tells you what you can or can't do when you hear it, but you'll never hear it.

Quote from: Christopher S. McGee
All you're going to do is issue a more specific taxi clearance and mix up the order a bit. Might take some time to get used to but it's not a huge deal. Now VATSIM ground controllers actual have to work a bit

Perhaps true where all your positions are manned, but this is really going to [stink] for the lone Center controller that is running his whole ARTCC combined....  If it's played RW, pilots could expect significant taxi delays as the lone CTR controller is trying to keep aircraft separated and then zoom in and out of 5 airports giving what almost amounts to "progressive taxi and hold short of every runway instructions....."

This is going to be bad enough for the real world, but this is REALLY going to [stink] for VATSIM.


The FAA just issued FAA Notice 7110.528, effective 30 Jun 2010, that affects significantly the taxi procedures used when crossing runways.  

Summary of Changes:

1. The phraseology "Taxi to _____" will no longer be used.  
2. Aircraft are no longer automatically permitted to cross runways along their taxi route.  An explicit runway crossing clearance must be issued for each runway (active/inactive or closed) crossing and requires an aircraft/vehicle to have crossed the previous runway before another runway crossing clearance may be issued.  

An example using the new terminology:  

Note: In the following example, KBOS is using the 27/27 configuration, Local and Ground control are combined.

Old clearance to Runway 27 for departure, using the new taxi diagram, would sound like:
AAL123, taxi to runway 27 via Bravo, Charlie Delta.

New clearance to Runway 27 for departure, using the new taxi diagram, would sound like:
AAL123, Runway 27, taxi via Bravo, Charlie, Delta, hold short Runway 4L.

as AAL123 approaches Runway 4L:
AAL123, cross Runway 4L, hold short Runway 4R.

as AAL123 approaches Runway 4R:
AAL123, cross Runway 4R, hold short Runway 33L.

as AAL123 approaches Runway 33L:
AAL123, cross Runway 33L.

Yes, so on a busy day (read event), can you see the issue with this....?  Methinks the lawyers won, ATC and the pilots lost.....

The Classroom (Controller Tips) / Looking for the file - batcg.pdf
« on: April 08, 2010, 12:26:16 PM »
Hi Mark, and welcome to VATSIM and VATUSA!

The Basic ATC Guide was replaced last summer by the VATUSA Training Resource Center, located at

General Discussion / Just when I thought...
« on: March 19, 2010, 12:56:21 AM »
Now I can't get the theme song out of my head!!!!  

General Discussion / Rumor control. Please confirm or deny
« on: February 10, 2010, 10:12:06 AM »

The Control Room Floor / Weather Below Published Minimums
« on: December 11, 2009, 08:46:09 AM »
Good morning.  Short answer to your options is neither.

In the real world, it depends on whether the operation is private (Part 91) or commercial (Part 121, 135, etc.).  (I use private vs. commercial and the Parts involved generally; there are nuances not that would make this a 9 page answer -- not worth it.   )

Part 91, you can shoot approaches to airports that are reporting weather below minimums all day long (or until you run out of gas!   ).  There's nothing wrong with it.  There are numerous possible reasons, but I'll mention just 2 to illustrate:
1.  The weather is changing very rapidly and the conditions are hovering just about at minimums, but the latest observation is just below.  When you shoot the approach, you may be pleasantly surprised.
2.  You actually want to see what it looks like to get down to minimums and NOT see what you need to see to continue the approach to a landing.  As a formerly very active flight instructor, I used to seek out those opportunities for the benefit of my students -- it teaches a marvelous lesson.

In either case as described above, you MUST have a good Plan B (so you don't end up turning your situation into an emergency, or worse, accident), and assume going in that you're not going to be landing there, and be very pleasantly surprised if you can....  

So as to avoid another 9 pages worth of response, I'll cover commercial (Part 121 Air Carrier, Part 135 Air Charter, etc.) by saying that, in general, there are regulations (either FAR or Company Operating Specifications) that don't allow (or otherwise regulate) a crew to commence an approach when the current weather observation is reporting weather below minimums.

So back to how you'd handle your aviator, based on your example....

Example: A pilot is inbound to an airport, the weather is bad the ceiling and visibility are both below the published minimums for the ILS approach. You inform the pilot of the conditions offering both a hold or diversion. After reviewing his options the pilot would still like to proceed inbound for the approach.

You do inform the pilot of the conditions, but do not automatically offer a hold or a diversion.  Let the pilot fly his aircraft.  The pilot in command is responsible for the flight, and must make the decisions.  (Foregoing a couple of extra pages of response based on what you might actually do in the event that the pilot has declared (or you have declared for him) an emergency and you are offering assistance).  I would simply do one of two things:

1.  Ensure he has the current weather and continue to vector/clear him for the advertised (or requested) approach.
2.  Ensure he has the current weather and ask the pilot his intentions.

Getting back to your two options, advising him landing is at his own risk is not authorized in this scenario (unless you are acting as local control and the airport is closed for the landing operation he is seeking to perform, or unless he is in a helicopter planning to land off airport, etc.).  You don't need to cancel his radar services - this type of scenario is when he needs your services the most, and when he needs you to be at your best!

You simply bring him in and clear him for the approach.  If you are working Local, you ensure he has the current weather (particularly if it's different than the ATIS he has acknowledged), and then clear him to land.  
Baron 7556Y, Wind 030 at 6, visibility now 1/16th mile in heavy snow, Runway 5, cleared to land.

Whether he lands or not is his business, and he'll have to deal with the FAA (or the Maker) if he makes the wrong choice.....

Sorry for the long reply, and hope this helps.  [Disclaimer: There are a gazillion nuances associated with what I've typed above, but my fingers hurt and you don't want to read all about those anyway, so this is pretty generic, but covers the majority of situations out there, especially for VATSIM   ]

Don Desfosse, ATP, CFII, MEII
FAA Aviation Safety Counselor and FAASTeam Lead
vZBW Air Traffic Manager

General Discussion / Giving Thanks
« on: November 25, 2009, 08:19:06 PM »
For those of you who celebrate it as a holiday, and also for those that don't, I'd like to invite us all to take a moment to give thanks.  

I'd like to give thanks...

... to our families
... to those that keep us safe from harm's way
... for being as fortunate as we are.  If we have a computer and high speed internet access, we are doing so much better than so many in this world who struggle to keep a roof over their heads and food in their mouths.
... for those that share peace and love in this world
... for those that have brought, and continue to bring us VATSIM, free of charge
... for being part of such a wonderful team as we have at VATUSA.  

May we all be thankful, grateful, loving and sharing, and may we all have a safe, healthy and Happy Thanksgiving.

General Discussion / PIREPs
« on: October 02, 2009, 01:47:39 AM »
I typically pass on virtual PIREPs to pilots for about 10 minutes following when I get one from a pilot.  Particularly for turbulence, windshear, etc.  I once got one for birds in the vicinity -- before the Miracle on the Hudson -- I didn't pass that one on if I recall....  

The Classroom (Controller Tips) / posting test corrections
« on: August 26, 2009, 07:51:49 AM »
Michael, thank you.

Jim, please just read the stickies at the top of the controller-only forums as you were directed to do when you got our welcome letter, and you'll understand where on the Boston forums to post your corrections.

You should go to the forum marked:
Test Corrections
Students, place your test corrections in this forum.

Then, read the sticky near the top entitled Posting Test Corrections .  The content of that post walks you step by step through the process.

You can find the questions you missed by going to the VATUSA Exam Center and selecting View My Test Results.

Next time, feel free to post questions that are related to ZBW policy and process on the ZBW forum, rather than the VATUSA forum.


Quote from: james bonneau
I passed the Boston SOP test 2 days ago and according to the step-by step I am suppose to post corrections to the questions missed.  Will someone email the questions I missed and where should I post the corrections? I will continue on with the Del-Gnd sections while waiting.

thanks Jim

The Control Room Floor / Just joined
« on: July 28, 2009, 04:21:46 PM »
Welcome, James, glad to have you on board!

General Discussion / VATUSA Website and Data Systems
« on: May 31, 2009, 08:04:15 AM »

To echo the other comments, you've done a phenomenal job in very short order.  It is very, very much appreciated by the ARTCC staffs and the entire membership.  A huge, huge THANK YOU!!

General Discussion / Atlanta has a new ATM
« on: February 02, 2009, 08:36:43 AM »
Congratulations, Alan, welcome to the party!

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