FAA Makes Decision to Close Air Traffic Control Towers

Marcus Becker

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FAA Makes Decision to Close Air Traffic Control Towers
« Reply #15 on: March 25, 2013, 05:34:02 PM »
Why not implement your own tower to every little farm strip across the nation then? If there is an aircraft flying to the field, they must need a tower service, right? I don't see the logic in opening a tower that isn't open. You can still provide friendly and professional service as they will in the real world.

Bringing 91.17 into this is quite comical. Find the line that defines extreme, and you'll be on your way to a much more enjoyable experience on the network.

Rahul Parkar

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FAA Makes Decision to Close Air Traffic Control Towers
« Reply #16 on: March 25, 2013, 06:44:43 PM »
Quote from: Zach Hutcherson
Which I think is the point, Kris.  My two cents are this:  these fields are negligible when it comes to operations. The combined total of the list MAY receive a handful of operations a month. Instead of dwelling over this and coming up with a system that is not uniform and consistent across the division, why not just say, "Alright, they're closed" and move on.  It's no different than reflecting Runway Closure NOTAMs.  I know of a situation to where a runway was closed for an entire year on VATSIM because it was also closed in the RW.  I  don't see why we base our operations on the RW, and then once the RW does something different (particularly something relatively minor like this) it becomes a huge deal.

 We are still providing the same level of service to the pilot's who use those fields, but instead we now provide the services of uncontrolled instead of controlled. The only real changes are not clearing aircraft to land and depart, not maintaining a ground control, and VFR Flight Followings are handed off with field in sight.  IFR Aircraft still get approaches into the field (then turned to UNICOM for landing), except the age old one in one out rule now applies.  Aircraft on the ground can still get IFR Clearances, just utilizing the departure release method.  There are plenty of still operational Class D fields to get the experience of VFR Class D.  We are not taking anything away that changes any actual operations, it's all just procedural.

I guess in short, my viewpoint of it is this:  the closing of the towers really doesn't effect anything, just a minor procedural change.  These fields get little traffic, and a majority of IFR Services can still be provided utilizing uncontrolled methods. Over complicating simple practices are just unnecessary, especially in this instance. I am in favor of simulating these closures with the transition time Don has proposed, and then moving on to more pressing matters.

But we don't uniformly use r/w procedures on VATSIM, plenty of runway closures are ignored... Read the NOTAMs hourly and then compare VATSIM runway ops.

You're trying to implement something uniformly across a division that is severely fragmented, once training standards are consolidated, uniformity will follow.

Don't fix the font when the text is wrong, a saying from a front end dev I work with.

Cheers
Rahul
Rahul Parkar,

On second thoughts Nappa, catch it, catch it with your teeth.

Harold Rutila

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FAA Makes Decision to Close Air Traffic Control Towers
« Reply #17 on: March 25, 2013, 11:29:09 PM »
Zach, based on your last response, you're definitely worrying about the wrong things to standardize.

[blockquote]Class E (P/CG "Controlled Airspace" #5) = controlled airspace. May be non-towered, but it is indeed controlled with non-radar separation for IFR flights until radar separation can be provided, if ever.

Handoff (.65 5-4-1) = transfer or radar identification from one controller to another. Accomplished physically with an index finger, verbally with a phone call or otherwise, or automatically with the radar system.

Radio communication transfer (.65 2-1-7) = "Contact Saginaw Approach on 126.45."[/blockquote]
The last two are not the same thing!

The comment about real world procedures was also a little off base given that your boss just said we will be using the real world procedure. That for another day...

Zach Hutcherson

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FAA Makes Decision to Close Air Traffic Control Towers
« Reply #18 on: March 26, 2013, 01:05:27 AM »
Quote from: Harold Rutila
Zach, based on your last response, you're definitely worrying about the wrong things to standardize.

[blockquote]Class E (P/CG "Controlled Airspace" #5) = controlled airspace. May be non-towered, but it is indeed controlled with non-radar separation for IFR flights until radar separation can be provided, if ever.

Handoff (.65 5-4-1) = transfer or radar identification from one controller to another. Accomplished physically with an index finger, verbally with a phone call or otherwise, or automatically with the radar system.

Radio communication transfer (.65 2-1-7) = "Contact Saginaw Approach on 126.45."[/blockquote]
The last two are not the same thing!

The comment about real world procedures was also a little off base given that your boss just said we will be using the real world procedure. That for another day...


I do apologize. I did not realize my diction and word choice would be dissected to the letter. I will make sure to clarify that in future posts and use phraseology pursuant to the 7110.65 and FAR 1. I think everyone understood what was being stated, though, which is that these airports are not disappearing off the map, simply transitioning to a new classification of Airspace, which still allows us to provide operations pursuant to Class E, which does include IFR operations.  And as for real world procedures, I am not sure what you are referring to, but, I will make it clear then: I agree with Don.  I think you are referring to the statement about things turning into a huge deal, in which case it is in line with what Don was saying, which is that minor changes should not require long, unnecessary discussions.  We simulate the Real world to the best of our ability, and when a change occurs that is in line with what can be simulated , we should adopt it uniformly.  I hope this makes things clearer, and I have edited my above post to reflect exact phraseology.

Zach Hutcherson
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Don Desfosse

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FAA Makes Decision to Close Air Traffic Control Towers
« Reply #19 on: March 26, 2013, 04:30:16 AM »
You guys just about hit the nail on the head.  We do the best we can to simulate RW, but within certain "soft bounds" required to accommodate "VATSIMisms."  For example, no, we don't go chasing NOTAMs minute by minute, hour by hour; that is very impractical and a great way to kill a hobby.  Rahul is spot on when he talks about desiring standardization.  But there are practical limits for us too.  The two aircraft example is great.  My point is, if, while you are following correct ATC procedure (including terminating radar service, if he's reached that point), and Joe Pilot specifically asks you for the favor of a nostalgic "Cleared to Land" when he's inbound to Paducah on April 7th, by all means, give it to him.  But don't even think about sending a "contact me" to John Pilot who is on the ground at Paducah taxiing to any runway (the one Joe Pilot's using or not); it is a nontowered airport.  We do not force air traffic control in airspace and at facilities where none exists RW.
« Last Edit: March 26, 2013, 04:32:24 AM by Don Desfosse »
Don Desfosse
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Kris Kendrick

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FAA Makes Decision to Close Air Traffic Control Towers
« Reply #20 on: March 26, 2013, 06:36:24 AM »
With this clarification from Don, my faith in our mission has been restored. "Soft bounds" is exactly what keeps this hobby interesting to a wide variety of users. My original take on how these changes would be implemented on the network were more black and white and that appears to be incorrect. My original statement also seems black and white and that was poorly written.

On the two plane issue, I joked about how rare that is. But joking aside, the way I would handle that situation if a nostalgic pilot called up expecting Class D services and the other guy is realistically operating under Class E rules, I would notify the "Class D guy" that there is other traffic on the ground and to monitor Unicom, not the other way around. I do not think it is appropriate to screw up the experience of a guy who is actually following the rules, just because we feel like it.
My fear was that if I am online at 3 in the morning and there is one guy online in the entire airspace, some old codger like me calls up and says... 'remember the good ole days?', that there would be some sort of violation for going back in time to the good ole days of early 2013 and providing a service that no longer exists. One poster suggested offering tower services at every farm strip in the country, then talked about extremes. That I would consider extreme and inconsistent with our mission of simulating real world ops whenever we can and to the best of our ability.

I know that there are some controllers that will not allow pilots to fly out of date arrivals and departures. I understand that not every pilot on the network has the means to have the most up to date waypoints in their FMS available. So the way I look at it, I use my discretion to answer two questions... 1. Can I accomplish this with the resources I have including time and understanding of what the pilot is going to do, and 2. Will this deviation not interfere with other pilots enjoyment of this hobby. If I answer no to either or both, then I go to plan B, I just take positive control. Again, it's about discretion. No need to rewrite rules and policies and lose track of more pressing issues on the network... nor becoming so robotic that pilots would rather get a root canal, or worse... sign off and fly offline without us!

This is the way I operate and it appears to work. The way this network feels and operates is up to us.
[img]http://i251.photobucket.com/albums/gg302/skiclash77/KrisSig1-2.png\" border=\"0\" class=\"linked-sig-image\" /]

KRIS R. KENDRICK

Harold Rutila

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FAA Makes Decision to Close Air Traffic Control Towers
« Reply #21 on: March 26, 2013, 02:16:17 PM »
Zach,

I think a number of us were confused when you said "I don't get why we base our operations on the real world... ," after Don had said we will be (to an extent). I think that was the basis of Rahul and Marcus's responses, though I can't really speak for them. Re-reading your quote it looks like you meant to say something else -- that this isn't a big deal. I agree.

Zach Hutcherson

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FAA Makes Decision to Close Air Traffic Control Towers
« Reply #22 on: March 26, 2013, 04:14:12 PM »
Quote from: Harold Rutila
Zach,

I think a number of us were confused when you said "I don't get why we base our operations on the real world... ," after Don had said we will be (to an extent). I think that was the basis of Rahul and Marcus's responses, though I can't really speak for them. Re-reading your quote it looks like you meant to say something else -- that this isn't a big deal. I agree.

Ah, I see, that's understandable now.  I guess revised wording would be "Since we base our operations on the RW, I don't understand why proportionally minor changes in the RW become large issues in VATSIM, when they don't affect the services we offer to our members. When it is practical to do so for VATSIM, let's adopt the RW changes uniformly and move on with other issues."
Zach Hutcherson
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Rahul Parkar

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FAA Makes Decision to Close Air Traffic Control Towers
« Reply #23 on: March 26, 2013, 04:49:32 PM »
Don, I agree there are practical limits, but they are not completely impractical either, you probably understand what I am getting at.

Zach and Don : Please understand I am not trying to make a large issue of a small change, I simply do what I can to bring up edge cases (usually I fix them, but this isn't a piece of software), because edge cases can not be ignored. They need to be addressed, sometimes this can be quick, easy and painless, other times, it's hard and painful. It varies.

To all, the reason I bring up these edge cases, is because we're pushed to try and adopt uniformity and singularity in a fragmented system (See Android as a resemblance to how divisional training is conducted, some ARTCC training programs are jelly bean, others are gingerbread) and there are 20 other variations. The ultimate goal should be to get all training systems to Jelly bean, because once that happens, these discussions won't need to be had. Because the uniformity will already be there.

How (and whether) that is implemented is not my call, but know I will do my best to help that cause.

P.S. Don, you are correct in that we should never force control, but we should provide it if requested. And your representation of the soft bounds was perfect in my opinion. Just a note I thought should be made a point.

Cheers!
Rahul
Rahul Parkar,

On second thoughts Nappa, catch it, catch it with your teeth.

Don Desfosse

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FAA Makes Decision to Close Air Traffic Control Towers
« Reply #24 on: March 27, 2013, 04:45:10 AM »
And some get to live another day....

The FAA has released (26 Mar 2013) a three-part phase-in period for closing 149 of the nation’s contract control towers. The shutdowns will start on April 7, when 24 federal contract towers will close, followed by 46 on April 21, and the remaining 79 on May 5 (see the full list below).


Contract Towers Currently Scheduled to Close on 07 Apr 2013 (24)
FYV   DRAKE FIELD FAYETTEVILLE AR
RYN   RYAN FIELD TUCSON AZ
FUL   FULLERTON MUNI FULLERTON CA
RAL   RIVERSIDE MUNI RIVERSIDE CA
RNM   RAMONA RAMONA CA
WHP   WHITEMAN LOS ANGELES CA
EVB   NEW SMYRNA BEACH MUNI NEW SMYRNA BEACH FL
HWO   NORTH PERRY HOLLYWOOD FL
LEE   LEESBURG INTL LEESBURG FL
OMN   ORMOND BEACH MUNI ORMOND BEACH FL
TIX   SPACE COAST RGNL TITUSVILLE FL
OJC   JOHNSON COUNTY EXECUTIVE OLATHE KS
DTN   SHREVEPORT DOWNTOWN SHREVEPORT LA
LWM   LAWRENCE MUNI LAWRENCE MA
BTL   W K KELLOGG BATTLE CREEK MI
HSA   STENNIS INTL (HSA) BAY ST LOUIS MS
ISO   KINSTON RGNL JETPORT AT STALLINGS FLD KINSTON NC
ASH   BOIRE FIELD NASHUA NH
TZR   BOLTON FIELD COLUMBUS OH
CXO   LONE STAR EXECUTIVE HOUSTON TX
GTU   GEORGETOWN MUNI GEORGETOWN TX
RBD   DALLAS EXECUTIVE DALLAS TX
SSF   STINSON MUNI SAN ANTONIO TX
TIW   TACOMA NARROWS TACOMA WA
   
   
Contract Towers Currently Scheduled to Close on 21 Apr 2013 (46)
GEU   GLENDALE MUNI GLENDALE AZ
GYR   PHOENIX GOODYEAR GOODYEAR AZ
MER   CASTLE ATWATER CA
SNS   SALINAS MUNI SALINAS CA
WJF   GENERAL WM J FOX AIRFIELD LANCASTER CA
GON   GROTON-NEW LONDON GROTON (NEW LONDON) CT
FMY   PAGE FIELD FORT MYERS FL
LAL   LAKELAND LINDER RGNL LAKELAND FL
OCF   OCALA INTL-JIM TAYLOR FIELD OCALA FL
PGD   PUNTA GORDA PUNTA GORDA FL
SPG   ALBERT WHITTED ST PETERSBURG FL
AHN   ATHENS/BEN EPPS ATHENS GA
MCN   MIDDLE GEORGIA RGNL MACON GA
DBQ   DUBUQUE RGNL DUBUQUE IA
ALN   ST LOUIS RGNL ALTON/ST LOUIS IL
MDH   CARBONDALE IL
BAK   COLUMBUS MUNI COLUMBUS IN
GYY   GARY/CHICAGO INTL GARY IN
IXD   NEW CENTURY AIRCENTER OLATHE KS
TOP   PHILIP BILLARD MUNI TOPEKA KS
BVY   BEVERLY MUNI BEVERLY MA
ORH   WORCESTER RGNL WORCESTER MA
ESN   EASTON/NEWNAM FIELD EASTON MD
FDK   FREDERICK MUNI FREDERICK MD
MTN   MARTIN STATE BALTIMORE MD
STC   ST CLOUD RGNL ST CLOUD MN
GLH   MID DELTA RGNL GREENVILLE MS
HKY   HICKORY RGNL HICKORY NC
AEG   DOUBLE EAGLE II ALBUQUERQUE NM
RME   GRIFFISS INTL ROME NY
OUN   UNIVERSITY OF OKLAHOMA WESTHEIMER NORMAN OK
SWO   STILLWATER RGNL STILLWATER OK
SLE   MCNARY FLD SALEM OR
TTD   PORTLAND-TROUTDALE PORTLAND OR
CXY   CAPITAL CITY HARRISBURG PA
NQA   MILLINGTON RGNL JETPORT MILLINGTON TN
BAZ   NEW BRAUNFELS MUNI NEW BRAUNFELS TX
CNW   TSTC WACO WACO TX
HYI   SAN MARCOS MUNI SAN MARCOS TX
TKI   COLLIN COUNTY RGNL AT MC KINNEY DALLAS TX
VCT   VICTORIA RGNL VICTORIA TX
OLM   OLYMPIA RGNL OLYMPIA WA
RNT   RENTON MUNI RENTON WA
MWC   LAWRENCE J TIMMERMAN MILWAUKEE WI
OSH   WITTMAN RGNL OSHKOSH WI
HLG   WHEELING OHIO CO WHEELING WV
   
   
Contract Towers Currently Scheduled to Close on 05 May 2013 (79)
DHN   DOTHAN RGNL DOTHAN AL
TCL   TUSCALOOSA RGNL TUSCALOOSA AL
TXK   TEXARKANA RGNL-WEBB FIELD TEXARKANA AR
IFP   LAUGHLIN/BULLHEAD INTL BULLHEAD CITY AZ
OXR   OXNARD OXNARD CA
SAC   SACRAMENTO EXECUTIVE SACRAMENTO CA
SDM   BROWN FIELD MUNI SAN DIEGO CA
VCV   SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA LOGISTICS VICTORVILLE CA
BDR   IGOR I SIKORSKY MEMORIAL BRIDGEPORT CT
DXR   DANBURY MUNI DANBURY CT
HFD   HARTFORD-BRAINARD HARTFORD CT
HVN   TWEED-NEW HAVEN NEW HAVEN CT
OXC   WATERBURY-OXFORD OXFORD CT
APF   NAPLES MUNI NAPLES FL
BCT   BOCA RATON BOCA RATON FL
SGJ   NORTHEAST FLORIDA RGNL ST AUGUSTINE FL
SUA   WITHAM FIELD STUART FL
ABY   SOUTHWEST GEORGIA RGNL ALBANY GA
LZU   GWINNETT COUNTY - BRISCOE FIELD LAWRENCEVILLE GA
RYY   COBB COUNTY- MCCOLLUM FIELD ATLANTA GA
IDA   IDAHO FALLS RGNL IDAHO FALLS ID
LWS   LEWISTON-NEZ PERCE COUNTY LEWISTON ID
PIH   POCATELLO RGNL POCATELLO ID
SUN   FRIEDMAN MEMORIAL HAILEY ID
BMI   CENTRAL IL RGNL ARPT AT BLOOMINGTON NORMAL IL
DEC   DECATUR DECATUR IL
UGN   WAUKEGAN RGNL CHICAGO/ WAUKEGAN IL
HUT   HUTCHINSON MUNI HUTCHINSON KS
MHK   MANHATTAN RGNL MANHATTAN KS
OWB   OWENSBORO-DAVIESS COUNTY OWENSBORO KY
PAH   BARKLEY RGNL PADUCAH KY
EWB   NEW BEDFORD RGNL NEW BEDFORD MA
OWD   NORWOOD MEMORIAL NORWOOD MA
HGR   HAGERSTOWN RGNL- RICHARD A HENSON FLD HAGERSTOWN MD
SBY   SALISBURY-OCEAN CITY WICOMICO RGNL SALISBURY MD
DET   COLEMAN A. YOUNG MUNI DETROIT MI
SAW   SAWYER INTL MARQUETTE MI
ANE   ANOKA COUNTY-BLAINE ARPT(JANES FIELD) MINNEAPOLIS MN
BBG   BRANSON BRANSON MO
COU   COLUMBIA RGNL COLUMBIA MO
HKS   HAWKINS FIELD JACKSON MS
OLV   OLIVE BRANCH OLIVE BRANCH MS
TUP   TUPELO RGNL TUPELO MS
GPI   GLACIER PARK INTL KALISPELL MT
EWN   COASTAL CAROLINA REGIONAL NEW BERN NC
INT   SMITH REYNOLDS WINSTON SALEM NC
JQF   CONCORD RGNL CONCORD NC
TTN   TRENTON MERCER TRENTON NJ
SAF   SANTA FE MUNI SANTA FE NM
ITH   ITHACA TOMPKINS RGNL ITHACA NY
CGF   CUYAHOGA COUNTY CLEVELAND OH
OSU   OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY COLUMBUS OH
LAW   LAWTON-FORT SILL RGNL LAWTON OK
PWA   WILEY POST OKLAHOMA CITY OK
OTH   SOUTHWEST OREGON RGNL NORTH BEND OR
PDT   EASTERN OREGON RGNL AT PENDLETON PENDLETON OR
LBE   ARNOLD PALMER RGNL LATROBE PA
LNS   LANCASTER LANCASTER PA
CRE   GRAND STRAND NORTH MYRTLE BEACH SC
GYH   DONALDSON CENTER GREENVILLE SC
HXD   HILTON HEAD HILTON HEAD ISLAND SC
MKL   MC KELLAR-SIPES RGNL JACKSON TN
BRO   BROWNSVILLE/ SOUTH PADRE ISLAND INTL BROWNSVILLE TX
CLL   EASTERWOOD FIELD COLLEGE STATION TX
SGR   SUGAR LAND RGNL HOUSTON TX
TYR   TYLER POUNDS RGNL TYLER TX
OGD   OGDEN-HINCKLEY OGDEN UT
PVU   PROVO MUNI PROVO UT
LYH   LYNCHBURG RGNL/ PRESTON GLENN FLD LYNCHBURG VA
SFF   FELTS FIELD SPOKANE WA
YKM   YAKIMA AIR TERMINAL/ MCALLISTER FIELD YAKIMA WA
CWA   CENTRAL WISCONSIN MOSINEE WI
EAU   CHIPPEWA VALLEY RGNL EAU CLAIRE WI
ENW   KENOSHA RGNL KENOSHA WI
JVL   SOUTHERN WISCONSIN RGNL JANESVILLE WI
LSE   LA CROSSE MUNI LA CROSSE WI
UES   WAUKESHA COUNTY WAUKESHA WI
LWB   GREENBRIER VALLEY LEWISBURG WV
PKB   MID-OHIO VALLEY RGNL PARKERSBURG WV
Don Desfosse
Vice President, Operations, VATSIM (VATGOV2)
Division Director Emeritus, VATUSA

Scott DeWoody

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FAA Makes Decision to Close Air Traffic Control Towers
« Reply #25 on: March 27, 2013, 08:02:09 AM »
Quote from: Don Desfosse
And some get to live another day....

The FAA has released (26 Mar 2013) a three-part phase-in period for closing 149 of the nation’s contract control towers. The shutdowns will start on April 7, when 24 federal contract towers will close, followed by 46 on April 21, and the remaining 79 on May 5 (see the full list below).


Contract Towers Currently Scheduled to Close on 07 Apr 2013 (24)
 
LEE   LEESBURG INTL LEESBURG FL

Dang, and I was really looking forward to the "clear to land" voice from good ole Billy (fictional country boy name) when I come to my home airport (closest airport to my r/w home and work) from my once a month "International" flight to and from Lima, and/or Bogota.

Just kidding... I think it's designated an "International" because of occasional flights to and from the Bahamas.
« Last Edit: March 27, 2013, 08:03:06 AM by Scott DeWoody »
Scott DeWoody

Don Desfosse

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FAA Makes Decision to Close Air Traffic Control Towers
« Reply #26 on: March 29, 2013, 11:35:41 PM »
OK, folks, listen up....  Especially ATMs that need to clearly communicate our plan forward on tower closures to their people.   We will follow the RW closure schedule.

Tonight, 3/29, over a week before the FIRST tower closing date of 4/7, I heard a controller terminate service to a pilot, letting him know the tower was closed "due to sequestration."  Really?  Already?  Even the pilot questioned it.  And the controller came back and said, "Well, it's closed for sequestration, so it's closed."  The worst thing was....  I was so upset at hearing this, I looked the airport up so I could make this post clear about how early that "closure" was being simulated....  AND THE AIRPORT ISN'T EVEN ON THE LIST -- THE TOWER IS STAYING OPEN!

C'mon folks......  I know this was probably an isolated incident, but that is unacceptable.  ATMs, point your folks to this thread and make sure everyone knows what the rules are.  Very simple -- we provide services for the same facilities the RW controllers, when they do.
Don Desfosse
Vice President, Operations, VATSIM (VATGOV2)
Division Director Emeritus, VATUSA

Ira Robinson

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FAA Makes Decision to Close Air Traffic Control Towers
« Reply #27 on: March 30, 2013, 03:43:48 PM »
...a'capiche
Ira Robinson
VATUSA4

Brighton McMinn

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« Reply #28 on: March 30, 2013, 10:48:21 PM »
The state of Texas has decided to pick up the tab on the closing towers and none of the towers in Texas will close.

http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/ho...ure-4391840.php

Kenneth Bambach

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« Reply #29 on: March 31, 2013, 09:20:10 AM »
At Boca Raton ( KBCT) the airport authority is looking at collecting a minimal landing fee to fund the TWR as remaining open.
Ken Bambach
ZMA ATM