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NOTAMs => NOTAMs => Topic started by: Don Desfosse on December 08, 2014, 06:46:12 am

Title: Requesting assistance from Supervisors
Post by: Don Desfosse on December 08, 2014, 06:46:12 am
An interesting thread has been developing in the Supervisor community regarding the initial request for assistance from Supervisors.  This post is aimed at all current controllers and students, as well as all ARTCC Training Administrators to weave this information into their initial ATC student training syllabi.

Oftentimes, the way a request for assistance is phrased will allow a Supervisor enough information to start working a request for assistance directly, as opposed to playing 20 questions with the controller.  This is all-the-more important when the Supervisors are already busy, juggling multiple cases, and can make the difference between getting your request for assistance worked on quickly, vs. waiting for a Supervisor to be available to start the 20 questions drill.  A request for assistance should, when possible, indicate enough information to allow the Supervisor to start to understand the issue and the urgency of the request.

Examples of good requests for assistance:
.wallop ABC123 in my airspace not contacting ATC, and not responding to multiple requests for contact.  No immediate conflict.
.wallop ABC123 using rude and vulgar language on frequency
.wallop Need help with someone who has a hot mic
.wallop ABC123 not squawking Mode C and says he doesn't know how to

Examples of not-so-good requests for assistance
.wallop
.wallop Help
.wallop SUP
.wallop Hi

The more info you can give, in many cases, the faster the Supervisor can start working the issue, just asking clarifying questions and providing feedback/resolution to the controller.  Of course, there will be some "unique" situations where this may not help, but it's generally felt that amplified requests for assistance will help in 90% or more of the cases.  

Request everyone implement more descriptive requests, as appropriate.
Title: Requesting assistance from Supervisors
Post by: Mike Willey on December 08, 2014, 04:31:39 pm
Good Summary, Makes Sense...
Title: Requesting assistance from Supervisors
Post by: Sean Fox on December 08, 2014, 04:46:20 pm
I like this very much.  I think it hit the point home, without a Supervisor coming and having to get all the details then having to go an look for the offender.  If the Supervisor can get that information upfront then the work can start, then the Sup can make contact and let the walloper know that the wallopee is being worked on.

Very nice!!!
Title: Requesting assistance from Supervisors
Post by: Jesse Kovacs on December 08, 2014, 06:16:30 pm
Great points, Don.  Will be sure to pass this along.

That being said, I have still had to play the questions game when making a request following one of the examples above, which, in turn, prompted me to just type wallop and explain when someone answers.  Also, I think maybe most controllers are unaware that the supervisors see anything that's typed after the .wallop.  In any event, great to see some standardization here.  
Title: Requesting assistance from Supervisors
Post by: Kenneth Haught on December 08, 2014, 09:02:19 pm
Great post Don...I know we've incorporated this into our alias file for years now, for non responsive pilots. A single command and it send the pilots callsign, location (ZAN ARTCC) and the fact that they are non-responsive to requests from ATC. This can then be followed with additional info as needed.
Title: Requesting assistance from Supervisors
Post by: Michael Scott on December 08, 2014, 09:38:00 pm
I'm sure this is something so simple that no one is going to have a problem putting this in there training. When i train i always make sure my student knows the .wallop command because i know i didn't when i first start and let me tell you it got interesting on some occasions.

However, Jesse has brought up a good point and being a former sup as well i cant say i ever understood why, Can you please post in that forum and make sure that the supervisor themselves are reading the info coming in. I think many sups use an allis file as well for there initial contact which asks you to explain everything again.  I think instead of saying who you are and your role a  simple Hi. I'm working your issue, is sufficient for most on the network when we call them. At that point I'm expecting someone to show up of authority.
Title: Requesting assistance from Supervisors
Post by: Kenneth Bambach on December 08, 2014, 10:50:05 pm
Quote from: Michael Scott
I'm sure this is something so simple that no one is going to have a problem putting this in there training. When i train i always make sure my student knows the .wallop command because i know i didn't when i first start and let me tell you it got interesting on some occasions.

However, Jesse has brought up a good point and being a former sup as well i cant say i ever understood why, Can you please post in that forum and make sure that the supervisor themselves are reading the info coming in. I think many sups use an allis file as well for there initial contact which asks you to explain everything again.  I think instead of saying who you are and your role a  simple Hi. I'm working your issue, is sufficient for most on the network when we call them. At that point I'm expecting someone to show up of authority.


That has been a pet peeve of mine as well. However there has been a concerted push lately amongst SUP's to not reply with the alias file that says "Hi, how may I help you?" when the wallop already says what the problem is. SUP's are now being instructed to make an initial reply with words to the effect that they are working the issue when the wallop has enough detail in it.
Title: Requesting assistance from Supervisors
Post by: Don Desfosse on December 09, 2014, 12:37:40 am
Yes, Ken is correct.  The SUP corps has been reeducated and requested to use more appropriate responses where appropriate.


For example:

[!--quoteo--][div class=\\\'quotetop\\\']QUOTE [/div][div class=\\\'quotemain\\\'][!--quotec--]Posted: 06 Jun 2014 09:38

In case it helps anyone, I have 2 standard alias replies when I get back to folks. When responding to a wallop with information, I usually get things rolling by identifying the reporter (that way I have their CID handy) and sending one of my standard replies (see below), and then identifying the party that was being reported and taking the appropriate action. As folks here have said, no need to burden the reporter by asking something you already know, but it's good to get back to them right away letting them know you've started working the issue (i.e., you're "on it"). Asking follow-up questions, as necessary, after that is easy.

Code: [Select]
.here Hello, my name is Don Desfosse, and I'm one of the VATSIM Supervisors.  I'm responding to your request for assistance.  How may I help?
.onit Hello, my name is Don Desfosse, and I'm one of the VATSIM Supervisors.  I'm responding to your request for assistance.  I've begun working the issue.
[/quote]
Title: Requesting assistance from Supervisors
Post by: Mark Hubbert on December 09, 2014, 01:43:01 am
And I am manually typing how can I help or Im on it.  You are so smart boss.  Excellent thread.
Title: Requesting assistance from Supervisors
Post by: Ryan Parry on December 09, 2014, 07:59:03 pm
Quote from: Jesse Kovacs
Great points, Don.  Will be sure to pass this along.

That being said, I have still had to play the questions game when making a request following one of the examples above, which, in turn, prompted me to just type wallop and explain when someone answers.  Also, I think maybe most controllers are unaware that the supervisors see anything that's typed after the .wallop.  In any event, great to see some standardization here.  

This is what I was going to say. In my experience it hasn't mattered how detailed I am, they still ask questions which would have been answered if they read the request I typed out. It is good to teach students to be detailed though!
Title: Requesting assistance from Supervisors
Post by: Don Desfosse on December 09, 2014, 11:21:38 pm
Just like with most things, your mileage may vary (YMMV)!
Title: Requesting assistance from Supervisors
Post by: Tom Seeley on December 10, 2014, 07:39:49 am
Keep in mind there are supervisors from all over the globe, and some aren't real comfortable with the english language. You may still get a response from a SUP that requires repetition, but gradually over time it should get better. I've seen an improvement in wallops lately where at least the tail number is included, and I can just get right on it, but I may still ask for additional info, such as "how many attempts" and "for how long". That's just nice to know stuff, and I can wait for a response while I work on it, but it helps determine how the situation is handled.
Title: Requesting assistance from Supervisors
Post by: Warren Huckaby on December 10, 2014, 06:28:16 pm
An email to all my controllers and a posting of this forum post has been sent and posted for ZSE controllers so we should have this settled at ZSE Thank you!
Title: Requesting assistance from Supervisors
Post by: David Stone on December 11, 2014, 09:52:21 pm
I understand what is being discussed, and I'd like to offer an apology in advance if I should make this mistake, but please keep in mind that Supervisors use .alias files just as controllers do and this is probably just a case where they have not yet updated the verbiage of the alias file. I have done this after the start of this thread.
Title: Requesting assistance from Supervisors
Post by: Don Desfosse on December 12, 2014, 06:20:46 am
No worries, David, no one has done anything wrong and no one's being called out here -- this is purely an opportunity for improvement.  All good.
Title: Requesting assistance from Supervisors
Post by: Manuel Manigault on December 12, 2014, 06:57:12 pm
Thanks for posting, Don.  I did not know you could place an actual message in the .wallop command.  I always thought the syntax
was .wallop <callsign>
Title: Requesting assistance from Supervisors
Post by: Fred Michaels on December 13, 2014, 03:57:03 pm
Quote from: Manuel Manigault
Thanks for posting, Don.  I did not know you could place an actual message in the .wallop command.  I always thought the syntax
was .wallop <callsign>

Honestly, the way I have always done it and was trained to. More information, easier for all involved.
Title: Requesting assistance from Supervisors
Post by: Colin Schoen on December 13, 2014, 06:02:14 pm
Quote from: Manuel Manigault
Thanks for posting, Don.  I did not know you could place an actual message in the .wallop command.  I always thought the syntax
was .wallop <callsign>

Yep, you can type out an entire sentence after it. It just shows up exactly how you see it on your screen after typing .wallop AAL330 unresponsive on runway 25L
Title: Requesting assistance from Supervisors
Post by: Garen Evans on January 15, 2015, 06:21:05 am
Thanks for the guidance. I do support the adoption of an efficient protocol when requesting wallop.  However each ARTCC handles things differently, and in general our policy is NOT to use wallop services, except in the most egregious circumstance.  The first example, of an aircraft who is in ZME, and not responding to ATC is a particular case in point: if there is no immediate conflict then it's very simple: no wallop.  In fact in almost all of the examples given we can (and have in the past been able to) "resolve" ourselves, and by doing so have engendered considerable respect by everyone involved.


Quote from: Don Desfosse
//snip//

Examples of good requests for assistance:
.wallop ABC123 in my airspace not contacting ATC, and not responding to multiple requests for contact.  No immediate conflict.
.wallop ABC123 using rude and vulgar language on frequency
.wallop Need help with someone who has a hot mic
.wallop ABC123 not squawking Mode C and says he doesn't know how to

//snip//
Title: Requesting assistance from Supervisors
Post by: Bradley Grafelman on January 15, 2015, 01:23:57 pm
Quote from: Garen Evans
The first example, of an aircraft who is in ZME, and not responding to ATC is a particular case in point: if there is no immediate conflict then it's very simple: no wallop.
What if it's a new pilot who is unaware of the expectations/requirements of pilots in controlled airspace, how the pilot client works, or how communication in general works on VATSIM (e.g. just because LAX_CTR is online and providing top-down service doesn't mean you can tune to the real world LAX_DEL's frequency and expect it to work)?

I generally do a .wallop in those cases just because I personally think it could be a disservice to the pilot by not doing so. I'll include "no immediate conflict" in the message, and I'm in no way expecting/hoping said pilot will be disconnected from the network (unless (s)he is actually AFK and later develops into a conflict). If it's a pilot who went AFK and hoped that 12 hour long haul flight would rack up the VA hours... well, I'll try to not be too disappointed if/when the pilot gets disconnected.

If it is a new pilot, however, then hopefully I've put him/her in contact with a SUP who would be glad to show them where they can learn more about how VATSIM works and what the expectations are for pilots who fly on it.
Title: Requesting assistance from Supervisors
Post by: Davor Kusec on January 15, 2015, 08:31:26 pm
A combination of common sense, good judgement, and good use of discretion prevail well in such a situation that may or may not require the use of the "wallop" command.
Title: Requesting assistance from Supervisors
Post by: Ryan Geckler on January 16, 2015, 01:02:57 pm
To play devil's advocate: why should controllers have to use common sense when determining if you should wallop a pilot? If the pilot doesn't check in within the network guidelines,  then he needs to be walloped so the supervisors can deal with it. They should be the ones determining if it's right or wrong.
Title: Requesting assistance from Supervisors
Post by: Michael Mund-Hoym on January 16, 2015, 06:53:40 pm
Ryan, I am fairly sure Davor mentioned the common sense part in a more general way, i.e. it would not be common sense if a controller would wallop for a SUP if a pilot does not respond within 30 seconds after the first contact me request of the controller.
Title: Requesting assistance from Supervisors
Post by: Garen Evans on January 17, 2015, 10:39:05 pm
That's a good point.  Perhaps it really is a philosophical question. Should controllers be expected to digest the current situation and make a well reasoned judgement, or should they mechanically react to what is presented to them "in the moment", and defer more important decisions to nominally more superior "supervisors".  In my opinion I would rather my controllers exercise a proactive sense of good judgement, rather than wait until a conflict occurs between two aircraft, and I'm sure most would agree that's the essence of common sense.  I should hope all controllers on the network are capable and proactive.  Leaving a decision to a supervisor is tantamount to "passing the buck", in my opinion.



Quote from: Ryan Geckler
To play devil's advocate: why should controllers have to use common sense when determining if you should wallop a pilot? If the pilot doesn't check in within the network guidelines,  then he needs to be walloped so the supervisors can deal with it. They should be the ones determining if it's right or wrong.
Title: Requesting assistance from Supervisors
Post by: Christopher Stacy on January 19, 2015, 01:44:57 pm
Quote from: Garen Evans
That's a good point.  Perhaps it really is a philosophical question. Should controllers be expected to digest the current situation and make a well reasoned judgement, or should they mechanically react to what is presented to them "in the moment", and defer more important decisions to nominally more superior "supervisors".  In my opinion I would rather my controllers exercise a proactive sense of good judgement, rather than wait until a conflict occurs between two aircraft, and I'm sure most would agree that's the essence of common sense.  I should hope all controllers on the network are capable and proactive.  Leaving a decision to a supervisor is tantamount to "passing the buck", in my opinion.

Just for the record, I don't really think of using .wallop as a "pass the buck" method. As a supervisor it is my job to deal with this sort of thing. I don't think controllers should be expected to necessarily be able to take the time needed to get in contact with an unresponsive pilot, particularly when the pilot is new and may not have even managed to sort out using text or private messaging in their pilot client yet. Honestly this can be a very time consuming process, and I don't think it's reasonable to expect that a controller should always be able to spare the time necessary, particularly when busy.

The issue isn't that supervisors are somehow superior to controllers (they aren't), or that controllers are incapable of dealing with conflicts in their airspace without help (in most cases, they are quite good at this). The issue is that it's not always easy for a controller to take the time needed to teach a pilot how to respond to PMs or tune a frequency, particularly when the pilot is very new to Vatsim (I find that this is almost always the case among non-responsive pilots who aren't simply AFK). I have always advised my controllers to use all of the tools at their disposal to quickly and efficiently resolve problems, and .wallop is another tool available to them.

And just for the record, the idea of waiting for an impending conflict before eliciting a supervisor seems to indicate that the function of a supervisor is always disciplinary in nature. This isn't necessarily the case, and in some cases may actually limit the options of the supervisor. If I receive a wallop and by the time I see the aircraft in question, a conflict is imminent, this leaves me with little option other than to immediately resolve the situation (unfortunately, my options for this are extremely limited). If, on the other hand, I receive the wallop while this pilot is still off by himself and not in conflict, this gives me the additional time required to potentially make contact with the pilot, and ideally get the pilot in contact with the controller, which avoids the conflict before it happens.

Just my $0.02
Title: Re: Requesting assistance from Supervisors
Post by: Alexander Iannuzzi on January 16, 2017, 11:24:34 am
I did it yesterday and it made the process much quicker, thanks for the tip.