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General => The Control Room Floor => Topic started by: Shane VanHoven on May 19, 2018, 12:11:21 am

Title: There are two types of controllers...
Post by: Shane VanHoven on May 19, 2018, 12:11:21 am
"DAL2168 Heavy, Minneapolis ground, runway 30L taxi via A."

OR

"DAL2168 you can either have 30L, for the shorter taxi, OR you can have 17... but I don't really recommend that because it a much longer taxi. And I have to issue a new departure routing that is specific to that runway. But it's really up to you."

Please ask yourself: Which controller would you rather be, and which one would you rather have working you as a pilot? I've noticed a trend lately on the network where controllers tend to think the more words, the better, even though 90% of the words are useless. The example above is merely that: an example. But I have heard many many different types of situations where this happens, and they get way too complex with controllers and pilots playing 20 questions on the frequency during an event where many airplanes are either waiting for clearances, or waiting for instructions.

Folks, I'm all for being nice on the frequency, but we aren't customer service representatives. I constantly hear people push for realism, then I immediately hear this weird technique online that usually involves phraseology that is found nowhere in the .65.

And to everyone who agrees, be part of the solution. Sometimes people making these mistakes don't even know they're doing it wrong because its the way they've been taught. File feedback, its what the system is for!

Discussion is always welcome.
Title: Re: There are two types of controllers...
Post by: Brin Brody on May 19, 2018, 07:55:58 am
You've got a good point, Shane.  I've been guilty of this every once in a while. 

Most of the time I hear this, it seems that it is a new controller, who is uncomfortable working the position.  They, therefore, talk themselves through what they need to be doing, but on frequency, with pilot interaction.  Is this a good practice?  Probably not.  How can we fix it?  No idea.

Thoughts?
Title: Re: There are two types of controllers...
Post by: Michael Schwartz on May 19, 2018, 09:54:45 am
You make a valid point. I would say to remember there is a time and place to use nonstandard phraseology. On VATSIM most pilots have no training. Most controllers can think of situations where a pilot on the network simply didn't understand a piece of phraseology. In these situations nonstandard phraseology is needed. In addition to this the .65 is not an end all be all. There are times where no standard phraseology exists for what needs to be said.

Maybe this is starting to veer off but i'd add that while a controller may not be a customer service representative they do provide a service. Too often I see controllers unwilling to deviate from the norm because of a lack of comfort doing so or what have you. Using something like the MSP example above...i've heard multiple times where a pilot may request runway 17 but if 30L is the norm than that request would be denied even if traffic permitted. If traffic permits and a pilot wants a opposite direction approach or departure why not grant it? Opposite directions ops can be extremely common in the rw with flight training ops. Additionally if traffic is light, why not see if the a/c would like a shortcut rather than forcing them to comply with entire procedures. Where this can connect back to the heart of the thread is that many of these situations, in particular various solicitations of what a pilot may or may not want do not come with standard phraseology. A controller needs to be able to use judgement and not be afraid to deviate from the norm in order to provide the best service possible.
Title: Re: There are two types of controllers...
Post by: Ryan Parry on May 19, 2018, 10:59:24 am
Controller I want to be: Depends on my mood and traffic load, honestly. If it is busy/ an event, probably the first example, if it isn't busy, I'm bored/ feelin friendly, then maybe choice 2.

Controller I want working me: Honestly, I don't care.

I'm answering based on your examples, but I see your point. The examples are bad. Somebody offering a choice in runways isn't exactly the end of the world. I've dealt with worse on this network. Telling a long riveting story while vectoring a bunch of aircraft, that's where this would be an issue.
Title: Re: There are two types of controllers...
Post by: Kyle Sanders on May 19, 2018, 11:25:52 am
Most controllers can think of situations where a pilot on the network simply didn't understand a piece of phraseology. In these situations nonstandard phraseology is needed. In addition to this the .65 is not an end all be all. There are times where no standard phraseology exists for what needs to be said.

Same as real world
Title: Re: There are two types of controllers...
Post by: Mark Hubbert on May 19, 2018, 12:00:23 pm
Shane, I disagree with you on the customer service initiative.  While customer service has a slightly different meaning in this environment, I think that it should mean that as a controller we do our best to provide the best service that we can.  Good phraseology is always good but there are times especially with an inexperienced pilot that a little more detail may be necessary.  That is where the customer service comes in.  Take into account VATSIMisms such as what scenery does the guy have, or what weather is he using etc.  Good points made in the other comments.

A couple of tips that I have - Shane not to pick on you as you and I have had this conversation before.  You are a real world controller, many people on this network look up to you for that so when you encounter a controller who may be off with their phraseology in many cases it would mean more to have somebody like you mentor them and offer some friendly advice (Good Internal Customer Service).  This applies to everybody of course.

As a pilot one issue that I encounter a lot is controllers who are so ramped up on the realism kick and are trying to duplicate what our real world counterparts do, they talk so fast and away from their mic that as a pilot I cannot understand what they want and therefore have to ask them to repeat.  So I encourage all controllers and pilots to slow down a little, speak clearly and make sure your mic in close to your lips. (Good Customer Service). 
Title: Re: There are two types of controllers...
Post by: Chris Bright on May 19, 2018, 12:41:14 pm
You miss his point.

The point is to use proper phraseology first, and then go back and use plain English and be as polite and add as much as you want, but phraseology first.

I am more than willing to repeat myself and explain the phraseology if it is not understood by someone who is new or unfamiliar, but I will always say it correctly first.

You are correct with speech rate. Slow is smooth, smooth is fast.
Title: Re: There are two types of controllers...
Post by: Shane VanHoven on May 19, 2018, 12:49:31 pm
Controller I want to be: Depends on my mood and traffic load, honestly. If it is busy/ an event, probably the first example, if it isn't busy, I'm bored/ feelin friendly, then maybe choice 2.

Controller I want working me: Honestly, I don't care.

I'm answering based on your examples, but I see your point. The examples are bad. Somebody offering a choice in runways isn't exactly the end of the world. I've dealt with worse on this network. Telling a long riveting story while vectoring a bunch of aircraft, that's where this would be an issue.

Exactly. If traffic permits giving the pilot an option, give them the option. And extra verbiage is nothing more than an annoyance until it begins to hinder the efficiency of the operation. If I have to wait an extra 30 seconds for a taxi instruction, that means the guy behind me also has to wait, and guy behind them waits as well. Saying extra words during event scenarios have a larger impact that people realize sometimes.

In addition, with how hard it can be to understand people on the network, extra words that the pilot isn’t expecting is just asking for a misunderstanding, or having to repeat something.

Mark, the whole point of this post was to spark a healthy discussion with the hopes of newer controllers reading it, learning, and WANTING to be better. It’s inefficient to file feedback for every single controller that could improve on the network, when one post on here might reach many at the same time.

I agree about duplicating real controllers. Sometimes on the network I hear things that must’ve been heard on liveATC, or YouTube, and they thought it sounded cool, so they’re incorporating it on the network with the logic that, if they did it in the real world, that means it’s a good thechnique!

You make a good point about the customer service just being different. Good customer service on the network can definitely be executed by controllers by doing everything they can to do the best they can. Which inevitably involves setting aside ego, and continuing to improve! 
Title: Re: There are two types of controllers...
Post by: Matthew Kosmoski on May 19, 2018, 01:47:25 pm
we aren't customer service representatives.

We are providing a service.  ATC exists to serve pilots, not the other way around :-)

That being said, I will agree to a point to what you're saying, but it'll depend on load.  If I can accommodate anything, I'll often ask if they have any specific preferences, and I'll give it to them.  During an FNO?  You're likely getting an instruction.  If you ask for something, however, I'll give it to you.

Regarding the phraseology?  That's not all that bad.  It may be wordy, but the .65 doesn't tell you how to ask a pilot for a preference.  The .65 isn't all encompassing.  In fact, 1-1-1 (Purpose) makes that pretty clear when it goes on to tell controllers to "exercise their best judgment if they encounter situations that are not covered by it."  The example would be one such situation.

This is a hobby.  It's supposed to be fun, and sometimes that breaks the mold a little bit.   99% of the time, we don't see enough traffic that I should ever have to deny a request.  Plus, most of these new kids are still suffering from mic-fright, so by providing the opening and opportunity, they may learn to ask for what they want instead of acting like a rag doll, assuming that ATC is the end-of-the-line, final authority.

I remember being young and new on vatsim, unsure of what was what.  Who did what, and whether or not the controllers were allowed to throw me in jail for upsetting them lol -- And that's where my style has developed from.  Let's make it easier and more fun for the next crop of pilots and controllers alike.  Hyper-realism and pretending that we can't make them feel special by means of letting them ask for things is contrary to the that goal and the objectives of the network.
Title: Re: There are two types of controllers...
Post by: Matthew Kosmoski on May 19, 2018, 01:49:38 pm
The point is to use proper phraseology first, and then go back and use plain English and be as polite and add as much as you want, but phraseology first.

As I mentioned in my other reply, the .65 doesn't cover how to ask pilots the question in the example.  Controllers have to know how to effectively go off script.  The .65 says so.

(https://i.imgur.com/k11SAZY.png)
Title: Re: There are two types of controllers...
Post by: Chris Bright on May 19, 2018, 02:16:13 pm
Matt, you needn’t quote me the .65. Believe me, I know there is no good way to ask questions, and there are few prescribed phraseology examples for when you do. Half of what I do at work is ask “Would you like to go up or down 1000 feet for direct of flight/next sector request?” I try and be concise as possible while still offering the pilot their preferences. I could easily just decide for them.

While the original post contains more specific examples to asking questions the point I am trying to communicate is that the frequency shouldn’t be dominated by over the top customer service drawn out at length. It should try and be more to the point. Yes, be polite and courteous, and endeavor to help people learn, by it need not become a standard to have a 5 second question turn into a 45 second monologue. DAL123 would you like 12L or 12R? Short and sweet.

P.S. your .65 is out of date 😂

Title: Re: There are two types of controllers...
Post by: Shane VanHoven on May 19, 2018, 02:20:39 pm
Unfortunately most of the responses here aren’t arguing the original point of this thread. I accommodate request all day every day if workload permits. My point here is that less words is better. I’ll never argue that we should deny requests for no reason.

So to continue the discussion: more words is better... yes or no?
Title: Re: There are two types of controllers...
Post by: Matthew Bartels on May 19, 2018, 02:31:11 pm

We are providing a service.  ATC exists to serve pilots, not the other way around :-)



i've heard multiple times where a pilot may request runway 17 but if 30L is the norm than that request would be denied even if traffic permitted. If traffic permits and a pilot wants a opposite direction approach or departure why not grant it?


These two quotes right here are prime examples of the pilot bias that has been growing within the division over my 12 years on the network and why senior controllers are leaving in droves.

These quotes completely ignore the fact that the controller has put hours of study into basic theory, procedures, and technique for no pay. They have done so out of a desire to learn Air Traffic Control and be able to practice that skill on VATSIM. A controller derives his enjoyment from working his airspace efficiently and providing a realistic simulation of procedures followed by pilots and air traffic controllers everyday around the world.

In layman's terms, a controller want's to work his airspace the way it is supposed to be worked! That's what is fun for them.

So yes, I'm going to use proper phraseology when I control. No, I'm not going to give you your choice of runway immediately nor acquiesce to your ridiculous deviation request right off the bat regardless of if I have 1 airplane or 100 airplanes. I'm going to assign per my SOP and if that doesn't work, we will find a mutually beneficial way of getting you from A to B and I'll use my best judgement if we need to deviate from Plan A and find a way that works.

I'm going to be the Air Traffic Controller, You're going to be the pilot. (We're not Air Traffic Suggesters)
I'm going to move you as expeditiously through the NAS as I can. You're going to follow my instruction unless it causes a safety issue or is not possible, then it's your responsibility to say unable and we find another way.
I'm going to enjoy providing Air Traffic Services to pilots on VATSIM. You're going to enjoy flying on VATSIM with ATC.
I won't control if it's not enjoyable. You won't fly with ATC if it's not enjoyable.
I can't provide ATS unless you fly. You can't have ATS unless I control.

See, it's a two way street. We're in this together and we both need to derive enjoyment from it for the network to survive.
Title: Re: There are two types of controllers...
Post by: Michael Schwartz on May 19, 2018, 03:06:20 pm

i've heard multiple times where a pilot may request runway 17 but if 30L is the norm than that request would be denied even if traffic permitted. If traffic permits and a pilot wants a opposite direction approach or departure why not grant it?


These two quotes right here are prime examples of the pilot bias that has been growing within the division over my 12 years on the network and why senior controllers are leaving in droves.

These quotes completely ignore the fact that the controller has put hours of study into basic theory, procedures, and technique for no pay.

What I said in no way indicates a pilot bias. It comes directly from what I see almost everyday at work. In the context of my entire post I state a main reason for using nonstandard phraseology is due to issues on the pilot side. If a controller decides to deny a pilot request for no reason other than their SOP indicates something else is preferred than in my opinion they have failed to actually grasp the theory and technique behind what makes air traffic work.
Title: Re: There are two types of controllers...
Post by: Matthew Bartels on May 19, 2018, 03:19:50 pm

i've heard multiple times where a pilot may request runway 17 but if 30L is the norm than that request would be denied even if traffic permitted. If traffic permits and a pilot wants a opposite direction approach or departure why not grant it?


These two quotes right here are prime examples of the pilot bias that has been growing within the division over my 12 years on the network and why senior controllers are leaving in droves.

These quotes completely ignore the fact that the controller has put hours of study into basic theory, procedures, and technique for no pay.

What I said in no way indicates a pilot bias. It comes directly from what I see almost everyday at work. In the context of my entire post I state a main reason for using nonstandard phraseology is due to issues on the pilot side. If a controller decides to deny a pilot request for no reason other than their SOP indicates something else is preferred than in my opinion they have failed to actually grasp the theory and technique behind what makes air traffic work.

Did I say deny a request for nothing other than SOP? No. What I said was I'm going to assign you SOP and if that doesn't work, then we work on accommodating your request. I'm not going to waste frequency time to figure out what you want. I'm going to give you what you should get then you will advise me if you want something else.
Title: Re: There are two types of controllers...
Post by: Michael Schwartz on May 19, 2018, 03:41:41 pm
Did I say deny a request for nothing other than SOP? No. What I said was I'm going to assign you SOP and if that doesn't work, then we work on accommodating your request. I'm not going to waste frequency time to figure out what you want. I'm going to give you what you should get then you will advise me if you want something else.

I did not intend to imply you did. I was specifically addressing a thought process that widely exists in the community here. Going back to my original post the problem isn't that the controller doesn't always see what the pilots wants to do (that would be ludicrous). The issue I was instead getting at is that once a pilot makes his request known it is rejected for no other reason that what was stated above.

You mentioned that controllers on the network aim to efficiently and realistically provide service (not your exact words). I completely agree with this. It should be known that pilot requests both usual and extremely abnormal are a constant in the real world. If you aim for realism you should be ready for them. I have witnessed far more strange requests and deviations in the rw than VATSIM. In my experience such abnormal requests are quite uncommon on VATSIM. I think that is the reason why so many issues occur when a situation comes up that ventures outside of standard procedures and what most VATSIM pilots do.

Personally these unusual situations are what make the work exciting and fun. Doing the same thing over and over again can get monotonous. Abnormal requests shake things up. Something as simple and usual in the rw like pop-up IFR could be considered an abnormal request on VATSIM.

To attempt and connect this back to what Shane was getting at...even with unusual situations, pilot requests, etc., less words is usually more.
Title: Re: There are two types of controllers...
Post by: Dhruv Kalra on May 19, 2018, 03:46:31 pm
To attempt and connect this back to what Shane was getting at...even with unusual situations, pilot requests, etc., less words is usually more.
This. The problem with being overly verbose on frequency when it’s quiet is that when it gets busy many controllers on here aren’t equipped to resort back to clear, concise transmissions.  You see this during events where the traffic may be largely manageable, but the controller is down the tubes because he/she can’t keep the frequency in check.
Title: Re: There are two types of controllers...
Post by: Kyle Sanders on May 19, 2018, 03:59:16 pm
“Practice makes perfect” no... it doesn’t.
Practice makes habit.

If you practice with bad technique, you are going to use muscle memory to resort back to those bad techniques when you are in the dumps with traffic.

Utilize the slow times to take a few extra seconds to think about each transmission prior to keying up that mic so you say it correctly with the fewest amount of words.

Then, come event time, you are set up with GOOD habits.
Title: Re: There are two types of controllers...
Post by: Matthew Kosmoski on May 19, 2018, 05:19:08 pm
I'm going to be the Air Traffic Controller, You're going to be the pilot. (We're not Air Traffic Suggesters)

And the pilot will be the Pilot in Command.

§91.3   Responsibility and authority of the pilot in command.
(a) The pilot in command of an aircraft is directly responsible for, and is the final authority as to, the operation of that aircraft.
Title: Re: There are two types of controllers...
Post by: Dhruv Kalra on May 19, 2018, 05:27:44 pm
Hey Kosmo if you’re looking for other regs to cherrypick, perhaps take a gander at 91.123, or maybe your FAR/AIM doesn't open that far.

The original intent of this thread was to suggest that perhaps how we phrase instructions and clearances on the network could stand to be a bit more concise. Everyone decided to run with the content of the two transmissions rather than the format, and here we are. Open eyes, see past trees, observe forest.
Title: Re: There are two types of controllers...
Post by: Matthew Kosmoski on May 19, 2018, 05:32:29 pm
To attempt and connect this back to what Shane was getting at...even with unusual situations, pilot requests, etc., less words is usually more.

So long as you use the appropriate words to convey the message.  Effectiveness conveyance and communications is more critical than brevity for the sake of brevity.
Title: Re: There are two types of controllers...
Post by: Shane VanHoven on May 19, 2018, 05:34:04 pm
I'm going to be the Air Traffic Controller, You're going to be the pilot. (We're not Air Traffic Suggesters)

And the pilot will be the Pilot in Command.

§91.3   Responsibility and authority of the pilot in command.
(a) The pilot in command of an aircraft is directly responsible for, and is the final authority as to, the operation of that aircraft.

I agree. But then again nobody is really arguing that. And the whole point of this thread has nothing to do with who is the final authority for the airplane.
Title: Re: There are two types of controllers...
Post by: Matthew Kosmoski on May 19, 2018, 05:35:30 pm
Hey Kosmo if you’re looking for other regs to cherrypick, perhaps take a gander at 91.123, or maybe your FAR/AIM doesn't open that far.

The original intent of this thread was to suggest that perhaps how we phrase instructions and clearances on the network could stand to be a bit more concise. Everyone decided to run with the content of the two transmissions rather than the format, and here we are. Open eyes, see past trees, observe forest.

Ouch.  Back to the ad hominem.

I didn't say you deviate without talking, but the pilot is the final authority, not the controller.  If you demand they do something dumb, 91.3 is what matters.  91.123 is what explicitly calls out emergency authority.  And an emergency is anything that is necessary to complete the flight safely... even if it conflicts with your control.
Title: Re: There are two types of controllers...
Post by: Matthew Kosmoski on May 19, 2018, 05:36:34 pm
I'm going to be the Air Traffic Controller, You're going to be the pilot. (We're not Air Traffic Suggesters)

And the pilot will be the Pilot in Command.

§91.3   Responsibility and authority of the pilot in command.
(a) The pilot in command of an aircraft is directly responsible for, and is the final authority as to, the operation of that aircraft.

I agree. But then again nobody is really arguing that. And the whole point of this thread has nothing to do with who is the final authority for the airplane.

Sure, but Bartles made a point of it with his statement and emphasis, so while non-germane to the OP, it's germane to the ongoing conversation.
Title: Re: There are two types of controllers...
Post by: Shane VanHoven on May 19, 2018, 05:43:39 pm
To attempt and connect this back to what Shane was getting at...even with unusual situations, pilot requests, etc., less words is usually more.

So long as you use the appropriate words to convey the message.  Effectiveness conveyance and communications is more critical than brevity for the sake of brevity.

"Runway 15R, taxi southbound in SC, and before too long, make a right turn onto RA. Then taxi on RA for about a mile before turning right on WB. Once you make the right turn on WB, continue straight for a little less than a mile before turning left on WW. Once you're on WW,  hold short of 15L and expect to cross the runway."

"Runway 15R, taxi via SC, RA, WB, WW. Hold short of runway 15L."

Which one would you prefer? Since it seems like more words are better, even though more words don't convey more information any more effectively than the clear and concise second option (which is verbage that the pilot is expecting, by the way).

****DISCLAIMER: I used an IAH example because I couldn't think of any other airport that has so many taxiways. I am not singling anyone out, nor do I want to start a discussion about proper taxi routes at IAH airport.
Title: Re: There are two types of controllers...
Post by: Dace Nicmane on May 19, 2018, 05:48:14 pm
i've heard multiple times where a pilot may request runway 17 but if 30L is the norm than that request would be denied even if traffic permitted. If traffic permits and a pilot wants a opposite direction approach or departure why not grant it?

No, I'm not going to give you your choice of runway immediately nor acquiesce to your ridiculous deviation request right off the bat regardless of if I have 1 airplane or 100 airplanes.

The first thing I imagined, I've seen controllers follow real world runway flow even though the wind has changed in favor of the opposite runway and they don't change it in real world because of the traffic levels. So if the pilot isn't comfortable with the 10 kts tailwind, why not give the opposite runway? Or another case, where the wind is calm. But I agree that in most cases pilot should be able to comply with routine instructions. I once read about a case where a group flight requested a runway that would result in 30-40kts gusting tailwind "for fun". Now that's something I'd not support.
Title: Re: There are two types of controllers...
Post by: Kyle Weber on May 19, 2018, 05:52:00 pm
With the voice lag and codec we have, give me the instructions and comms in the fewest words possible.  Every time.
Title: Re: There are two types of controllers...
Post by: Dhruv Kalra on May 19, 2018, 05:54:32 pm
With the voice lag and codec we have, give me the instructions and comms in the fewest words possible.  Every time.
It’s ok, our CPDLC implementation rate is at 100% already. Just use text  8)
Title: Re: There are two types of controllers...
Post by: Ryan Barnes on May 19, 2018, 06:52:44 pm
I can understand extra words in transmissions. But take your new VATSIM pilot who doesn't read much if any prior to logging on to the network, may not use charts, or has old navdata, and some people want them to be able to understand taxi instructions like "Runway 15L, taxi via NB NE WW." Sometimes long transmissions like "Runway 15L, turn left the first taxi way then proceed ahead to pass 8 taxiways then hold position."
Title: Re: There are two types of controllers...
Post by: Ryan Geckler on May 19, 2018, 06:55:05 pm
I can understand extra words in transmissions. But take your new VATSIM pilot who doesn't read much if any prior to logging on to the network, may not use charts, or has old navdata, and some people want them to be able to understand taxi instructions like "Runway 15L, taxi via NB NE WW." Sometimes long transmissions like "Runway 15L, turn left the first taxi way then proceed ahead to pass 8 taxiways then hold position."

Then they should ask for progressive taxi. There's a reason we don't do it normally - it takes too much time.
Title: Re: There are two types of controllers...
Post by: Matthew Bartels on May 19, 2018, 06:57:40 pm
Hey Kosmo if you’re looking for other regs to cherrypick, perhaps take a gander at 91.123, or maybe your FAR/AIM doesn't open that far.

The original intent of this thread was to suggest that perhaps how we phrase instructions and clearances on the network could stand to be a bit more concise. Everyone decided to run with the content of the two transmissions rather than the format, and here we are. Open eyes, see past trees, observe forest.

Ouch.  Back to the ad hominem.

I didn't say you deviate without talking, but the pilot is the final authority, not the controller.  If you demand they do something dumb, 91.3 is what matters.  91.123 is what explicitly calls out emergency authority.  And an emergency is anything that is necessary to complete the flight safely... even if it conflicts with your control.

I think we are circling around the same point. No one is arguing that the PIC is the ultimate authority for the safe operation of the aircraft, even more so in an emergency when he can wipe himself with the entire set of regulations.

The argument is that outside of an emergency situation while the PIC still maintains full authority over the safe operation of the aircraft and its passengers, He is still bound by every single other regulation in the book. So that includes 91.123b. Meaning that while the PIC can still unable an ATC instruction, he can only do so if it is contrary to the safe operation of his aircraft. So the PIC would have to defend his decision to not comply with ATC in the name of safety and he can't just hide behind 91.3. If he could, why would pilots get phone numbers and violated for noncompliance of ATC instructions?

Regardless, the PIC is God discussion is off topic. So I'll hang up and listen about concise phraseology. If we're simulating real world operations, then yes less is usually more.
Title: Re: There are two types of controllers...
Post by: Don Desfosse on May 19, 2018, 07:05:56 pm
I'd want the controller, at least 98% of the time, to issue standard phraseology first.  If the controller realizes that the pilot is blatantly clueless in need of assistance and the controller needs to dumb it down assist the pilot, then, fine, assist the pilot.  But please, let's teach the right way and ALSO teach folks how to react to abnormal circumstances and be helpful (and teach the pilot the right way, workload permitting).  We can do both things here.  The OP is correct that standard phraseology should be used as a default, but we should also be savvy enough to recognize when there is a soul out there worth saving and try to save the soul (no, I'm not going to engage in a conversation on how to determine if the soul is worth saving....). 

Give a man a fish and he eats for a day; teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime. 
Title: Re: There are two types of controllers...
Post by: Sean Harrison on May 19, 2018, 07:21:50 pm
Well said Don.  That’s seems to sum up nicely.
Title: Re: There are two types of controllers...
Post by: Ira Robinson on May 19, 2018, 08:16:46 pm
I'd want the controller, at least 98% of the time, to issue standard phraseology first.  If the controller realizes that the pilot is blatantly clueless in need of assistance and the controller needs to dumb it down assist the pilot, then, fine, assist the pilot.  But please, let's teach the right way and ALSO teach folks how to react to abnormal circumstances and be helpful (and teach the pilot the right way, workload permitting).  We can do both things here.  The OP is correct that standard phraseology should be used as a default, but we should also be savvy enough to recognize when there is a soul out there worth saving and try to save the soul (no, I'm not going to engage in a conversation on how to determine if the soul is worth saving....). 

Give a man a fish and he eats for a day; teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime.
Controllers are taught proper phraseology for a reason. If it didn't matter it wouldn't be taught.
Title: Re: There are two types of controllers...
Post by: Matthew Kosmoski on May 19, 2018, 08:30:17 pm
"Runway 15R, taxi southbound in SC, and before too long, make a right turn onto RA. Then taxi on RA for about a mile before turning right on WB. Once you make the right turn on WB, continue straight for a little less than a mile before turning left on WW. Once you're on WW,  hold short of 15L and expect to cross the runway."

"Runway 15R, taxi via SC, RA, WB, WW. Hold short of runway 15L."

Which one would you prefer? Since it seems like more words are better, even though more words don't convey more information any more effectively than the clear and concise second option (which is verbage that the pilot is expecting, by the way).

****DISCLAIMER: I used an IAH example because I couldn't think of any other airport that has so many taxiways. I am not singling anyone out, nor do I want to start a discussion about proper taxi routes at IAH airport.

I take no offense.  We have a lot of taxiways lol.

But you'd be surprised how often we have to resort to the verbose, as progressive is a very very common request at IAH on VATSIM.


But please, let's teach the right way and ALSO teach folks how to react to abnormal circumstances and be helpful (and teach the pilot the right way, workload permitting).  We can do both things here.

Frankly, I think this hits the nail on the head.  Additionally, I would add teaching people how to identify abnormal circumstances before they get out of hand.

Nobody dies on VATSIM if an instruction gets delayed a few seconds, anyhow.  Education is one of the tenants of the network.  If we fail to help others learn, we're undermining the whole reason we're here.
Title: Re: There are two types of controllers...
Post by: Toby Rice on May 19, 2018, 09:25:54 pm
Looks like I’m late to the party! Why’d I not get an invite?

I (try to) work traffic safely and efficiently, in that order. I also want to get pilots where they’re going expeditiously while utilizing as little energy as possible per aircraft so that I can divide my stamina and attention levels between all the aircraft I’m working. “As little Energy as possible” does not mean that I’ll be lazy or complacent, but instead that I’ll only exert what energy is needed to accomplish the goal. Many times there are too many airplanes flying around for you to be overly focused on one or two.

With that, I’m going to default to “Skyhawk 654 AL, runway 20R, taxi via B, K.”

It’s clean, standard, and legal. Experienced controllers are able to hear the differences between experienced and competent pilots and the more difficult pilots. If I evaluate that a pilot is likely to be less-than-competent based on his initial contact or first few transmissions, I might consider to ammend those taxi instructions (or what have you) to something that more closely resembles plain English:

“Skyhawk 654 AL, runway 20R, taxi via taxiway B and K.”

Almost the same thing, just slightly more user friendly to a new pilot since it helps specify and emphasize the instructions.

If the pilot requests progressive taxi, I’ll use whatever phraseology is necessary to allow full comprehension from the pilot. The FAA 7110 has this stuff called “non-standard phraseology” which allows controllers to use their best judgement to determine how to communicate when specific verbiage is not published for whatever situation.

At the end of the day, remember why ATC exists. Customer service is important, but airplanes not crashing into terrain or each other is more important. Don’t waste time on frequency if you don’t have to. Use your frequency time wisely. The busier you are, the tighter your phraseology should be. But hey, if you’re working the graveyard shift at a class D tower and that one guy wants patterns, who cares... just be smart.
Title: Re: There are two types of controllers...
Post by: Kyle Ekas on May 20, 2018, 12:25:29 pm

We are providing a service.  ATC exists to serve pilots, not the other way around :-)



i've heard multiple times where a pilot may request runway 17 but if 30L is the norm than that request would be denied even if traffic permitted. If traffic permits and a pilot wants a opposite direction approach or departure why not grant it?


These two quotes right here are prime examples of the pilot bias that has been growing within the division over my 12 years on the network and why senior controllers are leaving in droves.

These quotes completely ignore the fact that the controller has put hours of study into basic theory, procedures, and technique for no pay. They have done so out of a desire to learn Air Traffic Control and be able to practice that skill on VATSIM. A controller derives his enjoyment from working his airspace efficiently and providing a realistic simulation of procedures followed by pilots and air traffic controllers everyday around the world.

In layman's terms, a controller want's to work his airspace the way it is supposed to be worked! That's what is fun for them.

So yes, I'm going to use proper phraseology when I control. No, I'm not going to give you your choice of runway immediately nor acquiesce to your ridiculous deviation request right off the bat regardless of if I have 1 airplane or 100 airplanes. I'm going to assign per my SOP and if that doesn't work, we will find a mutually beneficial way of getting you from A to B and I'll use my best judgement if we need to deviate from Plan A and find a way that works.

I'm going to be the Air Traffic Controller, You're going to be the pilot. (We're not Air Traffic Suggesters)
I'm going to move you as expeditiously through the NAS as I can. You're going to follow my instruction unless it causes a safety issue or is not possible, then it's your responsibility to say unable and we find another way.
I'm going to enjoy providing Air Traffic Services to pilots on VATSIM. You're going to enjoy flying on VATSIM with ATC.
I won't control if it's not enjoyable. You won't fly with ATC if it's not enjoyable.
I can't provide ATS unless you fly. You can't have ATS unless I control.

See, it's a two way street. We're in this together and we both need to derive enjoyment from it for the network to survive.

+1M

I couldn't have said it better myself.
Title: Re: There are two types of controllers...
Post by: Cole Connelly on May 20, 2018, 02:44:10 pm
Like Toby, I'm also a little late to the party guess we're still stuck on Honolulu time.

Sorry if this opinion has already been iterated in this post, but it is one I strongly believe.

It's VATSIM

At the end of the day when you break it down to the bare bones, this network doesn't exist without pilots flying on the network. The moment we have no pilots we are no longer Air Traffic Controllers or Air Traffic Suggesters, we are Air Traffic guys sitting behind a computer looking at a blank and virtual radar display with no traffic to control. Our goal is to ensure that we are providing a realistic but enjoyable network.

I do understand your opinions that we are not customer service representatives, but I inherently think that is incorrect. VATSIM Controllers need pilots to be able to control; however, pilots do not need VATSIM to fly, it's simply a service they use because it is enjoyable. The moment the service becomes unenjoyable, they will be onto the next bigger brighter service.

I can tell you from my experiences I would much prefer flying with a control who understands what the reality of the network as is and provides a realistic and ENJOYABLE experience, rather than a controller who is controlling as if this is his final practical exam for his radar class at ERAU or UND who doesn't give a darn about the pilots.

If you are more concerned with how many quotations you recited out of the 7110.65 on frequency rather than the enjoyment of the pilots on the network, it's time for you to get called up to The Show and apply for the FAA.

We are volunteers for the pilots plain and simple.

Realism and instruction are important and I understand their great value to the network. However, nothing should ever take a backseat to the people that allow us to be able to use that realism and instruction.
Title: Re: There are two types of controllers...
Post by: Kyle Ekas on May 20, 2018, 03:19:46 pm
We are volunteers for the pilots plain and simple.

From my point of view, I don't volunteer my time to the pilots, I volunteer it to my ATC hobby. If you want to view it that way, by all means, but I don't. Others have also attempted to imply that opinions similar to yours are the only lens by which to view the network through. I reject that completely.

Again, if you want to view what you do as "servicing the pilots", go ahead and do that, but that's not how I view it and others shouldn't attempt to foist their more accommodating/servicing view of things onto others as if their way is the only way to view things.

##########################################################################

Discussing what I wrote above, is still totally off topic from what Shane originally posted. I'll just go ahead and say, yes, I would rather have the shorter and concise phraseology over more words. I don't think that means I "don't give a darn about the pilots" either. I think it just means I like to do things a little more by the book than you do Cole, and you know what? In the grand scheme of things, that is probably just fine. You can have your version, and I can have mine.

Also, quoting you here,

Quote
it's simply a service they use because it is enjoyable. The moment the service becomes unenjoyable, they will be onto the next bigger brighter service.

I don't think any part about using concise phraseology or performing the duties that, under normal circumstances, a controller would perform on the network, constitutes an "unenjoyable" experience on the network. However, even if it did I have no control and nor do other controllers, over what or when or if pilots decide to fly. If they decide the network is not for them, that is their prerogative, not mine.

*********************************************DISCLAIMER:
This obviously does not mean I don't want them to fly on the network. I would be more than happy for as many pilots as practical fly on the network if that is what they so desire.

K
Title: Re: There are two types of controllers...
Post by: Shane VanHoven on May 20, 2018, 03:33:19 pm
If you are more concerned with how many quotations you recited out of the 7110.65 on frequency rather than the enjoyment of the pilots on the network, it's time for you to get called up to The Show and apply for the FAA.

If everyone who had aspirations of doing this professionally left for the FAA, the remaining controllers would be the people who have no interest in being good. Day to day ops would be very enjoyable for pilots, and when Friday nights came around, disaster would strike week after week. You'd be surprised how many of us work for the FAA and come home from our jobs with the goal of helping make this network better.
Title: Re: There are two types of controllers...
Post by: Matthew Bartels on May 20, 2018, 03:40:34 pm
If you are more concerned with how many quotations you recited out of the 7110.65 on frequency rather than the enjoyment of the pilots on the network, it's time for you to get called up to The Show and apply for the FAA.

If everyone who had aspirations of doing this professionally left for the FAA, the remaining controllers would be the people who have no interest in being good. Day to day ops would be very enjoyable for pilots, and when Friday nights came around, disaster would strike week after week. You'd be surprised how many of us work for the FAA and come home from our jobs with the goal of helping make this network better.

Not to mention those of us who would love to go to the big show, but life had other ideas. So this is as close as we're going to get.
Title: Re: There are two types of controllers...
Post by: Matthew Kramer on May 20, 2018, 04:14:46 pm
I want to add that though Shane's original point is strictly about being a better controller by utilizing proper phraseology (and you will be a better controller by doing so, if for no other reason than you'll free up your own time to focus), being professional over voice instills confidence in pilots flying and by virtue of that should increase their own enjoyment.

The lesson here is be concise because it's good for you, good for the pilot, and good for the network. You'll learn a lot and become a better controller. You can still be accomodating, and should try to be, but accommodating isn't the same as giving a TED Talk over frequency. You can, and should, be brief.
Title: Re: There are two types of controllers...
Post by: Mark Hubbert on May 21, 2018, 10:30:41 am
Gentlemen,
There are a lot of valid points that have been made in this thread.  I think we can all agree on the following:

Pilots on the VATSIM network usually want to be controlled
Controllers want to control airplanes.

Pretty simple if you ask me.

I think that we can also agree that as a controller, you would think that most people want to be as good as they can be and use proper phraseology or at least very close to it.  I agree, less talk is better but less talk that is clear and concise is absolutely the best.  But we have to realize that there will be times when a little more talk perhaps may be necessary.

I view people like Shane as very important to this network.  The guys that do this sort of stuff for a living truly know how it works and how it is done, they are somebody that most of us could and should look up to.  My job is to try and create an environment where the people who look up to guys like Shane can have better access to guys like Shane.

Conceding this is a volunteer network but regardless we should do our best to do as good of a job when we are online as we can.  Whether you are flying or whether we are controlling.  Yes there has to be some give and take and while we are not running a grocery store the word customer service comes into play when a controller does a good job and does everything that he is trained to do to mitigate an aircraft's departure and arrival to an airport.

On the flip side, I think the word customer service should apply to pilots as well.   I think that pilots should strive to become better pilots.  Learning their airplane, learning procedures. learning how to properly program their FMC are all parts of this.  The issue at hand is there is nothing that requires them to learn these things. 
Title: Re: There are two types of controllers...
Post by: Kyle Ekas on May 21, 2018, 12:12:08 pm
Conceding this is a volunteer network but regardless we should do our best to do as good of a job when we are online as we can.  Whether you are flying or whether we are controlling.  Yes there has to be some give and take and while we are not running a grocery store the word customer service comes into play when a controller does a good job and does everything that he is trained to do to mitigate an aircraft's departure and arrival to an airport.

On the flip side, I think the word customer service should apply to pilots as well.   I think that pilots should strive to become better pilots.  Learning their airplane, learning procedures. learning how to properly program their FMC are all parts of this.  The issue at hand is there is nothing that requires them to learn these things.

A fair point.

K
Title: Re: There are two types of controllers...
Post by: Matthew Kramer on May 21, 2018, 12:52:53 pm
I agree Mark, but want to clarify that I think the analogy of Customer Service in the original post was meant more as a cue to cut down on extra words, not behave sternly. It absolutely behooves controllers to be kind and understanding, and there is phraseology we can utilize to do so effectively and concisely.

"Delta 123, thank you for flying through my airspace today. I see you're flying a little to the right off course, I think the best thing would be for you to fly heading 250 and maintain 3,000 for now while we figure this out."

Versus:

"Delta 123, fly heading 250 maintain 3,000, are you flying with a default GPS?"
"Affirmative"
"Delta 123, no problem, fly heading 180 climb and maintain 9,000."
Title: Re: There are two types of controllers...
Post by: Toby Rice on May 21, 2018, 01:31:48 pm
I agree Mark, but want to clarify that I don't think the analogy of Customer Service in the original post was meant more as a cue to cut down on extra words, not behave sternly. It absolutely behooves controllers to be kind and understanding, and there is phraseology we can utilize to do so effectively and concisely.

"Delta 123, thank you for flying through my airspace today. I see you're flying a little to the right off course, I think the best thing would be for you to fly heading 250 and maintain 3,000 for now while we figure this out."

Versus:

"Delta 123, fly heading 250 maintain 3,000, are you flying with a default GPS?"
"Affirmative"
"Delta 123, no problem, fly heading 180 climb and maintain 9,000."

+1B

You can still be quick, clear, and concise without holding a full on convo with the pilot. Excellent example, Matthew.
Title: Re: There are two types of controllers...
Post by: Alex Bresnick on May 21, 2018, 11:13:59 pm
As someone who does this for a living and is mostly just a casual, and curious, observer (aside from flying on the network every so often), my advice is be whatever controller you want to be to the extent allowed by VATSIM rules.

You set foot into the center I work at and you will hear three types of controllers:

Controller 1 who is no nonsense, concise all the time, and in my opinion, sounds a bit cold on frequency but they do the job well and by the book and at the end of the day, you can't expect more. Nothing wrong with Controller 1.

Controller 2 is me. This controller understands when you can be a bit more "loose" and have some fun with the pilots.

For example, I was working today and it wasn't too busy...routine stuff. Cleared an EDV direct to a fix, pilot reads it back only to advise 30 seconds later they accidentally went direct to the wrong fix and asked if I could spell the original one. Knowing the fix they went direct to wouldn't be a problem, my response, "Sir, I'm not the best speller, you can stay direct ABCDE." They got a chuckle, I got a chuckle, I helped them out, the job got done and we had fun.

Or another time when an AAL pilot and I had about a five minute long conversation on a dead frequency about how he used to know a guy at the center 20 years ago and I told him I was only 5 years old then.

There is a time and place for conversations and straying from phraseology. If you can understand that, have at it.

Controller 3...don't be controller 3. This controller over-complicates things regardless of traffic levels when they have no business doing so. When you have time to have some fun or go into detailed explanations/requests with pilots, great, no problem. When you don't, you just throw yourself and the sector down the tubes. Don't be controller 3.
Title: Re: There are two types of controllers...
Post by: Sean Harrison on May 21, 2018, 11:59:47 pm
Thanks Alex, we honestly need more real world people to provide experience and guidance like this.  Sincerely thank you.
Title: Re: There are two types of controllers...
Post by: Shane VanHoven on May 22, 2018, 03:07:25 am
Thanks for the input Alex. The key is that you have to be able to understand when it would be okay to loosen up a little bit. The terminal environment rarely allows for that because the flights crews are always busy when I'm talking to them, so that could be the source of some sort of bias on my part.

I'll add another bit... I spent some time this evening listening to the south ground position at LAX on LiveATC.net. The south ground position at LAX is widely known in the RW air traffic world as the single most difficult position in the entire country to certify on, because of the ratio of airplanes to available pavement. The controller that was working the position was not using phraseology exactly the way that it's prescribed in the 7110.65. Instead he would omit words that could be safely implied because the pilots he was working with understood the "game" where there's just so many airplanes that need instructions and so little time, that any half second you can save my not saying "the" or "and" or "runway" means more instructions he could give. You also hear this at ORD when ground control goes into their rapid fire mode where they'll rattle off 10-15 instructions without any intent of listening for a readback. Incredibly illegal, but also incredibly effective.

Obviously it's rare that the situation on the network gets that busy, but it definitely can get to the point where any extra words can ruin the day. It's up to the controller to recognize it, and adapt to ensure they're running their frequency as well as possible.
Title: Re: There are two types of controllers...
Post by: Frank Miller on May 22, 2018, 09:43:55 am
Just a suggestion..... some of the choices in the thread seem to be to be on either end of the spectrum (too verbose or strictly 7110.65).  That strikes me as a false choice, at least some of the time.

What I often consider is deploying phraseology that may reveal which flavor of pilot I might be dealing with.  So.... for the original example Shane gave in his original post, I might try:  "DAL2168 Heavy, Minneapolis ground, runway 30L, taxi via A; runway 17 available on request".  So far as I know, this is compliant with 7110.65 (or pretty darn near it!).

A pilot in the "less experienced" category, will either ignore it or possibly ask a question (sometimes in chat to avoid being embarrassed by asking) affording a learning opportunity.  A "hardcore realism" pilot can take the hint and make the request, which would lead to a 7110.65-compliant exchange about the amended routing etc. which an experienced pilot will be grateful for as well as it increases immersion.

I deploy this strategy in other circumstances as well.   For instance, in low traffic situations, I know Portland Departure in real-world often gives direct to the fix on the SID that precedes the transition (e.g. "direct MINNE" for the MINNE5, or "direct CHISM" for the CASCD2).  For new VATSIM pilots, giving them this as they climb out can result in confusion, or (worse) accepting the short cut but not actually flying it.  So, again, I may say (or ask Tower to say before h/o) "DAL2168 Heavy, runway 16L, cleared for takeoff, [expect direct CHISM, or direct CHISM available on request with Departure]."  See what sort of reaction I get and deal accordingly.

I find this strikes a decent balance between the various interests and considerations discussed in this thread.  I've received a reasonable amount of feedback both from experienced and new pilots alike that makes me believe this approach is appreciated by both types from a "customer service" perspective as well.

Frank
Title: Re: There are two types of controllers...
Post by: Kyle Ekas on May 22, 2018, 12:40:02 pm
Just a suggestion..... some of the choices in the thread seem to be to be on either end of the spectrum (too verbose or strictly 7110.65).  That strikes me as a false choice, at least some of the time.

What I often consider is deploying phraseology that may reveal which flavor of pilot I might be dealing with.  So.... for the original example Shane gave in his original post, I might try:  "DAL2168 Heavy, Minneapolis ground, runway 30L, taxi via A; runway 17 available on request".  So far as I know, this is compliant with 7110.65 (or pretty darn near it!).

A pilot in the "less experienced" category, will either ignore it or possibly ask a question (sometimes in chat to avoid being embarrassed by asking) affording a learning opportunity.  A "hardcore realism" pilot can take the hint and make the request, which would lead to a 7110.65-compliant exchange about the amended routing etc. which an experienced pilot will be grateful for as well as it increases immersion.

I deploy this strategy in other circumstances as well.   For instance, in low traffic situations, I know Portland Departure in real-world often gives direct to the fix on the SID that precedes the transition (e.g. "direct MINNE" for the MINNE5, or "direct CHISM" for the CASCD2).  For new VATSIM pilots, giving them this as they climb out can result in confusion, or (worse) accepting the short cut but not actually flying it.  So, again, I may say (or ask Tower to say before h/o) "DAL2168 Heavy, runway 16L, cleared for takeoff, [expect direct CHISM, or direct CHISM available on request with Departure]."  See what sort of reaction I get and deal accordingly.

I find this strikes a decent balance between the various interests and considerations discussed in this thread.  I've received a reasonable amount of feedback both from experienced and new pilots alike that makes me believe this approach is appreciated by both types from a "customer service" perspective as well.

Frank

Very good points Frank. I would agree that what you described seems to be a nice bit of compromise, but still efficiently so.

+1

K
Title: Re: There are two types of controllers...
Post by: Derek Vento on June 26, 2018, 12:49:22 pm
Just discovered this post...very well written Shane.
Title: Re: There are two types of controllers...
Post by: Ira Robinson on September 04, 2018, 10:13:10 pm
Just discovered this post...very well written Shane.

I just discovered this post as well.  Found it in a link from another post and after thinking about it for a while I have decided what kind of controller I want to be.  But I didn't see it as an option to choose from, so am I allowed to choose it or do I have to choose solely from the two given.  Frank was able to select a happy medium that he prefers, so I think I will do the same.

I want to be the controller who has fun controlling.  Yep, that's it.  I want to have fun playing controller.  I realize that I will never be a real world controller, I realize that I will never be compared to any of the real world controllers who everyone seems to look up to around here just because they have a good job no matter how well they may or may not do it, and I realize that I will never be considered one of the top controllers around here among us amateurs.


Nope, I just want to have fun and I am happy enough with the knowledge that I can still manage to control busy airspace at the same time.  Do the less skilled pilots bother me, sure they do.  And I bet the less skilled controllers, of which I count myself one of, bother the more skilled pilots?  I'm sure I do.  To that I tell everyone to just get over yourself.

Now that being said it doesn't mean that we all can't learn from our controllers who do this for a living. That's just plain naive. But I don't think it's fair to anyone that we try to emulate them for their abilities and opinions about how bad our pilots are.   Just like we can't emulate the experienced real world pilots they have to deal with, who, by the way, I have heard some pretty ugly stories about too.

Just have fun, because when it stops being fun, why are you doing it?
Title: Re: There are two types of controllers...
Post by: Brin Brody on September 05, 2018, 06:04:03 am
I want to have fun playing controller... Do the less skilled pilots bother me, sure they do.  And I bet the less skilled controllers, of which I count myself one of, bother the more skilled pilots?  I'm sure I do.  To that I tell everyone to just get over yourself...  Just have fun, because when it stops being fun, why are you doing it?

+1