Know Your Airplane

Derek Vento

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Know Your Airplane
« on: June 02, 2017, 10:38:17 pm »
In my time on the network and during recent training sessions one thing has popped up and that is a lack of recognition and knowledge of aircraft types. Sure, we all know the Boeing 747 and the good ole' Cessna 172 but as developers in the sim world develop more and more aircraft, it is imperative that as a controller you are one step ahead.
For starters I have found several websites that help with aircraft recognition, but you ask yourself "DK, we can't see the aircraft". You're exactly right, but any controller with a solid foundation will tell you that they can literally visualize the aircraft and if they have some serious time under their belt they can even picture what is going on in the cockpit during their transmissions. I can't stress how important it is to know aircraft types because as most know, it goes beyond the beautiful American 737 or Delta Airbus paint. Lately I have seen Chancellors C414, Navajo PA31, (a new Albaeo release), AC500s and the C525A (Carenado). It is very easy to get complacent on knowledge of airplanes, and that's why we have to not only know what they look like but what are their capabilities.
An aircraft types tells me SOOO much depending on what the request is. I know that when a Cessna 172 calls me up, I do not expect this aircraft to travel faster than 120 knots, and I can almost guarantee the aircraft equipment suffix code will be /A or /G. I know that when this aircraft is at 5,000 feet indicating 90MPH over the ground, when I issue a descent to 3,000 that speed may increase at most by 20MPH, and the rate of descent will be less than 800 feet per minute.
When the Beechcraft King Air (BE20) asks for flight following, I can most likely assume his/her rate of climb will at least be 1200FPM and can keep up with a CRJ, B737, or A320 if needed.

If an aircraft is requesting an ILS approach, I think ahead and know that the turn onto final may require me to wait a little longer because a Cessna compared to a Boeing 737 will have a different radius of turn.

When you work these aircraft, scan the data blocks and take all of the information in. It is essential that you have the big picture.
For those working in the radar and those that are coming up the ranks, there is one important concept to understand while vectoring fast aircraft to follow slow aircraft.

Cessna 172
Beechcraft King Air 350
Airbus 320

On final, a Cessna 172 can fly as FAST, as to the SLOWEST speed of a Beechcraft King Air 350 . The Beechcraft King Air 350 can fly as FAST, as to the SLOWEST speed of an Airbus 320. The point, is that, no matter what situation you have at hand, the speeds may not look comparable, but if you vector aircraft appropriately, and know their capabilities, you will always be successful.

The following links offer aircraft recognition based on manufacturer, and more.
http://aircraftrecognition.co.uk/light_aircraft.html
https://quizlet.com/18908705/aircraft-characteristics-flash-cards/
http://aircraftrecognition.co.uk/commercial.html
http://hubpages.com/travel/aircraft-identification
http://www.military.com/off-duty/games/military-aircraft-identification-quiz.html
https://quizlet.com/5277279/aircraft-types-flash-cards/


David Stone

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Re: Know Your Airplane
« Reply #1 on: June 03, 2017, 09:32:28 am »
Great post, Derek. You're right, so many times aircraft capabilities does not get factored into the thought process. Such as a heavy will want a little more room for descent than a B738. Good read.
David Stone
Air Traffic Manager
vZID ARTCC

Toby Rice

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Re: Know Your Airplane
« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2017, 05:15:58 pm »
So many aircraft-based factors change the way you control traffic.  Good read!
Toby Rice
Air Traffic Manager
Instructor (I1)
atm@hcfartcc.net

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