Why flying your airplane well is the most important part of a successful FNO

Manuel Manigault

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Re: Why flying your airplane well is the most important part of a successful FNO
« Reply #15 on: September 06, 2018, 12:15:58 pm »
Thanks for your insight, Matt. I think it definitely falls upon us to try and be ambassadors towards our pilots and educate them to the best of our ability. We publish a fairly detailed briefing packet prior to every MSP event that we make available to pilots: https://minniecenter.org/pdf/MigrationXII_Brief.pdf

It’s not a perfect document by any means, but we’ve tried to make it comprehensive and proactive in squashing some of the common mistakes that we see during our events. The eventual goal is that we have this material persistently available in the pilots area of our website. The sad reality, however, is that most VATSIM pilots don’t seek out ARTCC websites as sources of information.

If we’re going to truly reach the masses, the push has to come from a higher up level. The ATO system works, but as long as it remains a purely voluntary exercise you’re going to get a large majority of pilots that either don’t know about its existence or simply choose not to participate in it. I’ll proactively private message pilots with constructive advice if/when I see them deviate from a procedure, but by and large I receive defensive attitude in return (prime example
being “My FMC is doing it the way it’s programmed. Get off my back”).

I’m not by any means giving up, but we as a division could also do with ensuring a more consistent experience across the board. Normalization of deviance happens quite a bit because in a lot of cases controllers will let a LOT slide to the point where a pilot has no idea that they might be doing something wrong. Case in point, we had pilots arguing with our local controllers that their going around off an approach where legal SRS existed was justified on a separation basis because “I’ve been sent around by other controllers on a 3 mile final in similar situations before”. If guys working local control are that gun-shy, it means they’re not applying prescribed separation properly, and that hurts places when they do.

That's why I brought up the Pilot Rating Program.  ZBW has one that appears to be successful.  They have plenty of GA events, have very complex airspace, and very busy FNOs.  I do not hear the level of angst that I hear from ZMP.  Is it because they have good participation in their PRP and its having a positive effect?  Is it because they have the same level of pilot errors but they are more accepting of "pilot deviance"? Is it because they have a strong pilot community and great pilot/atc relationship?  ZMP has a very tenured staff and several real world controllers.  Making your experience available in a teaching environment would be very beneficial.  One thing I would like to see is more communication between facilities in order to share best practices. 
Mani Manigault
Air Traffic Director
VATUSA - Northeastern Region

Ira Robinson

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Re: Why flying your airplane well is the most important part of a successful FNO
« Reply #16 on: September 06, 2018, 01:18:51 pm »
Okay, my turn. I know, I know, duck and cover. Another loooong boaring post   ::)   Well, here it is, for better or for worse.

Gentlemen, you have tried very hard not to turn this discussion into whose controllers are more flexible or have more skills,  or are better suited to deal with the pilots than others. In that you have seceded pretty well I think.  Everyone has also fought he urge to simply blame every pilot, everywhere, every time and accept that sometimes it is us  There we go, I said it, they aren't all bad, so let's accept the fact that no matter what, all of us will occasionally make that odd mistake.  Happens.  So now, since it happens on occasion, what can we do about it?  Well, the first thing we need to do it recognize that no matter how we hard try it will just happen. There are so many distractions for the pilots and our controllers anyway, so sometimes we just have to cut them some slack .

I also saw where someone said we need to make pilot training mandatory.  Well, try as we might, I don't think we will see that happen anytime soon either.  Ahhh, but what I do see is a way to begin leaning on the pilot community to raise the stakes a little.

I did a quick scan of the opening page of all of the VATUSA ARTCC web sites  just now.  Four of them list VATSTARS as a Partner organization.  ZLA has it's own pilot program.  Boston has BVA. By my count that's 6 out of 22 ARTCC have the ability to affect pilot training.   Now that may not sound like a lot, 6/22, but we all know that VATSTARS isn't tied only to the Division  and can issue training anywhere.

My suggestion, take Shane up on suggestion and stop providing good feedback to the VA's who ask, and then go directly to those same VA's and tell them the truth; if your pilots don't learn how to fly better they well no longer be invited to fly here (wherever
here is). I don't see any reason we, as the controller can't require a higher standard.    If VATSTAR wants to issue a certificate to me I better know to push a button and spin a dial.  If I don't that pilot is not welcome back.

Guys, this is the short version.  I know there will be lots of discussion about what we ca and cannot do about this. Yes, as a  training school VATSTAR has earned a good reputation.  Well, quite frankly, I'm not interested in his reputation or the number of pilots he has trained.  More power to him.  But if he has trained all that many pilots how come the same ones show up every Friday night, but stay home on Saturdays?  Or are we only talking about the same dozen or two pilots, and is this discussion really about accepting 30 aircraft an hour when the airport can only handle 25?  Because if that is case that's a different kettle of fish!

My point to all of this is that if you want to hold the pilots responsible than stop waiting for the Board to make it mandatory. What you should be doing is bitching to the Division that it should have some sort of liason officer whose first assignment is going to be to
sit down with the various VA's and ATO's and suggest (yea, as in strongly suggest) that they teach their student pilots two things that we absolutely need.  The first, which hand is the left and which hand is the right.  The second thing that they need to add some meat to is the section on communicating with the controller. Tighten those two subjects up and I think it's a great place to start.

And that's my two cents about this...…..
Ira Robinson
VATUSA4

Shane VanHoven

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Re: Why flying your airplane well is the most important part of a successful FNO
« Reply #17 on: September 06, 2018, 06:39:23 pm »
The reason Luke likely keeps bringing it up, as I would I, is that the premise of this post is that pilots were screwing up.  "Great event guys, but can you pretty please capture that loc?"  It's the third line, for Pete's sake.  You can't say the OP didn't precisely say that.

Uhh yeah I can. I didn't precisely say that. If you're gonna quote me, at least use a direct quote. It builds credibility.
Shane VanHoven
Minneapolis ARTCC, VATUSA ACE Team | Instructor
Private pilot, Instrument, ASEL
FAA Air Traffic Developmental, Terminal

Matthew Kosmoski

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Re: Why flying your airplane well is the most important part of a successful FNO
« Reply #18 on: September 06, 2018, 08:24:54 pm »
The reason Luke likely keeps bringing it up, as I would I, is that the premise of this post is that pilots were screwing up.  "Great event guys, but can you pretty please capture that loc?"  It's the third line, for Pete's sake.  You can't say the OP didn't precisely say that.

Uhh yeah I can. I didn't precisely say that. If you're gonna quote me, at least use a direct quote. It builds credibility.

Matthew Kosmoski
Air Traffic Manager | ZHU ARTCC
mkosmoski@zhuartcc.org
www.zhuartcc.org

Shane VanHoven

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Re: Why flying your airplane well is the most important part of a successful FNO
« Reply #19 on: September 06, 2018, 08:45:23 pm »
"Great event guys, but can you pretty please capture that loc?"

Does not equal:

But for goodness sake. Can we please figure out how to intercept the localizer?

Doesn't matter. Do you really think I'm asking too much of pilots? If you can't join a course, you shouldn't be flying in the IFR system. Plain and simple. If that's asking too much, then I'll find better ways to spend my free time.
Shane VanHoven
Minneapolis ARTCC, VATUSA ACE Team | Instructor
Private pilot, Instrument, ASEL
FAA Air Traffic Developmental, Terminal

Ryan Parry

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Re: Why flying your airplane well is the most important part of a successful FNO
« Reply #20 on: September 06, 2018, 11:20:25 pm »
Ira,

I agree. I almost wonder if it would be worth while for VATUSA to open its own ATO. I know VATSTAR is out there, and they do a good job, but what if we had our own? Let the ARTCC's design a program, they know the airspace better than anybody. I tried to get ZOA setup with VATSTAR but it fell apart because we don't meet some of the requirements they've set for a few check rides. That's a shame because we offer some great airspace for learning. Our airports have advanced a little too far along the nextgen pipeline and decommissioned some of the legacy procedures they require, and I assume that is why I have not heard back.
Ryan Parry - 965346
ZOA Air Traffic Manager

Mark Hubbert

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Re: Why flying your airplane well is the most important part of a successful FNO
« Reply #21 on: September 07, 2018, 01:19:58 am »
Quote
I agree. I almost wonder if it would be worth while for VATUSA to open its own ATO. I know VATSTAR is out there, and they do a good job, but what if we had our own? Let the ARTCC's design a program, they know the airspace better than anybody. I tried to get ZOA setup with VATSTAR but it fell apart because we don't meet some of the requirements they've set for a few check rides. That's a shame because we offer some great airspace for learning. Our airports have advanced a little too far along the nextgen pipeline and decommissioned some of the legacy procedures they require, and I assume that is why I have not heard back.

I reached out to VATSTAR in hopes that a partnership could be formed with the Division to address the concerns that the ARTCC's brought to light in a recent forum post that I initiated.  Unfortunately, I was not satisfied that these concerns would be addressed if we were to partner with VATSTAR and have them as our official ATO.  While I have not made any official moves otherwise, I am looking at some options and I am hopeful to initiate some sort of effort to address the concerns that the ARTCC's have brought forth especially during events.  Honestly while I think that we can improve somewhat, I am not sure what sort of percentage of improvement we can expect.  I am hopeful that with a variety of programs etc. that combined we can effect positive change at a higher percentage than just one concept by itself.
Mark Hubbert
Division Director VATUSA

Robert Shearman Jr

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Re: Why flying your airplane well is the most important part of a successful FNO
« Reply #22 on: September 07, 2018, 02:17:13 am »
I tried to get ZOA setup with VATSTAR but it fell apart because we don't meet some of the requirements they've set for a few check rides.
Untrue.  It fell apart when I stopped receiving responses to emails about setting up a time to meet & discuss.  Let's get back in touch & try again to get it moving.
Cheers,
-R.

Matt Bromback

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Re: Why flying your airplane well is the most important part of a successful FNO
« Reply #23 on: September 07, 2018, 06:21:00 am »
Ira,

I agree. I almost wonder if it would be worth while for VATUSA to open its own ATO. I know VATSTAR is out there, and they do a good job, but what if we had our own? Let the ARTCC's design a program, they know the airspace better than anybody. I tried to get ZOA setup with VATSTAR but it fell apart because we don't meet some of the requirements they've set for a few check rides. That's a shame because we offer some great airspace for learning. Our airports have advanced a little too far along the nextgen pipeline and decommissioned some of the legacy procedures they require, and I assume that is why I have not heard back.

Ryan,

I think you have a great idea of creating a in-house ATO at ZOA. Your absolutely right that your ARTCC's local knowledge of airspace, next gen procedures, would create a unique training environment. To be honest the training pilots would receive locally would trickle down to the rest of the ARTCCs. Most pilots don't only fly in one particular area, they might want to fly in or out of SFO as a example but they will touch other airports not in your ARTCC, this would be a win-win for everyone.
Matt Bromback

Ira Robinson

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Re: Why flying your airplane well is the most important part of a successful FNO
« Reply #24 on: September 07, 2018, 07:53:30 am »
I tried to get ZOA setup with VATSTAR but it fell apart because we don't meet some of the requirements they've set for a few check rides.
Untrue.  It fell apart when I stopped receiving responses to emails about setting up a time to meet & discuss.  Let's get back in touch & try again to get it moving.


That is great to hear.  Now, will you commit to tightening up the level of of information and instruction your program provides regarding pilot to ATC communication, and the pilots' ability to fly basic arrival and departure procedures, regardless of what the VATSIM standards require?



Ira Robinson
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Matthew Kosmoski

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Re: Why flying your airplane well is the most important part of a successful FNO
« Reply #25 on: September 07, 2018, 10:04:28 am »
That is great to hear.  Now, will you commit to tightening up the level of of information and instruction your program provides regarding pilot to ATC communication, and the pilots' ability to fly basic arrival and departure procedures, regardless of what the VATSIM standards require?

And I'm still a bit sour following the whole attempted vatstar "premium" subscription model, personally.  The fact that those words are still on the site at all is potentially misleading to unknowing students.
Matthew Kosmoski
Air Traffic Manager | ZHU ARTCC
mkosmoski@zhuartcc.org
www.zhuartcc.org

Manuel Manigault

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Re: Why flying your airplane well is the most important part of a successful FNO
« Reply #26 on: September 07, 2018, 11:45:51 am »
Ira,

I agree. I almost wonder if it would be worth while for VATUSA to open its own ATO. I know VATSTAR is out there, and they do a good job, but what if we had our own? Let the ARTCC's design a program, they know the airspace better than anybody. I tried to get ZOA setup with VATSTAR but it fell apart because we don't meet some of the requirements they've set for a few check rides. That's a shame because we offer some great airspace for learning. Our airports have advanced a little too far along the nextgen pipeline and decommissioned some of the legacy procedures they require, and I assume that is why I have not heard back.

This is a great idea. The ideal location for an ATO to base their operations would be "fly over territory" (i.e ZID, ZKC, ZLC, etc.).  Maybe this is the niche that one of these facilities could use to increase traffic and interest in their airspace.
Mani Manigault
Air Traffic Director
VATUSA - Northeastern Region

Brin Brody

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Re: Why flying your airplane well is the most important part of a successful FNO
« Reply #27 on: September 07, 2018, 04:43:55 pm »
Ira,

I agree. I almost wonder if it would be worth while for VATUSA to open its own ATO. I know VATSTAR is out there, and they do a good job, but what if we had our own? Let the ARTCC's design a program, they know the airspace better than anybody. I tried to get ZOA setup with VATSTAR but it fell apart because we don't meet some of the requirements they've set for a few check rides. That's a shame because we offer some great airspace for learning. Our airports have advanced a little too far along the nextgen pipeline and decommissioned some of the legacy procedures they require, and I assume that is why I have not heard back.

This is a great idea. The ideal location for an ATO to base their operations would be "fly over territory" (i.e ZID, ZKC, ZLC, etc.).  Maybe this is the niche that one of these facilities could use to increase traffic and interest in their airspace.

+1...  Good place to practice your flying - where you won't be constantly hounded by airline traffic.
Brin Brody
Deputy Air Traffic Manager
Jacksonville ARTCC
datm@zjxartcc.org


Robert Shearman Jr

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Re: Why flying your airplane well is the most important part of a successful FNO
« Reply #28 on: September 07, 2018, 06:14:13 pm »
I tried to get ZOA setup with VATSTAR but it fell apart because we don't meet some of the requirements they've set for a few check rides.
Untrue.  It fell apart when I stopped receiving responses to emails about setting up a time to meet & discuss.  Let's get back in touch & try again to get it moving.
That is great to hear.  Now, will you commit to tightening up the level of of information and instruction your program provides regarding pilot to ATC communication, and the pilots' ability to fly basic arrival and departure procedures, regardless of what the VATSIM standards require?
What you guys all seem to be asking for -- discussion about communication, how to fly SIDs / STARs / Approaches, how to pilot a plane rather than program an FMC -- we have all of that on our site already.  It's called the P4 rating.  What we don't have is any compulsory reason anyone should take the P4.  We could try to include it in the P1 course but why would we duplicate?  Holding a P1 basically says you know (or have acknowledged, at least) how to connect to the network, that you aren't supposed to spawn on runways or taxiways, that you know how to figure out which controller you should be talking to, you have some idea how to handle it when your weather and/or scenery doesn't match everyone else's, and that you know you're not supposed to be chasing airliners with fighter jets.  We can re-design our P1 to include the full gamut of IFR communication and procedure but then what purpose would the P4 serve?

What we lack -- and what has been discussed on this forum and VATSIM forums endlessly and without any change in status for at least eight years now -- is the ability to hold pilots accountable for any competency standards.  What use is a P4 if no one takes it?  Forget about VATSTAR -- look at the WORLDWIDE stats for the Pilot Training Division (http://ptd.vatsim.net/statistics).  387 pilots WORLDWIDE have a P4 rating.  Even in the EXTREMELY optiistic hope that they are a subset of the 80,000 members who have been active in the last six months, that's less than half of one percent.  If half of P4 holders are no longer active, then less than a QUARTER of a percent of active members have taken it.

Even for the P1, we're fighting a losing battle.  PTD as a whole issued its 10,000th rating in February of 2017.  We're now at 11,186.  That's about 60 ratings per month.  Based on the rate that new CID numbers are climbing, VATSIM gets around 2,500 new member registrations per month.  That would mean less than three percent of new members enroll in a Pilot Rating.  That assumes CID numbers are sequential; even if they're not, let's say the last digit is a checksum -- I have no idea.  That's still 250 new registered members a month and 75% of them are not taking a Pilot Rating course.

We can do everything possible as far as outreach with our programs -- which as you all know, I passionately believe in, even if some of you think you could do it better.  And if you can, then please, have at it -- I'm not in a competition.  The more resources we have to improve pilot education on the network, the better -- and if someone comes up with better methods than ours, I'll certainly take note.  But we are fighting a losing battle as long as it's completely voluntary.  Until / unless VATSIM can come up with a plan to hold pilots accountable for a basic level of competency, this is what we will face at every FNO.

And I'm still a bit sour following the whole attempted vatstar "premium" subscription model, personally.  The fact that those words are still on the site at all is potentially misleading to unknowing students.
For what it's worth, I agree with you.  But at this point (seven months later), every reference to premium subscriptions SHOULD be gone off our website.  If you see any I'm not seeing, by all means, email me screenshots, as I am as anxious as you to put that escapade behind us.
Cheers,
-R.

Ryan Parry

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Re: Why flying your airplane well is the most important part of a successful FNO
« Reply #29 on: September 07, 2018, 08:11:57 pm »
I tried to get ZOA setup with VATSTAR but it fell apart because we don't meet some of the requirements they've set for a few check rides.
Untrue.  It fell apart when I stopped receiving responses to emails about setting up a time to meet & discuss.  Let's get back in touch & try again to get it moving.

I see the email you sent me after this post, the response that is included in that chain is nowhere to be found in my inbox. Strange. I will get back to you privately.

Ryan Parry - 965346
ZOA Air Traffic Manager