Descents Between Facilities

Brin Brody

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Descents Between Facilities
« on: September 09, 2018, 08:07:27 am »
Hi, everyone!

I've noticed, recently, a few cases in which various controllers have different opinions on how to keep track of altitudes on aircraft, specifically in the enroute environment. Typically, this will take the form of a controller issuing an aircraft a descent to enter terminal airspace of some kind, descending them to comply with a border-crossing restriction per coordination/LOA, or similar.

I've heard arguments for (and seen) the use of both updating an aircraft's hard (cruise) altitude, or updating an aircraft's temporary altitude.  Please answer the poll, and choose the one you use most for descents

Have an opinion that addresses WHY you use one rather than the other?  Would love to hear it.  Thanks.   :)
Brin Brody
Deputy Air Traffic Manager
Jacksonville ARTCC
datm@zjxartcc.org


Dhruv Kalra

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Re: Descents Between Facilities
« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2018, 08:35:43 am »
Hard altitude if it’s leaving my center to another enroute facility in accordance with an LOA. R/w this is done to ensure that the flight data transmits and handoffs are directed to the correct sectors.

Descending on STARs or into TRACONs, interim altitudes.
« Last Edit: September 09, 2018, 11:46:16 am by Dhruv Kalra »
Dhruv Kalra
ZMP ATM | Instructor | VATSIM Network Supervisor

Ryan Geckler

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Re: Descents Between Facilities
« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2018, 09:04:04 am »
^ this.

Ryan Geckler - GK
Former VATUSA3 | Division Training Director
Minneapolis ARTCC | RW Miami ARTCC

Matt Bromback

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Re: Descents Between Facilities
« Reply #3 on: September 09, 2018, 09:13:13 am »
I use hard Altitudes on descents for reasons above. Plus they are never going to return to that altitude so why issue a temp alt? I only use temp alts for intermediate level offs during climb.
Matt Bromback

Krikor Hajian

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Re: Descents Between Facilities
« Reply #4 on: September 09, 2018, 10:21:54 am »
It depends. If an aircraft is descending to meet a crossing restriction on an arrival, Boston usually issues a temp alt (since this data won't get transmitted to the TRACONs anyway. If it's a non-standard altitude or more of a cruise change (for example, YYZ terminal arrivals must enter ZOB AOB FL320), we'll use hard altitudes.


Krikor Hajian (HI) - 1283146
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Karl Mathias Moberg

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Re: Descents Between Facilities
« Reply #5 on: September 09, 2018, 12:44:46 pm »
Plus they are never going to return to that altitude so why issue a temp alt? I only use temp alts for intermediate level offs during climb.

This.
Karl Mathias Moberg - SUP/I1 - 908962
Deputy Air Traffic Manager
NYARTCC


Brin Brody

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Re: Descents Between Facilities
« Reply #6 on: September 09, 2018, 02:10:34 pm »
this data won't get transmitted to the TRACONs anyway.

That's why I originally began using hard altitudes for these types of descents.

Great input, guys!  Glad some of our more experienced controllers were able to contribute, and provide some real world insight.

I'll keep the poll open - more data is better.
Brin Brody
Deputy Air Traffic Manager
Jacksonville ARTCC
datm@zjxartcc.org


Shane VanHoven

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Re: Descents Between Facilities
« Reply #7 on: September 10, 2018, 09:23:23 pm »
Shane VanHoven
Minneapolis ARTCC, VATUSA ACE Team | Instructor
Private pilot, Instrument, ASEL
FAA Air Traffic Developmental, Terminal

Meg Bruck

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Re: Descents Between Facilities
« Reply #8 on: September 11, 2018, 08:32:45 am »
I use hard Altitudes on descents for reasons above.

Same. Temp on the way up, hard on the way down. For two reasons: it's easier to hit F5, and because Matt was one of my teachers. :)
Meg Bruck
ATM, ZTL

William Lewis

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Re: Descents Between Facilities
« Reply #9 on: October 31, 2018, 03:50:44 pm »
Another option for the descent which I will use for low altitude sectors is to put the LOA altitude in as a hard altitude and put in an interm altitude in for either the last assigned by previous controller, or cruise altitude. Then use interm altitudes on the way down, until you reach your final decent clearance to the LOA altitude of which at that point you only remove the interm.

This applies better in the RW rather than VATSIM by allowing the computer to process the entire descent to the correct sector/TRACON and sometimes even through underlying TRACONs. This will allow for the auto hand off feature to work correctly, and the ability to utilize the handoff function to assist with point outs to other underlying TRACONs.


For example (This is a RW example and may not necessary apply to VATSIM), Just about every aircraft descending into KCVS or KCVN from the east usually requires a point out to LBB APP (which owns SFC-170). If I issue the descent to FL180 (above LBB) and put in a hard altitude of 180, than the track will not progress through LBB and they will not receive the flight plan information and cannot display the track with a simple click. This means when I as the overlying center controller does a point out to LBB APP on the aircraft, I must provide all of the details. Now If I change this method to put in the final descent altitude of 10,000 hard in the data block and interm FL180, then the track will progress through LBB APP and either they can pull up the track with a single click when I give the position, or I can even utilize the Hand-off function so I no longer even need to give a verbal position. They also like this as if they take the HO and flash it back, they get the traffic count for it.

This method also allows you to begin a handoff prior to issuing the final descent altitude. Using the same example as above, If I were to leave FL180 hard into the data block the track would hand-off to ZAB. Putting in 10,000 will cause the track to hand-off to CVS APP. Even if they accept the HO prior to me issuing the final descent, I still have the ability to remove the interm altitude without using any type of overriding logic (<<<  again RW stuff).
Former ZTL Air Traffic Manager
Former ZID Training Admin

Dominic Nguyen

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Re: Descents Between Facilities
« Reply #10 on: November 18, 2018, 12:26:47 pm »
Outside of issuing interims for climbs, it's more of an area culture or what the individual was taught. Although I like to use hards when issuing hard descents because like what Matt said; they would never return to that altitude. Most of the older gen controllers like to use interims because back in the day, if you changed a hard altitude it'd print out on a strip. Again, it doesn't matter for the TRACON's because all they care about is the LOA altitude and would see what you put in as a hard altitude in the strip. Some larger TRACON's don't even use strips so.. In the RW technically you're supposed to use the procedure altitude now for egress altitudes for aircraft descending on the OPD

Some SOP's and LOA's do mention that
"(1)Interim altitude use is authorized between facilities.
 (2) Use of an interim altitude must be considered valid coordination."


However, it doesn't mention anything about hard altitudes because it's safe to assume that the plane is either climbing or descending into that new hard altitude as if they're cruising.