Controller To Controller Communication
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In this section you can find just a brief list of the communication types between controllers with a reference inside the documentation. The basic communication is when you provide information that is available to all neighbor controllers. In this cases you just spread out the data you have and you do not request any answer to them.
- Temporary altitude assignment - The cleared climb or descend flight level or altitude. You can do it using the .QQ (F8) command or via the appropriate popup menu. In EuroScope there are special values to clear an aircraft for ILS or visual approach, which disable the CLAM-warning.
- Final altitude assignment - Different final / cruising altitude assignment. It is important to notice that the .QZ (F5) altitude assignment does not modify the flight plan. It is published using controller to controller messages only.
- Scratch pad string - The free text area for adding notes up to 60 characters. In addition to that the scratchpad is used more heavily inside EuroScope. For more about it see the Non Standard Extensions page.
- Squawk assignment - The squawk assignment is somewhat different. It is published between controller clients but the servers are also storing some information about it.
Flight Plan Amendment
A little bit more advanced, but the flight plan amendment is still just a data propagation. There are two different ways to do that:
- Simple FP editing - You can change all parts of the flight plan using the Flight Plan Setting Dialog.
- Automatic FP change - In EuroScope there are new functions that are using the flight plan amendment.
- SID/STAR assignment - When you assign a SID or STAR to an aircraft its flight plan route section is amended to hold the information about it. It is visible to all controllers, but EuroScope clients will interpret it automatically.
- Departure/arrival runway assignment - Similarly the runway assignment amends the route section like the one above. And once again EuroScope clients can interpret the modified route automatically.
Look at the Non Standard Extensions page to see how EuroScope will change the route section of the flight plan when a runway or a SID/STAR is assigned via the popup menus.
We can say advanced communication when the two controllers are sending information to each other and in many cases they need an answer for their messages. The following communications are here:
- Handoff - When you initiate handoff to the next controller he receives a message about it. Then he has the possibility to accept or refuse it.
There are also two not really formalized communication form:
- Chat area - You can chat with all controllers. Even with the ones that are out of your area.
- Ground to ground voice - Using the G2G voice communication you can talk to each other without disturbing the others. Actually this form of communication is sometimes not really easy to set up.
The Ongoing Coordination
The ongoing coordination is a new advanced feature in EuroScope. It allows neighbor controller to offer, accept, refuse points and altitudes the plane is expected. The coordination point may be just in the border of the sectors of the controllers, but it is also possible to coordinate a point well ahead in the next sector. The ongoing coordination is a brand new innovation in EuroScope, and at the time of writing this documentation EuroScope is the only controller that are prepared for it. Unfortunately it has a back draw that you can not use this when the other party did not use EuroScope. In this case some features are still available, but not all. To realize who is able to use the coordination features look at the controller lists:
All controllers who are ready to answer is flagged by a >> sign. You can expect answers from them to your coordination requests.
There are three different scenario when you can use ongoing coordination:
- Exit point/altitude coordination - when you are tracking an aircraft and you would like to suggest a different point or altitude to the controller of the next sector.
- Entry point/altitude coordination - when you are expecting an aircraft to enter to your sector and you would like to suggest a different point or altitude to the controller who is currently tracking it.
- Bypass coordination - when you are expecting an aircraft to enter to your sector, but for a too short time and you are aware that it will does not require any instruction from you then simple offer a handoff to the controller after you to the current owner.
From the above list it is visible that the first two cases are always in pairs. If you would like to coordinate the exit point/altitude the it is a coordination of the entry point/altitude for the next controller. And opposite: an entry point/altitude coordination for you is az exit point/altitude coordination for the current owner of the AC. The last one is different, not symmetrical at all.
Exit Point/Altitude Coordination
Probably the easiest way to describe the feature is to start with an example.
In this first example you see that I am controlling the Hungarian FIR as LHCC_CTR and approach for LHBP is online too. See the >> indicating that he is able to do the coordination. I have a plane that is coming from the southwest and destination is LHBP. In the TAG is is already indicating that the next controller will be Budapest Approach. The route is plotted in the picture and it is visible that a real big turnaround is ahead the plane if he follows the route to VEBOS point that is the normal handoff point between CTR and APP, and then follows the VEBOS3R transition to RWY 31R. If the traffic allows it why not to give him a shortcut to a point that leads him to the base immediately. To start a coordination request with APP I popup the next points list from the TAG:
Here in the list you can now see the points along the route and also a flag that indicates if a point is required a coordination with another controller or not. You see that until the VEBOS point I am free to give any direct as the plane will still go to VEBOS for the handoff. But the points after VEBOS are marked with the ID of Budapest Approach (AP). These indicators mean that a direct needs a coordination with Approach, he has to accept my offer. If I select th point BP437 a coordination request is sent to approach. For me the new point name is displayed with different color. And also the route plot is showing the desired new route.
On the approach side the owner and the desired destination point is colored to indicate the incoming request. There is also a configurable audio warning about it.
If the plane itself is not inside the screen approach still can see the colored values in the sector entry list. This time the approach has 90 seconds to decide what to do with the request. He can click on the desired new point to answer to the call:
- Accept - To accept the coordination as it is. When accepted
- Refuse - To refuse the coordination at all. When the coordination is refused the values are turning back in both sides to the original state. And depending on the symbology and settings it is once again flagged by a different color.
- Change - When approach is ready for a shortcut, but the offered point is not the best for him, he can select the Change option. Then a popup menu appears with the available other options. Selecting an item here will start a new entry point coordination with CTR.
OK, we have completed the shortcut coordination. But you can still some pictures above that even the new point is BP437 the coordination altitude remained FL170 that is far too high at that point. When CTR realizes it, it can offer a lower level/altitude. He can click on the sector exit altitude item.
In the list there are the possible altitude values. All are followed by the ID of the controller that will be called for coordination. You can see that FL170 is not flagged as it is the so far accepted value, and it does not need any coordination. FL200 and above are not marked with AP as approach controls up to FL195 and a higher altitude will not drive the plane to his sector at all. In this way it does not need any coordination. The same is visible if the altitude is 3500ft or lower. In this case EuroScope detects a path from present position to BP437 that leaves CTR sector before enters to APP sector (as CTR bottom level is FL100). Therefore no controller is indicated for coordination. When the CTR selects the altitude it will start a coordination.
It is also indicated at approach like this:
The way to accept, refuse and change is the very same that was described at the next point coordination.
- If CTR decides that he do not want to coordinate but set the direct on his own discretion he can select the point name in the list by a right mouse click. In that case it will set, but not coordinated.
- If the plane is still outside the visual range of the APP, the coordination will be refused immediately and a generated message is sent to CTR: "LHBP_APP: ES generated - MAH583 is out of my range".
- When you start an exit point/altitude coordination EuroScope will connect the plane actual position with the requested new position with a straight line. Along this line it will detect what sectors are crossed. And the first that is outside the sectors of the current owner will be called for coordination.
- The controller who is tracking the AC has the right to change the next controller. Clicking on the sector indicator item he can select the appropriate controller from the menu. If the next controller is forced in this way EuroScope will start coordinating with that controller independently from the sectors detected.
Entry Point/Altitude Coordination
Let us now see the very same example from the approach point of view.
Now approach sees the arriving traffic that is currently tracked by CTR. For some reason it would be better for approach to ask CTR to send the plane direct to BP437 point rather than VEBOS and also he wants it to descend to 4000ft altitude. First he opens the COPN point popup list on the TAG or on the sector entry list (whatever is the easiest) and requests BP437.
A controller can open up the COPN coordination menus only if the plane is controlled by someone else and it is going to enter to his sector later. Here you can see that there is no signal what controller will be called as an entry point coordination is requested from the current tracker of the plane. Approach here selects BP437 and the value is signaled in both clients.
- APP view,
- CTR view
Now CTR has 90 seconds to respond. Let us change the scenario a little bit. Approach still has an option. To start the altitude coordination before receiving the answer to the point request. He simply open up the COPN altitude list and select a new requested altitude. Then both requests will be shown in both clients simultaneously:
- APP view,
- CTR view
In this case CTR has the option to accept or refuse them with a single click.
This is a little bit different scenario. It is not symmetric at all. We have now a departure from LHBP. The active runway is 13L for departure. In this case the standard exit point for north bound departures BADOV at FL180.
As FL180 is below the top of approach sector the plane is not intend to leave the sector on the top to Budapest Radar, but goes directly to Bratislava (normally controlled by Praha). But in case of RWY13 configuration it is quite probably that the plane climbs much faster then necessary and reaches FL180 well advance BADOV. When approach realizes it, he start an altitude coordination:
You can see in the popup list that up to FL190 Praha will be contacted for coordination, but at FL200 and above Budapest Radar as in this case the plane will leave the sector on top. Let us assume that approach stats an exit altitude coordination and Budapest Radar accepts it.
Even Budapest accepted the coordination and allowed the plane to climb above FL180 up to FL250 the plane will just cross the section and will not spend there more than 1 or 2 minutes. As there is not other traffic in the area and the plane does not need any command from Budapest Radar it is better to handoff to Praha from Approach skipping Budapest. Therefore CTR opens a popup menu and sets Praha as next controller. It start a coordination with APP.
- CTR starts the coordination
- CTR point of view
- APP point of view
APP can accept and refuse the same way as and exit or entry point coordination. Once he has accepted the new next controller is displayed in the sector indicator item.
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