Author Topic: En Route Centers  (Read 8608 times)

Offline michaelt747

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En Route Centers
« on: August 05, 2006, 05:18:43 PM »
Hey guys, so I had a question.  I just visited the SOCAL TRACON and I saw how truly busy and crazy it can get during the arrival rush into LAX.  the TRACON is the busiest in the UNITED STATES, if not the WORLD but only one person usually works each sector, with the exception of a couple really busy ones. 

Now, I realize they are only covering a small amount of airspace compared to the En Route Centers but why is it that they enroute controllers have 3 positions working one sector?  what are the other ones doing?

thanks a lot for your responses--I dont mean to make it sound like the En Route controllers have it easy, i know they dont, but i always imagined the TRACON was a much more intense place to work

Peace, michael



Offline davolijj

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Re: En Route Centers
« Reply #1 on: August 05, 2006, 07:26:20 PM »
...the TRACON is the busiest in the UNITED STATES, if not the WORLD but only one person usually works each sector, with the exception of a couple really busy ones. 

I don't know how acurate that statistic is.  I'm sure the people who work there gave it to you.

Now, I realize they are only covering a small amount of airspace compared to the En Route Centers but why is it that they enroute controllers have 3 positions working one sector?  what are the other ones doing?

EnRoute Centers or ARTCCs don't have 3 controllers working any sectors.  Yes, there are 3 positions for each sector (R-side, D-side, and H-side), but not all the positions are always used.

Not only is each sector larger in area than an approach control sector, but they also have many different coordination aspects, and the complexity tends to require a team effort.  A busy sector will usually be staffed with an R-side working the radar and the frequencies, and a D-side performing coordination with a dozen different positions.  If it gets extremely busy, an H-side, also called a tracker, will take intrafacility override calls and assist the R-side in any way he can.  A sector at that capacity may have up to 30 aircraft on the frequency, maybe more.  More often than not however, each sector is only staffed with one controller.

*Edited for punctuation
« Last Edit: August 05, 2006, 07:40:38 PM by davolijj »

Offline michaelt747

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Re: En Route Centers
« Reply #2 on: August 05, 2006, 08:33:16 PM »

"I don't know how acurate that statistic is.  I'm sure the people who work there gave it to you."

actually, the supervisor that I was talking with gave me a little booklet the "FAA Administrator's Factbook" (April 2006) which lists the top 50 airports, the busiest control towers, and the top 50 busiest Radar Approach Facilities ranked by number of instrument operations...SOCAL TRACON is listed at number 1 with 2,129, 000 operations...followed by new york at 2,066,000 and POTOMAC TRACON at 1,887,000.

Thank you for your response to the EnRoute question--I didnt realize how tricky it can get for them.

Peace, M


Offline davolijj

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Re: En Route Centers
« Reply #3 on: August 05, 2006, 08:49:58 PM »
...the supervisor that I was talking with gave me a little booklet the "FAA Administrator's Factbook" (April 2006)

Oh....my mistake, I didn't realize it came from the Administrator's office.  Well then I guess it must be accurate.
« Last Edit: August 07, 2006, 06:51:38 PM by davolijj »

Offline ogogog

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Re: En Route Centers
« Reply #4 on: August 06, 2006, 09:44:35 AM »
well as long as your talking numbers and socal being so busy try thies numbers.socal is 5 apch controls in one with 240 controllers working 2,100,000 ops. chicago tracon is one apch control with 90 controllers working 1,500,0000 ops.

Offline davolijj

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Re: En Route Centers
« Reply #5 on: August 06, 2006, 08:22:32 PM »
Thanks OG, that's exactly what I'm talking about. :-D

And by the way, Centers and Tracons are really like apples and oranges.  Much of the center traffic is literally hello-goodby stuff, a good amount is also climbing or decending or feeding an approach control, so to compare Centers to Tracons, or to compare a big consolidated Tracon to a place like Chicago or ATL Tracons is just not without a certain margin of error.

Offline flygirl

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Re: En Route Centers
« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2006, 05:34:58 PM »
Another "amen" here to taking the Administrator's Fact Book with a grain of salt! 

As far as Centers having a lot of "hello and goodbye" traffic, I guess that would depend on the Center.  I've worked both options (Center and Tracon), and both are tough, but the Center traffic really didn't seem like hello and goodbye to me.  There were plenty of times that you needed at least one if not both of the other positions opened.  It's amazing how much other talking and coordinating is going on behind the scenes in addition to what you all are hearing on the ATC feeds.  And as someone else said, the Center sectors tend to be much larger.  I worked sectors at the Center with 25 planes on frequency at one time!  It tends to be much less at a Tracon at a single moment, but their airspace is smaller too.  Apples and oranges.     

Offline davys747

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Re: En Route Centers
« Reply #7 on: August 07, 2006, 06:07:14 PM »
Hey flygirl,

Which CTR and APP facilities did you work at?

Offline davolijj

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Re: En Route Centers
« Reply #8 on: August 07, 2006, 06:12:42 PM »
As far as Centers having a lot of "hello and goodbye" traffic, I guess that would depend on the Center.  I've worked both options (Center and Tracon), and both are tough, but the Center traffic really didn't seem like hello and goodbye to me. 

I guess I typed that kind of quick...let me clarify.  Ultra-high sectors have a fair amount of hello-goodbye traffic.  Highs and Lows are generally more complex and have very little hello-goodbye. :-)
« Last Edit: August 07, 2006, 08:00:18 PM by davolijj »

Offline BMT

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Re: En Route Centers
« Reply #9 on: August 07, 2006, 07:45:02 PM »
I monitor KZJX, KZMA and they hardly ever use the UHF side of the RCAG's. Usually very early on a weekend morning you will hear the UHF side of the RCAG's.

BMT

Offline davolijj

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Re: En Route Centers
« Reply #10 on: August 07, 2006, 08:06:42 PM »
I wasn't referring to UHF freqeucies, I was referring to the stratification of airspace in the ARTCCs.  An Ultra-high sector is usually FL340 and above, Low sectors are Surface-FL230, and Highs are FL240-FL330.  The airspace between is protected airspace.  All of these are still using VHF frequencies for civil aircraft communications.  The only ones ATC use UHF for are military.

And for the lay-people out there, RCAG stands for remote communications air-ground.