Controller Positions and Ratings Policy

Controller Positions and Ratings Policy 2015

Owner

   Director Operations

Update Date

   07 April 2017

Review Date

   07 April 2017

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Part 1—Preliminary

1. Purposes

(1) The purposes of this policy are—

(a) to restrict control positions to competent controllers;

(b) to define the procedures for top-down coverage;

(c) to define the procedures for extended coverage;

(d) to allow for the reservation of control positions by certain VATPAC staff; and

(e) to define the requirements for the activation of non-standard control positions.

2. Policy owner and review schedule

(1) This policy is owned by the Director Operations.

(2) This policy shall be reviewed annually and the most recent review date shall be displayed on the VATPAC website.

3. Definitions

(1) In this policy—

(a) available means that:

(i) in relation to a person, that person is connected to the VATSIM Network; or

(ii) in relation to a control position, a person is connected to the VATSIM Network under that control position;

(b) Board refers to the VATPAC Board of Directors;

(c) Director refers to the Director Operations;

(d) a local controller includes a VATNZ controller, in accordance with paragraph 6;

(e) non-standard position is defined in paragraph 10;

(f) normal sector is an en route sector other than an upper sector or oceanic sector;

(g) oceanic sector is defined in paragraph 13;

(h) the Pacific Oceanic Roster can be found at the Pacific Oceanic Partnership website;

(i) he procedural tower endorsement register is the list of controllers having attained the endorsement published on the VATPAC website;

(j) senior controller is defined in paragraph 30;

(k) staff member is defined in paragraph 29;

(l) standard position is defined in paragraph 9;

(m) upper sector is defined in paragraph 12;

(n) the visiting controller register is a list of approved visiting controllers published on the VATPAC website.

Part 2—Minimum Competency of Controllers

4. Policy does not override VATSIM global policies

(1) While this policy reiterates some of the requirements of the Code of Conduct and Global Ratings Policy, this policy does not override any VATSIM global policy. If the policy conflicts with a VATSIM global policy, this policy continues to operate to extent to which is does not conflict with VATSIM global policies.

5. Evidence of competency

(1) A controller meets the requirement to hold an ATC rating if—

(a) the controller is a local controller—the CERT record for the controller indicates that the controller holds that ATC rating; or

(b) the controller is a visiting controller—the visiting controller register indicates that the controller is permitted to exercise the privileges of that rating within VATPAC airspace.

(2) A controller meets the requirement to hold a procedural tower endorsement if the controller’s name is listed in the procedural tower endorsement register.

(3) A controller meets the requirement to hold an oceanic endorsement if the controller’s name is listed on the Pacific Oceanic Roster.

6. VATNZ controllers to be treated as local controllers

(1) A controller whose CERT record indicates that his/her home division is VATSIM New Zealand shall be treated as a local controller for the purposes of this policy, except when prohibited by subparagraph (2), unless the prohibition is overturned by subparagraph (4).

(2) Notwithstanding subparagraph (1), a VATNZ controller may be prohibited from controlling in VATPAC airspace, provided that the conditions in subparagraph (3) are met.

(3) The Director may give notice to a VATNZ controller that they have been prohibited from controlling in VATPAC airspace.

(4) A controller who has been prohibited by subparagraph (3) may appeal such a notice to the Board who, by resolution, shall—

(a) overturn the notice, if an absolute majority is attained; or

(b) uphold the notice, if an absolute majority is not attained.

7. Minimum level of competency

The minimum level of competency to be held by a controller prior to operating a particular control position shall be—

Type of Position

  Rating

  Endorsement

Clearance Delivery   S2   None
Surface Movement Control   S2   None
Tower (except Procedural)   S2   None
Procedural Tower   S2   Procedural Tower
Procedural Tower   S3   None
Approach   S3   None
en route (normal sector)   C1   None
en route (upper sector)   C1   None
en route (oceanic sector)   C1   Oceanic

Note

A controller holding an S3 rating or higher is not required to hold a Procedural Tower endorsement to operate a Procedural Tower position, but is nonetheless strongly encouraged to undertake such training.

8. Exception for trainee controllers

(1) The Director ATC Training or his/her delegate may exempt a controller from the minimum competency requirements in paragraph 7 for training purposes. A controller relying on an exemption under this paragraph must only do so in accordance with the explicit or implied conditions, purposes and times of that exemption.

(2) Where an exemption issued under subparagraph (1) is the grant of a solo validation under the Global Ratings Policy, the details of the exemption shall be published on the VATPAC website.

Part 3—Control Positions

Division 1—Types of Positions

9. Standard positions

(1) A control position is a standard position if it is listed on the VATPAC website.

10. Non-standard positions

(1) A control position is a non-standard position if—

(a) it is not listed on the VATPAC website;

(b) approved description of its area of responsibility, frequency and login identifier are available; and

(c) the area of responsibility is within VATPAC airspace.

(2) A controller must not operate a non-standard position, unless approved by a senior staff member or a senior controller.

11. Procedural Tower positions

(1) A control position is a Procedural Tower position if it is listed on the VATPAC website as a Procedural Tower position.

12. Upper sector

(2) An en route control position is an upper sector if it is listed in Schedule 1.

13. Oceanic sector

An en route control position is an oceanic sector if it is listed as an oceanic sector in the Oceanic Endorsement Syllabus.

Division 2—Top Down Coverage

14. Supporting the top-down philosophy

(1) A controller should endeavour to provide a service to the greatest number of pilots—

(a) if the controller holds an S2 rating, by operating a Tower position;

(b) if the controller holds an S3 rating, by operating an Approach position;

(c) if the controller holds a C1 or higher rating, by operating a en route position.

Note

Certain circumstances may mean that it is more operationally advantageous for a controller to ignore this advice, including events and similar situations when concentrating ATC is better than spreading out.

15. Top-down coverage—Tower, Surface Movement Control, Clearance Delivery

(1) If Clearance Delivery is not available, the controller responsible for Surface Movement Control shall assume the responsibility of Clearance Delivery.

(2) If Surface Movement Control is not available, the controller responsible for Tower shall assume the responsibility of Surface Movement Control.

(3) A controller shall not operate a Clearance Delivery position when either Surface Movement Control or Tower is unavailable.

(4) A controller shall not operate a Surface Movement Control position when Tower is unavailable.

(5) If there are multiple Surface Movement Control or Tower positions at a location, local Instructions shall indicate the local rules for top-down coverage.

16. Top-down coverage—Approach

(1) If Tower for the primary aerodrome under a terminal control area is unavailable, the controller of the Approach position shall assume responsibility of all of the aerodrome control functions at that aerodrome, provided traffic load permits.

(2) If Tower for any other aerodrome under a terminal control area is unavailable, the controller of the Approach position may assume responsibility of all of the aerodrome control functions at that aerodrome.

(3) If there are multiple Approach positions at a location, Local Instructions shall indicate the local rules for top-down coverage.

17. Top-down coverage—en route

(1) If the Approach position normally responsible for a terminal control area under or adjacent to a normal sector is unavailable—

(a) at Brisbane, Cairns, Darwin, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney and Townsville, the controller of that normal sector shall assume responsibility for the terminal control area, provided traffic load permits; or

(b) at other locations, the controller of that normal sector may assume responsibility for the terminal control area.

(2) If Tower for the primary aerodrome under a terminal control area assumed by the controller of a normal sector under subparagraph (1) is unavailable, that controller shall assume responsibility of all of the aerodrome control functions at that aerodrome, provided traffic load permits.

Note

Subparagraph (2) is not intended to capture Gold Coast. Assumption of aerodrome control functions at Gold Coast is optional under subparagraph (3).

(3) If Tower for any other aerodrome under a terminal control area assumed by the controller of a normal sector under subparagraph (1) is unavailable, that controller may assume responsibility of all of the aerodrome control functions at that aerodrome.

(4) If the Procedural Tower position normally responsible for a terminal control area and aerodrome is unavailable and that terminal control area lies under a normal sector, the controller of that normal sector may assume responsibility for that terminal control area and all aerodrome control functions at that aerodrome.

(5) If a terminal control area is located under or adjacent to multiple normal sectors, Local Instructions shall specify the local rules for top-down coverage.

18. Down-up coverage

(1) Down-up coverage is not permitted, except where permitted by subparagraphs (3) and (4).

(2) Without affecting the generality of subparagraph (1), the following rules apply—

(a) the controller of a Tower position may not assume responsibility for airspace normally under the responsibility of an Approach position; and

(b) the controller of an Approach position may not assume responsibility for airspace normally under the responsibility of an en route position;

except when subparagraph (3) applies.

(3) Despite subparagraphs (1) and (2), this paragraph does not affect the use of airspace releases.

(4) Despite subparagraph (1), for the purposes of short-term, temporary controller relief—

(a) the controller a Surface Movement Control position may assume responsibility for Tower; and

(b) the controller of a Clearance Delivery position may assume responsibility for Surface Movement Control and/or Tower.

Division 3—Extended Coverage

19. Extended coverage—Tower, Surface Movement Control, Clearance Delivery

The controller of a Tower, Surface Movement Control or Clearance Delivery position may not extend to any other location. Rules for internal division of the aerodrome manoeuvring area shall be specified in Local Instructions where necessary.

20. Extended coverage—Approach

(1) The controller of an Approach position must assume responsibility for the entire terminal control area except when subparagraph (3) applies.

(2) The controller of an Approach position must not extend to any other terminal control area.

(3) Where multiple Approach positions are available—

(a) if the rules for assumption of terminal control area internal airspace divisions are specified in Local Instructions, controllers must follow those rules; or

(b) if those rules do not exist, then assumption of internal airspace divisions shall be as agreed between the controllers.

21. Extended coverage—en route—normal sectors

(1) The controller of a normal sector may extend coverage to another normal sector (“second sector”) having either partially or fully overlapping lateral extents or sharing a common lateral boundary when that other normal sector is unavailable, except when subparagraph (4) applies. This airspace extension must cover the entire second sector.

(2) The controller of a normal sector must not extend his/her airspace except in accordance with subparagraph (1), unless paragraph 24 applies.

(3) Top-down coverage rules apply to the total airspace for which a controller is responsible.

(4) Where an upper sector is available, the controller of a normal sector may only extend his/her airspace if:

(a) doing so would not deprive the controller of an upper sector of any airspace; or

(b) he/she obtains the approval of the controller of the upper sector and doing so would not deprive the controller of the upper sector of more airspace than the high portion of a normal sector.

Example

If Melbourne Upper and Bindook are online, the controller of Bindook may extend to Snowy and Armidale, but must not extend to any other normal sector in the Melbourne FIR. The controller of Bindook may extend to Armidale because doing so does not deprive the controller of Melbourne Upper of any airspace.

(5) High portion of a normal sector in subparagraph (4) and 22(2) means that portion of a normal sector that is part of the airspace of an upper sector.

22. Extended coverage—en route—upper sectors

(1)Where a normal sector is available and has airspace that overlaps with that of the upper sector, the upper sector shall relinquish that airspace.

(2)The controller of an upper sector may also relinquish the high portion of one normal sector to a controller of a normal sector, in addition to the requirements of subparagraph (1).

Signpost

Refer also to subparagraphs 21(4) for further context. See subparagraph 21(5) for the meaning of high portion of a normal sector.

(3) Where an Approach position is available and its terminal control area is under or adjacent to the upper sector and, but for this subparagraph, an aircraft would be uncontrolled between the terminal control area and the upper sector, the controller of an upper sector shall extend his/her airspace downwards as required to provide services to that aircraft.

(4) Except as provided by subparagraph (2) and paragraph 24, an upper sector must not extend its airspace.

23. Extended coverage—en route—oceanic sectors

(1) The controller of an oceanic sector must not extend his/her airspace, except when paragraph 24 applies.

24. Airspace releases not affected

(1) This division does not affect the use of airspace releases.

Part 4—Powers of VATPAC Staff

Division 1—Reservation of Positions

25. Positions reserved for events

(1) The Director or the Director Events and Communications or delegate of either may reserve certain standard positions for the better running of events by publishing a notice of reserved positions in a conspicuous location.

(2) A notice under subparagraph (1) shall contain—

(a) a statement noting that the notice relates to an event;

(b) the name of the event;

(c) a list of control positions that are reserved; and

(d) the time or times during which the control positions are reserved.

(3) A controller must not operate a control position subject to a notice of reserved positions under subparagraph (1) without the approval of the Director or the Director Events and Communications or a delegate of either.

26. Positions reserved for special operations

(1) The Director or his/her delegate may reserve certain standard positions for the better running of special operations by publishing a notice of reserved positions in a conspicuous location.

(2) A notice under subparagraph (1) shall contain—

(a) a statement noting that the notice relates to a special operation;

(b) the name of the special operation;

(c) the names of participating organisations;

(d) a list of control positions that are reserved; and

(e) the time or times during which the control positions are reserved.

(3) A controller must not operate a control position subject to a notice of reserved positions under subparagraph (1) without the approval of the Director or his/her delegate.

27. Positions reserved for ATC training activities

(1) The Director ATC Training or his/her delegate may reserve certain positions for the purposes of ATC training by publishing a notice of reserved positions in a conspicuous location.

(2) A notice under subparagraph (1) shall contain—

(a) a statement noting that the notice relates to ATC training activities;

(b) a list of control positions that are reserved; and

(c) the time or times during which the control positions are reserved.

(3) A controller must not operate a control position subject to a notice of reserved positions under subparagraph (1) without the approval of the Director ATC Training or his/her delegate.

Division 2—Activation of Non-Standard Positions

28. Who may activate non-standard positions?

(1) A non-standard position may be activated by:

(a) a staff member; or

(b) a senior controller;

subject to the conditions in this division.

29. Who is a staff member?

(1) A person is a staff member if they are entitled to log onto the VATSIM Network using a VATPACx style login identifier.

30. Who is a senior controller?

(1) A person is a senior controller if they hold:

(a) a C3 rating; or

(b) I3 rating or higher;

and his/her CERT record indicates that his/her home division is VATPAC Australia Pacific.

Note

Controllers holding an I1 rating are not senior controllers for the purposes of this policy.

31. Activation of non-standard positions for events, etc.

(1) The Director, Director ATC Training or Director Events and Communications may activate non-standard positions for the better running of events, special operations or for the purpose of ATC training and may do so at their discretion.

32. Ad-hoc activation of non-standard positions by staff members

(1) A staff member may activate a non-standard position, when, in that staff member’s judgement, such an activation would provide for better enjoyment of the Network by a majority of affected members. In making such a judgement, the staff member is advised, but not required, to have consideration of the conditions in paragraph 33.

33. Ad-hoc activation of non-standard positions by senior controllers

(1) Where a senior staff member is not available, a senior controller may activate a non-standard position, if and only if:

(a) non-standard positions are not activated in lieu or at the expense of standard positions;

(b) a genuine operational need exists to activate the non-standard position;

(c) the non-standard position is only active while that genuine operational need exists;

(d) there is agreement from affected controllers;

(e) the affected controllers are appropriately briefed on:

(i) the area of responsibility of the non-standard position;

(ii)the frequency of the non-standard position;

(iii)the correct login identifier of the non-standard position;

(iv)any major coordination issues that arise from the use of the non-standard position;

(f) the senior controller adequately supervises the use of the non-standard position or transfers that responsibility to another senior controller or staff member.

(2) In this paragraph, genuine operational need means that traffic volume and complexity has become overwhelming and is compromising the quality of the service provided by the affected control positions.

Schedule 1—List of Upper Sectors

Item

  Name of Position

  Description

1   Melbourne Upper   Within the lateral limits of the Melbourne FIR, excluding the lateral limits of the Indian Oceanic sector, between FL245 to FL600
2   Brisbane Upper   Within the lateral limits of the Brisbane FIR, excluding the lateral limits of the Tasman Oceanic sector, between FL245 to FL600

Endnotes

1. Table of Amendments

Effective Date

  Changes

28 August 2015   Policy redrafted, incorporating a number of director’s interpretations, removing currency requirements of ATC training staff from the scope
18 November 2015   Reformatted and renumbered for new website

2. Table of References

Name of Document

  Owner

  Location

Code of Conduct   VATSIM   http://www.vatsim.net/documents/code-of-conduct
Global Ratings Policy   VATSIM   http://www.vatsim.net/documents/global-ratings-policy
Oceanic Endorsement Syllabus   VATNZ, VATPAC, VATUSA, jointly owned   http://pacificoceanic.vatsim.net/docs/Endorsement.pdf