06/06/2017 power failure at Belgocontrol

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mvg
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Re: 06/06/2017 power failure at Belgocontrol

Post by mvg » 08 Jun 2017, 04:59

When are they going to change?
This ATC provider is one of the poorest of Europe: has any pilot ever received an expected approach time when coming into BRU? At peak times they sometimes vector you miles and miles away at low altitude (like if they forgot that holding patterns exist), noone knows what to expect, and depending on who is working you get a huge or a small separation with the preceding ahead (without wake issue). Not even talking about speed control as it doesn't exist.

Stij
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Re: 06/06/2017 power failure at Belgocontrol

Post by Stij » 08 Jun 2017, 06:13

Welcome mvg and thanks for your critical opinion!

Stij

Omychron
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Re: 06/06/2017 power failure at Belgocontrol

Post by Omychron » 08 Jun 2017, 07:32

mvg wrote:
08 Jun 2017, 04:59
When are they going to change?
This ATC provider is one of the poorest of Europe: has any pilot ever received an expected approach time when coming into BRU? At peak times they sometimes vector you miles and miles away at low altitude (like if they forgot that holding patterns exist), noone knows what to expect, and depending on who is working you get a huge or a small separation with the preceding ahead (without wake issue). Not even talking about speed control as it doesn't exist.
Sadly I'm inclined to agree.
Compare this to Heathrow, which is also noise sensitive, has only 2 runways and WAY more movements.
Shows how much room for improvement there really is.

pilot_gent
Posts: 36
Joined: 21 Jul 2015, 22:38

Re: 06/06/2017 power failure at Belgocontrol

Post by pilot_gent » 08 Jun 2017, 10:58

mvg wrote:
08 Jun 2017, 04:59
When are they going to change?
This ATC provider is one of the poorest of Europe: has any pilot ever received an expected approach time when coming into BRU? At peak times they sometimes vector you miles and miles away at low altitude (like if they forgot that holding patterns exist), noone knows what to expect, and depending on who is working you get a huge or a small separation with the preceding ahead (without wake issue). Not even talking about speed control as it doesn't exist.
We all know it's typical for Belgians to complain, especially on our own systems. Of course there is room for improvement but the above post is really exaggerated:
- "one of the poorest in Europe": Have you ever flown in Italy, Spain, Greece?
- "delaying vectors vs holding": I prefer delaying vectors any day over holding. This is btw common practice in almost all busy airports in Europe.
- "speed control as it doesn't exist": I suggest you re-read your airport charts before flying into BRU, speed control is very well defined.

I must say I have always been professionaly handled by our approach ATC. They sometimes make mistakes, but guess what, they're human as well...

jan_olieslagers
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Re: 06/06/2017 power failure at Belgocontrol

Post by jan_olieslagers » 08 Jun 2017, 11:19

Totally agree, @pilot_gent, at least for the points I can speak about (I have never flown into EBBR/BRU nor am I likely to ever do so). I think several complainers (not to say "whiners") are armchair experts rather than active pilots.

Acid-drop
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Re: 06/06/2017 power failure at Belgocontrol

Post by Acid-drop » 08 Jun 2017, 11:27

We all know it's typical for Belgians to complain, especially on our own systems. Of course there is room for improvement but the above post is really exaggerated:
- "one of the poorest in Europe": Have you ever flown in Italy, Spain, Greece?
It's typical for belgians to expect German quality while acting like in southern europe. Hense the gap and the complain. Very typical indeed ... but also most of the time very correct. I don't think you can reach german quality without german discipline, we don't need to excuse everything. Calling whiners like witches and pretending "het komt in orde" will not fix anything.
My messages reflect my personal opinion which may be different than yours. I beleive a forum is made to create a debate so I encourage people to express themselves, the way they want, with the ideas they want. I expect the same understanding in return.

SR20
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Re: 06/06/2017 power failure at Belgocontrol

Post by SR20 » 08 Jun 2017, 11:38

And sometimes even german quality fails ! Remember new Berlin Brandenburg Airport 😉

Acid-drop
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Re: 06/06/2017 power failure at Belgocontrol

Post by Acid-drop » 08 Jun 2017, 11:51

i knew someone would bring that one up :-)
My messages reflect my personal opinion which may be different than yours. I beleive a forum is made to create a debate so I encourage people to express themselves, the way they want, with the ideas they want. I expect the same understanding in return.

pilot_gent
Posts: 36
Joined: 21 Jul 2015, 22:38

Re: 06/06/2017 power failure at Belgocontrol

Post by pilot_gent » 08 Jun 2017, 12:01

Acid-drop wrote:
08 Jun 2017, 11:27
We all know it's typical for Belgians to complain, especially on our own systems. Of course there is room for improvement but the above post is really exaggerated:
- "one of the poorest in Europe": Have you ever flown in Italy, Spain, Greece?
It's typical for belgians to expect German quality while acting like in southern europe. Hense the gap and the complain. Very typical indeed ... but also most of the time very correct. I don't think you can reach german quality without german discipline, we don't need to excuse everything. Calling whiners like witches and pretending "het komt in orde" will not fix anything.
I agree we don't need to excuse everything and like I said there is room for improvement. But to call Belgian ATC one of the poorest in Europe is a bridge (or several :D ) too far.

mvg
Posts: 129
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Re: 06/06/2017 power failure at Belgocontrol

Post by mvg » 08 Jun 2017, 12:04

Recent experience: Inbound BRU from the east with runway 01, vectored for a right hand circuit too high (no descent given), then flown accross the final until AFI followed by a visit of Chievres airbase and almost a visit of Charleroi airport (5 miles away). That's around 40NM extra compared to the STAR on the approach chart which I can definitely read. Speed control (reduction) is by defnition cancelled as soon as you are leaving a STAR unless a speed is given. Not a single time was track miles to touchdown given and speed was later reduced to 170kts 25 miles from touchdown.
Such mishandling already happened many times. We are all humans indeed but we should learn from our mistakes and especially such chaotic situations.
Vectoring is indeed fine to be delayed by 1 or 2 minutes but how do we calculate the fuel when it comes to such a point? Do you find this safe? I prefer to hold and know when to start the approach (and also keep the aircraft in a clean configuration longer)
Spain, Italy and Greece ATC are maybe not the most expeditious but at least you know when you start the approach.
Pilots don't want German or any other kind of quality: they want to know how long they will fly and be safely on the ground as fast as possible (taking into account traffic and weather conditions of course). Must be the definition of ATC I guess...

@ jan_olieslagers Totally agree, @pilot_gent, at least for the points I can speak about (I have never flown into EBBR/BRU nor am I likely to ever do so). I think several complainers (not to say "whiners") are armchair experts rather than active pilots.
;)

jan_olieslagers
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Re: 06/06/2017 power failure at Belgocontrol

Post by jan_olieslagers » 08 Jun 2017, 12:06

i knew someone would bring that one up
Yes ... but frankly, it is not very relevant. Planning and executing a major infrastructure project is one thing, and the Germans have shown little success at it in the Brandenburg Airport project; defining procedures and applying them is quite another thing. The way they organised IFR traffic to non-controlled aerodromes, creating class F airspace around them, was not too impressive either... They now resorted to radio- and transponder mandatory zones which seems more effective. Apologies for going a bit off-topic.

jan_olieslagers
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Re: 06/06/2017 power failure at Belgocontrol

Post by jan_olieslagers » 08 Jun 2017, 12:14

@mvg: you have a point, but at least I am (a bit of) a pilot, and have excellent experience at least with Brussels Information, who are close neighbours to Brussels Tower, Approach, Departure, ...

pilot_gent
Posts: 36
Joined: 21 Jul 2015, 22:38

Re: 06/06/2017 power failure at Belgocontrol

Post by pilot_gent » 08 Jun 2017, 12:24

mvg wrote:
08 Jun 2017, 12:04
Pilots don't want German or any other kind of quality: they want to know how long they will fly and be safely on the ground as fast as possible (taking into account traffic and weather conditions of course). Must be the definition of ATC I guess...
While I agree with you this is not a Belgian thing:
- flown +- 50 time to Paris ORY, never received expected trackmiles, have been vectored to 8 miles but also to 25 miles
- Paris CDG: same
- Barcelona: vectored to collide with preceding traffic
- Rome FCO: vectored to 1, yes 1 mile final...
- Palma PMI: received 50Nm extra vectors, no info given
- DUS: "vectored" and was told to expect 35 trackmiles (we were at FL100), so we asked for descent. Expect descent in 15 miles, and then being vectored straight in...

For the speeds in BRU:
I don't know what your charts say but mine say this:
- 250 below FL100
- 220 when intercepting
- 180 from 12Nm till 6Nm
- 160 till 4NM

mvg
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Re: 06/06/2017 power failure at Belgocontrol

Post by mvg » 08 Jun 2017, 13:07

Glad that we partly agree ;)
Also had similar experiences elsewhere but this is repetitive in Belgium. Moreover we can't compare BRU (650 movements/day) with CDG (1300), BCN (850) or FCO (860). DUS is comparable but they may sometimes use only one runway at a time due to noise restrictions and their approach is very efficient.
Belgian ATC uses a state of the art system (although it seems to fail regularly) with mode S, 3 miles separation by approach and conflict detections which is not the case in some of the examples above.
Regarding the speeds on the chart: once you are vectored away from a STAR, given a speed or a "no speed restrictions" that cancels the published speed restrictions. How many times are you given high speed by ACC and then suddenly reduced on first contact with approach or vice versa? (elsewhere too)

To conclude, it is not perfect anywhere but Belgium still works with procedures that were designed more than 25 years ago.

Another example: the GNSS approaches that were published for uncontrolled aerodromes in Holland years before being published for BRU!

Omychron
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Joined: 27 Sep 2012, 14:35

Re: 06/06/2017 power failure at Belgocontrol

Post by Omychron » 09 Jun 2017, 08:26

pilot_gent wrote:
08 Jun 2017, 10:58

We all know it's typical for Belgians to complain, especially on our own systems. Of course there is room for improvement but the above post is really exaggerated:
- "one of the poorest in Europe": Have you ever flown in Italy, Spain, Greece?
- "delaying vectors vs holding": I prefer delaying vectors any day over holding. This is btw common practice in almost all busy airports in Europe.
- "speed control as it doesn't exist": I suggest you re-read your airport charts before flying into BRU, speed control is very well defined.

I must say I have always been professionaly handled by our approach ATC. They sometimes make mistakes, but guess what, they're human as well...
So because you've taken the worst examples, automatically Belgian ATC are good? Have YOU ever flown in the UK, Netherlands, Germany, Scandinavia, Poland, Austria, Switzerland,...
And the discussion here is not about single mistakes from one controller. Off course they make them.
It's about an instance (Belgocontrol) which has a lot of room for improvement.

Your delaying vector comment seems odd.
Vectors at speeds of 180 knots (or even lower) force you to set flaps. And in Brussels, these vectors can last for a long time! Good thing it's a home base for me, but I can imagine crews coming from other airfields to be surprised about this, and sometimes being forced to start looking closely at the fuel gauges!
At least a holding pattern allows you to stay in clean configuration, at optimal speeds...
More disturbing about these delaying vectors is that controllers do not give an expected approach time, so pilots are forced to guess. "Number in sequence" is useless to me, as it doesn't seem to take into account departures, doesn't take into account runway inspections,... A time frame is clearer.

"I suggest you re-read your airport charts". What a joke.
Speed control doesn't exist in Brussels. Period.
The only speed I've ever seen applied from the charts is the minimum 160kts. Any other speed is up to the controller, and is random.
Speeds instructed can range from high speed to 210 kts even before going on approach frequency.
It's perfectly possible to get a speed reduction while already high on approach, and receive an instruction to increase rate of descent right after. This is near impossible for a lot of airliners, sorry. ATCO's should know this.

Or try asking for remaining approach distance. Do this in another airport, and you get your distance. Done. Not in Brussels. "About 20NM" is not good enough for me, especially as it could turn out to be 40 anyway.
This random distance is especially apparent when coming from the North (WOODY), as it's impossible to gauge how much traffic there is, whether a direct to BUN will be available or not,...
Try flying an efficient idle approach without knowing at what speed you have to fly it, or how long the approach is.

pilot_gent
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Re: 06/06/2017 power failure at Belgocontrol

Post by pilot_gent » 09 Jun 2017, 10:55

Omychron wrote:
09 Jun 2017, 08:26
So because you've taken the worst examples, automatically Belgian ATC are good? Have YOU ever flown in the UK, Netherlands, Germany, Scandinavia, Poland, Austria, Switzerland,...
And the discussion here is not about single mistakes from one controller. Off course they make them.
It's about an instance (Belgocontrol) which has a lot of room for improvement.
My reaction was on "one of the poorest in Europe" which is an insult. and yes I fly to those countries. There is room for improvement, I agree.
Your delaying vector comment seems odd.
Vectors at speeds of 180 knots (or even lower) force you to set flaps. And in Brussels, these vectors can last for a long time! Good thing it's a home base for me, but I can imagine crews coming from other airfields to be surprised about this, and sometimes being forced to start looking closely at the fuel gauges!
At least a holding pattern allows you to stay in clean configuration, at optimal speeds...
More disturbing about these delaying vectors is that controllers do not give an expected approach time, so pilots are forced to guess. "Number in sequence" is useless to me, as it doesn't seem to take into account departures, doesn't take into account runway inspections,... A time frame is clearer.
I can understand your point of view (a pilot) regarding holding, but I think (and surely a controller will know better) that the capacity holding vs vectors is not the same (1000 feet separation required). 1 holding equals +- 14 Nm in my aircraft, so I prefer delaying vectors.

An expected approach time is a time when you will start the approach, as you are on vectors for approach you already started your approach. What time do you expect they give you?
"I suggest you re-read your airport charts". What a joke.
Speed control doesn't exist in Brussels. Period.
Let's agree to disagree :)

When I read your comments I sometimes have the feeling we are talking about different airports. In all those years I have flown into BRU I have never found myself in a situation where I needed to worry about fuel because of vectoring :)

About improvements, I generally feel ATC controllers are good but they don't have the proper procedures. I don't think we should try to compare BRU with airports like LHR, FRA, AMS, CDG etc. Like was mentioned before they have way more movements. I think the complexity of the airspace / noise is also a big impact on the procedure design. However, some things I think of:
- introduce RNAV stars and more importantly RNAV transitions for the ILS procedures. --> the ILS procedure for RWY 19 is really ridiculous.
- align STARS with EBCI in order to be able to use the south side of EBBR for arrivals (westerly landings).
- introduce P-RNAV departures 25R in EBBR and give priority to arriving traffic with regards to altitudes.
- define peak moments and use specific procedures for those times (single RWY for landing / single RWY for T/O)

e.g. an ILS procedure like the ILS procedure 13 in Marseille would fit fine in EBBR in my opinion.

I also agree when RWY 19 or 01 is in use it sometimes gets a bit silly in BRU :D

Omychron
Posts: 39
Joined: 27 Sep 2012, 14:35

Re: 06/06/2017 power failure at Belgocontrol

Post by Omychron » 09 Jun 2017, 19:07

pilot_gent wrote:
09 Jun 2017, 10:55

My reaction was on "one of the poorest in Europe" which is an insult. and yes I fly to those countries. There is room for improvement, I agree.

I can understand your point of view (a pilot) regarding holding, but I think (and surely a controller will know better) that the capacity holding vs vectors is not the same (1000 feet separation required). 1 holding equals +- 14 Nm in my aircraft, so I prefer delaying vectors.

An expected approach time is a time when you will start the approach, as you are on vectors for approach you already started your approach. What time do you expect they give you?

Let's agree to disagree :)

When I read your comments I sometimes have the feeling we are talking about different airports. In all those years I have flown into BRU I have never found myself in a situation where I needed to worry about fuel because of vectoring :)

About improvements, I generally feel ATC controllers are good but they don't have the proper procedures. I don't think we should try to compare BRU with airports like LHR, FRA, AMS, CDG etc. Like was mentioned before they have way more movements. I think the complexity of the airspace / noise is also a big impact on the procedure design. However, some things I think of:
- introduce RNAV stars and more importantly RNAV transitions for the ILS procedures. --> the ILS procedure for RWY 19 is really ridiculous.
- align STARS with EBCI in order to be able to use the south side of EBBR for arrivals (westerly landings).
- introduce P-RNAV departures 25R in EBBR and give priority to arriving traffic with regards to altitudes.
- define peak moments and use specific procedures for those times (single RWY for landing / single RWY for T/O)

e.g. an ILS procedure like the ILS procedure 13 in Marseille would fit fine in EBBR in my opinion.

I also agree when RWY 19 or 01 is in use it sometimes gets a bit silly in BRU :D
Indeed, expected approach time is the wrong thing to say.
I was talking about something similar to LHR, where "expect XX minutes of delay" is a VERY useful tool to know what to expect.
Not to mention a vectored approach in LHR is very standard. Same track miles, same time-frame. (bar buildups off course)
They also combine it with proper speed control, telling you to reduce sometimes even on first contact over the North Sea, if a delay is expected.
The speed reduction inbound Brussels MIGHT happen, if one gets lucky, but it is rare.

You say you never had to worry about fuel during vectoring at Brussels in all those years.
This is exactly my point, you know what to expect. I was talking about crews NOT used to flying at Brussels.
You don't take into account arrivals on runway 01 when planning for fuel? Most crews familiar with Brussels do, because they know the vectors are... well... absurd.
Others might not be planning for 20 minutes of sightseeing vectors...

About your suggestions: I agree with most of them, but what do you mean with the altitude priority for arrivals? How would this increase capacity? Not to mention nearby "noise victims" will complain even more with departing aircraft being kept lower.

Also, during peak hours simultaneous independent approaches should (in theory) give a higher capacity, no?
Use of 25R for landing is already quite restricted during peak departure hours, to allow for lining up in sequence.

Also, I wouldn't mind being able to do a right-hand pattern on 01 again, instead of the circle overhead which is being used now. (for arrivals from the south and east)
Always wondered why that was removed. Does it increase safety? Efficiency? Or is this another noise discussion?

Oh, and please don't give them ideas when talking about Marseille. They could use the 31 as an example too! :!: :)

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