Get ready for a lot more ATC facilities to close.

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by Gmonnig, Mar 21, 2020.

  1. Gmonnig

    Gmonnig Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Just hanging out at work and watching the **** hit the fan. With Indianapolis Center closed for two days now, lots of planes have been rerouted through ZKC and other surrounding facilities. Sounds like New York TRACON or Center just closed a few mins ago. Yesterday they were telling us to study up on Memphis center's airspace because we would probably have to take that over at some point. I'm thinking the next couple weeks are going to be weird.
     
  2. frfly172

    frfly172 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    You can only shift the airspace so much before the system falls apart. Social distancing not very practical in atc spaces.
     
  3. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    My neighbor works at ZKC, but I rarely see him since he works nights. Centers are usually pretty flexible on routings because of thunderstorms or other kinds of issues, but those events are usually measured in hours and not days or weeks.
     
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  4. Gmonnig

    Gmonnig Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Yep basically. In this case it would be the worst to be the last facility standing. Forced to work extra airspace you’ve never worked before, stressed, tired and working 8inches from your buddies. For now everyone is in good spirits though! I guess controllers are typically in pretty good health (or so Medical tells us). I think everyone here is mostly just worried about spreading it to family members.
     
  5. RudyP

    RudyP Line Up and Wait

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    I know it would be impractical to make a rapid switch but in theory, center controllers could work from home with a good internet connection. I wonder if this experience will push for future capability enhancements so that positions can easily be made remote for the future.
    Of course, with the FAA doing it, it would take 2 decades, a couple hundred billion $ and not really actually work...
     
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  6. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Those facilities have all sorts of backups in case they lose power, water, comms, whatever. But not if they lose controllers.
     
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  7. RyanShort1

    RyanShort1 En-Route

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    DFW apparently had a few test positive based on a Twitter contact.
     
  8. Gmonnig

    Gmonnig Pre-takeoff checklist

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    You’d think it’d be that easy but when you break it down you’d find out how impossible it would be. Also, one scope is not always operated by just one person. Depending on volume and complexity there will be anywhere from one to three controllers working a single sector. The equipment used is vast and expensive with multiple backups and interconnected to surrounding facilities. That way we can take over adjacent airspace in the event of ATC Zero. A few years ago ZKC had to take over Chicago Center's airspace due to a fire. You figure out how crazy the infrastructure goes.
     
  9. jonvcaples

    jonvcaples Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Hmm given the problems with security not sure that is a real option. Besides the existing system is far removed from being open architecture.

    Makes me wonder how the various folks who use classified (especially compartmented) are being impacted. Maybe fewer people on the road will make their commutes easier?
     
  10. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    That ZKC commute should get even easier. The news just came out that our 4-county area is going to be shut down starting Tuesday. Details tomorrow.
     
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  11. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Definitely. What facility do you work at?

    So far, MDW tower, LAS tower have both gone down due to illness, L30 (LAS TRACON) was down for cleaning (shared staff with the tower), three areas of ZID down, now ZNY... I'm sure there will be more before this is all over. :(

    Hopefully the FAA can get a handle on things, but I'm not at all confident in that. I really enjoy reading the Facebook group The Landline, as it is an excellent exchange of information between pilots and ATC... But seeing what the controllers are dealing with right now is sad. Some have been told to stay home yet are burning up their sick time even though it's supposed to be administrative leave. Most are worried that they're not able to get tested (srsly?!?) and that the disease is likely to spread through their facilities.

    In the midst of all this, I'm that much more impressed with the dedication of our controllers. Even some of the immunocompromised ones are still showing up and keeping us all moving. When all this is done, I hope we have two new national "holidays": Health Care Workers Day and Critical Transportation Workers Day. Without them, we would be lost.
     
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  12. woodchucker

    woodchucker Cleared for Takeoff

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    KSLC tower went down due to an earthquake. Apparently 18’ sway and broken windows and water lines. Operations reduced and severely limiting VFR traffic while working with installing a portable tower.
     
  13. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    ATC STATUS:
    ZID/SLCT -ATC ALERT
    LAS/MDW/LGA -ATC ZERO
    0430 - 1000 ZNY -ATC ZERO

    Haven't heard anything about La Guardia yet and they're not listed in the terminal constraints. Presumably ZNY is closed for cleaning.
     
  14. Gmonnig

    Gmonnig Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I’m at KC Center. So far no confirmed cases although there are probably a dozen controllers quarantined and not allowed into the facility for 14days. With 220 controllers, and most are well traveled, it’s bound to get in our building. We are just lucky this didn’t happen in the “prime time”annual leave. I get it from both sides because my wife is an RN and just starting to get a few cases. We know we will probably get this virus but our jobs are important to us and the community. All we can do is try to not spread it so we came up with our own guidelines and procedures for when we get sick. Nobody is/or has been allowed in our house due to being a pretty high risk area. Cloths come off in the garage and go into wash on the way in the laundry room. Shower immediately and we check our temps before and after work. There’s a few other precaution we do but with the KC area going on lockdown for 30days starting Tuesday, it’s going to get boring real quick. I just need to pick my plane up from it’s annual before Tuesday so I can have something to tinker with. Then I can “quarantine” myself in the hangar when my wife starts driving me crazy!
     
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  15. sourdough44

    sourdough44 Pattern Altitude

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    In the near term traffic density will be lower. That will slightly offset distressed ATC facilities. Yes, still need 2.5 miles in trail on final.
     
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  16. Snowmass

    Snowmass Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Since the only places I care to fly to, given ramp fees, means I have no need for any ATC. Country hicks like me are by nature and necessity largely self reliant. I feel for you city slickers.
     
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  17. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser!

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    From the head of CBP at JFK:

    Port Director Frank Russo
    @CBPPortDirJFK

    ·
    Mar 21
    There are erroneous reports circulating that the FAA discontinued flights to NY and NJ due to the #coronavirus. Flights were temporarily suspended because of an issue with an aviation system. It has since been resolved and everything is back to “normal” at #JFK and Newark.
    https://twitter.com/CBPPortDirJFK/status/1241439482374733824?ref_src=twsrc^tfw|twcamp^tweetembed|twterm^1241439482374733824&ref_url=https://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/all-flights-to-new-york-area-airports-halted/2337853/

    Not sure why this came from CBP instead of the FAA, but I checked the LiveATC archive for the evening of the day in question and heard what sounded like a normal level of traffic. I also found a NOTAM that looked like it was saying ZNY would be out of service from 11:30 PM that night for several hours. I'm guessing that was to do additional work on whatever "aviation system" was responsible for the outage during the day.
     
  18. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The problem with the "aviation system" was that ZNY went ATC Zero due to a "staffing trigger" caused when controllers tested positive for COVID-19 and had to be pulled from the facility - Not enough controllers to keep it going safely, so they ground-stopped everyone both in and out and turned around inbound flights. They got more controllers in about a half an hour and reopened (and many of the flights that had been turned back were allowed to turn inbound again). The facility went ATC Zero again overnight when they closed to clean and disinfect, and is now open again but on ATC Alert status.

    So yeah, from the Port Director's point of view, THEY did not discontinue flights due to the Coronavirus - The FAA did, due to a "problem with the aviation system" - ZNY closing due to - wait for it - Coronavirus.

    Good ol' PR doublespeak. But chances are the CBP guy doesn't even know what ZNY is. He knows about JFK, LGA, and possibly N90, none of which were even closed. That's why it's "the aviation system" - He's clueless as to the workings of things once off the ground.
     
  19. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Source?

    Not to dispute what you're saying, but I hesitate to quote it without knowing the source.
     
  20. ARFlyer

    ARFlyer En-Route

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    Republic, KFRG, is ATC Zero until further notice. Seems they’re locking it up for 14 days according to the NOTAM. I’m guessing they don’t have enough controllers that arnt in quarantine.

    I’m betting over the next week or so we’re going to see a slow motion shutdown of the NAS.

    They’re either going to have to force the controllers to live at the facility 24/7 for several weeks or hope none of them have contact with anyone positive.
     
  21. RingLaserGyroSandwich

    RingLaserGyroSandwich Pre-takeoff checklist

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    If Potomac Tracon shuts down does that mean VFR traffic cannot fly into/out of the DC SFRA? Especially from untowered fields?
     
  22. GeorgeC

    GeorgeC En-Route

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    Presumably. Before switching to advisory yesterday, I thanked the controller for coming to work...
     
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  23. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Several. There were some news stories about it, and there is a group on Facebook with a bunch of controllers in it that is a great source for what's going on on the front lines right now.
     
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  24. N1120A

    N1120A Pattern Altitude

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    I don't even think they got to use the portable tower. They moved into the old terminal tower and the big tower was fixed quickly and They are back in.
     
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