I probably think that not too many controllers place Alias Files[dot] commands high on their controlling agenda. And, for good reason. We all like to converse in Real World terms – with our voices – both controllers and pilots alike. After all, that’s one of the main reasons that we undertake this pastime and that’s why we enjoy it so much.
However, unlike most controllers, and due to medical reasons, I do not have a real voice. This puts me in an unusual position. I have to depend highly on a very constructive, detailed and prolonged set of [dot] commands to lean upon when my pilots fail to understand my voice comms.
But, there are occasions when other controllers do need to converse with pilots by text. And that’s when things take a turn for the worse. If you do not have a reasonable set of [dot] commands then you have to type what I call “longhand”. And that not only takes time – which sometimes we do not have a lot of - particularly when your airspace is full of pilots demanding instructions from ATC.
That is when a good set of [dot] commands come in handy. There are lots of generic [dot] command files available on our network and they are very comprehensive and good to have as a controlling tool.
Myself, I have gathered such generic [dot] command files over a two year period and adapted them specifically for my controlling positions. And, when I say specifically, I mean they are very specific. Example:-
[.hs2] Welcome aboard, Radar Contact,$dist(Hawkz) miles $bear(Hawkz) of Hawkz at $calt, descend via the Hawkz6 arrival, expect vectors ILS RWY 16C approach, altimeter $altimeter($arr)
That [dot] command [.hs2] h = Hawks arrival, s = South ops, 2 = the second [dot] command in my Hawks arrival file
The rest of the [dot] command is self-explanatory. Or is it?
Let’s break it down. $dist(Hawkz) = that string (the string is the $ sign accompanied by the parameters) gives you the distance the A/C is from the INT HAWKZ. $bear(Hawkz) = gives you the direction the A/C is traveling from towards the INT HAWKZ. $alt = gives you the altitude the A/C is currently flying. That is the “raw” [dot] command. The actual command that arrives at the pilot’s text receiving platform is as follows (an example in content)
Welcome aboard, Radar Contact, 22 miles south of Hawkz at 21000, descend via the Hawkz6 arrival, expect vectors ILS RWY 16C approach, altimeter 3017
That particular [dot] command is my initial contact with an arrival into SEA TRACON on the STAR Hawkz6 ( after of course ID with the squawk etc.,)
You can imagine having to type all of that instruction when you have your hands full of pilots demanding your attention!
All I have to type is [.hs2] and that’s it. Simple but quick. And quick is the key word here – the compilation of these [dot] commands are not always simple!
So, if you have any questions on [dot] commands, post them here and I am sure that I or others will answer them.
Peter (two finger typist)
Ask questions of the training staff and fellow controllers. Also training FAQs
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As a reminder, should any controller wish to receive a copy of my Alias Files [dot commands] then I can confirm that I have sent a copy of mine to Frank Miller and I am sure that he or myself can provide you with copies