TEMP ALTITUDE

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Peter Armstrong
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TEMP ALTITUDE

Post by Peter Armstrong » Fri Sep 21, 2018 12:33 pm

I was having a discussion with another Controller with respect to the Temp Alt function.

I was trained to set a Temp Alt (in VRC - right click data tag (or F8)- select the temp alt for which I have last instructed the pilot to descend to). That lets me know (and if there are any other controllers around, it lets them know what temp altitude I have given a particular A/C)

However, my friend uses it for his own "reminder" notwithstanding he has NOT instructed the pilot to descend to a hard Altitude.

Example being, RNAV arrival HAWKS into KSEA, the RNAV tells the pilot how to descend and the final fix VASHN has a hard 6000 for south ops. My friend handed over the A/C to me at Hawkz (I am SEA_APP) and placed 7000 temp altitude in the box. He said it was a reminder for him. But, I could not understand why??? Even after he tried to describe it to me.

Am I correct, that this function of Temp Alt is as I have described it? I am not missing something more here?

VRC INSTRUCTION MANUAL
Note that assigned cruise and temporary altitudes are automatically propagated to other controllers.
Happy controlling/flying :beer:
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Dylan Lundberg
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Re: TEMP ALTITUDE

Post by Dylan Lundberg » Sat Sep 22, 2018 10:47 pm

Peter Armstrong wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 12:33 pm
I was having a discussion with another Controller with respect to the Temp Alt function.

I was trained to set a Temp Alt (in VRC - right click data tag (or F8)- select the temp alt for which I have last instructed the pilot to descend to). That lets me know (and if there are any other controllers around, it lets them know what temp altitude I have given a particular A/C)

However, my friend uses it for his own "reminder" notwithstanding he has NOT instructed the pilot to descend to a hard Altitude.

Example being, RNAV arrival HAWKS into KSEA, the RNAV tells the pilot how to descend and the final fix VASHN has a hard 6000 for south ops. My friend handed over the A/C to me at Hawkz (I am SEA_APP) and placed 7000 temp altitude in the box. He said it was a reminder for him. But, I could not understand why??? Even after he tried to describe it to me.

Am I correct, that this function of Temp Alt is as I have described it? I am not missing something more here?

VRC INSTRUCTION MANUAL
Note that assigned cruise and temporary altitudes are automatically propagated to other controllers.
A lot of controllers use Temp. altitudes differently. There was a post regarding this on the VATUSA forums. Personally, I only use it if the aircraft is NOT on an RNAV arrival (like GLASR8) or If I descend them (or climb them) to an altitude other than their cruise. If they are on an RNAV, like the HAWKZ, I do not issue a temp alt.

Happy controlling!
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Peter Armstrong
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Re: TEMP ALTITUDE

Post by Peter Armstrong » Sat Sep 22, 2018 11:06 pm

So, here is a scenario:-
I am controlling SEA_APP, Fred is controlling SEA_CTR.
Pilot A is an arrival on the RNAV STAR HAWKZ (and he can fly it)

Fred hands off Pilot A to me at Hawkz with a hard temp altitude of 7000 in the box. I also have a departure Pilot B. His route takes him to cross Pilot A arrival path so, I instruct pilot B to C/M 6000.

However, Pilot A meanwhile is descending to 6000 at Vashn and, he did NOT receive a 7000 temp alt from Fred (Fred just put that in the box for his own use).

Pilot B is radar vectored and he is passing over Vashn at 6000.
Meanwhile, I am handling other arrivals/departures and clearances etc., knowing that all is OK between Pilots A & B (one will be at 7000 and the other at 6000 )when they cross paths.

Whoops! Pilot A is descending to arrive at VASHN at 6000

They both meet at Vashn at 6000 – and you know what happens next.

The APP controller gets it in the butt, it’s his fault because he has Tracon control of both A/C.

But, when I ask Fred why he put 7000 temp alt in the box, he said “that’s just for ME” and, “I did NOT tell the pilot A to descend to 7000”, he was descending via the RNAV HAWKZ STAR!

I have since told Fred that maybe I can ignore his Temp alts as they are just for his own use!?
Happy controlling/flying :beer:
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Frank Miller
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Re: TEMP ALTITUDE

Post by Frank Miller » Sun Sep 23, 2018 7:36 am

The issue isn't the use of temp altitudes! It is putting a departure across the arrival stream! This is why HAWKZ keeps them above 7000 until north of KWEST, which just about corresponds with the west turn on departures like the HAROB and BANGR SIDs at KSEA. This is part of the reason we've switched to intial climbs to 7000 for south ops at KSEA.

The miscommunication is also a problem, but the proximate cause is the climb given to the departure before confirming positive separation.

Frank

Peter Armstrong
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Re: TEMP ALTITUDE

Post by Peter Armstrong » Sun Sep 23, 2018 12:23 pm

Bear in mind this scenario is hypothetical - except for the hard temp alt of 7000 - but, the point that it is making is that Fred put a hard 7000 temp alt before handing over (for his own reason, not because he wanted the A/C to descend to 7000). The crash did not happen (no deps on that route). The HAWKZ RNAV was being flown perfectly by the pilot but, there is NO hard 7000 on that chart. So, why place a hard 7000 temp altitude into the scenario? And further, the pilot was unaware of the hard 7000 temp alt.

I use temp alts for one reason only - If I descend an A/C to a given level, I place that temp alt into the data tag to inform me that the instruction has been received and acknowledged and, if by any chance, another controller had to step into the scenario. He also would be aware of the given and accepted temp altitude so shown.

footnote:- my INS always taught me to keep deps below arrivals. So, "radar contact, climb via the sid, except maintain 5000." The arrival therefore would be reiterated to descend via the RNAV STAR and cross Vashn at 6000. Or,(Dep) "climb via the sid, except fly hdg 165". The climb is continuous and the turn can be directed when the conflict is over. ( not forgetting the "reason" for the exceptions!)
Happy controlling/flying :beer:
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Dylan Lundberg
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Re: TEMP ALTITUDE

Post by Dylan Lundberg » Mon Sep 24, 2018 11:44 am

Peter Armstrong wrote:
Sat Sep 22, 2018 11:06 pm
So, here is a scenario:-
I am controlling SEA_APP, Fred is controlling SEA_CTR.
Pilot A is an arrival on the RNAV STAR HAWKZ (and he can fly it)

Fred hands off Pilot A to me at Hawkz with a hard temp altitude of 7000 in the box. I also have a departure Pilot B. His route takes him to cross Pilot A arrival path so, I instruct pilot B to C/M 6000.

However, Pilot A meanwhile is descending to 6000 at Vashn and, he did NOT receive a 7000 temp alt from Fred (Fred just put that in the box for his own use).

Pilot B is radar vectored and he is passing over Vashn at 6000.
Meanwhile, I am handling other arrivals/departures and clearances etc., knowing that all is OK between Pilots A & B (one will be at 7000 and the other at 6000 )when they cross paths.

Whoops! Pilot A is descending to arrive at VASHN at 6000

They both meet at Vashn at 6000 – and you know what happens next.

The APP controller gets it in the butt, it’s his fault because he has Tracon control of both A/C.

But, when I ask Fred why he put 7000 temp alt in the box, he said “that’s just for ME” and, “I did NOT tell the pilot A to descend to 7000”, he was descending via the RNAV HAWKZ STAR!

I have since told Fred that maybe I can ignore his Temp alts as they are just for his own use!?
Here is my 2cents on this scenario, Peter:

If the controller is using it for his own use, it is common practice for Fred to remove the temp alt. prior to radar handoff. Thats what I do, and seen done by others - anyway..

Hope this helps!
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Peter Armstrong
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Re: TEMP ALTITUDE

Post by Peter Armstrong » Mon Sep 24, 2018 10:50 pm

Thanks Dylan - that's exactly what I would expect. But, it still remains a mystery why a CTR controller would put a temp alt of 7000 into a RNAV arrival and at a handoff of 12000 at Hawkz?

Ah well - life is still full of mysteries!
Happy controlling/flying :beer:
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Dylan Lundberg
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Re: TEMP ALTITUDE

Post by Dylan Lundberg » Tue Sep 25, 2018 12:19 pm

Peter Armstrong wrote:
Mon Sep 24, 2018 10:50 pm
Thanks Dylan - that's exactly what I would expect. But, it still remains a mystery why a CTR controller would put a temp alt of 7000 into a RNAV arrival and at a handoff of 12000 at Hawkz?

Ah well - life is still full of mysteries!
Indeed...I would just ask him, next time, if it happens again. Just to clarify..

Happy Controlling!
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Roger Curtiss
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Re: TEMP ALTITUDE

Post by Roger Curtiss » Fri Oct 19, 2018 10:38 pm

Regardless of the scenario, the key to using temp altitudes is that they should be cancelled prior to handoff. That is what it says in the SOPs here.
I am firmly of the camp that a temp altitude is a tool/reminder for an individual controller while the aircraft is under his control. Once he is done with it he should 'erase the board' and remove that temp altitude as it is either not needed or, as in Peter's hypothetical situation, confusing at best.
Roger Curtiss
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