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Cross fix at xx:xxZ

2ndGenPSA

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This is a first!
I heard Atlanta Center clear a flight inbound to CLT to cross a fix at a specific time. With the new time-based metering, this sounded appropriate enough. The crew's reply to the controller was less than confident, but they accepted the clearance without query. After a few minutes, the controller asked the flight if they had time for a question (haha!). He asked the flight if the clearance that HE had issued gave the flight the authority to deviate from their course to the fix, and to adjust their speed. The flight replied that they were wondering the same thing, that they had reduced their speed as much as possible, and that they would need delay vectors to meet the crossing time restriction. The controller then cleared the flight for 30 degree turns left and right of course.

Uhhhhhh, I have a little issue with a controller not knowing what his clearance meant! Is ATC experimenting with TBM and placing more responsibility on the crews to meet fix arrival times? Was this controller just trying his own thing because he's tired of vectoring planes to meet the times? Is this type of clearance in the handbook?

Interesting.
 

BillJBrake

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it seems like in the Northeast, with EWR metering, must crews are un-capable or don't fully understand the restriction and so most controllers have abandoned the concept and have gone back to vectoring and speed restrictions.

Would be nifty if most pilots would work with it, we could set the FMS with a time and autothrottles or speed inputs could get hte plane there at the precise time, vs the controller guessing with speed restrictions.
 

pilothouston123

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It happened to me in the gulfstream going into HOU. Looked at the FMS and slowed down a bit. No big deal. Then right after we crossed the fix, we got max forward speed. Then about 20 miles from the airport they turned the airport around and we landed with min fuel...
All in a days work.
 

2ndGenPSA

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My understanding is that TIME based metering is relatively new. The controllers sure act like it is judging by their grumblings when the computer spits out a revised time for our A/C to cross a fix. I think metering used to be based first on volume, then on distance spacing between A/C. Now the system assigns a time for an A/C to cross a fix.

Anyhow, the real point of my question is this: the controller didn't know how much authority his clearance gave us, in terms of speed and delay vectors. Speed is intuitive. But when speed alone won't be enough to cross the fix at the specified time, is the A/C authorized to fly its own delay vectors?
 

CA1900

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My understanding is that TIME based metering is relatively new.

Maybe in some parts... I used to frequently get "Cross WOONS at XX:XX" enroute to BOS when I was going in there pretty regularly, and that was 10 years ago.
 

dispatchguy

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Maybe in some parts... I used to frequently get "Cross WOONS at XX:XX" enroute to BOS when I was going in there pretty regularly, and that was 10 years ago.

Were you flying an FMS airplane, or was the FMS between the pilots ears like a DC9?
 

SpeedRestricted

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I was once cleared to cross a fix at a specific time if unable hold at the fix as to depart it at that time. In that particular case I was specifically given the hold instructions, I don't recall where it was at.
 

westwind driver

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Flew into Calgary back in 2005, was told to cross the arrival fix at a specific time. What did we do? Entered the hold at the arrival fix as depicted on the chart, flew a few turns, flew one half leg, turned inbound and crossed the fix at the specific time. We were so close in to the fix that slowing down would not have worked. Truth be told I cant really remember if we were told to enter the hold and then cross the fix at the specific time.

I think this was almost exactly like SpeedRestricted's experience.

Others flying into Calgary may help shed some light on this.

As for the FAA, TBM looks like it is gonna take some time to get everyone comfortable with the operations.
 

filejw

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BTW this is not new. I can remember this as part of my IFR training in the early 70's and its very prevalent internationally..
 

CA1900

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Were you flying an FMS airplane, or was the FMS between the pilots ears like a DC9?

I missed your question from two months ago, but if you're still reading... Initially it was between the ears, and I'd do my best (doing mental math in terms of miles-per-minute) to time the restriction so we wouldn't have to hold. The company later added GPS to the panel, which could tell us time at a fix based on current speed, which made it a little easier on the old brain. :D
 

Cat3C

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I was flying through MSP airspace yesterday and heard this clearance several times- flights getting cleared to a fix on an arrival or something with the time limit It also seemed that the crews and the controller were sort of fuzzy about the whole concept sort of like feeling it out a bit.
 

skid

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I have received these on multiple trips between PDX and Vancouver, BC. This was several years ago so this is not all that new. The last time I remember getting one we slowed down as much as we could and when we knew we would still be super early we just advised the controller and he aided in delay vectors.

I think it is an attempt to keep the crews informed as to what kind of delays to expect and attempt to relieve some controller work vs giving a planned hold and true EFC. Concept does not seem that difficult to me. :)
 

westwind driver

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BTW this is not new. I can remember this as part of my IFR training in the early 70's and its very prevalent internationally..

Yet it seems like the FAA has, regarding a few things, been behind the rest of the world.

Not always, the U.S. has led the way with aeronautical advances many times over, but when it comes to airspace and ATC, we seem to be behind other 1st world countries and unions.

Just my 2 cents, let the flames begin ;)
 

Oakum_Boy

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Yet it seems like the FAA has, regarding a few things, been behind the rest of the world.

Not always, the U.S. has led the way with aeronautical advances many times over, but when it comes to airspace and ATC, we seem to be behind other 1st world countries and unions.

Just my 2 cents, let the flames begin ;)

Okay. Just try flying in Southern Europe. Totally incompetent. US ATC is the best in the world, bar none. The British are very good, however.
 

TransMach

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Timed Approach/Time Based Metering

This is nothing new guys.

In OKC to qualify as a non-radar approach controller circa 1982 (post strike) we had to master timed approaches ... metering from the final approach fix ... as well as outer fixes.

Old stuff ... wuzzup? This was pre-radar ...

TransMach
 

ericpj14

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I am an ATC at Jacksonville Center in florida and we use time based metering going to clt and atl. TBM is basically a tool to place each aircraft on final at a certain time to enhance efficiency. This is all computer generated. A lot of controllers do not like metering because they don't understand it completely. They have been using tbm at dfw for a while and it has worked great. The east coast has been behind in getting it do to the fact that there is a lot more traffic on the east coast so things get implemented last. Overall, tbm is much better than miles in trail because we don't end up vectoring aircraft all over. There are several metering points beginning up to 100 miles from the airport and at each one u have to have a certain time. I might get my aircraft over a specific fix on time, but the next sector might have to lose 2 minutes still. Sometimes if there is a large delay we will swap the aircrafts position with another one that is farther from the airport. The overall goal is to not have to turn an aircraft and use speed control overall. Hope this is clear as mud!
 

BigMotorToter

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I am an ATC at Jacksonville Center in florida and we use time based metering going to clt and atl. TBM is basically a tool to place each aircraft on final at a certain time to enhance efficiency. This is all computer generated. A lot of controllers do not like metering because they don't understand it completely. They have been using tbm at dfw for a while and it has worked great. The east coast has been behind in getting it do to the fact that there is a lot more traffic on the east coast so things get implemented last. Overall, tbm is much better than miles in trail because we don't end up vectoring aircraft all over. There are several metering points beginning up to 100 miles from the airport and at each one u have to have a certain time. I might get my aircraft over a specific fix on time, but the next sector might have to lose 2 minutes still. Sometimes if there is a large delay we will swap the aircrafts position with another one that is farther from the airport. The overall goal is to not have to turn an aircraft and use speed control overall. Hope this is clear as mud!

Just an FYI but all Jetblue Airbuses have the software that if the controller gives us a time to be at a fix, we just type that time in the FMS and the plane automatically adjusts the speed to make that time at that fix. Pretty cool stuff. Maybe all Airbuses have this I don't know, but I thought I would pass this along. Please tell your other co-workers that the Jetblue guys should be able to work with you pretty well in regards to TBM. I'm not sure if our E-190's can do it though.
 
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