Sector handoff, then consolidation

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JonYTS
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Sector handoff, then consolidation

#1 Post by JonYTS » Fri Jul 08, 2016 6:14 am

From time to time, while listening to my local sector, and adjacent southern sector via LIVE ATC, and it's 7:55pm local. A given flight is handed off to either my home sector or the next sector. Then a few minutes later, the sectors consolidate. Do the IFR controllers or the supervisors decide when to split or consolidate their airspaces? Is there a set limit of flight plans that dictates when a sector is split or combined?
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thenoflyzone
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Re: Sector handoff, then consolidation

#2 Post by thenoflyzone » Sat Jul 09, 2016 10:58 am

Usually the supervisor in charge of the unit decides when to split or consolidate sectors. However if a supervisor is not present, controllers can split/consolidate on their own as well. It's all a routine you see. Controllers usually know when the peak traffic will hit, and will take measures ahead of time to split sectors, so as to handle the traffic in the most efficient and safest way possible. Same thing to consolidate. When the traffic dies down, they simply merge the sectors.

There is no set number of flights per sector after which you have to split. It's all done via traffic forecasts and patterns. Weather also plays a role in splitting or consolidating.

it also depends on the type of traffic you are controlling. If you are sitting in a high level unit where all the planes are at cruise altitude, you can have 20+ planes on your frequency and it's all smooth sailing. If you have 20 planes in a terminal environment, chances are you are going under......
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JonYTS
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Re: Sector handoff, then consolidation

#3 Post by JonYTS » Fri Jul 15, 2016 5:53 pm

Thanks for answering that. I do listen to 133,97 which combines with 118,97 120,72 and other varied central/northern Quebec sectors. It's challenging to figure out which frequency a flight is active on when so many tiny sectors are merged into one huge airspace. Yet if I am up listening at 2:00am ET, it's fascinating hearing the "Oceanic" clearances.
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