We don't always have staff available to operate in this 3 runway configuration. When we do have just enough staff we can "triple" for a couple of hours. This is why there seems to be no pattern.
We try and time it so we're in this configuration during the time of highest demand, which is usually in the evenings from 4-9pm but maybe only for an hour at a time.
We may also use the south complex in isolation if there is snow clearing happening on the north part of the airport.
I have a few questions concerning yyz ops.I operate in and out of yyz at least 3-4 times a week and I have a few frustrations that I have.
1-When inbound from the east and you are landing 24R-23 we may get assigned 24R by the first arrival controller,23 by the next and then the same one will sitch us back to 24R.I fly the 320 and those changes require a lot of heads down time to re-program the box...now I understand that traffic situation is fluid and changes but why then when we go to ORD or LAX or MIA or JFK and they have even more traffic yet they assign you a runway and it almost never changes?And they are using 3 or 4 runways simultaneously.
I think some arrival controllers dont realize the workload for us of multiple runway changes on approach and may ,I say may,do the runway swap a little to rapidly or hastily.I would just like to understand.
2-when we are taxiing around and have to change ground frequencies with a hold short of (i.e taxi B short of T) why do so many controllers wait until we have to stop or almost stop to switch us over.Many times we have to ask "confirm 119.1 now?'" but by now we've had to stop or slow down greatly and this is just very inneficient and costly.I know you guys can get very busy but this happens also when there is nobody around.
Just remember we dont like to stop for no reason.
3-regarding the usage of 24l and R simultaneously,the government spends millions upon millions to build these expensive ''taxiways'' but dont want to spend the money to hire a few more controllers?How many are we talking about here? Im sure if you can spend all that money for runways you never use 24L,33L,33R you could hire a few more of you guys right?I have flown all over the world and have yet to see another airport with so much of it's infrastrure wasted.I know it's not your fault but the government's but as a taxpayer it is infuriating.
Finally this is just a question and not a problem at all but curiosity.
When we Take off why do you keep us on tower frequency until about 200 ft when other canadian airports just have you contact departures airborn?Is there a potential conflict with VFR traffic or somthing like that?
I appreciate your feedback and look forward to hearing about what we do that frustrate you guys...oh yeah by the way what's our sequence?
I don't "do" arrivals but I'll try and explain.
Runway assignments: from the east (YSO) on the 24s your "normal" runway would be 23. There are times when there is a need to balance the traffic on each runway and so you would be given the switch on a tactical basis to 24R. If that need changes, then you might get the change back. Not ideal I agree. As a straight-in arrival, you're treated very much as a "bowling ball" with very few sequencing options for arrival other than a runway switch, vigorous speed control, a dog-leg or a combination of the three.
We don't deliberately wait until you stop before the frequency change. Yes it happens and we try very hard to minimise it. When you leave AK with B/T, we won't normally transfer you until we see you turn. (You'd be amazed at how many take A or even go north on B) If we are talking to another aircraft, or if someone is talking to us then you are very quickly at T without being given the switch. North Ground can get very busy and extemely complex. We have a lot of airport to look at with conflicting traffic in several places and our priorities may be elsewhere ie traffic crossing runway 23 in a tight gap. If it happens when we're quiet, then there's no real excuse.
In the last 4 years there have been 5 check-outs (qualifications) in the tower out of about 25 trainees. There are about 8 trainees here now, half of them training in ground. We'd love to run the triple all the time, but it isn't going to happen. We'd need another 10 controllers qualified, but as fast as they qualify, we'd lose the same number to retirement. There is no short-term fix as it takes at least a year and sometimes two, to qualify.
You are kept on tower frequency because there is usually traffic close behind on approach to your runway and/or traffic departing on the adjacent parallel. If something goes wrong, we don't want you in between frquencies. There was a Gulfstream a while back that turned right heading 330 from 24R as traffic departed on 23. Not pretty. You're not going to get a turn til at least 3600, so why the hurry to talk to Departure?
List of gripes, by no means complete:
Leaving the frequency without authorisation. Do not change frequency anywhere until you are told to do so. Just because I don't say "stay with me" in your take off clearance doesn't mean change frequency. We use electronic flight data, and if you change without authorisation, especially on the ground, the next controller has no idea of who you are.
Arriving at the runway without numbers. Especially a problem on 23. Expect an earful and a runway crossing if there's traffic behind.
What's my sequence, when you're heading north on A with a line up south on B from R for deicing when we're on the 15s in freezing rain like last week.
You're on C/C1 after landing 06L and you tell us you approaching C1 before you reach D3. You're there to protect the C1 exit and we haven't forgotten, we're just judging the gap. Saying "approaching..." is a good way to get "forgotten" about!
Taking forever to get on or off the runway. Its HIRO you know!
Asking for AK inbound when there's traffic all over the place. We know you want AK but its an outbound point in our agreement with apron. If you haven't been given it by north ground, south ground cannot give it to you.
Readbacks: There are few things you need to read back. Runway hold-shorts and crossings are two that are extremely important.
Changing to ground having landed on 06R/24L when in between the runways. STAY WITH TOWER!!!
VNAP-A Tell clearance when you talk to them. If you forget, then tell somebody as soon as you can. There's no point telling clearance after you leave the ramp as the electronic data is no longer available to him. The earlier the better is a good rule. I had one guy tell departure! We use 3 miles in trail on departure and if you're doing the A and traffic close behind is doing a B, they'll catch up that 3 miles and we have to fill out paperwork.
That'll do for now.
Thanks that's good info.Not in a rush to talk to departures,just curious but your explanations make good sense and I will pass them on to my colleagues when the situations arise...As for the VNAP A I hear what you are saying and I am guilty a few times of having forgotten to mention it with the PDC readback but it is only recently that we have started using it on so many departures and tend to forget about even briefing it amongst ourselves and putting it into the FMS.But with time it will become more natural...Maybe an idea is to do like YVR and make all deps VNAP A unles otherwise mentionned.
Anyway good post and keep those frustrations coming,we'de love to know!
The number of VNAP-As is way outnumbered by the Bs, so your/YVR's idea would be counter-productive and be less likely to succeed here. At a time when we want you to go as fast as possible to get the 3 miles as quick as possible, the VNAP-As do cause a slight delay to the next departure although not when there is an arrival in between.
If the A profile is being used for noise reasons then great. If its being used in anticipation of an earlier turn on course, then its causing unnecessary delays to following traffic. I believe some airports have trialled (DEN or DFW I think it was) removing the 250Kt limit on departures to aid in flushing quicker. I don't know if that's still the case but it makes sense to me. The US have different separation rules for their departures and are able to do it much better than we can. The quicker we can get and maintain 3 miles the better. The VNAP-A is a minor hindrance to this aim.
No more gripes for tonight though.