Ah yes, this is the perfect time to close not one, but BOTH of the Approach Frequencies!

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Sometimes no one with enough experience is available. Divert from the chaos if you have to.

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Apologies for the inconvenience, however as @Rob_M said, sometimes no one with experience is available. IFATC is made up of volunteers with no set hours of who’s controlling where. If you want to help fill the void, join IFATC! :)

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As you can see, this is a heavy load of inbounds. IFATC org tells me 50+. Only a few controllers can handle this amount in good quality of service. I personally would recommend to divert to Stansted for example.

I think this is Training, the chaos because nobody respect ATC order

Nope. That’s definitely expert server. TS doesn’t have TFR I believe

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Also training never has that much traffic, or at least I think.

Too much traffic in EGLL, everyone make Pattern :/

Hey I was the Tower controller for most of that time. I decided to switch from ground to tower and try handling the chaos as much as possible as approach closed. I knew that if I close, it would probably be even more worse. When I moved from ground to tower, it was pretty much madness. My main goal was working from the inside out, meaning aircraft on final were priority, deps were basically ignored for a while, and I was first just trying to have final sorted, which took a while.

It’s also pretty impossible to control aircraft when instructions aren’t followed. I could’ve reported so many more people than I did (which I already reported a good amount of people) though I understand that the pilots are also pretty stressed out, so I mainly gave a lot of go arounds to keep final clear. Also, spoiler alert, truth is Tower by itself isn’t really designed to handle loads and loads of traffic like today without approach.

Honestly, if the pilots are helpful, not go straight to the cone, follow instructions, extend downwind when they need to even if not instructed to, following the pattern entry instead of their FPL (if you were told go around, it was most likely due to this), and not spam 100 times the same thing (I’ll get to you when I can!)
Then tower could be a lot better without approach in heavy traffic, I get that pilots are trying to get in before the chaos but here’s the spoiler alert, that’s what helps start the chaos

I’m not trying to blame all the pilots though, there were definitely a lot of pilots who were trying to be good pilots and in the chaos it’s stressful and confusing on what to do, I’ve also been in that place before as a pilot.

If you looked ahead like 20-30 minutes later or so, things started looking a little better as the chaos started passing, and eventually approach got back on and now it looks normal

Did I maintain perfect quality service? To be honest, no, I made mistakes, it was chaotic, but I personally think I did the best I could in the situation, especially since I felt if I closed it would just be worse, and I was hoping radar could open ASAP. I was thinking of closing, but I decided to brute force through it instead.

If you have a complaint regarding my service, feel free to PM me respectfully as feedback is always appreciated.

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But that feeling when you run out of sequence numbers on local…

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No better feeling 😂

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Actually I don’t think I even ran out, I really could only give sequences on final/when going straight in (and I was responding to commands as fast as I could), a sequenced downwind was nonexistent at that time (the downwind/base was just a bunch of people trying not to hit each other but still trying to get in as fast as they could. I was trying to create a proper sequence using pattern entries and some extend downwind), but people just CAF lol, making the pattern entry useless. Also, with how it was it would be very very confusing for a pilot to follow a sequence, but if pilots just extend their downwind/respect other pilots after approach goes off, it would make things so much smoother and organized

Pilots who weren’t being respectful to other pilots were the ones who mainly got the g/as

Probably also forgot to give a sequence like 1 or 2 times or so as after the pattern entry, when actually I cleared them they were most likely on final and forgot to send a sequence, which is my mistake.

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Handling a lot of inbound traffic on local is quite fun, up to a certain extend. I controlled LEMD a couple days ago without any radar for 1 hour straight, it was extremely fun because

A. For some reasons the pilots actually followed their sequence
B. It wasn’t crazy busy like heathrow today, but still busy because it was the hub
C. Ground was relatively quiet so I could pay a lot more attention to tower

But during busy times like EGLL today, having radar go offline will kill the flow within minutes. Like you said, pilots want to land ASAP. If radar is present, they can’t. They need to follow vectors. But don’t need to figure out the sequence by themselves because radar does it for them. I feel like most infinite flight pilots are over-reliant on radar, they can only navigate by their flightplan or radar vectors. When the pilot gets a sequence from tower, they need to figure it out themselves, but like I mentioned before, most infinite flight pilots are over-reliant on radar and do not know how to follow a sequence given by tower. In most cases, they keep following their flightplan and give the controller a hard time.

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Hello! I was one of those controllers that left. I’m kinda upset for people to be making topics when it comes to the timing of personal life.

Initially, the other controller said they had to leave. They gave their proper warnings and tried to stay as long as they could. While I could have stayed for another 10 or so minutes, I could not control all the aircraft in the area. I got around 500 operations in an hour with half the aircraft, usually I get 200 a session with all aircraft. Secondly, I left when I saw 6 aircraft called me with 1 mile spacing, no flight of callsign, and the same altitude. Sadly, if pilots cannot help me I cannot help them.

Hope you understand. Both our ability to control all those aircraft and personal life made us close when we did.

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Totally agree with you here, most people don’t get why ATC sometimes can go totally dark when it’s crazy busy. Ex. 2 approaches on, ground and tower. One approach goes off → other approach has to go off since it’s unmanageable and crazy → tower goes off since there’s no approach → ground will go off with tower if they aren’t split (also not much point in having ground only open but not
tower)
It’s like a big domino effect that creates these impossible situations

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Idk what to tell you man, we are people, and we can’t do this forever. 🤷

I would recommend diverting if the traffic feels to chaotic, and besides that, I can’t really help you further unless a user decides to open Radar.

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Just general commenting, no bad feelings for or to either side of this …

It seems like an unfortunate combination of circumstances…

  • ATC are volunteers, so they will always be in short supply and subject to their own personal schedules.

  • Because ATC are in short supply, those who want the experience of approach and landing with ATC will gang up on the available controllers and by default make it a scenario much crazier than reality.

Pilots who plan departures instead of approaches, or who divert from unrealistically overloaded destinations help ease the situation.

I’d give any ATC actually attempting to do their work in those conditions an extra kudos and bonus for sticking with a nightmare situation. While they don’t have all the tools of real ATC, they were still trying to manage way more than real ATC would deal with in that timeframe.

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For the comparison, i looked up Heathrow… Wikipedia says they handled 207,070 planes in 2020. That averages to 23.6 planes pet hour.

More than twice that would be far more than real ATC ever contends with.

Again, kudos to IFATC volunteers for even trying to deal with that crowding.

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I agree with you on much appreciation to IFATC volunteers, and also on the standards and approachability. Thanks for juggling the push at realism with a separate life. Though ironically I find this topic informative and helpful.

On Heathrow operations the link below gave an operation frequency (takeoffs and landings) as much as one every 45 seconds, which I think comes to 80 per hour. (I don’t know how they get their numbers)

How Many Planes Fly Each Day From Heathrow? – UK-Airport-News.info

At the fringe of the topic I include the following (out of interest):

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Just way out of the topic I am over EGKB (Air India below China Southern)and this was my 1st flight on Expert server and the moment I saw the traffic it was a lot than they could handle and ppl were just taking off from nearby airports and expecting to land btw the flights-Me,China Southern and Malaysian- were departing so we didn’t got much problem but the airport got busy due to a lot of incoming traffic from nearby airports and it kept coming the whole airspace over the airport was crowded but incoming traffic and outgoing traffic.