Having qualified for approach controlling on the advanced server recently, I was hoping someone with more knowledge than me could clarify exactly what services they should provide.
Today I was on at KSEA for a while and I would say that there were more aircraft making “other requests” than actually asking for an approach to KSEA, which is surely the main purpose of my being there.
In fact at one point I counted 12 aircraft on my screen, only 4 of them actually heading towards Seattle. The rest were requesting flight followings and radar vectors to airports 150 miles away. Am I being unreasonable when I say that it’s nothing to do with me and they shouldn’t be on the frequency ? It clogs it up with pointless messages and stops me from providing a good service to those who really need it.
I’m aware the guidelines suggest that when there is no departure controller then approach should handle these too but why ? It just becomes too much for one person to cope with. It’s not the real world, there’s not always going to be the appropriate controller for every leg of your flight, and if that’s the case you should just switch to a unicom and continue on. Don’t sit on a frequency that isn’t applicable to you and block it up. In the time it took me to deal with one request today, 2 or 3 more were flashing up and most of them had nothing to do with me.
Also surely it’s time to do away with radar vectors. What is the point of this ? The whole idea and skill of approach controlling is to guide aircraft to the glideslope, keep them spaced apart and hand them off to tower. Not to send them to a rough space somewhere around the airport and then get rid of them.
And flight following should also be ditched for approach. It should only be available when you’re with centre and around cruising altitude. The clue is in the title ‘approach’, I’m not there for pointless FF requests.
It’s time to redefine the guidelines for when pilots should contact approach, and more specifically what they can request when they do. This will make the controller’s job easier, and they can then provide a better service to those who need it.
Thoughts people ?