I’ve been using a new technique during busy approach times, and I thought I’d share it with you guys.
A lot of people can get flustered when heavy traffic comes in at once, right? You’re not alone. We all encounter it at one point, including myself. Here’s where a solution comes in.
What I’m finding is that giving higher blocks of descent to arrival aircraft helps tremendously with workload and effort. A chaotic session can quickly become orderly when doing so.
To put things in perspective, here’s some math. Imagine 30 aircraft inbound for JFK at FL220 and you give 2,000 feet descent increments every two minutes. Let’s include the theoretical time of arrival at… thirty minutes or so. Take 30 x 10 (amount of descents given within arrival frame to each aircraft). 300 commands given in a 20 minute time frame. That’s astounding, isn’t it?
Now… try FL220 —> 10,000 —> intercept altitude. That’s a total of two commands ever given to every aircraft. 2 X 30 = 60 for the whole thirty minutes. Massive difference! You’ve cut out 240 unnecessary commands!
- Stops grief and crying during heavy sessions.
- Pilot can focus on his descent.
- Pilot doesn’t have to keep stopping and adjusting for a new command. (They hate doing that!)
- Streamline orderly traffic flow.
- Frees controller efforts to focus on maintaining sep and other issues.
Now, obviously, there are a lot of variables that go into sending those descents. Consider the block altitudes that other aircraft have been cleared to pass through, as well as their approximate position. You don’t want to give a 10,000 block head on to another aircraft who’s been cleared to the same zone. The rate of descents will most likely vary, and there’s no guarantee that they will have the proper vertical sep in time, which is a must.
Use it when appropriate. If you’ve got dozens coming in from all directions, best to keep descents on the lower end to arrange them in line, or else there will probably be a vertical sep bust at one point. Once arranged and orderly, unleash crisp and minimal instructions for great results. That’s been the result of my observations for the last few days.
Hope this helps! Feel free to discuss and ask questions about technique. That’s what we’re here for.