Feedback time, and a long run

The day starts reasonably well, with some light coordination duty to start with. Light enough, in fact, that after three quarters of the run I’m asked to head to the course leader’s office and receive my so-called “Training Report”.

“Training Reports” are basically scheduled opportunities for the trainee to receive some summary feedback from the instructors, relayed by the course leader. This one is done in preparation of the “Phase Report” in two weeks, which is a phase of closer-than-usual observation of our performance, followed by a decision if it is worth continuing training.

The feedback basically says that I probably don’t have to worry about the phase report. Main issues: do not vector too close, do not become cocky. A good reminder of a lesson I learned some weeks ago during a completely ruined run on Donau Low – do not overestimate yourself, do not rest on what you got. Harsh (simulated) reality is sure to catch up if you do. :)

The afternoon gets interesting, as we do another Langen Arrival run with one of the two runways closed half of the time. This run takes two hours, is designed with quite a bit of traffic which is increased in complexity by the “ten miles between successive arrivals” rule (and an emergency to spice things up). Exhausting, but plenty of fun (where do we know that from…)

At some point, we only accept inbounds from the adjacent sector at a very low rate of at least thirty nautical miles between each other (normal is ten). When we are already back at twenty, a short look into the crowded holding stack is incentive enough to further lower that requirement to fifteen miles so they can get rid of some airplanes, too.

Shortly afterwards, the coach (doubling as planner) tests just how much I overestimate myself and suggests we could accept ten miles between the inbounds now. She is quickly halted by my “hell no!” Test passed…

And just in case we get a test about the ability to let airplanes fly full circles – I’m becoming an expert in that regard by now. Three in this run, and counting. At least we offer some nice view for the passengers (well…those one side of the airplane). :)

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Normal Ops?!

A short, exciting tale from last week:

The usual routine, a Langen Arrival run with one of the two runways closed. As a result, the airport can accept fewer airplanes than usual, demanding for an increase in spacing between two successive arrivals of ten nautical miles (normal is 3 to 6 miles).

When my downwind starts to reach Luxembourg, I decide to send the next three airplanes into a left-hand full circle, trying to delay them close to the airport. And then comes Murphy…

Just as soon as all three airplanes are far enough in their turn so they can’t reasonably be stopped, the tower calls in and informs us that both runways are open again, we are resuming normal ops and please send us all those airplanes closely spaced together. Right…

Life continues of course, so we do as the tower bids. After taking the time for some loud swearing, of course (plenty of it available, since an airplane usually takes about two wasted minutes for a full circle).