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Guest Lucas Kaelin

Regional Circuit Ideas

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Guest Lucas Kaelin

I've only been around for a couple of RCs, but being as they are the events I almost certainly get time to fly, I of course have ideas. I'm still new, so yell if these have been tried and shot down, or done recently.

 

ONE

Density Altitude/Terrain Approach Challenge

Pick a city pair for the event, here's some ideas.

Apt1: DEN, SLC, LAS, or SFO

Apt2: RNO, TEX, JAC, HDN, CPR, or GUC

 

 

TWO

I've noticed a trend on the RC, everyone spawns at the same airport and flying the same route at nearly the same time. Why not add a little complexity to things with a secondary destination airport on each or one, effectively giving 3 or 4 airports for a RC. The airports would have to be close enough to be served by one approach controller. Even if you go uncontrolled to CTAF at the smaller secondary airport, with the approach control open above the airspace it would be something different.

Apt1: DCA/IAD/ADW

Apt2: ORF & PHF

Required controllers: Tower (WAS, ORF), Ground/Clearance (ORF, WAS), Approach (Potomac & ORF)

ZDC technically should be open, but they approach controls reach out far enough that PXT approach usually talks to the low level guys for only 15-20nm. Even if someone only wants to fly a Bonanza, the round trip can still be done in the 4hr event.

PHF & ORF are a very short distance apart, and both served by ORF approach. For military there's also LFI, NTU, NGU if you prefer.

DCA/ADW/IAD are pretty much self explanatory, but I'd suggest ADW & DCA because they would be easier to do with just one controller.

By far I think this is the coolest idea to throw out there, for now.

 

 

THREE

Being a former dispatcher for Piedmont (US Airways Express), I have knowledge of some the interesting routes they use in and out of PHL (not preferred routes, but negotiated with ATC for route and altitude). While there's tons of ideas for good routes, if you happen to run out of ideas. The routes were planned from D8H aircraft, but were also served by RJ's from higher altitudes. PHL to HPN/SWF/LGA, PHL to ISP/HVN, LGA to PVD/ACK/MVY

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Thanks for the suggestions! Let me start with a brief explanation of our events.

 

Running events at a virtual community like ours is a balancing act: we need to keep both pilots and controllers as happy as possible. Having too many events that favor one group over another isn't healthy in the long-run. Too many pilot-focused events and controllers won't want to sign up to control| pilots find some of the best ATC-focused events too short or unrealistic. We generally try to offer a range of events in different locations to keep things interesting and try to vary events between long and short, easy and challenging, pilot-focused and controller focused, etc.

 

If you haven't had a chance to look through our Events page, I recommend you do so. Many of these events are coming up in the next month, so you should have a good chance to see what events at BVA are all about.

 

When it comes to suggestions about events, I generally try to accept as many as possible if they seem feasible and will have the support of the community. For example, BVA recently voted that a foul-weather event would be interesting, so we will set up something in a future Regional Circuit to give that a try. Other suggestions are not always as practical (for example, suggesting a Regional Circuit that is 400nm long just won't work). The Domestic Journey, which often features longer routes, tends to be the least popular event (the Dj was 14% of members' favorite event| the Rc was 37%). The other complication is the Scenery Design Team: the group needs a few months' lead time in order to prepare the updates we value so highly during events. For that reason, I have a long list of Regional Circuit citypairs I provide Dan and his team with in advance so that they know what's coming. If someone has a suggestion for a citypair, I'll add it to the end of the list. Depending on the time of year, it can take up to a year to actually get to some of the suggestions.

 

All that being said, I'll respond to your specific suggestions...

 

ONE

Density Altitude/Terrain Approach Challenge

Pick a city pair for the event, here's some ideas.

Apt1: DEN, SLC, LAS, or SFO

Apt2: RNO, TEX, JAC, HDN, CPR, or GUC

We have featured every one of these airports except HDN, TEX, and CPR previously (sometimes the exact citypairs as well). Class E airports are not possible for Rc events because of the one-in one-out IFR rules (there can only be one IFR aircraft cleared for an instrument approach or with a departure release at a time, meaning everyone else has to wait in holds or elsewhere).

 

Others (like KDEN to KRNO) are too long: Regional Circuit events longer than about 250nm tend not to work very well. I'm not entirely sure why, but events like KLAX/KLAS tend to be exciting only for radar controllers while _Cl and _G controllers are waiting for airplanes en-route. It may seem strange to do shorter Rc events (like last night's), but the more time airplanes spend with TRACON controllers (and the more time they spend moving on and around airports), the more exciting things are for controllers. I'm assuming that most pilots -- like me -- prefer interacting with busy controllers rather than saying "hello" to a Center controller and then waiting 45 minutes before their next instruction.

 

TWO

I've noticed a trend on the RC, everyone spawns at the same airport and flying the same route at nearly the same time. Why not add a little complexity to things with a secondary destination airport on each or one, effectively giving 3 or 4 airports for a RC. The airports would have to be close enough to be served by one approach controller. Even if you go uncontrolled to CTAF at the smaller secondary airport, with the approach control open above the airspace it would be something different.

This varies as well...some events are totally one-way (for example, if we do a KBOS-KACK event, most pilots spawn at KBOS and fly to KACK). Others, like last night, tend to be somewhat even. We've tried things like a "tri-city circuit" before where three airports were controlled. What tends to happen is that pilots fly to two of the airports and the third gets no traffic. Or, we see not enough traffic to support all three and, while there's steady traffic throughout the event, nobody is overly busy. We have also tried more major events. You just missed the Washington HTC where we featured KIAD, KCHO, KORF, KPHL, KACY, and KRIC, but we're featuring another HTC in Chicago on February 6 so you can get an idea how those work. Again, we saw that, while we had a fair bit of traffic, it was dispersed enough that, while steady, controllers weren't swamped consistently. That's why we've removed one airport from the list for the next HTC.

 

I would welcome a few pilots flying out of other airports, towered or otherwise, during events. However, you have to remember that when you choose to do that, you lose out on interacting with three controllers waiting at a staffed airport. Again, it comes down to trade-offs.

 

THREE

Being a former dispatcher for Piedmont (US Airways Express), I have knowledge of some the interesting routes they use in and out of PHL (not preferred routes, but negotiated with ATC for route and altitude). While there's tons of ideas for good routes, if you happen to run out of ideas. The routes were planned from D8H aircraft, but were also served by RJ's from higher altitudes. PHL to HPN/SWF/LGA, PHL to ISP/HVN, LGA to PVD/ACK/MVY

Great suggestions. We've done PHL to ISP, LGA, and HPN before, as well as LGA to ACK/MVY. However, I'll add a few of these to the list.

 

I hope I've given you an idea of how events work and the range of possibilities that have tended to work in the past. That being said, I'm certainly not trying to 'shoot down' any of your ideas. If you have citypairs that are 50-200nm apart that you would like to see, please list them here. Alternatively, if you have other event ideas, please post them. Some may have been tried (successfully or unsuccessfully) but all of our new ideas come from somewhere. Feedback is always appreciated!

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Evan Reiter

Community Manager
Administration Team

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Guest Lucas Kaelin

I would welcome a few pilots flying out of other airports, towered or otherwise, during events. However, you have to remember that when you choose to do that, you lose out on interacting with three controllers waiting at a staffed airport. Again, it comes down to trade-offs.

I tried this last night running PHTO-PHOG-PHNL, and found it wasn't as easy as I thought. PHTO was too far away for Maui approach to see me, or issue any kind of clearance. So I took off VFR and was dodging thundershowers, and broken clouds for the first 30 miles trying to get on course. When I got close enough I was able to pick up an IFR clearance, but will try to pick something in underlying airspace next time as the time between dodging clouds and getting to Maui Approach airspace was dead.

 

Great suggestions. We've done PHL to ISP, LGA, and HPN before, as well as LGA to ACK/MVY. However, I'll add a few of these to the list.

I've noticed with the preferred routes seem to be the only ones issued for the city pairs, and controllers reroute a/c that file anything close to it. For a better experience for the controllers, I'd suggest a couple of routes for the city pairs, and make sequencing to the airport a little more challenging.

 

I hope I've given you an idea of how events work and the range of possibilities that have tended to work in the past. That being said, I'm certainly not trying to 'shoot down' any of your ideas. If you have citypairs that are 50-200nm apart that you would like to see, please list them here. Alternatively, if you have other event ideas, please post them. Some may have been tried (successfully or unsuccessfully) but all of our new ideas come from somewhere. Feedback is always appreciated!

I'm the FNG just trying to throw in my 2 cents, I don't expect much of it to valuable right off. But you're right, ideas come from somewhere, and even if my idea isn't used, it might stimulate something similar.

 

While I'm sure everyone suggests their home airport, I'm hoping that eventually when I get ATC cert w/BVA I might help you guys actually work a DFW-TUL pair. The scenery on the route isn't anything special, but they're right about 200nm, and it's a highly used route. American and Southwest fly it multiple times a day, Southwest of course going to DAL. Southwest has a lot of first stops out of DAL in TUL because of the Wright Amendment. http://http:|//en.|wikipedia.|org/wiki/Wright_Amendment

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Shyflyguy, Evan is right when it comes to doing 3 or more airports for a RC event, i threw up this idea earlier last year and did a lot of the scenery on it and advertising as well, while it was a pretty good event we just dont have enough steady pilots to keep it an interesting event. Out of the 1000+ members BVA has, we can only seem to keep an average of 20-30 active pilots for RC's which makes it very slow for controllers.

 

As per your DFW idea, i currently live in the DFW area and would love to get another event here soon, last year we had a South Texas getaway featuring Houston, Austin, and San Antonio, with a DFW to ?? RC. I myself flew into the DFW TRACON and landed at Fort Worth JRB in a C-17 but a lot of traffic went into the DFW area to either DFW or LOV. Maybe an idea for a DFW event would be a GA fly-in, there are atleast 8-10 airports inside the DFW TRACON which would make it pretty hairy for the radar controllers and probably TONS of fun for any GA/RJ traffic, especially with the great approach's that ADS and LOV use (right around/through and into the heart of the Dallas City Metroplex).

Devon Hathaway - BVATC Scenery Design  "Cross Devon at or above 4000, cleared for the ILS RWY 9R approach"

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