June 21, 2008

Going to nEWRk?

I get into work today at 7am sharp. At 7:05am, I'm sitting at DNY sector with one airplane. And it's trying to get to Newark. Area E has already been shut off by New York Approach, and they have 10 of them spinning. So I take mine and assign holding as well. Fantastic.

Later in the day, at Albany (ALB) sector, I'm working the standard international arrival rush to Newark around 11am. This time, they're running smoothly, for the most part. Cumulus clouds are starting to build, but no one is deviating yet, and there are lots of VFR planes cruising around. We spot one of them northwest of Albany at 16500 feet acting like a decent twin prop plane. Its flying south right along V213 (the arrival route that we deliver the Newarks to Area E at 16000 feet). Meanwhile, I'm getting pretty busy with BDL departures crossing Manchester arrivals, mixed in with a prop or two and a Quonset, RI arrival.

The Newarks start coming in droves, each one higher and faster than the one before. My D-side-in-training calls the high sector to get control to slow them down, since the downstream sector just called and wants 250 knots on all the Newarks. There is a TEB and HPN arrival in the mix converging with the Newarks from the east, and they must get down below everyone else. The VFR traffic is 10 miles south of ALB, still at 16500, and I have to get these two biz-jets down to 14000 quickly so I can get the Newark jets down below the VFR. The last thing I want to do is have to go over the top of a VFR prop with a B767. This is where the link to the definition of wake turbulence would go.

The first two get down no problem, keeping their speed up until they level at 16000, then I assign 250 knots. The high sector has assigned the oncoming string 310 knots, and now the compression is really getting tight. I need to slow them to 250 knots first, and then have them descend, but they can't stay high for too long, or they'll nail the VFR guy along the airway. I am talking constantly, stepping all the traffic down on top of other traffic, and calling traffic advisories to the Newarks as they narrowly descend under the VFR. I wonder if that pilot every saw the B767s fly 500 feet below at less than a mile laterally. I hope he got a good show.

Another day shift in the books. Two more to go this week.



mprogers said...

I really enjoy your blog. Have you thought about giving talks at, I don't know, EAA Aventure or the like? Or maybe you do this already...

deltamike172 said...

I appreciate your readership. While I may, in the future, consider doing something along those lines, I have only been checked out, on my own, for 6 months. I'm still learning things on a daily basis. Perhaps later in my career I'll consider myself more of an "expert" in the field and be in a position to take it on tour :)


Anonymous said...

I was in a 172 heading west over eastern Long Island at 4500 this weekend, with flight following. NY APP sent a Citation over my head from behind (and I mean directly over) at 5000. The Citation was trying to get down into KFOK (about 12 mi further west). As soon as I called the Citation in sight, App thanked me and cleared it to descend. I wasn't especially concerned about wake turb because it was not a heavy, but the through crossed my mind enough to shift course laterally. Should I have been more concerned?