...I'm gonna blog about this one.
I last wrote a warm and fuzzy post on Labor Day, but that was before I went to work.
We had our sectors combined up in our Sunday morning (even though it was Monday) configuration. Utica, Watertown, Rockdale at one scope and Albany, Delancey, Hancock (that would be Al-De-cock, yes) at another. Childish names aside, it really is my favorite setup. Around 10am, though, the list of flight plans started growing to a number that made us ask, "what day is it again?" The next controller back from break prefers NOT to work at Albany sector (I love it!), so I offered my D-side chair to him and I'd go split Albany off and open it at its normal scope by itself.
A few minutes later I was settled in with my settings and range the way I like it. I was one-holing, which seemed fine at the time, but maybe I could have used a D-side after all. I don't think we had enough people there on the holiday for that sort of thing anyways...
Albany, in general, goes from zero to holy-crap-what-just-happened very quickly, and today was no exception. When you're surrounded by 14 other sectors and an approach control, well, you can get a lot of handoffs flashed at you at once!
It started off with the LGA-BTV prop at 15000 northbound. Then a northwestbound ALB departure. So far so good. Then a BTV-EWR prop at 16000. Then two southbound ALB departures come off quick, the first goes down J6, the other over PWL (PWL is east of J6, see diagram below). Approach turns them to a northwest heading so I have a chance to get them higher first. I put the first guy on a 250 heading to give me room to crank the second one hard left inside to PWL. I get a BDL departure in the eastern half of my airspace and climb him to FL230. I'm about to turn my J6 departure southbound to join the airway, but now I notice the handoffs I'm getting from DNY sector, on a converging course with this departure. The first is a BDL arrival out of FL250 for FL180 and then a PVD prop arrival a few miles behind at FL210. So I leave the J6 departure on his present heading and aim him right at the prop at Fl210. I realize I'm never gonna top the BDL arrival but I have a chance to miss the prop. I call DNY and get control. They seem concerned about my plan but, at the same time, glad that I offered to work Albany sector instead.
Thanks to flightaware as always. Pardon me, I'm still learning Photoshop, but I did get it to overlap OK :)
I descend the PVD prop to FL190, I turn my ALB departure, now climbing out of 17500, to a southeastbound heading to give it more time to climb. He falls in nicely behind the BDL arrival, but I'm not sure that new heading is gonna miss the prop. I turn the prop 20 degrees right while I'm at it. Now the high side is flashing me 3 Newarks from the north, and a LGA arrival at a weird angle from the east, converging my with BDL departure who is climbing well. I take the LGA handoff and then call to point him out to the low sector to my east, who I plan to descend the plane through to get under the BDL departure. "Pointout east of CAM, AWIxxxx descending southwestbound" All I get is a lecture: "Well, I don't think he's ever going to hit my airspace?" There is a little cutout in the airspace and I'm certain the plane is gonna hit that spot. "He's gonna run along your corner there descending" "If you say so, I don't think you're gonna hit me though" "OK then, DM" And I hung up. I don't think I ever got an approval, but I really don't have time to care. "AWIxxxx, Boston Center, descend to reach FL200 in 2 minutes or less." That should do it.
Back on the other side of my scope, it isn't working out, so I have the PVD prop expedite his descent (He's still far away from PVD, no sense pushing it down to FL190, I guess) and I turn the the departure more to the left. I say goodbye to the BDL arrival, the PWL bound departure, and the BDL departure. I turn my LGA direct PWL once he's under my departure to keep him away from the PVD prop and continue the descent to FL180. Once above FL200, "cleared direct ACOVE, join J6, thanks".
Till next time....