LOWI Primer

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Contents

About this Document

This document is intended as training and reference material for controlling Innsbruck Airport (LOWI). It covers the stations LOWI_TWR and LOWI_APP. This page is work in progress. If you are controller: Feel free to discuss and edit.

If you are a Pilot: The page LOWI for pilots is a better source for you, with more info on flying airplanes and less on controlling.

AIRAC status is 1704 (May 2017).

Recent important changes

  • May 2017: AB NDB is gone, RUM NDB is new.
  • November 2016: AIRAC 1612 added with SAXFRA.
  • 2015: End of KTI NDB, change of LOC DME West approach, all new RNAV 08 approaches, Airspace (New TMAs)

General

Euroscope Display Settings

1) As everywhere, it makes sense to display all published STARs, except maybe RTT1B which might block your view (That's in Display Settings -> Stars).

2) Also, it makes sense to display the following fixes, as they are end/starting points for SIDs and STARs (That's in Display Settings -> Fixes):

  • ADILO, BRENO, ELMEM, KOGOL, LIMRA, MOGTI, NANIT, OBEDI, TULSI, UNKEN

3) The LOC approaches (East and West, see later in this document) are patched into the ESE file. It makes sense to activate them (They are also in Display Settings -> Stars):

  • Stars:*LOWI OEJ (West)
  • Stars:*LOWI OEV (East)

4) In contrast, it makes sense to hide the extended centerlines, as they make absolutely no sense in Innsbruck - they end in mountains and noone can fly them.

5) Then it makes sense to activate some of the VFR reporting points, namely MIKE1, SIERRA, WHISKEY1, BRENNER and NOVEMBER2. You only need them as TWR, but if your TWR is offline, APP has the burden.

6) Make sure you have RUM NDB, RTT NDB and INN NDB visible - you need them all.

7) Finally, you really need the display of the different MRVA (Minimum Radar Vectoring Altitudes) around Innsbruck, as they vary substantially. They should be active by default. If not, (hell, where are they? Please add!)

Location

Innsbruck is one of the most thrilling airports to fly from and to, for various reasons:

  • It is deep in the Inn valley, surrounded by mountains as high as 8000ft (to the north) and >10000ft (to the south and West). Flying is limited to a narrow corridor. Turns within the valley need to be done visually with speed < 165kt and maximum bank (25° or more).
  • The runway is somehow not in line with the valley, so approach and takeoff is not straight-in-or-out. Instead, the last part of approach and the first part of departure is visual only.
  • LOWI has peculiar wind conditions - "Föhn". This is a very strong and gusty southerly wind. Under these conditions, aircraft usually perform a "special Föhn" departure and arrival to avoid vomiting passengers and heart attacks. At VATSIM, these conditions cannot be simulated, but some local pilots love to fly it.
  • The runway has no complete adjacent taxiways for entering and exiting - Departing (and sometimes arriving) aircraft need to backtrack on either side, which takes time and makes Tower controlling a real thrill.
  • X-Plane 9 has LOWI as (nice) standard scenery, which provokes many X-Plane newbies to try out their skills here - interesting experience for controllers, to be polite. Same for the new JustSIM scenery.

Airspaces around LOWI

As Innsbruck is deeply buried in "the canyon", airspace is out of the norm (See Alex Arlow's graphic below: [1]):

Lowi arlow.png

ICAO is in ongoing transition to RNAV approaches and departures. There is a goal to have at least 70% of all runway ends supplied with RNAV procedures. Nevertheless - this is quite tricky in Innsbruck where everything is so buried between mountains. So, they have established some RNAV and GNSS approaches and departures, but they need to be protected (separate VFR and IFR), and that means: Innsbruck has the most modern approaches in Austria, but also the most complicated TMA structure. More infos for nerds are here at Austrocontrol.

Top Level >FL245

Above FL245, airspace is Airspace Class C and delegated to München Radar. No VFR traffic in Class C.

Middle level: CTA

Three CTA's (managed by LOWI_APP) have the same top levels (FL245) but start at different minimums. And - they are only there where there are no TMA - they "wrap around" the TMA. In Alex' graph above, the CTA are the white space around the coloured TMA & CTR.

  • CTA C (to the North and East, above Karwendel and out the Inn valley) start with Alt 7.500 with Airspace class E (uncontrolled), have Class D from FL125 to FL195, and Class D from FL195 to FL245.
  • CTA Glockner has Class D from 14.500 ft to FL195 and Class C from FL195 to FL245.
  • CTA Arlberg has Class D from 13.500ft to FL195 and Class C from FL195 to FL245.

Above FL 195, there is no VFR traffic to be cleared.

TMA for IFR entry/exit

Around the IFR approach and departures, TMA (managed by LOWI_APP) protect the in- and outbound IFR flights from (frequent) VFR conflicts. They all go up to FL245, but with different lower limits (as there are mountains):

  • TMA Innsbruck 1 (blue-and-green above CTR) reaches from A7000ft.
  • TMA Innsbruck 2 (yellow) start at A9000ft
  • TMA Innsbruck 3 (dark red) start at A10500ft
  • TMA Innsbruck 4 (orange) starts at 9500ft
  • TMA Innsbruck 5 (red) starts at 9500ft

All TMA are sliced the same way as CTA: Class C above FL195, Class D below FL195.

CTR for Innsbruck Airport

  • From the bottom, CTR (blue, controlled by LOWI_TWR) reaches up to A7000ft. If no higher ATC is available, then Innsbruck Tower controls up to A11000ft (that's where aircraft can turn north to Germany). CTR has Airspace Class D, which means in this case: IFR flies in via dedicated approach procedures (no vectors!). All VFR flights have to gain permission from LOWI_TWR to fly into the CTR (reporting points just outside the CTR are their markers). They also have to ask LOWI_APP for permission if they fly into the TMA (but they can and should slip through underneath).

See Alex Arlow's posting for details on the TMA. With the Austrocontrol KML file and Google Earth, you are able to see all airspaces in 3D - here are two screenshots:

LOWI CTA.jpg

LOWI CTR.jpg

Austro Control has published a really neat PPT (which you find here, in which you find a handy screenshot:

LOWI AC Airspace.png (c) Austrocontrol

How the hell can LOWI_APP manage this?

Let's try to make things simpler by ignoring the difference between CTA and TMA:

1) Make Euroscope show MRVA and you know approximately where your airspace bottom is. (You want to know, where this MRVA comes from? They are an approximation of the MRVA in the appropriate Austrocontrol chart here.)

2) follow these rules top-to-bottom:

  • All Aircraft above FL165: Hands off (that's EDDM's business).
  • Pick up all IFR aircraft below FL165 and separate them.
  • Refuse VFR above FL195.
  • Below FL165, separate IFR/IFR, and IFR/VFR when necessary.
  • VFR calling in above A7000ft -> take them.
  • VFR calling in below A7000ft -> direct them to LOWI_TWR, if they want to land. If they fly away, whish them a good day.
  • Pick up all VFR aircraft above MRVA and separate them (you won't get many).
  • Pick up all VFR aircraft near ELMEM, KTI and RTT (the TMA's, to be precise) above A7000ft and separate if necessary.
  • Hand over all Pilots flying into Innsbruck to LOWI_TWR (they fly into Innsbruck CTR).

What will you lose with this simplification?

  • You might pick up some VFR aircraft between A7000ft and A10500ft, which are actually below your airspace - they would not mind. You are on the safe side with this.

(A note from Claus: sh... that's complicated. Please check this section: I am not sure if I read the charts correctly!)

What that means for controlling Innsbruck

  • Approach and go-arounds are especially long - a go-around adds up to 15min to flight time - more, if there is a holding to queue through. Expect low-fuel-pan's.
  • For LOWI_APP, the thrilling thing is to judge distances and speed far in advance: Decisions to merge different approaches are made some 5 minutes before planes actually meet, with little room for manoevre once the decision is made.
  • For LOWI_TWR, there are many thrilling things:

1) you have tasks to do which other airports have APP and director for: final approach merging and sequencing. You have to slow aircraft or speed them up, issue altitude restrictions and more.

2) Your task on top is to manage the merger of different approaches with VFR and more. And you don't have IFR holdings in the valley.

3) You even have to manage go-arounds, as they regularly get in conflict with your arrivals. 4) You don't have DEL or GND - you do it all. It's really fun to do!

Airport

(see the aerodrome chart, which is [here].)

X-Plane Screenshot of LOWI

Apron

  • The far eastern part is for General Aviation (GAC East).
  • The middle part of the apron is for larger birds.
  • Local General Aviation is at the very Western part in front of Hangars I, II and III.
  • In the western part is a "cutout" in the grass. On earlier charts, this was marked as helipad. Some choppers still use it - clarifiaction ("heliport in front of hangar II") is recommended Otherwise Copters are parked like planes (depending on size) at the main apron.
  • Rescure and police helicopters operate from the "Flugrettungszentrum" (ICAO: LOJO), which is south of hangar III and the engine run stand. Local pilots pronounce it "Lojo" and don't spell it. LOJO is not part of any standard package. Giannis MSFS add on scenery has it, and X-Plane has it too.
  • Apron, hangar and LOJO is not under TWR control. Therefore, you treat it as any space within CTR. you tell QNH, wind and "takeoff/landing at own discretion", as long as they don't interfere with runway or taxis.
  • The Apron has no predefined "stands" in real life. In real life, aircraft are handed off to the follow-me car. As there is no car at VATSIM, "taxi to stand of your choice" is best, maybe added by "in the western part of the apron" - for some mysterious reason many aircraft tend to log on in front of the tower in the eastern part.

Holding points

  • A on the taxiway A towards rwy 08
  • B1 (facing east before turning into B) and B2 (facing west, before turning into B). They are not shown on the VACC charts and not included in FS or X-Plane standard scenery, but included inGiannis LOWI scenery for MSFS. Don't expect pilots to find it. "Holding point B" works perfectly.
  • L holding point is relevant for the GAC parking.

Runway and around

  • Runways 08 and 26 both have turnpads. Some pilots report "runway vacated" when standing on it, so be aware.
  • North of the runway is taxiway Y which is grass and for light aircraft and gliders only. Some pilots think it smart to use it if they miss taxiway A to vacate, or the adjacent "Schleppweg" (glider tow track) with 767's and are a bit surprised.
  • About 1,5nm final rwy 26 is the rooftop helipad of the hospital (LOIU). This is not part of the MSFS or X-Plane standard scenery. If the helipad is occupied, inform arriving aircraft about a "floating" heli: "traffic information: stationary helicopter at the hospital helipad at 1.5nm final".

Runway configurations

Be aware that a few factors restrict runway configurations, mainly: position in the valley and pilots' ability.

outbound 08 / inbound 26

... is easiest for pilots (Almost) all pilots can handle this. But this is an opposite configuration, so you need space. Issue lineup with backtrack only if arriving aircraft is still above RTT NDB. Use this only at low traffic.

Once this configuration gets crowded, you can only speed up lineup by 1) clearing departing traffic to A, 2) order arriving traffic short landing and hold on the runway short of A, and if this works out: 3) order departing to lineup and backtrack 08 and 4) order arriving to taxi via A to the apron.

If short landing does not work out, the arriving has to taxi all the way back to B while the departing lines up and backtracks. This in turn will most likely mess up arriving sequence.

26 only

... is easiest for controllers and best high traffic situation. Departing aircraft taxi via B, depart and circle (with max rate of climb) and pass arriving aircraft above. Issue lineup with 5nm distance at least - 7nm is comfortable.

In this configuration, don't accept RNAV arrivals via ELMEM, as they go to 08.

08 only

This is a good configuration for merging RNAV 08 arrivals (via ELMEM) and East arrivals. You can do this at moderate traffic levels. You need the East approach 12nm free of inbounds to avoid conflicts.

For departures, Best procedure is to issue backtrack 08 early, and at the moment the arriving aircraft from the East is turning left at AB for circling, takeoff clearance is given (and the next arrival must be 7nm before AB to provide vertical separation).

08 and traffic increase

If inbound flow increases, then stop LOC DME East arrivals and re-route via RNAV 08 approaches (ELMEM). Then this is a perfect high traffic approach. No arrivals from RTT! From TULSI and RTT issue "direct ELMEM", from BRENO there is a STAR.

08 and Föhn

Föhn (strong wind from the South, blowing down the Brenner) is 08 only, as the wind pours down the Wipptal, dividing over Innsbruck, causing heavy turbulence and Easterly winds over the airport. Aircraft fly over the airport, turn behind, dive and land. Visual Föhn arrival is described later.

High End as-it-comes config

Use 26 and 08 as it fits, instruct pilots "on the fly" to change arrival runways and the like. Usually it is less efficient than 26only, but much more fun for pilots and controllers.

Outbound 26 / inbound 08

... is nothing which you want to aim at. It's plenty of conflicts in mid-air (especially south of the airport) and of no use.

Visibility limits

Visibility limits are up to pilots. If visibility in the valley is below minimum standards for the approach, it is a courtesy to pilots to warn them, but decision is up to them. If you want to be "as real as it gets" and follow the Austrian AIP, then you could restrict...

  • no IFR departure below ground visibility of 1.500m and ceiling below 1.300ft above the ground (which makes about 3.300ft altitude)
  • no IFR Special performance departure below RVR 300m.

VFR Traffic

LOWI VFR routes old and new

There are four entry/exit routes: North (November), South (Sierra), East (Mike) and West (November). They are all designed to be approached under the adjacent TMA, so LOWI_APP has nothing to do with it. As a rule of thumb: IF you are busy, clear the routes. They interfere least with IFR. If you have space - do whatever you like.

The MIKE route has a dog's leg to the south at Mike2 to pass under the LOC DME East approach. It leads to a VFR holding south of the airport, which comes along very handy if IFR traffic is busy.

Radio Communication Failure for VFR

Caution: RCF procedures are not at the VATSIM charts - expect pilots to do what they want (you might tell the pilot via pm what he/she can or should do). In real life for VFR, the following rules apply:

  • If RCF occurs before CTR entry clearance, then the pilot has to divert to an airport in uncontrolled airspace.
  • If RCF occurs after CTR entry clearance, then the pilot follows this clearance and lands. ([reference]. If the clearance is until holdings, then in real life aircraft continue to a predetermined position near the airport (for west: north and for east: south) and await light signals (or, in fact: they call in by cellphone).
  • At VATSIM, expect RCF aircraft to do what they want, really... :-)

IFR Traffic

Arrivals

Handover

If no LOWI_APP and no LOVV_CTR is present, then aircraft are cleared by München FIR:

TULSI arrivals are cleared at FL150 until TULSI, further released for descent at FL130 (they fly to RTT).
DCT ALGOI arrivals are cleared FL180, further released for descent to FL150 (they fly KTI).

The point to pick pilots up for LOWW_TWR is when established on the LOCs. If they call earlier (which they regularly do), then tell them to continue at their discretion and call back when established:

LOWI_TWR: Leipzig Air 123, Innsbruck Tower, you are still outside my airspace, continue at your discretion and report when established on the localizer.

(you can be nice and add: "for your information: this means leaving RTT at 10.000ft with heading 210 ....")

(This reflects the LoA München FIR/Wien FIR from 1.11.2012)

STARs

All STARs end up either in RTT NDB or ELMEM.

  • From the North, München Center hands over at TULSI with FL170 cleared for descent to FL130 - just enough to bring them down to 10.000 at RTT. Clearance in one rush is best, if you are busy:
Leipzig 123, Innsbruck Radar. Expect LOC DME East approach, Info A, cleared TULSI3A arrival, descend 10.000ft.
  • SBG3A comes from LOWS_APP and is very rare.
  • NANIT1A comes from Vienna. There is plenty of time to issue clearance in two steps:
1. Leipzig 234, cleared NANIT1A arrival, expect LOC DME East approach, Info A.
2. Leipzig 234, descend 10.000ft to be levelled at RTT NDB.
  • If yo need to get an aircraft from East to West, there is RTT1B (and the other way around? Issue "direct RTT" or vector)
  • From the South, there are two BRENO arrivals - one to RTT (BRENO2A) and one (new: BRENO3B) to ELMEM.
  • From the West, there are two arrivals to ELMEM.

Approach

Innsbruck has two standard directions to fly in, but "standard" is relative: They are not straight-in and you have to land visually.

IFR from the East

LOC DME East Approach

LOC DME East approach

This approach is the easiest and most popular. It has a Localizer and a glideslope (like an ILS), but it does not lead into the runway. Pilots disconnect autopilot and fly a dog's leg (left-and-right) by hand. Many pilots screw it up and head for the apron and a hangar.

  • MAPt is 6,5 miles DME OEJ, so visibility should be more than that. Clear aircraft to land some 7 miles out, or issue "expect late clearance" so that they can continue. If pilots don't hear anything, they must go around (noone does in fact...)
  • Go-around is a challenge: Continue slow and max. rate of climb until D1 OEV, do a steep turn left and back, a 74° climbout until D14 OEV and then a straight RTT into the holding - expect pilots to fly visually up the Inn - if they do, clear them to climb visually, report 10.000 where you issue "direct RTT NDB" for another run..
  • The approach leads into runway 26 and 08 - so tower is flexible. See the visual approach for details

Special LOC DME East approach

...is the same as the "normal" LOC DME East, but has a lower decision heigt and a Missed Approach Point which is the outer marker. On pilot's request, and as the pilot has to monitor decision height, controllers can grant it and ignore the rest. Minimum visibility should be 4,1 miles or more.

  • Also this approach leads into runway 26 and 08 - so tower is flexible.
  • Go-around is the same as LOC DME East.

RNAV 0.3 (RNP) 26

This approach on pilot request only (as aircraft have to be equipped with GPS with 0.3nm accuracy). The approach is very similar to Special LOC DME East approach.

  • This approach leads into rwy 26 only. Go-around is different - a RNAV turn in the upper Inn valley and return to RTT NDB. If you discover that landing on 26 is impossible, you have to ask the pilot "able for visual approach circling 08", and if the pilot is unable, issue a go-around.
  • This arrival is the least to close when visibility declines: 2 miles is enough.

In fact, most virtual accidents happen on go-around. Pilots hit mountains. If you detect an aircraft messing around below MRVA, then issue "Watch out for terrain, climb visually 10.000ft and report".

Clearance phrase is:

"Cleared RNAV RNP Approach Runway 26"

LOC R RWY 26 arrival

A relatively new approach is the combination of two:

  • descend the LOC DME East approach,
  • but the go-around is an RNAV go-around up the valley - bear in mind that someone might arrive from ELMEM.

Caution, there is no runway change to 08 - this is 26 only. The clearance phrase is important:

"Cleared Localizer Runway 26 Approach, followed by RNAV missed approach."

(there is no "Localizer RNAV Approach"!)

IFR from the West

Aircraft coming in from the west face three different approaches, all of them are on request, because they require special equipment and/or special aircraft. In real life, aircraft request their approach. At VATSIM, almost noone does. The best way is:

Leipzig 123, Innsbruck Radar, Info A current. Expect RNAV RNP Z runway 08 report if unable.
LOC DME West Approach

LOC DME West approach

A challenge! The "old" West approach went down over KTI NDB (which has been shut down) - it has changed in 2015. Now it starts at ELMEM, but still a steep descent, passing over the airport descending to 5000ft, where a tight (visual) right turn leads them into the position of either continuing towards RWY26 or RWY08. Pilots who don't read charts think that this approach directly leads to RWY 08. Some dive for it when they have runway in sight and end up with 300kt on short final.

  • This approach has no glideslope (only a lateral beacon). Aircraft have to descend with v/s on and good planning. The descent levels at 5000ft above the outer marker with a few extra miles level flight for landing configuration and to slow down.
  • This approach is challenging to anyone doing it for the first time. Descent is steep and you need to be at 160kt for the right turn - in fact, you almost need to prepare your aircraft for landing (flaps, gear, speed 160kt) before descending. If APP wants to be polite, he/she tells them and sends them into the ELMEM holding until speed is down. If controllers notice aircraft rushing down with more than 250kts, prepare to extend their downwind eastwards or order go-around.
  • Go-around is the 08 departure route: 67° inbound OEJ and 65° outbound OEJ, past RTT NDB and a left turn into RTT holding. Normally, it won't conflict with LOC DME East approach, as the arriving aircraft will pass way below.
  • Visibility has to be extensive: LOC DME West is for cloud-breaking purpose only: cloud base must be more than 5000ft and visibility depends on aircraft category: 3km for A and B, 5km for C and D.

RNAV approaches for runway 08

... is an IFR approach out of a local custom: Before 2014, aircraft were cleared LOC DME West approach, and when they crossed the Inn valley and saw it clear of clouds, they requested a visual dive for runway 08. So, Austrocontrol made a rule out of the habit and defined two IFR approaches starting at ELMEM. Both approaches go-around to RTT NDB.

RNAV GNSS Z 08
"Cleared RNAV GNSS Z runway 08"
  • This approach is for cloudbreaking only: ceiling must be above 4100ft and visibility 5km or more. From WI006 (MAPt), aircraft have to fly visually.
RNAV RNP Y 08
"Cleared RNAV RNP Y runway 08"
  • This approach is for bad weather too, as the RNAV route ends at WI754 just short of the runway. In fact, it is the only bad-weather-approach into runway 08.

Visual Landing

LOC DME East and West meet some 6nm East of the runway, where the (now shut down) AB NDB has been. The new RUM NDB is a bit closer to the runway but a good approximation. From there, visual procedures lead to either runway.

  • rwy26: For east approach, this is almost straight-in. For DME west approach, a steep right hand circle into final.
  • rwy08: For DME east approach, aircraft turn left towards INN and then circle right onto final. Aircraft almost need landing speed to turn. For DME west appraoch, aircraft turn right hard (landing speed!), fly left downwind as DME east approach and then turn right into final.

Caution: It is TWR's responsibility to merge traffic arriving!

How to clear approaching aircraft to land

The approach through the valley - regardless of direction - is long, and many things happen in the meantime. Therefore, we recommend to take your time to clear an aircraft to land.

  • In situations of low traffic you may let a pilot report a certain point (for example "passing RUM", "runway in sight" or "breaking off to the left" for the visual approach) in order to give you a reminder to clear an aircraft to land.
  • In situations of high traffic it is imperative not to congest the frequency more than necessary - therefore you should try not to let pilots report passing certain positions in the valley but to keep the big picture and clear aircraft to land whenever it fits depending on other inbound traffic and outbound traffic.

Keep in mind that, depending on type of aircraft and company SOPs, an aircraft established on a certain approach may take several minutes until touchdown. Do not, under any circumstance, issue a clearance that does not fit into the safe and expeditious flow of traffic.

Tricky conflict situations

Arriving/departing too close in mid-air

Sometimes, aircraft come too close to each other, departing from 08 and arriving LOC DME East (mostly because aircraft climb out fast-and-low). What can you do? The best option is to separate them visually:

  • Order the departing aircraft max rate of climb. This helps, if the pilot really does it, and if it's not a whale (747 or so). If it doesn't, you are still in trouble.
  • Most elegant solution: Separate both aircraft visually. To do this, switch both aircraft to visual and tell them flight patterns that will guide them apart: Departing aircraft out on the Northern side of the valley (left-hand side), arriving aircraft on the Southern side (also left-hand side for them).

It could sound like this, assume that DLH1 is departing and AUA2 is arriving:

LOWI_TWR: Austrian 2, traffic information: departing aircraft 5 miles ahead. Perform visual departure on the Southern side of the valley, report traffic in sight.
AUA2: Visual approach southern side of the valley, aircraft in sight.
LOWI_TWR: Lufthansa 1, perform visual departure north side of the valley with max rate of climb, traffic information: arriving B737 passing to your right, confirm in sight.
DLH2: visual departure north side, traffic in sight, DLH2.

There is many things to go wrong with this stunt, especially if one or both are in clouds and report "unable". Then you can only issue go-around, report traffic information regularly and pray (this is why you should really care for your approach sequence!)

Departing aircraft are too slow lining up

Sometimes, departing aircraft are too slow lining up and backtracking for takeoff. This will result in arriving aircraft on an occupied runway. What can you do with an approaching aircraft?

  • You instruct departing aircraft to hold position and instruct arriving traffic to go around. But go-around in LOWI is very long and time-consuming: Aircraft have to climb all the way to RTT and back.
  • Most elegant solution: If the pilot is able for visual manoever, you can offer him to circle visually and re-enter final. Once the aircraft is on downwind, quickly push departing aircraft out. That could sound like this:
LOWI_TWR: DLH1, hold position, say again: hold position, acknowledge.
DLH1: Holding position, DLH1.
LOWI_TWR: AUA2, go-around, say again: go around, or alternatively visual left traffic pattern, report intentions.
AUA2: Requesting visual traffic pattern, AUA2.
LOWI_TWR: AUA2, cleared visual left hand pattern at 3500ft or above, report ready for base turn over AB, 
(after AUA2 is away over the airport:)
LOWI_TWR: DLH1, cleared for immediate takeoff, expedite.

This manoever works with 26-only and 08-only, just the other way around.

Aircraft from LOC DME East and West meet mid-air

It could either happen, that two aircraft from LOC DME East and West meet on short final, or that a go-around from 08 kisses an arriving aircraft from LOC DME West. Both are really difficult situations which they cannot resolve on themselves, as TCAS might advise them to something that terrain won't allow (and TCAS is first, ATC is next). What can you do? First, you have to bear in mind, that any solution might cause the next problem (and you have a chain of problems to fix). Second: These are the options.

  • Clear the LOC DME West arrival to level off at 6000ft. The LOC DME East arriving will pass well below. There is still room to descend while turning into final. Anyway, you might need to clear the LOC DME East for rwy26 and the West for rwy08 for separation.
  • If you notice the problem early: Make one aircraft reduce to landing speed - better the East arrival, as the West descent is steep. Bear in mind that this might mess up arrival sequence behind.
  • If a go-around gets in the way of an arriving LOC DME West: Separate vertically by clearing the go-around at 5000ft until 6nm OEJ and the arriving at 6000ft. Bear in mind that restricting the go-around in altitude might make the next mess with following arrivals on LOC DME East. The brute force solution is to clear the LOC DME West approacher a visual go-around at the Northern slope, while the LOC DME East go-around is cleared visually out the southern slope of the valley (you have to give them traffic information, and you have to separate them as soon as they are clear of peaks).

Bear in mind: These are really tricky manoevers. You need experienced pilots and controllers to do it.

Departure

Flight plan clearances

There is (almost) nothing special on flight plan clearances (which are done by TWR, there is no DEL in Innsbruck), except:

  • special performance SIDs are only on request (RTT1W, KPT1Z, RTT2Z, RTT1Y, RTT1X), and you have to ask if the pilot (and his/her plane) is able to fly it. In real life, there are two reasons for an "unable": Not enough climb rate and no RNP0.3 equipment. As the RNP equipment is not simulated, the only restriction is climb rate. If the pilot is unable, clear an alternative (RTT1W & RTT2Z->RTT2J, KPT1Z->ADILO1J, RTT1Y & RTT1X->RTT2H).
  • Visual departures: put a note in the text field so that Approach knows, where he/she is up to. You might want to coordinate with APP before. Generally, all special departures are on pilot's request.

Transition Altitude (TA) & Level (TL)

All over Austria, Transition altitude has been set to A10.000ft. For Innsbruck, this poses some problems, as some mountains are much higher. Therefore, ATC has to use his discretion to set a flexible transition altitude depending on traffic and departure route. Approach sets these levels, but Tower has to acknowledge when setting initial climb altitudes:

Initial Climb Altitudes

  • Standard clearance is FL160, unless the aircraft has a lower RFL, but don't allow a too low RFL:
  1. KPT departures have MSA 11.500ft. You have to add the safety distance (like you calculate TA and TL according to QNH: add 0 to 3000ft) and then take the next matching flight level. Example: For QNH 1019, it is: 11.500ft+1000ft=12.500ft. The next matching flight level (to the west: even) is FL140.
  2. ADILO departures have MSA 13.000ft, and you have to calculate accordingly. For QNH 1019, it is: 13.000ft+1000ft=14.000ft -> FL140.
  3. Departures to LOWS have FL110 max (and are handed over to LOWS_APP).
  4. Departures to LOWK have FL150 (and are handed over to LOWK_APP).

For information on TA and TL, see the Transition_Altitude_and_Level glossary !

Exception: High traffic at the Rattenberg (RTT NDB) hot spot

At low traffic, there is no problem with RTT: Clear departing aircraft to FL160 and watch them go by. In high traffic situations, this are different, as there may be a holding over RTT and departing aircraft fly directly through it. The rule is: coordinate with APP: He has to leave a level open to shoot departing aircraft through. As arriving aircraft enter the LOC at A10.000ft, the following has proved to be practical:

  • APP leaves the next available Flight level above A10.000ft empty. That varies according to QNH: With QNH >1014, that is FL110. With QNH =<1013, that is FL120, and (very rare ) with QNH<978, this is FL130.
  • TWR clears departing aircraft only to this free transition level. Aircraft "fly through" this hole, if they don't climb enough.
  • APP issues a direct to the next waypoint as soon as they are cleared of peaks.
  • APP clears arriving aircraft from the next holding level (one level above the "hole") down to A10.000ft.

Departure Rwy 08

08 is the "easy" way out, but don't expect it to be easy for controllers, as the SIDs can conflict with LOC DME East approach. If you don't have inbound traffic, the standard departure routes are fine. If you have, there are alternatives.

Some pilots are programmers only - they only can fly what their FMC tells them :-) They might not have SIDs with visual parts in it. Strictly, you can deny departure or issue a RNAV-RNP-only departure: There is at least one for each runway.

Standard departure routes 08

  • RTT2J, OBEDI2J, UNKEN1J, KOGOL2J all have the same pattern: out on runway heading, following the 067° OEJ in- and 065° outbound radial until 9.500ft, then a turn onto their next waypoint. If they are too low at RTT, they must fly by RTT to the right and then do a left turn back to RTT. APP will (and should) issue a direct order when the aircraft reaches MRVA to the next waypoint (which is pretty high for the South and only FL110 for the North).
  • Since November 2016, there is no more RASTA3J departure. Clear aircraft the RTT2J departure. RTT is a perfect alternative entry point into the SAXFRA area. For more information on SAXFRA read this post.

Danger: All this SIDs conflict with LOC DME East approach, as climb rates are too low for vertical separation. If you have a LOC DME East inbound aircraft, then you must issue "max rate of climb" (and hope that aircraft can and pilots do), or reclear to RTT1W departure: It has a steeper climb rate and approach paths don't overlap - they just cross at approx. 7DME OEJ.

Also, some pilots don't have OEJ (which is not part of the Standard MSFS scenery), and they most likely fly anything to RTT.

Special SIDs 08

  • RTT1W, ADILO1J and (new) BRENO1J have double climb rates (but are still within the range of standard departures). With RTT1W you might risk conflict with LOC DME East arrivals. The other departures are only a problem to pilots.
  • KPT2J departure needs a climb rate of 10% and needs approval by the pilot.

Visual climbout 08

  • Sometimes you notice too late that a departing jet darts out at 250kt and too low climb rate, AND you have a LOC DME east inbound aircraft. What can you do? separate them visually left-around. Let the departing aircraft fly out on the left (northern) side and let the arriving aircraft continue on the LOC, which is on the southern side. See the "tricky conflict situation" section above for details.

Departure Rwy 26

All SIDs for 26 start with a visual part. All but one (Mogti1H) have max rate of climb on runway heading, a slight visual right and a steep visual left onto the 67° inbound and 65° outbound LOC OEJ. Expect pilots not to find OEJ (not part of the standard MSFS scenery) and fly out visually. Usually, aircraft are high enough to pass over LOC DME East arrivals. If they don't have 5000ft after their turn, order "max rate of climb".

Standard SIDs 26

  • RWY 26->RTT: RTT2H, OBEDI2H, UNKEN1H, KOGOL2H have a common pattern: Follow the inbound 66° OEJ and outbound 64°. Once clear of peaks, APP should issue directs to avoid the crowd at RTT NDB.
  • RTT1Y is the higher-rate-of-climb-alternative for the standard SIDs, if you have inbound traffic on LOC DME East. Aircraft must climb 5.4% or more and are clear of arriving traffic.
  • ADILO1H has the visual circle left and a steep right turn after OEJ and needs a higher climb rate than the "standard" SID via RTT (6.5%). Aircraft should have enough altitude (5.000ft) to separate from LOC DME East approach, but you never know.
  • Since November 2016 (AIRAC 1612) and the introduction of the SAXFRA area, there is no more RASTA3H departure. Clear aircraft the RTT2H instead. RTT is an alternative entry point into the SAXFRA area.

Special SIDs 26

  • BRENO1H is like Adilo1H, but on request only
  • RTT2X is RNAV 0.3: Only for equipped aircraft. This route flies up the Inn valley along waypoints, turns around and flies back to WI001=RTT NDB. In practice, aircraft fly this route with max rate of climb until clear of peaks and then a direct routing - the rest of the route is backup if anything goes wrong. On pilot's request only.
  • There is a new MOGTI1H departure (GNSS and special performance). Aircraft fly visually up the Inn valley and at WI802 then turn to MOGTI. Nice departure to the west, as these aircraft are away quickly.
  • Based on this, MOGTI1X departure is the same route, but with RNAV from the runway (without visual part). It also requires the same equipment and special performance.
  • Some pilots come along with the departure to ELMEM (ELMEM1H). The departure is similar to the MOGTI1H, but continues at WI802 to ELMEM and was only in use for around 1Q 13.

Visual

  • RWY 26 visual: Aircraft fly up the Inn valley until clear of peaks and then directly to their next waypoint. This departure often "happens": Pilots head for ADILO or KPT and forget that they have to turn twice. Instead of reminding them (then they turn too late and smash the mountain below KTI), you can reclear them "visual climbout west" to avoid even more trouble (controllers' benefit: They are out of the way then!)

Common mistakes by pilots

  • To RTT, many pilots tend to depart fast-and-low instead of slow-and-high. If you have arriving traffic at LOC DME East, then remind pilots (2, 3 times) of a max rate of climb. If they have 4.500ft at RUM NDB, they climb enough.
  • On rwy26 departures, some pilots turn right instead of left, doing a CFIT into the Martinswand; the reason is that the left turn is slightly more than 180° and many autopilots (like the x-plane standard AP) turn the shorter side. In reality, a pilot with activated autopilot at that stage ends in a coffin or in jail. IF pilots fly out somehow strangely, it is a good idea to confirm "visual climbout west", as vectoring usually worsens the situation.
  • Some pilots do not understand that ADILO1H has a left turn towards OEJ and a right turn towards INN and end up with visual climbout. Not your problem unless you have VFR traffic in the W or N corner.

Föhn procedures

"Föhn" procedures are at pilot's request. Rarely used at VATSIM, as simulators can't simulate the strong (5-20kt) and gusty (20-40kt) winds. Local pilots like to do it for fun, so you should know it. The wind situation at Föhn is tricky: Wind breaks in through the Brenner valley from the South and (with escalating Foehn) drifting down the northern slope, dividing over Innsbruck to the West AND the East. As the airport is west of the city, local winds at the airport are from calm to easterly, where everything a bit higher up is full of gust and windshear. People will need vomit bags and pilots need good nerves.

Föhn operations lead to rwy08only and are visual only (with Föhn, view is excellent).

  • Arrivals descend high along the northern ridge between 8000 and 5000ft, were turbulence is least. West of the city (sometimes as far west as Seefeld!), aircraft dive for base and final rwy08. There is no standard circling 08, as it would lead aircraft right through the funnel of the storm around INN NDB.
  • Departures depart runway 08 and immediately drift to the northern slope, where pilots climb in the least turbulent air.
  • ADILO departures also climb on the northern slope and turn westwards above the turbulent area.
  • KPT departures are not recommended, as this SID turns very early = low in the middle of turbulence. The better alternative is standard Föhn departure (eastwards) and direct KPT above 10.000ft.

Spacing

The best thrill of the Innsbruck TWR controller is spacing. As Innsbruck has few and narrow approaches and backtracks on runways, spacing is well beyond other airports. As a rule of thumb, the following spacings are "conservative guesses" - you will most likely be on the safe side If you have the balls (and pilots can fly), you can shorten ist on your own risk :-)

Dep 08 / Arr 26

This is opposite runway configuration, and the standard at low traffic. You really don't get many aircraft through, but there is no stress at all.

  • Departing aircraft should be beyond RUM NDB and have a proper climbing rate (>4500ft at RUM), before arriving aircraft are cleared for approach (meaning: leaving RTT NDB, hat is >12nm). If the departing aircraft is too low, you have to separate visually (both left: departing to the North, arriving to the South).
  • Consider outbound- and inbound-waves (with RTT holdings) to get more aircraft in and out.

Dep 26 / Arr 08

You need plenty of space for that, too. Arriving and departing aircraft meet in mid air south of the airport. This is not a standard configuration - it only occurs when you switch runways in use. Separation is horizontally: Departing is well above the arriving. Therefore:

  • As soon as departing aircraft reach >5000ft, clear aircraft for approach, but this should happen before RUM NDB. If the aircraft is still that low after RUM NDB, you can't clear anyone coming in until the speedbrake is away.

Dep 08 / Arr 08

This is the standard Föhn procedure, and somehow tricky: Departing 08 will conflict with arriving LOC DME East.

  • Departing aircraft have to pass RUM NDB with enough climb rate (>4500ft at AB) before you clear anyone for approach - same as Dep08/Arr26.
  • At Föhn conditions, do not count on visual separation, as both aircraft fly at the Northern slope (where turbulence is least). You can only separate vertically.
  • There is one trick: Let one departure line up on 08, and let one arrival pass RUM NDB, where it circles for 08. As soon as the arriving is out of the way, push the departing 08 out. When the departing passes RUM NDB, clear the next for approach, let a departing line up, ...
  • Bear in mind the ELMEM arrivals, ending up in rwy 08. You need spacing for backtrack and vacating: 5nm should do the job.

Dep 26 / Arr 26

This is the high traffic situation, and it works well without conflicts - with some exceptions. You can clear departing and arriving aircraft as they come. You have to bear in mind backtrack for departures and arrivals:

  • Lineup needs some 5nm spacing - plus 2nm for safety means: lineup clearances 7nm before touchdown are the limit.
  • Watch departing aircraft if they reach 4500ft before RUM NDB (and issue "max rate of climb" if necessary) - they should have >6000ft on downwind, but some pilots admire the view around Sistrans and forget...

Merging LOC DME West and East approach

Both approaches meet around RUM NDB, with West at 5000ft and East at 4460ft. Use your Euroscope distance tool: West aircraft need 2 extra miles for turning.

Sadly, LOC DME West aircraft tend to fly too fast, as the descent is really steep. If West is second and speeds down, you have to do two things:

  1. Stop descent for the West approacher at 6000ft so that the East approacher slips through underneath.
  1. Clear the East approacher to runway 26 and order to vacate fast.
  1. Clear the West approacher to circle 08.

Give speed orders if necessary, and do not count on them.

Merging LOC DME East and RNav 08 approaches

As LOC DME West is somehow reduced to insiders, the new arrival from the West is RNAV 08 starting at ELMEM. How long does this take? ELMEM-runway is roughly 30miles, RTT-runway is about 27 miles. If you clear the East arrivals to circle runway 08, you might add 2 miles (as circling is done rather slow), so a rule of thumb is: leave 5 miles between a RTT and an ELMEM clearance. You should work with speed to control these distances.

Reduced runway separation

None, as the risk is too high that an arriving aircraft overshoots the exit and needs a backtrack while the next aircraft lands and might do the same.

Radio Communication Failures for IFR

In real life, there are no predefined RCF procedures for Innsbruck for a good reason: In a narrow valley with lots of VFR and IFR traffic, this could have dangerous consequences if a big bird flies around without contact. There are company-specific rules negotiated between airline and Austrocontrol. As a rule-of-thumb, expect:

  • With RCF before approach clearance and handover to TWR: divert to a different airport.
  • RCF after approach clearance and handover to TWR: land - TWR should clear the way. Check, if the aircraft has received the runway to expect - if not: Where will it land?

There are no published RCF procedures on VATSIM charts, so expect pilots do what they want and expect the unexpected - most probably they will fly the approach they have been cleared or (if there was no clearance yet) they have filed (KTI or RTT). Most appropriate behaviour of controllers would be to clear the way. In real life, aircraft call in by mobile phone.

Transition Altitudes and levels

... are tricky in Innsbruck: Generally, Transition Altitude is 11.000ft (QNH), but it differs for East and West. Transition level is set by ATC. You should not mess up the two.

  • For the East approach, you might have a holding above RTT NDB, which starts at 9.500ft (as the approach). But you have a bundle of departures through RTT NDB - how do you fix this? The trick is: You leave FL 110 empty, where you shoot your departures through. If you want to do this, Tower has to clear initial climb rate of FL110, and holding stack starts at FL120. Any descending aircraft needs to descend from FL120 to 9.500ft altitude.
  • For the West Approach, the LOC DME West Approach starts at 11.500ft, and any holding is above 13.000ft (also QNH!). If you have a stack building up, what is the next FL? Either you calculate along QNH (if it's FL140), or you take FL150 and you are on the safe side.

Handover

There are two special things to note here:

  • Airspace above LOWI_APP is delegated to Munich Center.
  • LOVV_CTR takes over LOWI_APP and LOWI_TWR, if they are not online.

Handover TWR<->APP

Handover between TWR and APP are best, whenever aircraft are conflict-free, as conflicting aircraft should on the same frequency. Teamspeak is very handy at that situation. From experience, it is best to leave as much as possible to TWR - APP hands to TWR when LOC is established, and TWR hands to APP, when aircraft are well above the approach.

Departure

LOWI_TWR hands off to LOWI_APP (and if offline: to LOVV_CTR, and if they are gone: UNICOM - It might make sense to aircraft when to expect a pickup if you see Munich Center or Maastricht Control online; they pick up when the aircraft passes FL245).

It gets tricky for LOWI_APP (or LOVV_CTR, if APP is offline):

To the North, Germany has two lower centers and a München Approach, so there is three sectors to hand over, if everything is staffed:

  • Departures to ADILO, MOGTI and KPT (North-West) go to Sector Kempten, and the order is (whichever is online): K_CTR, R_CTR, CTR (see graph below)
  • Departures to KOGOL (North-East) go to Sector Chiemsee, and the order is C_CTR, K_CTR, R_CTR, CTR.
  • Departures to München Airport EDDM are handed over to München Approach with direct ANDEC - we won't mess with Center here.

From Bottom-to-top, the order is as follows:

|-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
| EURM_CTR (Maastricht Control) 135,45 (above FL245)                                        |
| EDDM_CTR (München Radar) 124.05                                                           |
| EDDM_R_CTR (München Radar) 132.55 (Roding)                                                |
|-----------------------------------------------------------------|-------------------------|
| EDDM_K_CTR (München Radar) 134.15                               | EDMM_1_APP 128.02       |
| (Kempten)                          |----------------------------| EDMM_2_APP 120.77       |
|                                    | EDDM_C_CTR (München Radar) | EDDM_N_APP 123.90       | 
|                                    | 133.67 (Chiemsee)          | EDMM_S_APP 127.950      |
| (for dept. to MOGTI, ADILO, KPT)   | (for dept. to KOGOL)       | (for dept. to EDMM)     |
|---------------------------------------------|---------------------------------------------|
| LOWI_APP (Innsbruck Radar) 119,27 (LOVV_CTR 134.15, if APP is offline)                    |
|-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
| LOWI_TWR (or LOWI_APP or LOVV_CTR, if TWR is offline)                                     |
|-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

To the South, Italy is waiting, and the Order is:

  1. LIPP_CTR (Padova Radar) 125.47
  2. LIMM_CTR (Milano Radar) 127.45

There are no direct handovers to Zürich - aircraft fly via München FIR or UNICOM.

Handover to TWR->APP

whenever LOC is established and aircraft are conflict-free.

APP issues

Innsbruck Approach has much less to do as Tower does the "director" job. Main things to get organized are:

  • arrange arriving traffic from the North and East in a nice stack in the RTT holding.
  • Enquire aircraft coming via BRENO if they want to appproach West or East (in high traffic: don't ask - decide).
  • Merge arriving aircraft from East and West so that they don't meet head-on in the canyon.

More precicely, you should take care about:

Airspace

... of LOWI_APP reaches up to FL165 (this is why departing aircraft are cleared FL160).

Handover

Strictly, all aircraft must be handed over to München Center, as the airspace above is his'. But most likely he won't want to have them all, when they fly out east, south or west. In the end, it comes to the following:

  • Above and North is EDDM_CTR.
  • EDDM_APP is near, so aircraft to EDDM go directly to EDDM_APP.
  • Also, to the East hand over to LOVV-CTR.
  • South is Padova Radar (LIPP_N_CTR 125.47) up to FL195.
  • If aircraft fly up high, Padova Upper Radar above FL195 (LIUP_CTR 132.90) takes them.
  • Sometimes, Milano Radar (LIMN_N_CTR 127.45) is online and takes the whole north Italian airspace.
  • East (but not connected) is Swiss Radar (LSAS-CTR). Give them to München Radar (aircraft fly over Germany anyway) or to UNICOM.

Arrival

The STARs tell the story: Aircraft meet at RTT NDB or ELMEM. You can vector aircraft or clear STARs.

  • From the North, you get TULSI arrivals at FL150 over TULSI, released for descent to FL130 for RTT.
  • ALGOI arrivals are handed off at FL180, further released for descent to FL150 (they fly ELMEM).
  • From the West, aircraft arrive at FL180 or more towards ELMEM.

Caution: German controllers hand off differently: First they hand off. Second, you accept. Third, they tell the pilot. Fourth, the pilot contacts you. Sometimes, this ends up with the aircraft in sight of RTT.

  • Aircraft from the South arrive at BRENO with something like FL150. You can ask or order the pilot to fly BRENO2A or 2B arrival - don't expect all pilots to know the difference :-) You might as well issue a direct to RTT oder ELMEM.

Towards RTT, clear aircraft to MRVA, and then to descend 10.000ft (local QNH) to be levelled at RTT NDB. Don't forget that you may need to stack them in the holding, AND you need to leave FL110 or FL120 (depending on QNH) open to get departing aircraft through -> see holding management.

Towards ELMEM, clear aircraft to FL130 and then to 11.500ft and the localizer.

Holding

For East arrivals, stack aircraft in the RTT holding. If you have intense outbound traffic, make sure to leave FL120 empty to "shoot" departing aircraft through. In this case, alert Tower to clear departing aircraft to FL120 only. You have a holding over ELMEM, which you will rarely need. Be aware that roughly 2 out of 3 pilots can't fly correct holdings :-)

Approach

Caution: Arrival procedures start at RTT and ELMEM, and there is no vectoring beyond these points. If the pilot asks for vectors, issue climb, go-around and enter the holding (in which he has time to look at the charts).

For West arrivals, you have to distinguish:

  • From the West and Northwest, you can clear aircraft to 11.500 feed (QNH!) straight and clear LOC Y or Z Rwy 08. LOC DME West is out of fashion, only few pilots know how to fly it.
  • From the South, aircraft would hurt their nose at that altitude. Either clear them to FL130 to ELMEM and then descend before clearing LOC DME West, or clear them to FL140 and BRENO2A arrival, after INN NDB FL120 and when nearing RTT NDB, 10.000ft.

Approach clearance is straightforward:

Leipzig 123, cleared Localizer DME east approach, report established.
Leipzig 456, cleared Localizer DME west approach, report established.
Leipzig 789, cleared RNAV RNP Y arrival for runway 08

LOC DME East and LOC DME West traffic meet 6 miles East of the airport - you can use the distance tool to measure arrival. Separate East 3-4nm before east (east has to turn, that makes the 7nm necessary for landing and backtrack). If the West aircraft is too fast (which it often is - approach is twice as steep as standard) then issue "stop descent at 6000ft, extend downwind visually to the east on the Northern side of the valley". Then turn him back behind the aircraft coming from LOC DME East.

LOC DME East and the RNAV approaches for 08 meet at the runway. Clear LOC DME East arrivals for circling runway 08 with identical distances (or East more than West) to the runway. Circling makes the distance to separate them before landing.

Handover to tower is as soon as the pilot reports established. Beware of departure/arrival conflict situations: You should have both conflict situations on the same frequency - both APP or both Tower. Teamspeak is very handy for this.

Departures

Standard departures to the East all have similar patterns: You get them from Tower when conflict-free. For Aircraft flying North and East, issue a conditional clearance to turn away: "Leipzig 123, above 10.000ft turn direct <next waypoint>". That gets them away from the busy RTT NDB.

Standard departures to the West are very easy: They (should) just fly out, not messing up anybody.

High Traffic Issues

Caution! When traffic is low, Innsbruck is boring. When traffic is moderate, Innsbruck is great fun. When traffic gets high, Innsbruck gets very stressful. The following is a list of things which will happen most likely, and there is suggestions on how to resolve it.

Precautions when traffic thickens

If you plan ahead, things are much easier:

  • Set the departure level to be cleared (on this level, the RTT holding should be empty) and coordinate with APP.
  • Switch runway configuration to single-runway only. With 26-only, don't accept any inbounds from ELMEM. With 08-only, prepare to re-route all RTT arrivals to ELMEM for a 08 arrival.

Too much traffic "in the canyon"

... ist Tower's problem. Most likely you have a chunk of aircraft on the ground and a line of pearls on approach. Then, you have VFR calling in, and the mess is perfect.

  • Clear VFR only to designated routes and limits (they are designed not to interfere with IFR arrivals). Instruct them on clearance to hold south of the airport (there is a VFR holding there). Then fiddle them into the arrival sequence.
  • Arriving traffic has priority over departing, be strict on that.
  • Ask all aircraft on clearance if they are able for intersection departure and take them first. Backtracking aircraft need to wait.
  • Tell txt aircraft to wait.

Holding stacks

  • RTT holding goes from A10.000ft over to FL120 and further to FL160. Nevertheless, München Radar hands you off with descents down to FL130. If stacking goes higher, tell München to clear FL160 only.
  • ELMEM holdings are tighter: 13.000ft, FL150 and FL160. Let's hope you won't get more.
  • Prepare for aircraft not holding, missing the holding, flying into approach without clearance. In this case, be very, very strict: Vector them away, tell them to climb to a free level, and request them to turn back and re-enter the holding. They give you space :-)

Arrival sequencing

The trick is to fill up the arrival as fast as you can without making too much congestion down in the valley. Therefore, ...

  • clear them at about 7-9nm distance.
  • Issue strict speed restrictions to keep their distance: 180kts until 6nm final is good.

Departures out of the way

  • If you have 08only, departure is not the problem, as RTT is free.
  • If you have 26only, then issue conditional clearances on first contact with APP: For deparutres north and East clear "Identified, continue, above 10.000ft turn <next waypoint>". For departures south-west (Kärnten) and south (Italy) clear them to turn above FL140.

Coordination APP-TWR

Coordination with TWR in Innsbruck is more important than on any other airport in Austria, because runway decision is tower (and might change on short notice), but has major consequences for arrival spacing. So you should do the following:

  • TWR needs to tell APP default arrival runway so that APP can adjust spacing.
  • APP needs to ask for exceptions (if pilots request the other runway and the like)
  • TWR needs to tell all exceptions (other than default departure runway, visual climbouts etc.)
  • It is a good idea that APP tells TWR if west approaches come in.

A good help is if the two stations listen to the other's radio (Euroscope: Listen to frequency, and hardware setup: output line 2 to a different speaker), then most coordination problems never occur.

Weather minima

At VATSIM, weather minima are sort of - virtual, by definition. However, we have METAR to have a guess on the weather out there and can follow these conditions.

For Innsbruck, there are no LVP (low visibility procedures) as such. There are minima which are relevant first to the pilot, second to Tower controller.

VFR flight

In real life, there are no special rules for VFR flight, therefore the minima for airspaces apply. Innsbruck CTR is B, and that means:

  • up to 10.000ft 5km, above that 8km flight visibility AND
  • free of clouds.

TWR can issue a warning at entry clearance that weather is below VMC, if METAR suggests that:

LOWI_TWR: OE-LBN, weather information: flight visibility probably below VMC: visibility 4km, broken clouds with base at 3500ft.

IFR arrivals

  • Aircraft category A-B: 3km flight visibility
    For LOC DME East this means: At 1,6nm OEV DME you should see ground, slopes and the runway or go around.
    For LOC DME West this means: Overflying the airport, you should see the airport which is roughly 1,5km below you, and at AB DNB you should see ground and the right mountain slope, which is a good 2km away (if you don't see the slope, you can't turn without hitting it).
  • Aircraft category C-D: 5km flight visibility
    For LOC DME East this means: At about 3nm OEV DME you should see ground, slopes and the runway or go around.
    For LOC DME West this means: Overflying the airport, you should see the airport which is roughly 1,5km below you, and at AB DNB you should see ground and the right mountain slope, which is a good 2km away.

It is up to pilots to monitor conditions at landing!

IFR departures

  • Ground visibility: 1.500m AND
  • Ceiling: 1.500m
  • Exception 1: for Special Performance Departure: RVR 300m.
  • Exception 2: For departure from Rwy 08, if low fog, mist or snow blowing over the airport:
    RVR 600m AND
    visibility >5km above this layer AND
    no further clouds 3.100ft AAL

It is up to pilots to monitor conditions, but Tower may deny takeoff clearance if visibility is below minima according to METAR. Tower may offer the RNP 0.3 departure instead, or issue a warning

LOWI_TWR: Speedbird xxx, ground visibility is 1.400m, that is below IMC, are you able for RNP 0.3 RNAV departure runway 26?
BAAxxx: Negative, Speedbird xxx, we continue with present clearance.
LOWI_TWR: Speedbird xxx, in this case: go ahead with present clearance, wind calm, runway 26 cleared for takeoff.
LOWI_TWR: Speedbird xxx, RVR 700m, ceiling at 4000ft, above that CAVOK, wind calm, rwy26 cleared for takeoff.