Study Guide:Flight Information Center
Flight Information Center (FIC)
The Flight Information Center provides VFR traffic with info service and takes care of the alarm service in the Austrian airspace. The info service contains the information necessary to safely conduct a VFR flight by providing weather information, informing about hazards en route as well as giving out traffic information.
In RL the area covered by FIC (Callsign Wien Information, or short, Wien Info) is split into three sectors, Wien Information North (134.625) and Wien Information South (124.400). Additionally, FIC in the TMA LOWW is provided on frequency 118.525.
On VATSIM, we conduct FIC by using the logon LOVV_I_CTR, on frequency 124.400 and TFI (Terminal Flight Information) on LOWW_I_APP (TMA LOWW only), on frequency 118.525. If LOWW_I_APP is not online, LOVV_I_CTR is responsible for flight information service in the whole FIR Wien, including TMA LOWW. Note: FIC provides flight information service only within the FIR LOVV.
A pilot should initiate radio contact by calling in and providing only their callsign. No other information shall be passed upon initial contact.
OEABC: Wien Information, servus, OEABC.
As the FISO (Flight Information Service Operator), you now check for the aircraft and the flight plan. If a flightplan has been filed:
Info: OEABC, Wien Information, servus. I have all your details. QNH 1014.
or, if it's a short sightseeing flight, from LOWI to LOWI, for example, replying with the following suffices:
Info: OEABC, Wien Information, servus. QNH 1014.
If no flight plan has been filed, you reply by:
Info: OEABC, Wien Information, servus. Go ahead. OEABC: OEABC, SR22, VFR from LOWZ to LOGO, 5nm west of St Johann im Pongau, squawk 7000, 5500ft, request traffic information.
You may now create a flight plan for that flight, if you so wish and reply:
Info: OEABC, roger, QNH 1014.
The phrase, "Currently no traffic" or similar shall not be used.
As you now got all information needed, check the route of the pilot for any hazards en route (military activity, parachuting, active restricted/danger areas) and inform the pilot about them:
Info: OEABC, be advised of parachuting activity overhead LOGO up to FL 125.
In case of the route crossing any TMA, inform the pilot and ask if they want to cross it:
Info: OEABC, confirm you want to cross the TMA Linz? OEABC: OEABC, affirmative, we would like to cross the TMA Linz at 5500ft. Info: OEABC, roger, call you back.
Now you coordinate with the controller, who is responsible for the LOWL TMA, and ask for a VFR TMA crossing. Linz either tells you to keep the aircraft on your frequency or asks you to hand them over.
Info: OEABC, Linz Radar clears you to cross TMA Linz between 5000ft and 6000ft VFR, remain on my frequency.
or, if the responsible controller requests you to hand the pilot over:
Info: OEABC, for TMA crossing Linz contact Linz Radar on 129.625.
Traffic information shall be provided in the following format:
- Type of traffic (Unknown, VFR, IFR, Military,...)
- Position, based on the clock bearing
- Relative altitude (tendency if applicable, climbing or descending)
- Type of aircraft
- Any other information that is deemed helpful to avoid a collision
When initiating a traffic information call, give the pilot a chance to respond first:
Info: OEABC, traffic information. OEABC: Go ahead. Info: OEABC, VFR traffic, 3 o'clock, 3nm, opposite direction, 500ft below, Cessna 172.
In determining, whether or not to give traffic information at all, consider a 3nm/1000ft "bubble" around the aircraft in question - if this bubble is to be penetrated, traffic information should be issued.
Additionally, traffic information for aircraft flying at 4 - 6 o'clock might be suboptimal, given the limited view behind.
If a Pilot responds:
OEABC: Traffic in sight.
everything is fine. On the other hand, if the pilot reports:
OEABC: Traffic not in sight.
you may provide updated traffic information if the two targets move closer together. Nonetheless, you are not responsible for the separation at any time. If the aircraft is clear of traffic you respond:
Info: OEABC, clear of traffic.
You may provide weather information to pilots, above a certain severity.
Info: OEABC, be adivsed, expect severe turbulence between LOWL and LOWS between 3000ft and FL120
It is mandatory that all aircraft flying in Austrian airspace are equipped with a Mode-S transponder, so using squawk 7000 exclusively suffices for proper radar identification.
If you want to simulate only secondary radar contacts without Mode-S, like in valleys, where Mode-S radar quality may not be assured, use the squawk range of 1550 - 1557. TopSky will assign the correct squawk automatically.
Altimeter setting areas, short ASA - 8 distinct areas in the FIR LOVV where QNH is being measured. You may refer to the eAIP for an overview of the covered areas by each ASA: Austrian eAIP ENR 6.7. Upon initial contact, a pilot shall be provided with the current QNH for the ASA he is currently in; except if he is about to leave a certain ASA at the moment of initial call, the FISO may prodide him with the QNH for the next ASA. It is the pilot's obligation to check for a new QNH every 30 minutes, Wien Information does NOT update the pilot with a new QNH - neither when he crosses an ASA boundary, nor if the current QNH changes.
Turns & Climbs
In certain situations, may it be for avoiding danger areas, weather, or terrain, you are allowed to suggest headings/altitudes to the pilot:
Info: OEABC, suggest VFR heading 180 to avoid restricted area Allentsteig.
If a pilot requests an IFR pick-up, they often have to climb above the MVA to be able to join IFR. In this case, use:
Info: OEABC, climb VFR altitude 9500ft.
After that, you may send them over to the responsible radar unit for their IFR clearance.
Entering Airspace D/C vertically
In certain situations, a pilot might need to fly a higher altitude than airspace E allows. In this case, coordinate with the responsible radar unit for clearance.
Info: OEABC, Klagenfurt Radar clears you into airspace D up to FL 125, climb VFR FL125, remain this frequency.
The radar unit may still request you to hand them over.
You may leave vs frequency change approved
A VFR pilot may leave your frequency at any time.
OEABC: Wien Information, OEABC approaching LOAV, leaving your frequency. Info: OEABC, you may leave, servus.
If you told the pilot to remain your frequency, they are no longer allowed to leave on their own. In this case use:
Info: OEABC, frequency change approved, servus.
In case you assigned an SQ other then 7000, you tell them:
Info: OEABC, squawk VFR, frequency change approved/you may leave, servus.