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Departures (16)

Callsign Dep Arr Status ETA
ELY006 KLAX LLBG Enroute 1845
AAL169 KLAX RJAA Enroute 2211
AAL515 KLAX KMIA Enroute 1720
AAL961 KLAX KLGA Enroute 1738
AAL872 KLAX EBBR Enroute 0124
N247CH KLAX KABQ Enroute 0635
FFT404 KLAX KDEN Enroute 0229
GTI4981 KLAX KJFK Enroute 2011
DAL2210 KLAX KABQ Enroute 0118
FDX8012 KLAX KMEM Enroute 1913
AAL34 KLAX KJFK Enroute 2044
CMP1865 KLAX KBOS Enroute 2127
UAL2581 KLAX KMSY Enroute 2002
AAL1799 KLAX KPHL Enroute 1600
UAL2625 KLAX KSFO Enroute 1600
CPA095 KLAX PANC Enroute 1600

Arrivals (12)

Callsign Dep Arr Status ETA
UAE215 OMDB KLAX Enroute 0522
UAL26U KBOS KLAX Enroute 1600
CXA672 SCEL KLAX Enroute 0033
CLX112 OMDB KLAX Enroute 0928
AAL442 LTFM KLAX Enroute 0556
FDX3830 KJFK KLAX Enroute 0315
DAL1019 KBOS KLAX Enroute 0402
AAL1480 PHNL KLAX Enroute 0211
NKS569 KMSP KLAX Enroute 0440
UAL1534 KIAH KLAX Enroute 0326
DAL1142 KSLC KLAX Enroute 1600
DAL45 KJFK KLAX Departing

Los Angeles (SoCal) 28

Departures (1)

Callsign Dep Arr Status ETA
UPS2915 KONT KSDF Enroute 1938

Arrivals (2)

Callsign Dep Arr Status ETA
UPS200 KSDF KONT Enroute 0734
UPS9867 PHNL KONT Enroute 0030

Empire (SoCal) 3

Departures (2)

Callsign Dep Arr Status ETA
DAL2288 KSAN KJFK Enroute 2047
DAL442 KSAN KLAS Enroute 0838

Arrivals (3)

Callsign Dep Arr Status ETA
UAE902 KSFO KSAN Enroute 0129
UAL1055 KDEN KSAN Enroute 0458
BAW44N EGLL KSAN Enroute 0627

San Diego (SoCal) 5

Arrivals (1)

Callsign Dep Arr Status ETA
ASA506 KSEA KSNA Enroute 2136

Coast (SoCal) 1

Departures (3)

Callsign Dep Arr Status ETA
SWA6505 KLAS KSBA Enroute 0342
SWA3505 KLAS KSBA Enroute 0414
NKS394 KLAS KPHL Enroute 2033

Arrivals (3)

Callsign Dep Arr Status ETA
SWA4510 KSAT KLAS Enroute 0618
DAL442 KSAN KLAS Enroute 0838
REI001 KSEA KLAS Enroute 1600

Las Vegas 6

Departures (1)

Callsign Dep Arr Status ETA
NATO262 KLSV KNFL Enroute 1600

Nellis 1

Arrivals (2)

Callsign Dep Arr Status ETA
SWA6505 KLAS KSBA Enroute 0342
SWA3505 KLAS KSBA Enroute 0414

Santa Barbara 2
  • Flights To/From ZLA: 46
  • Flights in ZLA Airspace: 20
  • Controller Schedule

    April 21st, 2021

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    The Art of the Timely Handoff

    As a controller, one of the easiest things you can do to improve your life and that of your fellow controllers is to work on timely handoffs. Nearly every controller will find him or herself guilty of holding onto an aircraft too long. The result can range from delays at the runway to airspace busts or go-arounds, but it is almost always bad for everyone involved.

    So, when should you hand an aircraft off to the next controller? As soon as you no longer need to talk to the aircraft. It really is as simple as that. If there is nothing more you anticipate needing to say to a pilot, hand them off to the next controller or approve a frequency change if there’s not a “next” controller.

    Let us look at a couple of practical examples, starting with LA Ground.

    LA Ground

    As a ground controller, your primary mission is the safe and efficient movement of aircraft around the airport. For our purposes, that means not crashing airplanes into one another, and getting them to the correct location on the airport. The biggest opportunity you will have to elevate your handoffs while working LA Ground is when aircraft are taxiing from Terminals 4 through 8 to Runway 25R.

    First and foremost, make sure the pilot is on the correct taxiway and headed in the correct direction (the green arrow in the diagram below). Pilots may be unfamiliar with the field or get disoriented, so it is important to make sure they’re going where you want them to go and that they won’t get lost.

    Secondly, you want to make sure that there are no conflicts with other aircraft, which would most likely take the form of an aircraft coming out of the “Box” or one of the cargo/GA pads north of the 25R departure end (the orange boxes). Absent any potential conflicts from those areas, there is no reason you shouldn’t advise the pilot to contact Tower (or the controller staffing that position) as the aircraft approaches C5 (the yellow circle) or, at the latest, C3 (the red circle).

    146568dc7d5353afb3c4a6f9eb85811307432817.png

    There are numerous operational advantages for all parties involved. As the Ground controller, you relieve yourself of the burden of remembering to hand off the aircraft later. Anyone who has received an annoyed transmission from a pilot or message from a Tower controller can relate to this. Additionally, pilots may switch to Tower on their own. This is quite common in the real world but can result in confusion when on VATSIM.

    From the pilot’s perspective, an early handoff makes better use of their time. It is also important to remember that a handoff isn’t instantaneous. The pilot’s workload may not allow for them to switch over immediately, so build in time for that to happen.

    Additionally, by giving the Tower controller (or the radar controller providing Tower services) more time with the aircraft, you open up a wealth of options: intersection departures, takeoff clearances without the aircraft coming to a stop, and more.

    Now let us look at a radar example but stay in the area of KLAX.

    SoCal Departure

    Working a departure position (be it sectorized or as part of a larger area of responsibility) is an excellent example of both needing a timely handoff from Tower (remember Tower controllers: as soon as you see the altitude block increment, ship ‘em to Departure!) and wanting to ensure a timely handoff to Center. Let’s look at everyone’s favorite example, the ORCKA 5 departure out of KLAX.

    2017900fcc4927233cd785e0ddf698d2c0960559.png

    As the Departure controller, you’re going to still be focused on the same two tasks as earlier: the safe and efficient movement of the aircraft. In this instance, we of course want to prevent loss of separation – that’s our top priority. Secondly, we want to make sure the traffic departs the terminal area efficiently and gets headed toward its ultimate destination. No one on the ORKCA5 is looking to fly heading 251 or 236 a minute longer than they must.

    After establishing radar contact with the departing aircraft, your first instruction will likely involve canceling the restriction that they stop their climb at 5,000 feet. This is accomplished either through “climb and maintain one-three thousand” or “climb via the ORCKA Five departure” if you still need compliance with the published crossing restrictions.

    The next instruction (provided you didn’t have to correct an erroneous pilot) will likely be the left turn back toward KLIPR. This instruction is usually provided as the aircraft is climbing through 5,000 feet, which serves two purposes. One, by observing the climb through 5,000 feet, you’ve verified the aircraft has correctly canceled the restriction they received on the ground to level off at 5,000. Secondly, at that point they are over halfway to their vertical goal of crossing KLIPR at or above 10,000 feet and can start the turn.

    Looking ahead on the SID, you’ll notice things progress quickly and if left unmonitored, an aircraft climbing via the SID can climb out of your airspace in little time. So, let us review our checklist:

    • Is the aircraft clear of conflict? Is there going to be a loss of separation?
    • Is the aircraft complying with your vertical instruction to climb above 5,000 feet?
    • Is the aircraft complying with your lateral instruction to make the LEFT TURN direct KLIPR?

    If these criteria are met, it’s time to initiate the handoff to the next controller. Even though your airspace goes all the way up to 13,000 feet, you gain nothing by holding onto the aircraft. And you run the very real risk of forgetting about the aircraft and a) having it level off at 13,000, or b) having it bust through your airspace if it’s climbing via the SID (note: the ORCKA5 has a top altitude of FL230).

    Adding to the delay in the handoff from a pilot’s perspective of changing frequencies, you also now need to consider the delay in the next controller seeing your handoff. By building in this extra time, you give everyone more breathing room while also freeing up your resources for the next pilot who just took off. And you never know, that next one could be someone trying a right-turn off the deck toward KLIPR – you’ll be glad you made things easier on yourself.

    Conclusion

    Ultimately, there is no reason to hold onto an aircraft until they are right at the end of your airspace or jurisdiction. You do not increase your level of interaction with the traffic, and you do not increase safety or efficiency. All you risk doing is causing undue delays or worse, a loss of separation. Keep in mind, this is a lesson that applies at every controller position, from Ground to Center, and most controllers would benefit from being more proactive with their handoffs.