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Autotracking a stby transponder?
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brodie4598
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2012 11:09 pm    Post subject: Autotracking a stby transponder? Reply with quote

I had a departure tonight that autotracked normally except that RDR was appearing in the data block. I couldn't figure out what RDR meant but there was also no reported altitude. Only when I dropped track on the plane did I realize that it was squawking standby.

Is that possible? It was with a plane that had arrived, re-filed, then departed again and that would make the second time in a day I have seen odd behavior with planes that land and re-file
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Ross
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2012 12:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Any chance it was squawking normal when it departed, then switched to standby?
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brodie4598
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2012 12:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ross - I dont believe so, because I had another plane do the same thing a few minutes after I posted this.

It autotracked with RDR in the block, I asked him to squawk mode C and the correct datablock appeared with an "ID" as he idented well. This all happened within a minute of his take off so I don't think he somehow was squawking normal, then turned it off in such a short perios of time.

I am controlling right now so the next departure I have I will specifically ask them to squawk stby until I tell them to switch.
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Ross
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2012 1:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Makes sense ... was a shot in the dark anyway. Sounds like this is a bug. It shouldn't happen with normal departures ... should only happen with arrivals that do a turnaround and fly out again. Essentially what I believe is happening is that when the arrival lands, the system still thinks the track is associated to a flight plan. So when it subsequently departs, the autotrack system still thinks it is associated, and thus autotracks it, even if its not squawking normal. I'll log it as a bug.
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brodie4598
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2012 2:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You're exactly right Ross - I did a couple tests and found the behavior is exactly as you describe. It was NOT autotracking normal departures. Perhaps just dis-associating a target once it lands or something will do the trick. Not a huge deal now that I know what's going on.

Another question if you don't mind - I've noticed that the Airport List doesn't populate until the plane is 30mi from the arrival airport, is that normal or is it something customizable? For me, once a plane is that close it's already being vectored so there's not much point in having it on the list.
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Ross
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2012 2:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I thought I had it set to disassociate a track once it leaves radar coverage. When your arrivals land, are they going out of radar coverage?

As for the tower list range, check the FE's guide, you'll see how it's configurable on the Airports tab.

Note that the tower list is not meant to show all the tracks in your airspace. As it was described to me, it is meant to be used by controllers in a tower cab that has a STARS console, so they can see the order of impending arrivals. I was told the range is usually 20 or less. I personally don't use the tower lists when working approach/departure.
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Ed Sterling
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2012 5:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was controlling just now with a new departure (not a turn around) and the same behavior occurred. I had autotrack on and when the plane came up on radar I had track on it wth RDR in the field. I figured he was not on mode C, so I requested it and when he did that the RDR went away and an alt showed.

Ed
ZAB FE
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Ross
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2012 10:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ed, something must have caused that target to become associated to its flight plan. That can happen if, for example, another controller (not using vSTARS) picked up track on the target prior to it departing.
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brodie4598
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2012 2:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ross -

Well maybe I was wrong. I just had this happen with a departure who was definitely not a turn-around. I watched him connect on the ramp call up for clearance and depart. He was squawking stby and it autotracked with RDR. I was the only controller on at the time as well.

I also verbally confirmed with the pilot that he had just connected and not relocated to the airport after having flown somewhere else.
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brodie4598
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2012 3:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ross wrote:
When your arrivals land, are they going out of radar coverage?


They are dropping track and disappearing from the scope so I assume they are, yes.
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Ross
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2012 3:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Brodie, did it auto track on the ramp, or after the pilot departed?
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brodie4598
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2012 3:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

after he departed
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Ross
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2012 3:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm stumped ... I just reviewed the code, and it definitely will not auto-track a target that is not associated, and a target cannot become associated if it is squawking standby, with a couple exceptions:

1) If you use the force-associate command where you type the callsign in and click on the track.

2) If another controller initiates track on the target.

Did either of those two things happen?
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brodie4598
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2012 4:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

definitely not - i haven't forced an association on anyone for a few days and there was no other controllers within my vis range at the time.

Is it possible that associations are somehow saved in the pref? This particular pilot is one that frequents the airspace and I know I controlled him yesterday as the same callsign.

I did modify his flight plan using the flight plan window which I dont always do.
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Ross
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2012 4:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No, track association status is not saved anywhere.

I'll see if I can reproduce this issue in my test environment or on sweatbox. Please let me know if you keep getting the bug and if you notice any pattern as to the cause.
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