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The quiz.

Think life is easy behind the scope as a Center controller? Let's see
what you really know about pushing tin. Quiz by Don Brown. Answers on
page 20.

1. In the NW quadrant, N155J's data block reads "70C" in the
middle line. This means:

a. N155J's on-course heading is 070.
b. N155J has a Mode C transponder.
c. N155J is level at 7000 MSL and the Mode C confirms this.
d. N155J is flown by a 70-year-old pilot.

2. Below N155J, CST in QXE443's data block means:

a. The pilot is using Central Standard Time.
b. Cleared for Standard Takeoff
c. The flight needs to clear Customs upon landing.
d. Radar is not tracking the flight so the data block is coasting.

3. Right of center and toward the top of the picture, what
does the R mean in HAR4550's data block "R001MSAW"?

a. The controller has advised the pilot he/she is in radar contact.
b. The aircraft is in a Restricted Area.
c. The aircraft is /R.
d. Another controller has accepted a radar handoff on that aircraft.

4. The 001 in R001MSAW is just a computer ID code for that
flight. But what does MSAW mean?

a. Minimum Safe Altitude Warning.
b. Military--Special Altitude Waiver (for low-level training)
c. Meteorological Survey-Altitude Waiver
d. Military--Speed (AW is a classified code for separation purposes)

5. Just left of the HAR4550 data block, the 020 in big
numbers means:

a. The aircraft is in Restricted Area 020
b. The aircraft is on IR020 (military instrument route)
c. The Minimum IFR Altitude in this area is 2000 MSL
d. The Minimum Safe Altitude in this area is 2000 MSL.

6. In the middle right of the picture, you can see
an "I" with "1505" next to it. Why is the target an

a. The target is a subject of "Interest."
b. The target is a Mode C "Intruder."
c. There is no significance. All targets without data blocks
   look like that.
d. It just looks like an "I." It's actually a flight of two and
   an example of clutter on a radar scope.

7. On the same target, right under the number 1505,
you can see the number 113. What do all these
numbers mean ?

a. The target of interest was first tracked at 1505Z and its
   Computer Identification Number (CID) is 113.
b. 1505 is the beacon code of the intruder and his
   altitude is 11,300 MSL.
c. It's some other controller's airspace and you
   don't care what it means.
d. 1505 is the beacon code of the first target. On
   the second target's beacon code the first digit
   is covered up but the last three digits are 113.

8. Back on the QXE443 data block, if you
follow the the bright line leading away
from the data block to the target--the
leader length--you'll notice another
leader length from the same target going
in the opposite direction to the data block
of QXE83. What in the world is going on

a. That is what a flight of two looks like when
   they're both I FR. QXE83 is in the lead and
   QXE443's transponder is off to prevent Conflict
b. The controller is having a deal--an
   operational error. He has two airplanes cleared
   out of the same airport at the same time.
c. The two targets are right on top of each other,
   which is confusing the radar, causing the
   computer to "lose" the altitude of QXE443.
d. QXE443 is on a through clearance. His callsign
   on arrival was QXE443 and his callsign will
   change to QXE83 when he departs.

QUIZ ANSWERS (questions on page 72)

1. c. The second line in the data block is the altitude line. N155J's Mode C is "C"onfirmed as level at 7000.

2. d. Controllers call this a coast track and it means radar hasn't detected a target on this aircraft for several sweeps. The data block flashes on the scope to alert the controller.

3. d. All the other data blocks start with a three-digit computer identification number (CID). The absence of the "R" means that this controller--this sector--has control of all the full data blocks. Controllers used to call the next controller and say, "Handoff, 20 miles northwest of ATL, HAR4550." The receiving controller would reply "Radar contact" or just "Radar" to accept it. When computers came along, R was the logical choice.

4. a. Pronounced "em-saw," this flashes on the scope just like the CST in a coast track. Center MSAW alerts aren't nearly as sensitive (for lack of a better word) as Low Altitude Alerts at Approach Control.

5. c. The big 020 flashes with the MSAW and is the Mini mum IFR Altitude or MIA.

6. b. At Center, VFR targets climbing out of an airport in a low-altitude sector appear as a "V" until they climb through a certain altitude (5000 MSL in Atlanta Center). Fly higher and they change to an "I," and become eligible for a Conflict Alert warning. Without this an airport traffic pattern would set off alerts continuously.

7. b. 1505 is the beacon code and the 113 is the altitude. It's usually the correct altitude, but the controller must verify it to be sure. A target without a full data block but displaying a beacon code (and usually an altitude) is called a Limited Data Block. You might hear a controller slip up and refer to a target as a "limited" one day.

8. d. Actually, all four answers are viable so we'll consider this one a freebie. The second line of the data block is altitude so QXE83 is leaving 1000 climbing to 9000, probably departing an airport.
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Author:Brown, Don
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 1, 2007
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