First of all sorry for any inconvenience caused by me due to in the Maastricht Eurocontrol frequency, due to I entered the wrong frequency.
Early today I flew a short flight from EHAM to EDDB. Everything went smoothly, until Amsterdam radar requested me to climb to FL250 and handled me over to Maastricht.
Since I have a habit to open simaware on my iPad while flying, I previewed the frequency and thought it should be EURM-W_CTR (Maastricht Eurocontrol), because that is the larger sector above FL245, which is logical. In xPilot I also double clicked the frequency and in the text I saw it was Maastricht. Then I connected to the frequency and reported myself, but the controller said he couldn’t see me on his screen.
A few moments later, I got a message from Maastricht Radar (Sorry I forgot the callsign). It turned out that I should connect Maastricht Radar instead of Maastricht Eurocontrol.
I was quite confused for this, I understand I should hear the next frequency from the current ATC, but usually I do a double check on simaware and the client.
But in today’s situation, I couldn’t see the other Maastricht Radar sector either from simaware or from Vatscope. Normally
EHAA_W_CTR (Amsterdam Radar) covers the whole Netherlands, and if Eurocontrol is online, then above FL245 belongs to Eurocontrol.
So what is this Maastricht Radar, and what’s the difference between the Masstricht Radar (forgot callsign) and Maastrichr Eurocontrol (EURM-W_CTR)? To me it seems this sector comes from nowhere, and it seems conflicts with the responsibility of Eurocontrol.
I hope someone from Dutch vAcc or Eurocenter vAcc could explain this.
The actual Maastricht and Rhein Radar sectors are no longer displayed on any map tool except for VATGlasses. The reason behind this is that no other map tool can accurately display the different sectors, which lead to a lot of people who were nowhere near that sector and would not even come close to it at any point calling in (on busy evenings, half of a controller’s transmissions could end up being “not in my airspace, continue on unicom”).
The difference between the EURM and - in your case - EDYY controllers is that EURM is controlled by the Eurocenter vACC (this is a whole other discussion, but suffice it to say they control very large areas of UIR airspace), while EDYY is the actual UIR in this case and controlled by local vATCOs. Whenever both a local and a Eurocenter controller are online, the Eurocenter controller has to yield the respective part of the airspace to the local controller.
Two general bits of advice for flying in Europe (and Germany in particular):
Don’t use any other map tool than VATGlasses. It - or at least the beta - now covers the entirety of European airspace and it is the only tool that can accurately display the very complex airspace we have here. Plus, as you see, it is also the only map that will actually display all sectors.
Lose the habit of crosschecking the frequency you have been told with SimAware or even the controller list in your pilot client. There are myriads of situations where controllers might be using multiple frequencies and you are being sent to one of these secondary frequencies. Especially on a busy evening with a lot of different controllers online, this can easily lead to you switching to the wrong frequency; and in some cases you might initially reach the correct controller, but they have just been moving aircraft to a frequency for a controller that is about to come online, thus once they connect, you will suddenly be on the wrong frequency.
If you are at any point unsure if you understood the frequency correctly, ask the controller to say again. They’d much rather spend two seconds of their time repeating the frequency than three or four different controllers having to spend 1-2 minutes of each of their time to figure out on which frequency you are now and who you should actually be talking to.
David has mentioned everything relevant. I quoted the core-sentence that would solve most problems in situations like this: religiously copy the instructed frequency and set it in your aircraft/pilot client, or not. Don’t worry whether it is listed on one of the VATSIM status-tools or in your pilot client. Neither will display or list secondary frequencies, this is a technical shortcoming, although it should not have a huge impact since real air crew normally do not research upcoming frequencies - ATC will tell you what frequency to contact next, just do it.
Thank you very much for your detailed explanation. After checking VATGlasses, I think I understand a bit better on this situation. I think in the future I’ll rely more on the frequency given by the ATC instead of the pilot client/vatsim status tool.
To be honest in my past flight experience, Amsterdam Radar usually handles me to either Langen or Bremen directly.
So if I understand correctly, the whole Maastricht Radar cover the UIR of Amsterdam, part of Langen, Bremen and Brussel, and in this case the Langen or Bremen for instance covers only below FL245? And if EDYY is not online but EURM is online, then EURM will take over the UIR?
And I’m just curious about this airspace split in real life. I watched this video before, and learned that the UIR controls like Maastricht UIR is similar to the EDYY I experienced yesterday, but it is managed by Eurocenter. It was also the reason I thought EURM should be the frequency to go. However on Vatsim Eurocenter vACC only manages EURM sectors. Do the EURM sectors also exist in real life or it’s just a Vatsim thing?
Only if not local CTR-controller is active. Otherwise the local CTR-controller will cover both the upper and lower airspace of his sector.
It is a VATSIM thing. Originally VATSIM had very few controllers and VATSIM’s Eurocontrol was created to fill the gaps between CTR-sectors. In the meantime we see much more uptime of local CTR-controllers and they even split their sectors vertically by opening their respective EDYY (“Maastricht”) and EDUU (“Rhein”) upper airspace sectors that usually begin at FL245 and FL255, respectively. EDYY and EDUU are managed and operated by local teams, while all those “EURx-sectors” are operated by “gap-fillers” of Eurocontrol. local CTR and EDYY/EDUU override EURx activities.