Ground Stops, EDCTs, Update times, Wheels Up times...

sorrygottarunway

Well-Known Member
In my new position at an airport where ground stops and delays are part of the daily routine, I am curious about the different types of delays that are put on my flights. Everytime I seem to ask ATC "does that mean we will actually be departing at that time, is this a for-sure time?" I always receive quizzical responses paired with the standard aviation adage "well nothing is for sure!"

One thing that is always on my mind is when to board- should I board in preparation for a departure release time only to find that we'll be waiting for another hour? If I wait to board up and we get unexpectedly released, now I am at the disadvantage that I'll miss the release time.

So here's what I've come up with so far:

Ground Stops: Usually paired with an "update time." Could be cancelled or extended at the update time, and its pretty much a dice roll on whether you'd be leaving at the update time. The other day, our update time arrived and we were then granted a wheels up time. I guess it wouldn't be wise to board during a ground stop until you hear what the new news is at the update time, but I've also been in a situation where I've held on the ramp, already boarded, making the $$ for an hour sitting there.

EDCT: Expect departure clearance time. I'm a bit fuzzy if the EDCT time one receives is a sure thing. "Expect" means be prepared, or also it might change. If I queried ATC to see if that was our wheels up, they would naturally answer no.

Wheels Up time: This seems to be when ATC wants us taking off, so I usually board in anticipation of this time. Haven't been disappointed yet!


Anybody have any other experience with these terms?
 

adreamer

Well-Known Member
From my short experiences

Wheel up time usually means your plane can takeoff 5 minutes before. For example: Wheel up time 1852 local - means you can takeoff about 1847 local. Have not disappointed yet. :D You can plan boarding based on that.

EDCT - Expect Departure Clearance time depends on the destination airport traffic condition. It can be change rather quickly. For example, weather improve or wind shift at PHL, PHL can use west operation(3 landing runways, 2 departure runways). You can be release right then. :p However, I usually ask tower to call our operation in case we are out of cockpit.

Ground Stop and update time are usually paired together, just like holding instructions. For me, just go back to crewroom and chill. :)

These are just my little experiences. hope it helps
 

HiDef

New Member
In my new position at an airport where ground stops and delays are part of the daily routine, I am curious about the different types of delays that are put on my flights. Everytime I seem to ask ATC "does that mean we will actually be departing at that time, is this a for-sure time?" I always receive quizzical responses paired with the standard aviation adage "well nothing is for sure!"

One thing that is always on my mind is when to board- should I board in preparation for a departure release time only to find that we'll be waiting for another hour? If I wait to board up and we get unexpectedly released, now I am at the disadvantage that I'll miss the release time.

So here's what I've come up with so far:

Ground Stops: Usually paired with an "update time." Could be cancelled or extended at the update time, and its pretty much a dice roll on whether you'd be leaving at the update time. The other day, our update time arrived and we were then granted a wheels up time. I guess it wouldn't be wise to board during a ground stop until you hear what the new news is at the update time, but I've also been in a situation where I've held on the ramp, already boarded, making the $$ for an hour sitting there.

EDCT: Expect departure clearance time. I'm a bit fuzzy if the EDCT time one receives is a sure thing. "Expect" means be prepared, or also it might change. If I queried ATC to see if that was our wheels up, they would naturally answer no.

Wheels Up time: This seems to be when ATC wants us taking off, so I usually board in anticipation of this time. Haven't been disappointed yet!


Anybody have any other experience with these terms?
Here's what I mean when I use these terms as a controller:

Ground stop: We get a message through our flight data computer saying something like, "ground stop in effect for EWR due to thunderstorms. Expect update by 2200z. Basically, nobody leaves and we don't even attempt to call flow control until we hear something from them or receive another message. You're right though, they can be canceled or updated at anytime. Definitely a dice roll.

EDCT: Expect departure clearance time: Misleading, especially with arrivals into ATL, or so my experience tells me. Anyway, you're flight plan will come out of the flight data computer with an EDCT time on it. Normally you will be allowed to depart within 5 minutes before and after that time. Sometimes they update to accomodate late arrivals, i.e., Acey has an edct of 2200z back to ATL but doesn't leave ATL until 2100z and will obviously never make his orginal edct time. Sometimes it gets updated before we ask, sometimes not. Heres the catch on these though, most of the time we have to call and verify the time with flow control. Sometimes it changes when we call and sometimes it's the standard plus or minus 5.

Wheels up: The time or window of time (1938-1940z) I need you to actually be airborne. Everyday I call for releases to 4 major airports we serve. Doesn't matter if they're dead or busy, I have to apreq (approval request) your departure to their airport for metering. You advise me me you'll be ready in 10 min, I call flow control and say XXX2275, wheels up in 15 min.:D

HD
 

Rocketman99

Frozen Guppy Manipulator
I've always thought EDCTs and wheels up times were the exact same thing and that both were subject to change with a +/- 5 min window on the stated time. Ground stops mean I'm making money with the door closed waiting for the update. Also thought that all three were subject to change and for Newark it usually means they're gonna be pushed back another 30 mins...
 

Nick

Well-Known Member
Doesn't answer your question but...

Sorrygottarunway -

If you haven't already, I would bookmark this site

http://www.fly.faa.gov/ois/

and starting perusing it once in a while on days when the weather at EWR is bad (and even normal afternoons when wind doesn't allow the use of 11 for arrivals).

You will start to see some trends and common explanations on there.

Often times in the ground stop section it will mention how much holding is currently going on or if they are turning the airport around or what the ground stop is for (half the time it's just volume because TRACON can't handle any more).

The act of getting into EWR on an afternoon when runway 11 can't be used for landings and the day of the week is not Saturday is unreasonably difficult and the whole situation is totally unacceptable for passengers, crew, and the airlines.

Back on topic, I've found that as far as ATC terminology goes:

EDCT = wheels up time.

Now from that OIS site you can also determine what the update time is for the groundstop without even calling ATC. It will say right on there. When the update time is reached then they put out a new slew of wheels up times.

"We've got a wheels up time . . . bring a lot of ice!"
 

grnclvrs

Well-Known Member
A couple of years ago we would get a CDT (Center departure time) as well as a EDCT coming out of RKD. Royal PITA trying to coordinate these two.
 
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