Welcome to ZOTSOT- ZLA OTS Special Operations Team.
This forum will primarily be used by the training staff to let the ZOTSOT pilots know about upcoming training sessions in need of special traffic. Please read the following to learn about what ZOTSOT is.
Controller students are reminded that the training staff has certain prerequisites as to when a session is featured in this forum. Controllers, DO NOT ask a mentor/instructor to post your session in this thread, and you should not post your session in this thread either. Students who have not had good traffic levels for several session in a row (simply due to bad luck) are the ones who will usually have sessions featured in this thread.
Remember that every training session is public, simply look on the homepage calender to see if there are any sessions for a specific day. ZOTSOT pilots may fly for any training session, even if it's not featured on this ZOTSOT forum.
To start out, here is what ZOTSOT isn't:
A way to get around normal procedures/vatsim rules
A way to be mean (voice wise, not request wise) to controllers (foreceful is ok, mean isnt)
A way to completely devestate a controller with way to much for their level. (except for certain circumstances)
What exactly is ZOTSOT?:
ZOTSOT is a way for controllers in training to get traffic during training sessions to help progress their training, for mentors and instructors its a way to get traffic that can do specific things that the student may need to see. For pilots its a way to give back to the controllers, do fun rare flying things, learn about some advanced flying procedures. And for all parties its a way to have FUN!
With that in mind, here are some general rules for ZOTSOT pilots during training sessions:
Check in with the Instructor/mentor before calling up (you can already be logged in, and 100% ready to go), this will allow you to see what the instructor/mentor wants to see.
Some instructors/mentors will give you freedom to do what you like, in that case have fun.
Try to keep your requests to what you believe to be the controllers capability, if you can tell the controller is ultra nervous/not doing so hot, tone it down a tad, maybe save the ILS runway 9 circle to 27 for another day. However if the controller is rocking go for it! Give them all you've got as long as the mentor/instructor approves of it.
Communicate with the other ZOTSOT pilots, see what they are doing. One plane can't always test the controller on things that multiple aircraft can. For example, if there are multiple ZOTSOT pilots, you could test a tower controller to see if they will clear two aircraft into LAX's miniroute at the same time (only one aircraft is allowed in the miniroute at one time). ZOTSOT pilots should try to communicate and coordinate what they're doing in ZLA's Teamspeak server. There is a specific ZOTSOT channel just for that.
Here are some rules for pre-OTS/OTS sessions:
Still check in with the instructor/mentor. Usually you will be given free reign during these sessions, but we have specific things that we have to see to pass someone on an OTS. If the instructor/mentor needs to see that one last thing that nobody has done, they may ask you to do it when you check in.
Go all out within the purpose of the OTS. Remember that you are flying so the student can succeed. If you are flying to try to get the student to mess up, go find a different hobby.
What do mentors/instructors look for from students during training sessions? (In other words, what should ZOTSOT pilots try to test the students on)
LAX Ground Sessions:
One of the things that ground students need to know are the LOAs (Letters of Agreement). To test them on this, file some bad IFR flight plans to major airports within ZLA's bordering ARTCCs (KSFO, KOAK, KDEN, KSLC, KPHX, etc...) and see if they amend them correctly. Ask the mentor/instructor if you need help filing a bad flight plan. Ground students also must know how to deal with aircraft that call up for a VFR departure (both with and without flight following). Lastly, ground controllers need to be very familiar with TEC routes so feel free to file some IFR TEC routes as well (both good and bad routes). Just make sure the mentor/instructor approves of what you're doing.
LAX Tower sessions:
Make sure the student knows everything and anything for running a tower. Generally, tower students tend to have the hardest time with VFR procedures so be sure to test them on VFR pattern work, VFR departures (with and without flight following), VFR transitions (such as the miniroute), and helicopter ops. Go for anything thats legal (Flying a blimp through the miniroute isn't actually legal, but its okay, bonus points if the student notices). Just make sure you check in with the mentor/instructor prior to doing anything.
Las Vegas Approach (L30) Sessions:
Go all out. We need to see operations at KLAS, but usually non-ZOTSOT traffic covers that. We also need to see ops from the small airports (KVGT, KHND, and KLSV) as well as the uncontrolled airports (KBVU) and thats where you guys come in. Pop-up IFRs, VFR Practice approaches, VOR approaches, etc... Just make sure the mentor or instructor approves whatever you want to do first.
Socal Combined (LAX_APP) Approach Sessions:
This one is slightly different. By this point in a controller's training, the controller should already have a good understanding of the oddities that ZOTSOT members have helped them with along the way. On LAX_APP, it's more important that we see operations into the main fields (LAX,SAN,SNA,ONT,BUR), more than the weird stuff. There's certainly no issue with flying into a small field, and even still doing some weird things, but make sure the instructor/mentor has approved whatever oddity you may have in mind. This OTS is more about traffic sequence and spacing into the big fields then it is knowing how to do the VOR-A into AVX (this is of course still welcome and needed, however the LAS_APP OTS is designed to teach a controller how to deal with this kind of stuff).
This is similiar to LAX_APP. Traffic is the key here, not weird requests. The previous OTS's proved that weird requests can be handled. A few weird requests are welcome as always, but this OTS is all about traffic, traffic, and more traffic. On a daily basis a center controller can see enough traffic to last some controllers for a while, but rarely will more then 1 or 2 planes being doing non-normal stuff (like VFR practice approaches or pop-up IFRs). ZOTSOT pilots are still allowed to fly some bizarre things, as long as the instructor/mentor approves it beforehand.
Finally, please know how to fly your aircraft of choice, and how to fly what you request. If you have any questions about flying feel free to ask an instructor because the last thing we want is for the ZOTSOT to be making things more difficult for the student in the sense that you cannot fly your aircraft correctly.
Remember the most important thing, HAVE FUN and let the controller succeed! As you fly for a student, maybe that student will return the favor for an upcoming session of yours.