Trump shutdown ended after only 10 air traffic controllers stayed home

ChasenSFO

hen teaser
Yes, we are at that critical a level of staffing. In my area, we are supposed to have I think it’s 63 certified controllers for 100% staffing. By this June, we will have 27.
In the 6 years I've been working in the ramp towers at SFO, I can count on one hand how many transfers actually certified in the FAA tower. But 20+ have ended up in Oakland or other airports washing out while people keep retiring. I imagine it is the same everywhere.

Meanwhile I'm just here, chillin in the hiring pool(again since they abruptly closed it last time after saying I'd be in it for 3 years). They haven't taken anyone from my pool due to backlog from 2016-2017 hires who haven't gone to OKC, I'm sure the shut down only made that much, much worse.
 

NovemberEcho

Dergs favorite member
In the 6 years I've been working in the ramp towers at SFO, I can count on one hand how many transfers actually certified in the FAA tower. But 20+ have ended up in Oakland or other airports washing out while people keep retiring. I imagine it is the same everywhere.

Meanwhile I'm just here, chillin in the hiring pool(again since they abruptly closed it last time after saying I'd be in it for 3 years). They haven't taken anyone from my pool due to backlog from 2016-2017 hires who haven't gone to OKC, I'm sure the shut down only made that much, much worse.
Move to NY and apply on the local area N90 bid
 

ChasenSFO

hen teaser
Move to NY and apply on the local area N90 bid
Local area bid? What is that? If it is locale-related direct entry for civilians, then I'm all for it, but I'll wait for it to come out West. Things are so effed that it's inevitable something happens because the system is broken and it is a matter of time before 2-3 real sick calls cause a staffing event like this.
 

greg1016

Trustworthy Source
There isn't one.
Local area bid? What is that? If it is locale-related direct entry for civilians, then I'm all for it, but I'll wait for it to come out West. Things are so effed that it's inevitable something happens because the system is broken and it is a matter of time before 2-3 real sick calls cause a staffing event like this.
Stinger is right, the announcement closed. They tried a little experiment a little ways back to hire people off the street from the area (it was either by county you lived in or radius, I don't remember which). Presumably that hiring locals will give them more motivation to get checked out. It was only for N90 and I don't know how it went.
 

Stinger

Well-Known Member
Stinger is right, the announcement closed. They tried a little experiment a little ways back to hire people off the street from the area (it was either by county you lived in or radius, I don't remember which). Presumably that hiring locals will give them more motivation to get checked out. It was only for N90 and I don't know how it went.
Way too soon to tell how it went. Way more people passed OKC than should have, and now N90 has way more people than they know what to do with.
 

NovemberEcho

Dergs favorite member
Stinger is right, the announcement closed. They tried a little experiment a little ways back to hire people off the street from the area (it was either by county you lived in or radius, I don't remember which). Presumably that hiring locals will give them more motivation to get checked out. It was only for N90 and I don't know how it went.
Local area bid? What is that? If it is locale-related direct entry for civilians, then I'm all for it, but I'll wait for it to come out West. Things are so effed that it's inevitable something happens because the system is broken and it is a matter of time before 2-3 real sick calls cause a staffing event like this.
They did a bid (didn’t know they weren’t planning on doing more) for hiring at N90’where you had to live within 50 miles to be eligible. They had polled all of CPC’s here and found the majority had ties to the area so they hoped by hiring local people used to Long Island that it would stop the problem of trainees withdrawing from training to go somewhere else. They made a class in OKC called TETRA that was supposed to act like a screen and they assumed 40-50% woud wash out, but they effed it up and it has a 99.99% pass rate and now we have more trainees than you can shake a stick at.
 

tlove482

Well-Known Member
They did a bid (didn’t know they weren’t planning on doing more) for hiring at N90’where you had to live within 50 miles to be eligible. They had polled all of CPC’s here and found the majority had ties to the area so they hoped by hiring local people used to Long Island that it would stop the problem of trainees withdrawing from training to go somewhere else. They made a class in OKC called TETRA that was supposed to act like a screen and they assumed 40-50% woud wash out, but they effed it up and it has a 99.99% pass rate and now we have more trainees than you can shake a stick at.
So it was a success?
 

NovemberEcho

Dergs favorite member
So it was a success?
Well, in terms of pure numbers sure. But we are completely overloaded with trainees now. The classes are so backed up that people show up and won’t even start the bookwork classroom for a year or three. We are going to have almost twice the amount of trainees as CPC’s so trainer burnout will become a real issue. Plus with the new training program they saddled us with, they greatly reduced the number of positions you can train on and can’t train on combined positions, but we don’t have the staffing to split all the positions so we only have a small window where we can get any training done.
 
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ChasenSFO

hen teaser
Well, in terms of pure numbers sure. But we are completely overloaded with trainees now. The classes are so backed up that people show up and won’t even start the bookwork classroom for a year or three. We are going to have almost twice the amount of trainees as CPC’s so trainer burnout will become a real issue. Plus with the new training program they saddled us with, they greatly reduced the number of positions you can train on and can’t train on combined positions, but we don’t have the staffing to split all the positions so we only have a small window where we can get any training done.
Sounds about right for the results of the FAA thinking outside the box.

I just wish there was some way that knowing how to talk on the radio and knowing the layout/traffic flows at a busy class B airport mattered for something. I read an article before the the FAA was considering outsourcing ground control, I don't think they should do that, but I do wish they took that idea and morphed into a civilian flow-through program. Considering the FAA sends people to OKC based on a test score/personality test with no interview even, you'd have to imagine that anyone who works in a busy ramp tower or holds at least a PPL has a realistic shot worth giving them a chance.
 

greg1016

Trustworthy Source
Sounds about right for the results of the FAA thinking outside the box.

I just wish there was some way that knowing how to talk on the radio and knowing the layout/traffic flows at a busy class B airport mattered for something. I read an article before the the FAA was considering outsourcing ground control, I don't think they should do that, but I do wish they took that idea and morphed into a civilian flow-through program. Considering the FAA sends people to OKC based on a test score/personality test with no interview even, you'd have to imagine that anyone who works in a busy ramp tower or holds at least a PPL has a realistic shot worth giving them a chance.
Never been to a ramp tower but I am here to tell you most busy Class B airports, ground control is where you earn your money. No way the FAA would let that go. I am not saying having some experience at the airport wouldn't give you a leg up on training, but it has no guarantees, and the way the FAA hires these days you wouldn't start at SFO anyway.
 

ChasenSFO

hen teaser
Never been to a ramp tower but I am here to tell you most busy Class B airports, ground control is where you earn your money. No way the FAA would let that go. I am not saying having some experience at the airport wouldn't give you a leg up on training, but it has no guarantees, and the way the FAA hires these days you wouldn't start at SFO anyway.
Yeah of course, which is funny because you can't start at an airport like SFO, but Oakland Center? Sure! Why not?

What I'm saying is that the average off the street hire has little to no aviation experience, just working several years of ramp tower at a busy airport/having a PPL will PROBABLY give you a big leg up on people who have never keyed the mic on a VHF radio. Not saying you can't still wash out with a pilot/ramp control background, but I'd say you're more likely(maybe much more likely) to pass on average than a Best Buy cashier, who would be about the average off-the-street hire. Regardless of where they send you.
 

DE727UPS

Well-Known Member
Yeah, and that kinda sucks. When I went to the academy the first phase was a PPL ground school. As a CFI, I found it rather easy. The rest really had nothing to do with real life ATC. It was a weird non-radar game you had to master. The idea was if you could master it you'd make a good controller. I washed. Then I went to LA Tracon and worked as an ATA. My real life background in aviation was a plus and I quickly understood how things worked. Had I been assigned to the tower I would have been a lowly GS7 working clearance delivery. Later I learned clearance was one of the hardest positions in the tower and a challenge for all the newbs. If a guy had years of experience working a ramp tower position he'd clearly have a heads up vs a Best Buy cashier. When I left the FAA my biggest takeaway from the other guys was I'd have been a good controller. The academy was designed to teach a game and test it equally to CFI's and Best Buy cashiers. I think the system could be better but nobody asked me.
 

greg1016

Trustworthy Source
You still need more experience than just a McJob to get hired, I do not know anyone like that. And to be fair, Oakland Center IS a low-level center, they can't send everyone to Guam or San Juan to learn en route controlling.

By my observation, previous aviation experience has little bearing on how well a trainee will do. If anything, having a PPL only might even be a detriment (I include myself in this pool). I've seen military controllers nearly wash out of the FAA, and I've seen no prior experience hires breeze through training in minimum time. Of the prior experience trainees I've worked with, the best ones were CFIs coming from the pilot side, and a PAR controller from a busy navy facility on the ATC side. Some of the worst have been CTIs and prior military from smaller bases/fields.

I understand the frustration with your situation, I am glad to see anyone still wants this job after this shutdown fiasco, I need some new hires to come in so I can move back up in the world. At my present facility, we have only received 2 new hires in the 3 years I have been here. The rest have been reassigned from higher level facilities (including myself).
 

Ozelot

Minneapolis TRACON
I need some new hires to come in so I can move back up in the world. At my present facility, we have only received 2 new hires in the 3 years I have been here. The rest have been reassigned from higher level facilities (including myself).
I wish we took new hires, I've been in for 10 years now. I bid 50 out of 55 this year. Good ole Wed-Thursday off again. Which I shouldn't complain, it is a good line this year. My crew and I are very similar personalities and we have...fun...to put it PG :) If I was still at the Z facility I escaped from I'd have friggin weekends off lol.

Although with NCEPT we have been getting folks that might as well be new hires, lvl 4 to 11, isn't working out for them.
 

NovemberEcho

Dergs favorite member
I wish we took new hires, I've been in for 10 years now. I bid 50 out of 55 this year. Good ole Wed-Thursday off again. Which I shouldn't complain, it is a good line this year. My crew and I are very similar personalities and we have...fun...to put it PG :) If I was still at the Z facility I escaped from I'd have friggin weekends off lol.

Although with NCEPT we have been getting folks that might as well be new hires, lvl 4 to 11, isn't working out for them.
I wish we had crews. That’s the biggest thing I miss from AF ATC.
 

greg1016

Trustworthy Source
I wish we took new hires, I've been in for 10 years now. I bid 50 out of 55 this year. Good ole Wed-Thursday off again. Which I shouldn't complain, it is a good line this year. My crew and I are very similar personalities and we have...fun...to put it PG :) If I was still at the Z facility I escaped from I'd have friggin weekends off lol.

Although with NCEPT we have been getting folks that might as well be new hires, lvl 4 to 11, isn't working out for them.
Yeah well we let 5 people go in the last 13 months, only one of them had been facility rated for more than 18 months, all but one lower than me in seniorty. One of them already washed out of their new facility. I am in the middle of the pack in seniority, but everyone above me seems happy to camp out here for their careers. Only 1 eligible to retire. Can't believe he made it through the shutdown. I would have dropped my paperwork the day of our first missed check at the latest.
 

nabbyfan

Well-Known Member
My facility is considered somewhere over 90% staffed, so we’re way down on the list to get people from the academy, but my area has lost 14 CPCs and only gained 4 in the last 3 years. So we’re way short while other areas in the building are so overstaffed that we can’t even get anyone assigned to the building out of OKC. And the FAA is managed so well that they’re still selecting people from my area for Sup or TMU.

I love the job but you really have to like not think too much about all the scamming and just piss poor management that goes on, or you’ll go crazy. We have an underlying TRACON that’s gone ATC-0 4 times in the last year and a half due to rain storms, and nobody in management seems to think it’s an issue. Can’t even get any help from TMU because “it’s not that busy” even though we’re running an entire approach control non radar during the day.
 

Stinger

Well-Known Member
Yeah of course, which is funny because you can't start at an airport like SFO, but Oakland Center? Sure! Why not?

What I'm saying is that the average off the street hire has little to no aviation experience, just working several years of ramp tower at a busy airport/having a PPL will PROBABLY give you a big leg up on people who have never keyed the mic on a VHF radio. Not saying you can't still wash out with a pilot/ramp control background, but I'd say you're more likely(maybe much more likely) to pass on average than a Best Buy cashier, who would be about the average off-the-street hire. Regardless of where they send you.
Having some aviation experience is an advantage at the facility level. But to get there you have to pass the FAA Academy first. It doesn't matter whether someone there was a prior controller, pilot, ramp control, no experience, etc. The failure rate was about the same across the board the last couple years.
 

jtrain609

I'm a carnal, organic anagram.
Having some aviation experience is an advantage at the facility level. But to get there you have to pass the FAA Academy first. It doesn't matter whether someone there was a prior controller, pilot, ramp control, no experience, etc. The failure rate was about the same across the board the last couple years.
I tend to think, and the FAA agrees when it comes to air carrier training programs, that high failure rates are a reflection of poor training, not incapable students.

Is the FAA not interested in fixing their own training curriculum?
 
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