Trump shutdown ended after only 10 air traffic controllers stayed home

ChasenSFO

hen teaser
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 understand your point, but the same way airlines hire captains and not first officers, I'd think if a group of people are more likely to succeed at the actual job, the FAA should look for those people regardless of them not doing any better in OKC itself. I grew up listening to ATC scanners watching airplanes all day, played all the ATC simulators, fly on VATSIM all the time following real SIDs, STARs, and routes, ect. I'm super nerdy about this stuff and would go into it WANTING to learn not just HAVING to learn. I really think the FAA needs a better way to find those people. I mean in my current job I have a lot of responsibility, we don't just do ramp control, I'm doing ops for 50+ airlines and running 2 terminals making all the decisions. I love what I do and don't even feel like I have a job. I'm constantly recognized by airport, airline, and FAA management for doing a great job and was made the trainer 3 years into working here when some people have been here 19 years. It's because of my attitude, my passion for aviation, and nothing else. I was a "D" average 2.0 highschool student on the brink of expulsion for crazy pranks because I was bored and didn't care. But if I do care, I really care, and I've excelled in training for every random aviation job I've had while I'm sure I wouldn't last 1 week in a cubicle. I'm not alone by any means there. If you love what you do, you'll probably be good at it. If you do it for the paycheck, not so much.
 
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NovemberEcho

Dergs favorite member
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?
A lot of ATC isn’t really “trainable”. Sure you can be taught all the rules etc, but being able to pick out a sequence, being able to select and apply those rules without thinking, etc etc is generally something that you either can or can’t do. The Academy is designed to try and separate those who seem like they have it and those who don’t. It doesn’t actually train you to be a controller at all. It’s more a screen to try and only send promising candidates to the facilities for real training. Keep In mind there is no job interview for this job. You take a couple tests and you’re hired (eventually). The Academy is the interview.

Another part of the reason the Academy wash out is so high is because a surprisingly large amount of people forget they are there for a job and spend way too much time partying in OKC and generally just not taking it seriously, although nerves on the Evals is probably the number 1 killer.
 

jtrain609

I'm a carnal, organic anagram.
A lot of ATC isn’t really “trainable”. Sure you can be taught all the rules etc, but being able to pick out a sequence, being able to select and apply those rules without thinking, etc etc is generally something that you either can or can’t do. Another part of the reason the Academy wash out is so high is because a surprisingly large amount of people forget they are there for a job and spend way too much time partying in OKC and generally just not taking it seriously, although nerves on the Evals is probably the number 1 killer.

The Academy doesnt teach ATC. It’s more a screen to see who might be able to do the job. It’s purpose is to try and only send promising candidates to the facilities to receive real training.
So you're saying there isn't a training program.

We'd crash airplanes pretty often if we did the same thing. Like every day.
 

NovemberEcho

Dergs favorite member
So you're saying there isn't a training program.

We'd crash airplanes pretty often if we did the same thing. Like every day.
No, I’m sayinf the Academy isn’t the training program. Once you get to your facility the real training begins. (And before you replied but after you quoted I edited my entire post to be more clear)
 

NovemberEcho

Dergs favorite member
Think of it like this, the Academy teaches you how to fly MS Flight Simulator. Then you get evaluated on how well you fly on MSFS. Then you get sent to flight school.
 

ChasenSFO

hen teaser
So you're saying there isn't a training program.

We'd crash airplanes pretty often if we did the same thing. Like every day.
Nah, think of it like PPL groundschool. Teaches you the basics, but passing your PPL written doesn't mean you'll make it to a 121 cockpit one day. Or even actually earn your PPL. Lol
 

cmac88

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.
I love that they had to do a "study" to realize the only people actually wanting to work in NYC are from NYC. I do think this is their best chance to fix it though. The only other thing is demolishing and building 2 or one big brand new facility upstate.
 

NovemberEcho

Dergs favorite member
I love that they had to do a "study" to realize the only people actually wanting to work in NYC are from NYC. I do think this is their best chance to fix it though. The only other thing is demolishing and building 2 or one big brand new facility upstate.
If they moved it off Long Island they wouldn’t need to throw ots hires at us because other high level cpc’s would transfer. There’s a lot of controllers who want to try NY traffic but the only thing stopping them is Long Island.
 

Stinger

Well-Known Member
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?
Those that have worked at the Academy know it's not the training curriculum that's the problem. Main problems that I know caused failures: line instructors teaching the wrong rules (leads to students routinely being told differently depending on the instructors they have), line instructors teaching workarounds, students listening to other students instead of the LEAD INSTRUCTORS (not the line instructors on the simulators), changing point values for errors after the course was validated, huge discrepancy in evaluator capability....those all directly lead to extremely high nervousness on the student's part when they're in the final evaluations stage.
 

Stinger

Well-Known Member
There’s a lot of controllers who want to try NY traffic but the only thing stopping them is Long Island.
For me, it's NCEPT. No guarantee that there's a way out after spending 4-5 years there. I'm going to wait and let your current batch of 100 trainees work through the system and re-evaluate at that time.
 

greg1016

Trustworthy Source
For me, it's NCEPT. No guarantee that there's a way out after spending 4-5 years there. I'm going to wait and let your current batch of 100 trainees work through the system and re-evaluate at that time.
NCEPT is definitely broken, but good luck waiting on that backlog of trainees.
 

greg1016

Trustworthy Source
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?
I agree that the FAAs training program at all levels leaves a lot to be desired, and if they hired education professionals to help develop it at all levels it may improve. However, ATC is much more an art than it is a science. No situation is the same and the only checklist we have is for giving position relief briefings. Anyone can be taught HOW to paint a portrait, that does not mean everyone CAN paint a portrait. ATC is not a series of if/then scenarios the way the majority of piloting is.
 

DE727UPS

Well-Known Member
The academy is a screen, not training. You get trained at your facility. In my class only 4 of 20 had a passing grade. Other classes at the same time had 50% pass. We didn't party anymore than the others. I think our screen instructors were weak and/or just going through the motions. I don't know. The other classes somehow just did better. It was a critical time in my life and I remember it very well. I was heartbroken to not pass and yet working as an ATA at LA Tracon was one of the coolest things I've ever done and I wouldn't trade it for anything. Maybe things have changed since I was there in the mid-80's.

The worst thing was the others in my class had decent jobs and families. I was a pilot hack, single, and really gave up nothing. Heck, I about tripled my income just getting a training check from the FAA. But some people really staked their future on being successful and it so easily went down the drain. Just a shame.
 
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Stinger

Well-Known Member
The academy is a screen, not training. You get trained at your facility. In my class only 4 of 20 had a passing grade. Other classes at the same time had 50% pass. We didn't party anymore than the others. I think our screen instructors were weak and/or just going through the motions. I don't know. The other classes somehow just did better. It was a critical time in my life and I remember it very well. I was heartbroken to not pass and yet working as an ATA at LA Tracon was one of the coolest things I've ever done and I wouldn't trade it for anything. Maybe things have changed since I was there in the mid-80's.

The worst thing was the others in my class had decent jobs and families. I was a pilot hack, single, and really gave up nothing. Heck, I about tripled my income just getting a training check from the FAA. But some people really staked their future on being successful and it so easily went down the drain. Just a shame.
The Academy now is (in theory) very black and white for evaluation purposes. Students are taught what to do and are not tested on anything that they haven't seen in simulations before. In your day, everyone completed the nonradar enroute portion, and then if they passed and were going to a tower they stayed for the tower follow-on course. Now Enroute and Tower (some radar classes too) are split entirely. They each have their own classroom and simulation training, and then 2-3 days of evaluations. If their overall score is not at least a 70.00% they do not pass. Prior to 2014 Tower wasn't graded. They would bring in field ATC supervisors to watch the final evals who would make a pass/fail determination on "will this person be trainable and effective enough to work with general supervision." Led to a huge discrepancy...some supervisors didn't know the rules, let separation errors slide, even missed aircraft colliding and making a fireball together. I don't know as much about the Enroute grading process prior to 2014....I think they were graded but not as black/white as they are currently.

For tower, the level of traffic has not changed since the late 90s...and from then until 2014 there was no facility level limit on where Academy Grads could go. They were assigned everywhere from Aspen, to Beaumont, to JFK, to LAX, to Miami. But now tower Academy grads are restricted to level 7 and below facilities, and some 7 examples are Midland, Albany, Buffalo, Spokane, Fresno, Van Nuys, and Oakland. But the traffic level students are graded on at the academy hasn't changed to reflect the traffic they'll realistically see at their facility.

Academy is not meant to be for Screen purposes, it's supposed to be for training. But there's no way to accomplish that goal effectively if they don't also have grading standards and have the ability to fail students.
 

greg1016

Trustworthy Source
They would bring in field ATC supervisors to watch the final evals who would make a pass/fail determination on "will this person be trainable and effective enough to work with general supervision..."

I don't know as much about the Enroute grading process prior to 2014....I think they were graded but not as black/white as they are currently.
As if Supervisors had any clue about training. Mine can't even fill out a -25 properly for a skill check.

They did it the same way as tower when I went through. Brought in a supervisor from the field to evaluate you, and they just gave thumbs up or down. If you failed you got 3 (I think) more practice scenarios, and then you were evaluated by 2 guys from Academy QA. I ran a better scenario the first time and failed on "control judgement," second time with QA was also fine, just didn't feel as good, and passed that one.
 

Stinger

Well-Known Member
They did it the same way as tower when I went through. Brought in a supervisor from the field to evaluate you, and they just gave thumbs up or down.
I thought that too...but I second guessed myself because back then when tower was passing 90% of students, enroute was still in the 65-70% range.
Now both are in the 60% range.
 

MikeD

Administrator
Staff member
If they moved it off Long Island they wouldn’t need to throw ots hires at us because other high level cpc’s would transfer. There’s a lot of controllers who want to try NY traffic but the only thing stopping them is Long Island.
Would volunteering to go instruct at the OKC academy be one way to get released from an understaffed facility?
 
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