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Showing content with the highest reputation on 07/21/21 in all areas

  1. Be honest, when was the last time someone tried to set an activity policy that had to be intervened by the BoG? Most ARTCC policies have to go through Division approval, and no Division would allow that through. We have a management structure in place for situations just like this, and they work 99% of the time. The 1% fringe case can be handled case-by-case by the BoG and doesn't need to be codified into policy. This is red tape for the sake of red tape. Not what VATSIM is about. VATSIM is about a mutual love of aviation, not LARPing the bureaucracy of the FAA.
    11 points
  2. Here's a crazy idea. Remove the policy from GCAP altogether and let each subdivision create their own activity policy as they see fit. If a controller is unhappy with an activity policy at a particular subdivision, they can move to a subdivision with a more lenient policy. One size fits all policies like this are not the solution with a global network like VATSIM.
    9 points
  3. Hi Matt, My question is, why are the BoG are taking a hard line stance at this while the majority of people who control on the network are against it? Would you be able to give us some insight on: What actual number of active membership does this actually affect? At the core of this policy, why are we lowering the standards for controlling hours? I understand this has been addressed on another section but my guess is that it only affects a small subset of membership, and that it is scattered throughout the network. This seems like a "micro management" policy. Each division and subdivision on VATSIM has unique characteristics that are specific to each area. Throwing in a blanket requirement that will handcuff day to day management of divisions will only increase workload on the staff. Wouldn't this be contrary to your point that people have real world obligations and those who make the time and commitment to the network would be loaded with more administrative duties when these issues arise. In real world interactions, the board of directors of a company sets a vision for the company and guides the executives in their vision, they don't get into the granular details that the lower level managers deal with on a day to day basis. Successful companies TRUST in their people to follow that. They have controls in place that would prevent mistreatment or abuse to the employees. You have the pulse of the controllers right now and right here, we're giving you the feedback that we believe would be the most beneficial for all. No one here is saying that they will just cut people from the roster without throught to the indivudual, and evidenced by senior staff that posted here, they take every available measure to ensure someone stays current. This policy, as it stands, will not only create more work for the all volunteer staff and quite frankly to put it bluntly, its a slap in the face to the people who put the time and effort in make this network what it really is when the overall tone has been pretty dismissive about the suggestions. It seems like this policy will cause more issues and dissent among the people who put in the time and effort, who are probably your most active controllers on the network. I've been around long enough to see good management and bad management policies. If you're seeing this much pushback on this from respected members of this community, then holding onto something so unpopular will only create more problems than it aims to solve. 12-24 hours in one year as a minimum is a good starting point, your middle ground can be every 6 months as most policies are geared towards that anyway. Let your local administrative teams determine their own policies. No one here wants to gut their entire roster and have minimal ATC coverage which in effect will attract less pilots. We just want quality controllers who still have the desire to do this. In my short time on the network, I've seen controllers come back from hiatus and NONE of them balked at the prospects of getting remedial training, the majority have even welcomed it. Don't we want controllers who are proactive in providing good service to pilots? In today's age, bad controllers get highlighted on social media and repairing that takes time. I'm not saying that it won't happen with current and active controllers but you're opening up the door for more mistakes and bad publicity for the network. Listen to the people who are on the ground who do this on a day to day basis, I'm not discounting the work that you all do in the administration of this, but you yourself have said that you've been busy with life and free time has been taken up with administrative duties and you've controlled for 20 or so hours for the year. I just can't see the justification with 1 hour per year when someone who's self admitted that you're busy have controlled 20x more than that. Your actual return on this policy, as far as I can tell, is just inflated numbers. Unfortunately, and we can all see this, will cause more issues with your controllers than any benefit. VATSIM is about aviate, educate, and communicate. We're communicating to you that this is a flawed policy. This isn't a hill to die on, give a 12-24 hour yearly requirement, and let the divisions manage how it's split and let them do what they do best and manage their people the best way they know how, and have been doing for years now. This is your actual middle ground between what current policies are versus your proposed policies. I urge you not to cause more issues than this policy aims to solve.
    7 points
  4. I thought this was a public review/input period. Apparently my legitimate suggestion is being dismissed by the Marketing and Communications VP. What amazing communication skills. My suggestion nowhere said "if you don't like it, leave". It suggested allowing subdivisions the latitude to determine their own activity requirements, and allows all controllers the freedom of choice.
    7 points
  5. Thank you Matt for all of your explanations and I truly appreciate you taking the time to answer several questions for VATUSA staff last evening. Many of my thoughts have been echoed by previous posts, so I will aim to keep this direct and to the point. Also, please note that any disgust or disapproval is aimed at this policy, not at anyone in particular. Playing to the lowest common denominator doesn't work. While some people, like Matt himself had referenced, might be able to get on the bike after not riding after a long while and with little failure, the fact is that this skill set is cumulative and requires consistent practice across the board. The vast majority of people with whom I work (especially and in particular nowadays) have no concept for how much time and effort it takes to become a believable controller (notice I said believable, not real world). Through a series of frequent interactions with aircraft and teachers, students of all levels and experiences eventually gain enough momentum to relax some amount of their frequent input, but still require consistency and frequency in order to maintain a level of proficiency that does not detract from the experience of the other people playing with them on the network. While this is a game, or a hobby, it is one built around a skill that requires some more attention than GTA or Call of Duty. Bottom line is that some people are cut out for being ATC, albeit virtual, while others are not - and that's OK! The world goes round with people engaging in different activities that suit their level, ability, and commitment to the hobby, activity, job, or relationship of which they find themselves a part. (As an aside, and to be taken with a grain of salt, having spent an entire week working with several IRL Oshkosh ATC, without having had the practice we afforded them these past two years, it would've made it slightly more challenging to be as comfortable with the lingo this upcoming week considering their training is traditionally in the form of a rather boring PowerPoint presentation. These are RW controllers who spend the rest of the year working and they acknowledge the importance of some sort of contact time on a regular basis. I know we aren't RW and dealing with RW controllers, but for them to throw a nod at consistency, I think it's pretty telling or at least indicative of the possibility that lesser herculean individuals such as us might indeed require more than 1 hour a year to provide some level of believable service.) To address an argument that we should be a place for everyone at any level, I answer with a direct example from my full-time profession. I am a secondary music teacher. I believe the opportunity to play music in a performing ensemble should be for everyone. That is exactly the way I run my program, and I am proud to say that I have had many great success stories over the many years that I have been teaching. Alternatively, several times over the years I have actively conferenced with students that they should find an alternative elective. In these circumstances, it was because the students did not follow the very reasonable and fair performance and participation guidelines of the class and expressed zero effort to improve. Any day of the week I would rather have a fairly poor sounding instrumentalist in my band who has a great attitude, gives me all their effort, and appreciates and follows the class guidelines, versus someone who may sound great but does nothing. (To expand, I very rarely have a circumstance where the student who does nothing sounds great. Often, they too are incapable of meeting the minimum performance requirements of characteristic sound and technical ability.) I reward and acknowledge demonstrated effort and commitment. I hang around our Discord often. The emotional maturity and overall disposition of many of our newer members is a lot more inexperienced and of a lower level than I had remembered it being the case when I started on VATSIM nearly 20 years ago. So true is this description of my student encounters on a regular basis on my job. We are continuing to embark in an educational environment that is striving for minimal input for maximum output. It's particularly difficult for teachers of courses that are fundamentally designed around the development of skills that require continued persistence and effort. Trust me, if I could play my primary instrument to even an acceptable standard without having to practice weekly or daily, I would choose that option without hesitation. But, the fact is that my instrument requires, at a minimum, some form of maintenance to be performed. With reference to the aforementioned state of emotional maturity, I fear that a system that willingly solicits the minimum amount of input will enable enough of our current and perspective users to abuse this network as a mere playground of sorts and not contribute enough to the spirit of why many of us (especially the older, more RW experienced of us) have stuck around in the first place. Unlike Matt's example above, I fear that they'll accept the guidance right out of the gate (pre-S3 or C1) and find some random airport at some random time that has no traffic that will fulfill their one hour in twelve months just so that they can remain on the roster and hang with their friends on Discord and TeamSpeak. Lastly, and from the standpoint of my role as the division training manager, I wholeheartedly believe that the severity of this currency rule will result in a significant decrease in our teacher's return on investment (ROI). Our teachers work hard to address the GRP standards let alone our division specific curriculum. Not that the GRP standards are overwhelming in and of themselves, but the fact is that some (or most, recently) of the students with whom we have had contact have had little to no background in aviation, let alone air traffic control. Starting from nothing, there's a vast amount of information to address without leaving so many holes in the foundation that make building their contributions to the next level an almost impossibility. One example comes from a student with whom I most recently helped who failed our OBS/S1 exam several times. I specifically addressed this student and offered my help to try and find out why they were so challenged in passing the exam. I came to find out that their study skills, testing and study behaviors, and prior knowledge were all factors that contributed to the chain of causation for them failing the test numerous times. They had expectation bias about certain topics because of information gleaned from fellow Twitch streamers and used their assumed knowledge to answer questions instead of carefully reading our study material. Needless to say, after our training session and putting to play several suggested study and testing habits, they went on to pass the test with flying colors (100%). My ROI was tremendous. I, just like the real world, felt like I made a difference in this student and had an optimistic outlook for the continuation of their training. Our (VATUSA's) teachers experience this on a daily basis with students who continue to show up, practice, and engage. I fear that opening the door to a policy that permits, and thereby encourages, passive versus active engagement will lead to an increase in teacher burnout due to the decreased ROI. Finally, I want to emphasize that my thoughts on currency pertain to proficiency, not necessarily rostering. In the examples listed above this post about people who have complex or complicated lives, I accept that their not being around for a period of time does not mean that they do not ever want to contribute. But, their return to service, if you will, should be with a 1:1 orientation session with a teacher prior to plugging in just like I'd never lose my PPL but at some point need to fly with an instructor in order to regain currency (notwithstanding all the other nuances, I'm just stating it as simply as possible). To avoid the 1:1 session, the currency/competency/proficiency rule must be stricter than one hour every twelve months. Thank you very much for everyone's time and careful consideration. I wish to especially thank the members of the BoG and many consultants who spent hours in creating this document. Please feel free to contact me for further discussion as I would be most happy to continue this conversation with you. Sincerely, Anthony
    6 points
  6. Huh, cool! Give me a minute, and I'll connect as SY_APP or CTR, since no SUP will remove me, we'll see how that goes. As for the rest of the statement: I'm sorry, but I completely disagree and I base that opinion on my own experience not controlling for that amount of time then coming back, but also on being on senior staff for ZNY for 10 years in total, and seeing what happens when most people rejoin. It's not 2 out of 10 that are not proficient, it's 8/10. And those two? Yeah, sorry, they need to waste an hour to do a checkout, but we do that to ensure that we don't end up with a bunch of controllers who don't know what they are doing anymore.
    5 points
  7. C3 is a Senior Controller. No it's not management but at that level you are a leader and a role model in our community regardless of if you think you are or not. Improving a real world tangible skill as a part of that can't be a bad thing.
    5 points
  8. IMO the blanket "one hour per 12 months" is atrociously low. Why are we restricting subdivisions from implementing more strict activity requirements if desired? Having someone log in on HMN_DEL for 1 hour every 12 months at 2AM does not keep your skills up.
    4 points
  9. Hi All, Firstly I'd like to say that GCAP is a big step forward from GRP and brings some exciting new possibilities. I know a policy like this takes a lot of time to create and you will never be able to please anyone - my thanks/thoughts go out to those involved with this project, however I'd like to throw my two cents in regardless. Most of GCAP seems to remove a lot of red tape from GRP which is naturally a good thing since the VATSIM world is extremely varied and a one size fits all approach will never work, however the visiting controllers endorsement does seem a little bit too prescriptive in my opinion. In the vast majority of cases, visiting controllers do not take the time to learn local procedures and I don't believe GCAP does enough to remedy this. Members from divisions with high standards of training generally see visiting other places as a bit of a joke and a chance to have a mess about, whilst members from divisions with lower training standards see visiting as a way to traffic chase and control busier positions. Allowing visiting controllers to control any minor airport will mean divisions and sub-divisions will respond by making as many airports and as much airspace restricted/major as possible which goes against the general theme of GCAP making controlling on VATSIM more accessible. It makes sense for divisions and sub-divisions to be able to choose which airports are available for visiting controllers, thus preventing traffic chasing, and allowing visiting controllers to learn the local procedures on a smaller airport/position without affecting the experience of other pilots/controllers. Alternatively, allowing divisions to implement competency checks for visiting controllers would make sure effort has been put in to learn local procedures. I'm also curious as to where visiting controllers will sit in the waiting lists for training. Generally speaking, the areas on VATSIM with the most traffic have higher controller standards which means longer training times and higher demand for training. This seems fair, in that if you want to control the busy positions then you accept you will need to wait longer to get through your training. The issue with visiting controllers being able to control any minor position, and then request training on major/restricted airspace is that certain members will exploit this system to get from OBS to C1 as fast as possible in a small sub-division, and then (for example) visit the Netherlands, UK, and Ireland to request training on the 3 busiest airports in Europe. I don't think it's fair that the training of home controllers should be slowed to accommodate visiting controllers, however if visiting controllers are placed at the bottom of the list for training then in many cases none will ever receive training due to the length of the waiting lists. The simplest solution would be to allow divisions and sub-divisions to choose whether or not visiting controllers are able to control major/restricted positions. I know I'm a Brit so I'm somewhat biased as we love our queues, but having visiting controllers 'push in' to the list of home controllers waiting for training will only lead to friction between these two groups. With GCAP, there is no longer an incentive to train at the division/sub-division you want to control in as members are better off finding somewhere with the shortest training times and then visiting their desired region afterwards. I'd be interested to know what other people think below, I know visiting and transferring controllers can be quite divisive so please try and keep it civil!
    4 points
  10. Hi all, after checking the new draft I've not found any specific rule about the language and like Lars and Todd say, I would like seriously to have an official answer / specific rule. Here at VATSIM Spain for the visitor controllers is a requirement to know basic spanish fraseology in order to give ATC service also in Spanish for local pilots. As far as I remember we have this rule since 2015 more or less. In the past we had a short period without it, and we had very very bad situations between ATCs and pilots. We have had during these years some meetings with VATSIM /VATEUD staff regarding this subject, and always the answer was the same: we will take a decission about the language requirement in the future. Until then, nobody have poined us oficially saying "You can't apply this". And if I receive it I will ask where is the point where it says English is mandatory (in VATSIM) for pilots (mandatory... must.. not should). I've discussed my opinion a few months ago in some staff channels in the VATEUD discord so for me this discussion is a dejavú. I'm not going to defend the spanish in our division because spanish ATCs in real life know Spanish and English nor because it is a ICAO language or any other reason. For me it's more simple: we have local pilots who don't speak english. This is hobby, this is a network for fun and if you can't speak english and you prefer to fly only in your country but you receive ATC only in english, you won't be able. I'm agree that with this decission there is a discrimination with the person who wants to be a visitor, but if you let to control without knowing the local language (again, basically for give ATC service; not to mantein a conversation with me) the discrimated will be the pilot. So, whom must to be discrimate, the pilot or the ATC? The ATC maybe can apply in other country but what are the options of the pilot? Again, whatever will be the decission, seriously I would like to have one finally.
    4 points
  11. You said it right there. This is a hobby. Hobbies take up time. This is also a hobby that requires knowledge. Sure, you may be someone who retains information okay, but not everyone is. That’s okay, but allowing me to log in once a year for an hour. I can do that at like 2am on Christmas and have NO traffic and I am still active. I do this for 3 years then decide to come back. Based on this policy, I should be good to go to control and have no issues at all. Controllers are held to a lot higher standard than pilots in terms of our training, but this policy is going to push that standard down the drain.
    4 points
  12. So writing an email for 2 minutes is that big of an issue apparently, if you can't meet 1-3 hours per 3 months? As I said before, controllers should also be responsible enough to know that if they've been away for a long time, that when they go back they have to do a familiarisation. An LoA just makes it a lot easier for both parties.
    4 points
  13. Matt, you know that 2 hours a week isn't a requirement anywhere and you are blowing that out of proportion. On the other hand, I have seen C3s on the network, and have been for 15 years, completely forget how to work en-route radar after returning after 2 years. 1 hour a year is way too low and honestly, this restriction should absolutely not be included in the final copy of the policy as it is red tape just to add red tape.
    4 points
  14. This ^ ...and this ^ Unfortunately, the standard of Visiting Controllers in some areas has been pretty poor. I haven't put in hours of observing, training, learning documents (and subsequently helping to produce them) for someone to come charging in and make a mockery of this because they hold the same rating as me (or lower!). I've seen people transfer out to beat my Division's queues to immediately come back and control at their new rating as a visitor with no requirement to check their knowledge or skill in the very different airspace that my Division has to elsewhere. They may be good controllers where they got their rating but unless they put the work in where they're visiting... How does it feel for Jo Bloggs who's worked to get their S3, is doing lots of OBS time and speaking to C1s in order to prepare themselves for their CTR training to then see someone come in and have know concept of airspace/local procedure knowledge. Does that encourage them to work for their rating? Maybe in a "I'll show them how to do it right" manner - but equally they could turn round and say "why should I bother if they're allowed to control like that". If people have to work to get a pass in an exam, then others need to be seen to be able to control at that standard in that airspace also. Yes the queues are long, but there needs to be some mechanism in place to make sure that visitors are of a particular standard in order to control anywhere, regardless of the rating and airspace.
    3 points
  15. I agree with everything Ben has said above. Another point is that if (I am going to use the UK as an example) we have visiting controllers always staffing positions such as Manchester and Gatwick it might not leave any room for our home members to control the positions. Also, having lots of visiting controllers may impact the training of the Divisions members as they will not be able to get onto the live network easily due to the amount of visitors constantly staffing up training aerodromes (The UK's visiting system currently does not allow the vast majority of visitors to control any training airports for this reason). The UK currently is able to accept visiting controllers due to the amount of smaller aerodromes we have, however, VACC's such as VATEIR and the Dutch VACC may really struggle as they have very few training aerodromes. If the UK gets an extra 50 visitors from they, they will likely be spread across a few airports, but if VATEIR gets 50 new visitors then they will likely all want to control Dublin, leaving very little room for the home members to control and train.
    3 points
  16. Agree. My avatar actually has an expletive in it that I specifically edited out for use on public forums like this.
    3 points
  17. Honestly, this might be a joke, but that profile picture really doesn't put a good face on someone who should be the VP of communication. First impressions have a lot of weight.
    3 points
  18. What I'm getting from the BoG side here is that you all seem to be thinking that we sub-division staff are all waiting at calendar month +1 day to drop the axe on unactive controllers. I can assure you that that isn't the case, at least in my FIR, and from comments I've seen, most others. As mentioned above, the bar is set for monthly hours currency that seems fair to everyone, as the policy was discussed with division and sub-division members and everyone agrees to it upon joining as part of the SOPs. I have never received a complaint that our minimums are unfair or unobtainable in any way, especially since any controller can request an LOA for any reason at any time. If someone "forgets" to request an LOA, they aren't immediately cut - they are contacted and every effort is made to accommodate them in a way that works for their life/schedule. We're not out here trying to kick people out just for the heck of it.
    3 points
  19. You still aren't listening. This isn't a public comment period, this is a "here's what you get, like it or leave" period. That attitude that you so tongue-in-cheek mentioned yesterday that the BoG has, you have right now. It's pretty apparent that you have no intention on listening to the class and adjusting to what we are suggesting (1 hour per month). What's the point of this entire forum then?
    3 points
  20. There is no ‘real’ difference between a C1/C3 if we’re speaking candidly, we used to have a ‘roaming controller endorsement’(VATEUD) as a C3 but that’s long gone. I’m all for people aiming for a C3 but when it brings nothing tangible to the table there is no real point. Having a rating based on ‘role model’ status is a bit vain In fairness, there are plenty of S2/S3/C1’s that put the time and effort into mentoring/doc creation/division and vACC administration duties etc etc, then when they want to become a C3, they’re to complete a leadership course?. Recently(Jan 2021) I applied to visit a certain area on the network(as a C3), I was replied with “..your application has been received and will be reviewed”, I was not replied to and subsequent follow ups ignored. When you’re hit with walls like this(not the first time) it really makes all the effort, time and dedication over the years seem somewhat fruitless.
    3 points
  21. In all of this, where is the problem this is actually trying to solve? Inactivity policies have hardly been barriers to C1 retention, and artificially inflating “activity” numbers in this way is counterproductive at best and detrimental to moral and quality at worst. It’s a total non-starter. A minimum inactivity policy such that nobody can leave someone active on a roster until the end of time makes sense. A hard maximum does not. If a division starts to impose draconian activity policies it can be addressed on an individual level. Matt I appreciate your dedication to explaining the reasoning, but you seem to be the only one. Granted it’s morning in Europe, but I can’t imagine any other fairly active division or sub-division will be in favor of this. For as much work went into these policies, it still feels like the Board is out of touch.
    3 points
  22. I'm gonna tell you guys a little story about a guy named Don Fiveash. Some of you who have been around here a long time may remember the name, but for those that haven't, it's a good story, especially when it relates to the perception of "more busy and popular airports". Posted from the ATM at the time in ZLA, in 2006: https://forums.laartcc.org/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=5624 Don (FH) Fiveash was a great friend to ZLA who passed away over the weekend of May 13, 2006. His contribution to the Los Angeles ARTCC in the areas of pilot training, controller training, and VFR awareness was monumental. At a time when most pilots and controllers had their sights set on working big towers, approach and center, Don chose to staff the tower of one of his old stomping grounds, Santa Monica (KSMO), a small field just a few miles northwest of Los Angeles. Night after night, he plugged in for hours at a time, providing wonderful, friendly service to the one or two pilots that would show up. Word quickly spread that on any given night, a fun little field was being worked by a knowledgeable controller who would bend over backwards to help people out with the basics of flight, be it pattern work, phraseology, or just how to fly the plane. Don quickly developed of following of pilots, and later, other student controllers who elected to work Santa Monica in his absence, rather than KLAX. The VFR movement at ZLA quickly gathered steam, and simply wouldn’t have happened if Don hadn’t picked up the torch. He was also an avid mentor to our student controllers, working countless hours showing students the basics, and then later, the finer points of running a tower properly and efficiently. At the time, because of his actions and willingly forgoing staffing up KLAX or KLAS or somewhere big, he focused on KSMO, a small field just north of KLAX that at the time barely had a 5000ft. runway. He did it so much and concentrated on smaller (read: general aviation) traffic, that more times than not during his time on VATSIM, KSMO had more traffic than KLAX. Yes, you read right: a small GA field had more traffic flying to and from it than one of the biggest airports on this network. It's no joke that we stole from the movie Field of Dreams: If you staff it, they will come. While the common perception is that if you want traffic you have to go to where the traffic is (meaning, our network is based on pilot demand), that isn't true, as pilot's can't do much without us controllers as well. But the common misconception is that a controller can not generate traffic elsewhere outside of those busy airports, which is wrong. Don did that to the point where we at ZLA had quarterly events that featured only our GA fields, and they were able to get plenty of traffic, even at times eclipsing our big 3 airports: KLAX, KLAS, and KSAN. My point: sometimes you don't need BIG to generate traffic; you can play it like the Walmart effect: get smaller aircraft, but make up the difference in volume. It all comes down to not only how you do it, but if you want to do it. And if you want to so you don't have to be in the pack fighting for limited time at a major airport, you can definitely find a way. BL.
    3 points
  23. These two sections are complete non-starters. Not all divisions and sub-divisions are the same, and nor are their training departments. We've had to refer more than a few controllers back to their home facilities this year due to not meeting current GRP standards. Complex airspace and airports with detailed and complicated SOPs and letters of agreement exist even in the "minor" realm, and poor controlling at that level creates misery for controllers working airspace above them and further bad experiences for pilots as they are issued in-air reroutes, vectors, or otherwise delayed. This is a global policy, and reaching down this far not only ignores, but actively harms divisions and sub-divisions that could be entire platforms in their own right.
    2 points
  24. The alleged problem that the GCAP is addressing is the fact that "sub-divisions have too strict activity requirements, and this is causing the problem that if somebody suddenly has a life-or-death situation outside of VATSIM and is unable to dedicate any time to VATSIM for a period of a couple of months, that when they get back, they lose interest because they lost their validations and have to get re-familiarised with how to control." In my view, this is a very irrational point of view. Like I said, the likelihood of that happening to a member is very very low and it's very easy to just write a 2-minute email, or even a discord message, asking for an LoA. The alleged problem here, is also the fact that controllers lose interest once they come back from real-life dedications to find that their controller's access has been suspended due to inactivity which in my opinion is also an irrational point of view. I'll repeat myself and hundreds of others here - controllers lose skill if they don't practice their controlling skills and letting them off the hook with 1 hour a year, something which no one except for Matt has been supporting, is apparently the way to go for them to not lose interest. Then we're thinking about quality of control, etc.... this whole overall policy really has shifted its focus away from the realistic and the high-quality side of controlling, something which has made VATSIM stand out for years. Now, for some reason, we are basically loosening those restrictions? I don't see many problems at all and personally don't see the need for GCAP at all (at least not the global restrictions). We have very very high ATC training interest across the whole network and we have many controllers who are able to staff up the world every day and night... if one controller, in a very rare and specific situation isn't able to follow the herd and to maintain their controlling skills, I really don't see why we are making a policy to support those kinds of inactive controllers, instead of maintaining our professional high standards and competencies, which has worked out just fine and instead of supporting all of the countless number of controllers who dedicate hours per week to the network. Especially with the recent influx of members in the last year or so.
    2 points
  25. So is it that hard to spend 2 minutes writing an e-mail, asking for an LoA? This is a very specific and very uncommon case and I think that having a monthly requirement is honestly the lesser of two evils. We have spent about 100 posts here, all explaining our reasons as to why we all think the activity requirement should either be 1:1 or 3:3, or sub-div discretion. Again, these are things that myself and others here have been outlining again and again for the last 24 hours or so. At this point, we're just going in circles. Sorry, but what's the point?
    2 points
  26. It says it requires substantial documentation to show the controller is deficient. As things work right now it's nearly impossible to please region or vatsim that a controller is deficient. This strains, not improves, division and sub division staff on something that can be taken care of with a few session to check competency. As I mentioned before, this policy is for division and sub Divisions to verify competency but then in the text takes away abilities to maintain that competency. Instead of giving Divisions the tools and ability to ensure standards are maintained, this takes it away. If the overall goal is to get more people on the network in a niche saturated market, why not adopt IVAOs policies if the BoG truly doesn't care about a standard of quality that VATSIM claims to try and maintain? We can change the new slogan to Aviate, Degradate, Communicate?
    2 points
  27. Expanding on this, not only do we send a million notifications to users about to be removed, we also allow anyone who is removed to transfer back in within 6 months with zero penalty and they retain all their previous certifications, training history etc. no questions asked.
    2 points
  28. There is definitely a disconnect between currency and activity, as noted by a few people above. A C1+ controller logging in to a ground position once a year would be considered an active controller as per this document, while not a current controller. My suggestions would be as follows: - Remove anything to do with activity/active controller. Make this about currency and not activity. I don't want a controller that's active, I want one that's current for their rating. (Which, by definition, means they also have activity) - Make the requirement that a controller must log in for (X hours over X months) at the position they are currently rated for. This would avoid any C1's hopping on to ground for an hour to stay "active." Not that this likely happens often, but it covers off the possibility of using this method to undermine the system and that they can still do the job their rating says they can. - I do agree that the 1 hour per 12 months is a little loose. I also understand the BoGs issue of pleasing the masses while keeping it friendly to people who don't have a lot of time to invest. It's a hard call to make. My recommendation would be that this isn't something that is a "one-size-fits-all" and should be driven down to Divisional level for final call. Divisions could give their sub-Divisions the freedom to decide what they would like to use for currency management (with approval from Division), or use a blanket value that's valid for the Division as a whole. This is where I can see different standards stood up, but there's likely a valid reason for that as the traffic levels in certain minor airspaces could be rated event level in others. For example, a quiet night in Boston is likely busier than an event in Edmonton. I think there's too much difference between divisions and sub-divisions to blanket currency at the VATSIM level. Cheers,
    2 points
  29. Again, just remove the mandate altogether and let the subdivisions dictate what they want. You still have not provided me with any real example of a time the BoG had to step in on an overbearing activity policy. And even if someone does at some point, handle it case-by-case. Stop acting like this is a necessary policy.
    2 points
  30. Bye bye any automation we have for tracking controller activity and currency. Have fun ARTCC senior staff, good luck managing hundreds and hundreds of people on your roster because they are technically current, then having to go on a case by case basis to figure out if they can control.
    2 points
  31. That rule applies to almost any country, you must be able to speak the countries local language. However, this is VATSIM - not real life. Remember that we are working with "As real as it gets."
    2 points
  32. 6 hours per 6 months it seems everybody agrees with this ratio and of somebody isn’t away for a long time, 6 hours should be enough time to re-learn procedures and etc.
    2 points
  33. Yeah, you could, and you might be the one in a hundred of the S2 controllers that visit and could be useful for a facility, but the problem is that right now, many facilities such as ZNY, ZLA, ZBW, ZDC and others receive dozens of S1 and S2 visiting requests per month, and 99% of those controller suck. In general, as an S2, you don't have a lot of experience controlling, and you're taking up training staff time that could be given to home controllers, and you could be spending time learning your own facility and your own basic controlling skills first. Most of the S2 visiting requests I get have their reason to visit stated as "want to expand my knowledge" - well, if you want to do that, learn your own facility first then come here. You're shooting yourself in the foot by learning multiple facilities at once, facilities that have different SOPs, regulations, and way things work. Your brain can only take up so much at a time, and focusing on one thing at a time will benefit everyone.
    2 points
  34. You make some significant points but have to disagree here. We cannot always balance out quantity and quality altogether. This is something that will always arise anywhere no matter the situation. You got to remember that we are doing this as a hobby and we aren't doing this as our full-time job in the real world. Training controllers under challenging and busy conditions that replicate event level traffic is just unrealistic really. Event's in certain vACCs/Divisions happens from time to time and in some others may happen almost every-day or weekly. If you had several members with limited time frames working busy 9-5 job's that have family on the side, work related issues or even students who are busy with their course work and such but are willing to invest whatever time they have available to attain their ATC rating then they need to be put in with flexibility. If you're going to train everyone at a challenging event traffic level then what is the point if your training airport doesn't get the same traffic as you were trained for? Certain events get 200+ aircraft and certain events get less than 5 aircraft.. You need to understand as well that you won't get event level traffic every day and you need a mix of different traffic levels to put each different scenario into play. If you're trained for event level traffic sure you'll be able to nail down every concept but what about varying traffic levels? When you're trained on a high traffic level it will become like a pattern and that will then be hard wired into your cycle when you control. Flexibility needs to be added on that you won't always get "event-level" traffic. You can also have "good controllers" who are always "willing to learn" that do not control events. I'm a prime example recently, I have lowered my controlling activity significantly due to certain circumstances but control from time to time and always learn with me colleagues that control along side me. Does that make me a bad controller? I can also call up a mentor/instructor for a refresher session on sweatbox to get my skills sharpened a lot more. Calling people "lazy" is just wrong in my opinion. You can have several controllers who are quick to learn and put the concepts they have absorbed quickly and push it out into their craft with not as much hours as somebody who has held the rating for XYZ amount of months/years. It is quite easy to notice who are the people who are "lazy" when it comes to the theoretical examinations in my experience as an ex-INS in my vACC when students fail the exams 3-4 times and then get a full 100% on the 4th attempt. Like I mentioned at the top of this reply we cannot balance quantity and quality both at the same time thus is something that will always be imbalanced. This is a hobby and you do not want a student to be worn-out by constant training after school/work or whenever a student has the free-time to do so. It needs to be flexible. Sweatbox is fantastic to see if the student has understood the theory material and is able to push it out in a simulated practical environment. But you need to remember the simulated server is controlled by the INS/mentor and all the reaction times of the instructions given by the student is unrealistic. You may have the student give a final turn for the ILS and the aircraft reads-back and starts turning mere seconds after the instruction was given out. Whereas on the network it would take the average pilot a few seconds for them to do so. Not every pilot is the same. Practicing on the network with a solo-validation during lower traffic scenario's like Justin mentioned really makes the student understand and learn the position even more before the practical examination. Doesn't matter how many sweatbox scenarios you do, low traffic, average traffic, or high traffic levels what comes on the network is a totally different dimension in a way.
    2 points
  35. If you are so concerned about asking for recertification, I will take this from my own administrative policy: "Any controller who is removed from the ZOB roster due to inactivity may reapply by submitting a transfer request on VATUSA’s website. If accepted, they will need to undergo the following: a. Controllers who return to ZOB after being inactive for less than 6 months, will retain all their certifications without any additional checkout/exam." Other VATUSA ARTCCs have this policy in place as well. We have your middle ground and it has been local policy for ages.
    2 points
  36. Curious how someone who doesn't have the time to control 1 hour every few months has time for his BoG duties? Those are far more demanding, no?
    2 points
  37. An hour a month seems reasonable. That's the requirement at ZAB (although ours is worded 2 hours every 2 months, but same concept). My controllers seem to have no issue making that work (hell, I have some controllers that are pushing 50 hours a month). Those that don't make it work are removed. The knock-on effect of this policy is my roster will be 200 members long, which is not ideal or manageable (especially since 150 of those members will be inactive).
    2 points
  38. Then what is the point of having standard documents and policies about competency when we don't care about competency? Sure life happens and life comes first. This is virtual, as in not real. I'd have a hard time believing that someone that hasn't controlled at a c1 level in a year and has had a super stressful year can just hop back on with no issues. Then compare that to the competencies we are trying to say we care about and maintain a level of "realism" and standard on the network. How often do we see these cases where people need to randomly leave for a year with out putting in a leave of absense? Again life comes first, and if something happens and I want to get back into the hobby then Id need to make sure I'm up to speed. My C3 rating doesn't disappear. It'd be the same as if I transfered facilities. Learn local procedures up to my C rating. If you think a year is a good start, why even have a requirement? Why not just say someone can step away for 10 years and come back when they want? What's really the difference? If someone goes inactive a facility can drop them and they can transfer back to the facility. The facility can decide the best course of action. There is zero reason to make a global policy with a year requirement about a controllers ability when a local facility can do that.
    2 points
  39. To be brutally honest. A S1 has absolutely no business visiting anywhere. They are learning Delivery and Ground techniques and they need to focus on mastery in one place, not complicating their learning by learning different ways of doing things somewhere else as well. The same goes for a standard S2 who is learning the basics of tower and how they interact with the terminal controllers. The S3 is about the first place that you really start getting a strong grasp on things and know how to compartmentalize your learning to where you are able to branch out. But there are those who have no interest in radar which is why we allowed the exception for "Long Tenured S2s"
    2 points
  40. I discussed this before, and I agree with this. I think it should be up to the local facility and as per a local regulation, to judge on an individual basis and based on the current situation at that facility with both local and visitor request, to what extent the facility should accept visitors as this varies greatly from case to case. Whilst this regulation may benefit a few, I think a global regulation which controls this on a global basis is less beneficial than a local restriction.
    2 points
  41. I'm sorry, what? A SUP will absolutely remove someone from a position if they are not on a facility's active roster. I know this, because I have had multiple people removed off ZAB positions for not being on our roster. Why even have a roster to begin with?
    1 point
  42. In here, you state "everyone is assuming that the controller will automatically be bad because they didn't meet the arbitrary restriction," but in the VATUSA discord, you mention that if a visitor visits 3 or more ARTCCs, you state "are you really going to be proficient at all of them or at some point do you lose that the more notches you have on your belt?" I guess my point is, in this circumstance, you're quick to defend controllers' ability, but in other sections of the GCAP, you underestimate controllers' abilities and imply their abilities are not up to par. There can't be this double standard depending on the situation throughout this policy and expect people to agree with all of it.
    1 point
  43. According to my current vACC policies, visitors are required to know the standard phraseology in English and in the local language, however they don't need to be fluent in it. Due to this, most of the training can be done in English. For example: although German is a non-ICAO language, in Germany it's used for local VFR. If I wanted to visit this vACC, I'd try to learn as much as I can the standard german phraseology for that situation. At the end, I'd like to help and motivate new pilots and never create uncomfortable situations for them. But why could these happen? Due to my hypothetical ignorance and undesire to learn. This is the reason why I firmly believe that all visitor controllers must know the local phraseology. Let's limit until which point it gets real. Of course IRL, ATC must have proficiency in both languages, the local one and English. On VATSIM, this cannot be applied at all, even though learning the local phraseology is not as hard as learning a language for 10 years. You just have to memorise a bunch of phrases and try to understand the ones from the pilots. The same as everyone (except native English speakers) has done when starting ATC-ing. I don't see the point with mandating pilots to speak English where real communications can be made in other languages. I think the main point for every division is to reach the realism that VATSIM seeks, but obviously always looking after the issues of a simulated scenario. Nevertheless I do NOT think the language barrier is one of them.
    1 point
  44. Title of section 2 mentions definitions(1) and abbreviations(2). However, when I'm reading through this section, I only come across definitions and have encountered zero abbreviations. So half of the section is missing. (Obviously this is satire, but really, you might just change the name to definitions)
    1 point
  45. We have procedures for this as well. As a sub-division, we require monthly hours commitment. At the end of the calendar month, a tally of hours is taken, and members who did not meet the currency requirement are sent an email/notice that their hours weren't met. They are then given the next month to meet the monthly requirement (the first month is a warning). After two months, every effort is made to contact the member and figure out if there's an issue, if they need some time away, etc, before any trimming from the roster is performed. Every effort is given to provide an LOA if it's required for whatever reason. The only time that anyone would actually be removed from the FIR is a complete disappearing act and going NORDO for months without any answers to multiple attempts at communication via email/discord/etc.
    1 point
  46. We use solo certs at ZYZ all the time. While someone may be "good enough" to run the airspace on their own, there are situations that we don't see very often while controlling, (VFR, minor fields, uncontrolled airports/airspace). Now obviously we try to get them traffic in those areas while under supervision so we know they can work it before cutting them loose, but solo time gives them the opportunity to work more of that traffic, improve their skills, and gain some confidence/comfort in the position prior to an OTS without having to try to track down an instructor or mentor to supervise them.
    1 point
  47. Nolan While I understand the sentiment. There is already a thread for the activity requirement here : Let's try to keep everything collected in the right places otherwise this will quickly become messy and hard for folks to follow all the discussions happening. Thanks 🙂 Phil
    1 point
  48. I've already explained this on discord. Trying to put all of the divisions and sub-divisions under one model isn't exactly ideal because people are different, facilities are different and a lot of the issues that currently stand with visiting and training dept. strains are managed very well by local sub-divisions on a local basis, where the facilities are able to judge for themselves what is best for them, their students and visitor interest as well.
    1 point
  49. And I understand where you are coming from. My ARTCC stopped accepting visitor applications during COVID due to the influx of students. However that should be at the discretion of the division and/or the ARTCC/FIR. I do not believe that Vatsim should be governing the maximum facilities you can visit for all divisions which differ widely across the world.
    1 point
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