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Is this how it always goes for controller training?


Tim Simpson
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its not as crazy as you make it sound. until you go through the training and testing, then youll see exactly whats being done. part of it is prepping for event traffic, part of it is to create a little bit of a situation to see how you deal with it, among other things.

 

you are not being judged by how much traffic you get, but how you deal with it

 

as to your question, if the result is simply handing a rating to you, no. and its definitely not as you suggest of creating a no win situation. they want you to p[Mod - Happy Thoughts], they wouldnt have wasted all that time training to you begin with if they didnt. you did the training, the practical exam is when you show it

 

same as if you were doing your flight training, when you go do your checkride, they are going to throw things at you that you may never deal with, but you need to show you can handle it. if you dont show it, they cant grade you on it

 

To add to this, some airlines with their sim part of their interviews will "overload you" and they KNOW you are going to crash but want to see how you deal with it. If the instructor is doing their job they will recognize your saturation point and help out before you collapse; and then give you a giant virtual slap on the back for a job well done.

 

edit: and do you really want a doctor, lawyer, pilot, controller... etc etc that "just p[Mod - Happy Thoughts]ed" or do you want the proficient one. You don't know how much you can handle until you've handled it.

Mr.

VATSIM P2

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Manuel your first part would run a foul of GRP. once certified, you are certified. would not be a fan of recertifications, we cant keep up with getting certified the first time! lol

 

for events, id hope users would use common sense and know what their limits are, IE if you know event traffic is beyond you, dont put yourself in an event slot thats pretty much what i avoided doing until i felt comfortable enough on a position

 

 

I agree. It would require a GRP re-write. Yes, once you are fully certed, you are fully certed. What percentage of our controllers do you believe participate in events? Based on my experience, a minority amount. That's why we have an ACE Team; it's hard to adequately staff for events a lot of times. Not everyone wants to participate in events, yet we are forced to test to that level. I believe event level competency needs to be separated from Business as Usual competency. It would be siniliar to off peak/on peak ratings.

Manuel Manigault

Division Director

VATUSA

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If you're referring to the sup/admin broadcast on the network, I don't think they can get much traffic that way, since everybody is already flying or has planned a flight from the airport they're logged in at. And I'd [Mod - Happy Thoughts]ume they use this only when the traffic levels are low (perhaps too low to p[Mod - Happy Thoughts] an exam). I've never come to an exam this way. I've come to many exams (and mentoring sessions) in Europe because they were advertised before and I'd planned it (unfortunately they don't seem to advertise them in the USA).

 

Unfortunately, these broadcasts aren't always requested by the examiners. My own S2 exam a couple of years back had a broadcast sent out to which my examiner groaned over our Teamspeak channel as we had sufficient traffic already. All it did was add another 8/9 GA aircraft with horribly out of date default scenery and no idea on local procedures to the airfield.

 

Thankfully all bar a couple logged off however they DO attract traffic although it's not something I'd respond to without scenery that's accurate and having read up on procedures to ensure I'm not gonna screw the candidate over.

 

My biggest issue with these broadcasts (as a pilot) is the fact that for the most part, I'm mid-flight so unless I disconnect, there's no chance of me making it to the other side of the world to help - and how many would be prepared to give up a flight for that? However that's a whole other subject...

Trevor Hannant

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The events I've participated in, are usually 4 hours long. I've yet to take part in one, or observe one from the ground, that doesn't fall apart between the peak hours 1.5 and 2.5 of the event.

 

And this is because some facilities don't train to work event level traffic. Sure, the training may be more intense and slightly longer, but your knowledge of air traffic procedures will be much greater and you can provide a better service.

 

I'll use this Friday's FNO at MSP as an example - everyone that worked that event has gone through a very rigorous training program at ZMP. Sure, it might have taken a little longer than some other facilities, but look at how smooth the operation went. We had no holds, ran a long final, and had very few issues overall. This comes from both good training and having the experience of working busy situations.

 

Most of the skills that were put to use during that event can't even be taught. I'd say the average level of network experience from controllers was probably 5+ years. And there were multiple guys with real world experience. We use that experience to bring up new controllers to the level of ability that can handle real world levels of traffic whether they're controlling during events or not.

 

The only reason we are able to do this is because our controllers genuinly want it. We can preach and teach to high standards all we want, but the only controllers we end up certifying are the ones who truly want to be the best they can possibly be. This is why we don't have the staffing that some other facilities have: we strive for quality over quantity. But I would say that it's all worth it after I see how well our controllers perform during events.

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Manuel your first part would run a foul of GRP. once certified, you are certified. would not be a fan of recertifications, we cant keep up with getting certified the first time! lol

 

for events, id hope users would use common sense and know what their limits are, IE if you know event traffic is beyond you, dont put yourself in an event slot thats pretty much what i avoided doing until i felt comfortable enough on a position

 

Not entirely true, GRP states that a rating may never be revoked not a certification. You can be decertified with cause, but you can't be derated ever.

Matt Bartels
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Unless otherwise stated, opinions are my own and not representative of the official opinion of the VATSIM Board of Governors

 

 

 

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do you really want a doctor, lawyer, pilot, controller... etc etc that "just p[Mod - Happy Thoughts]ed" or do you want the proficient one.

 

Yes, but...

 

Is a new junior doctor straight out of medical school as proficient as the consultant who's been practicing for 30 years? Is the lawyer fresh from the bar exam as proficient as a QC? Is a 200-hour CPL holder as proficient as a 20,000 hour airline captain?

 

If not -- and this is the key thing at stake here -- should they be expected to have that level of proficiency in order to p[Mod - Happy Thoughts] their various tests?

 

I would suggest not: they are all expected to be competent and safe, but true proficiency comes only with time and experience.

Vice President, Pilot Training

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For events, id hope users would use common sense and know what their limits are, IE if you know event traffic is beyond you, dont put yourself in an event slot thats pretty much what i avoided doing until i felt comfortable enough on a position

Unfortunately, very few student controllers have your self-restraint.

 

Or pilots...

Mr.

VATSIM P2

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For events, id hope users would use common sense and know what their limits are, IE if you know event traffic is beyond you, dont put yourself in an event slot thats pretty much what i avoided doing until i felt comfortable enough on a position

Unfortunately, very few student controllers have your self-restraint.

 

Or pilots...

 

Yet both of them are bound by the CoC that says they shall be.

Kyle Ramsey

 

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The GRP asks to train controllers to competency. Most facilities misinterpret that to mean proficiency, and that proficiency to an insanely high level. That was never the intent of GRP, nor the Founders. Someday we may get a handle on it.

I'm sorry, but the GRP, for all the equalizing that it's provided over the years, causes more harm than good. Seriously, getting over the utopian idea that controllers in any appreciable number WANT to carry their rating halfway across the planet is the first step towards improving the training process. I've been involved in the training department of a VATUSA facility for almost a decade, basically since about 6 months after GRP1 was published. Guess how many incoming transfers from outside the division I've seen in my ARTCC with a rating higher than S1 over that span?

 

If your answer was "5", you're over by 3. Now I agree that's an isolated anecdotal example, but to paraphrase my division director, the proof is in the empirical data. Show me concrete evidence to the contrary and I'll reconsider my position. I'm sorry, I don't care how good a Heathrow director controller you may be - you're not equipped to jump in and work final approach at a place like JFK or LAX without some serious transitional training. It's a noble cause, but why can't the specific requirements for certification be left up to the regions as long as they're loosely based around the GRP construct?

Dhruv Kalra

VATUSA ZMP ATM | Instructor | VATSIM Network Supervisor

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And yet only one of those groups requires any sort of knowledge. Sounds fair.

 

Not even a remotely true statement. A pilot that lacks knowledge and becomes disruptive is removed by calling a Sup. Both groups require knowledge. The argument is that some facilities place an undue burden on the knowledge required by a controller at such a high level it becomes difficult to impossible to gain ratings. I hear all the time about how many controllers are leaving the network. Well news flash, they have been leaving since Day 1, except under the current program they aren't replaced faster than they are leaving, so facilities are training themselves out of business. Raising the bar high also increases the burden placed on the very limited human resources available to provide the training.

 

 

I'm sorry, I don't care how good a Heathrow director controller you may be - you're not equipped to jump in and work final approach at a place like JFK or LAX without some serious transitional training. It's a noble cause, but why can't the specific requirements for certification be left up to the regions as long as they're loosely based around the GRP construct?

 

You are confusing GRP with TVCP, whole different discussion. I content GRP does exactly what you suggest; GRP provides a basic requirements list, divisions and facilities are free to customize that list to their world and largely they do that very thing.

 

For the record I don't think a C1 from UK can jump on BOS_CTR without some pretty good transitional training (or LAX to JFK either). I just happen to think most of the burden to do the learning should be placed on the incoming controller, not on the local training staff, to minimize the impact on the local staff to train those already in their pipeline. A good controller who understands controlling principles should be able to learn the ropes in a new place with self study and a little practice. In order to do that good materials should be available to the incoming transferee.

 

About two years ago the BoG asked the EC to review GRP and make upgrades. The answer that came back, after consulting with their divisions, was it's fine, nothing needs to be changed. When I talk to people the VATSIM world over they all tell me they are 100% GRP compliant, but those other guys over there, not so much. When I talk to the other guys over there, they tell me the same thing. Can they both be right? Are they both wrong?

Kyle Ramsey

 

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I've been watching this thread since it's creation and just went for my S3 sign-off test. I'm out at the NY ARTCC, and the training is certainly different than in Europe and other parts of the US.

 

As for the test, it was pretty standard for NY, similar to initial certification (except the instructor doesn't teach) . 10 MIT with a handful of aircraft on each STAR (3 from the South, 2 from the north). From the north required vectors to final; the South were on the arrival until downwind. I just had to descend them and turn them in, and PTAC.

 

Now I've got about 90 hours on approach for the facility I was getting signed off at. And I would say I have not achieved proficiency yet, as that equates to just a small handful of hours working real traffic. This goes back to Tim's original post about only training to proficiency. It took this signoff session, as well as a couple of earlier additional training, for me to even come close. And I still missed a couple altitudes and speeds, which causes me to focus in on the final box, resulting in more missed altitudes and speeds. Yes I can handle a dozen airplanes fine as long as center is feeding them at the right altitudes, but Top down with that much traffic and more calling on the ground (unrealistic to what real world would do) and I probably would have failed.

 

Every ARTCC wants to be know for the best controllers, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. However it can lead to student frustration as moving up the chain doesn't happen as frequently. I mean, S1 had no competency requirements, yet at NY a S1 needs to know how to edit a flight plan, give taxi instructions, identify mode C reporting, coordinate with other controllers, etc. to control delivery or ground (regardless of Major/Minor airport cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts]ification).

 

While as a student I may not necessary agree with how training is done, I understand where the ARTCCs are coming from with their training. We have no way of knowing how skilled a pilot is, whether they are "it was 70% off on Steam" or a private pilot RW, the service should be the same for both, which is what VATSIM strives for. For me, personally, I want to give the best service I can, which means I hold way higher standards than the GRP. I listen to LiveATC, and I want to emulate that for the pilots regardless.

 

Just my two pennies

Senior Student (S3)

Chicago ARTCC Events Coordinator

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Not even a remotely true statement. A pilot that lacks knowledge and becomes disruptive is removed by calling a Sup.

 

This is only partially true in the back of of the statement, and even that isn't a guarantee. C'mon Kyle, a pilot can, with zero experience or certification and a Vatsim ID log into the network flying the most complex aircraft in flight sim (PMDG, etc) and go to their hearts content. It doesn't matter if they can effectively communicate, fly basic procedures, let alone complex ones, or even follow basic ATC instructions. What you are saying is that as long as they do not cause a "disruption", that is fine? That is just what we've established, or at least haven't grown beyond. The same cannot be said for a controller as they require at least basic certification and facility ratings. As for the ongoing competency vs. proficiency argument, where is the middle ground? If the current consensus among the small sample represented here is that the GRP, and the opinions which yourself have stated is somehow lowering the standard in the interest of preserving controller population, and the modern network and facilities demand more, then what is the middle ground? I am willing to concede that a large degree of proficiency comes with practice at the craft, where do we as an organization find a middle ground of meeting the bare minimums and evaluating on some level of proficiency for the student to move forward with unsupervised?

 

Nick

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The same cannot be said for a controller as they require at least basic certification and facility ratings

 

i can probably quote Kyle and some of the BOG on that issue, "you have nobody to blame but yourselves" with that one. ATC side got difficult because our peers wanted it that way. if the BOG had it their way, itd be a heck of a lot less complex on that side of things

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S1 had no competency requirements, yet at NY a S1 needs to know how to edit a flight plan, give taxi instructions, identify mode C reporting, coordinate with other controllers, etc. to control delivery or ground

No competency requirements? An S1 needs to know these things in any airport, not only NY, so I'm not sure what you're saying here.

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S1 had no competency requirements, yet at NY a S1 needs to know how to edit a flight plan, give taxi instructions, identify mode C reporting, coordinate with other controllers, etc. to control delivery or ground

No competency requirements? An S1 needs to know these things in any airport, not only NY, so I'm not sure what you're saying here.

 

Per the GRP:

I) Tower Trainee (S1)

 

THIS RATING IS A DIRECT ENTRY LEVEL THAT HAS NO [Mod - Happy Thoughts]OCIATED COMPETENCIES.

Senior Student (S3)

Chicago ARTCC Events Coordinator

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S1 was changed to "tower trainee" simply to get more small towers up faster, not at major airports, but smaller airports. it doesnt have [Mod - Happy Thoughts]ociated competencies BUT, you cant go by just one line in the GRP, cause if you look at the other lines and put them together, local facility handles how they hand that one out. it could be as simple as p[Mod - Happy Thoughts]ing a written entry level exam to show you know a few basics, reading a metar, etc.. or they can require more. it was specifically added for less work although some dont do that. S1 is no longer [Mod - Happy Thoughts]ociated with clearance or ground like before.

 

some areas also dont even bother with S1 for this reason, they simply train you to S2

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The real fun happens when you want to go visit another area to expand your knowledge and add a little variety to your ATC Hobby.

 

GRP was supposed to level the playing field but I feel the isolationism of all the different vACC's/Divisions/vARTCC's is far to real on this Network. I know people are labeled on where they did their training when looking for visiting somewhere else and are judged(not publicly) based on that, don't try sugarcoat that it doesn't happen because it does.

 

I'm going through a process for visiting somewhere at the minute and I genuinely feel like doing a '60 minutes' style expose on the process.

 

This is what irates me more,

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So they can control ground, but are not required to know what they're doing?

Essentially. What I interpret from that is anyone registered with Vatsim can automatically become an S1. Like S1 is similar to P0

That's a funny way to put it, because there actually are competencies required to control ground, there's just no formal test requirement, just like there are requirements for pilots, even though there's no test.

 

As for overload, there are such events that simply have too many pilots in one place/relative to the number of controllers and no amount of proficiency can help. There's only so many seconds in a minute and only so many transmissions you can get in. It can't be prevented since you can't stop people from flying on the network. As a pilot, I simply avoid these events/hours if I can predict it. If they're making a new controller take exams in these circomestances, that's extreme. However, if it's an on-peak exam, that's what it's for, and is not mandatory to take (as any other exam for other ratings, nowhere does it say everyone has to be a C1).

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