Jump to content

Controller Activity Requirements


Recommended Posts

Dear friends & colleagues, I am keen to hear your thoughts on this matter & be corrected if I am mistaken in any way.

 

There are a few reasons a VATSIM facility might want to enact activity requirements: to make their controllers control regularly & to keep their controllers' knowledge current are probably what most staff will point to.

 

Not all facilities have strict activity requirements. Many facilities will allow you to control so long as you have an active VATSIM account (are active at least once every 6 months).

 

But in a few facilities, I noticed there is a requirement of 1 hour per month for visiting controllers. Despite my dislike for this rule, I haven't fussed (until now) because 1 hour per month seems convenient for many people.

 

Last week, I was removed as a visitor from Indonesia vACC — despite having controlled there regularly for 5 years — because, according to this vACC docomeent (which is wildly reminiscent of a presidential decree... Since when do vACC Directors have the title 'By the Grace of God Almighty'?), their activity requirement for visitors is 5 hours per quarter. And it gets worse. If you're a home controller (not a visitor), the requirement jumps up to FIFTEEN hours per quarter. Not only is this way too high, I've never seen a facility with a requirement of more than 1 hour per month.

But wait. There's more.

In most places, if you are found to not meet their activity requirement, they'll query you by email first and then remove you, end of story. That is not the case in this vACC, where the staff conduct checks every quarter of every controllers' hours, remove the controlling rights of the offending controllers, and publicise the checks on Discord & other social media.

 

VATSIM controllers are hobbyists who provide a service for absolutely no reward beyond the fun of doing it. Therefore, I don't see why our hours are regulated in this way. Controllers are the most valuable [Mod - Happy Thoughts]et that VATSIM facilities have and it seems nonsensical to me to remove active controllers because they don't control enough.

 

I'm scared of a proliferation of these kinds of policies across VATSIM, because they are the ultimate deterrent to any casual hobbyist who wants to control on VATSIM.

 

Thanks for reading, I'm looking forward to your replies.

  • Like 1

MATT "MAKYOCH"
Deputy Director
VATSIM Kuwait & Iraq

   
##  [email protected]
1651958995_OriginalPositive.thumb.png.d20cb3e3c2df1a57f16c6012e9c806ac.png

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 52
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

Dear friends & colleagues, I am keen to hear your thoughts on this matter & be corrected if I am mistaken in any way.   There are a few reasons a VATSIM facility might want to enact activity

It is always debatable wether or not activity requirements should be impossed or not. I, myself find it reasonable to have such requirements as it is some sort control of keeping up quality and conformity for our controllers. I was having a break of 3-4 years, where I didn't control in my area (Scandinavia). Coming back was hard as implementation of new software plugins in Euroscope meant that many of my old ways of doing things was no longer valid. This would mean that interacting with other controllers, coordinating etc was difficult. I could also argue, that going throu an education to become VATSIM controller would have less meaning, if some kind of securing the quality of the controller's performance in the future was neglected.

That being said, how strict requirements can be imposed on people, who dedicate time and resources to VATSIM? On one hand we would all like the best kind of control possible at all times, but being current on the job takes an efford. In Scandinavia the requirement is 10 hours over a 6 month period. Is that too harsh? The volume of traffic in Scandinavia is certainly bigger than one might find in other parts of the World, so in order to be able to cope with it, I think it is a fair trade off between securing quality and still give people room for other activities than controlling.

 

regards

Torben Andersen, VACC-SCA Controller (C1)

Link to post
Share on other sites
My view as an individual is that activity requirements should be a thing of the past.

 

I agree with this however some sort of new system should be looked into, controllers who haven't controlled after a long period of time should at least re-certify their endorsement/approvals. Maybe some sort of certification system with an expiry system would work?

 

Lets say I'm approved to control in the OMAE ACC from 01-08-19 and my certification expires on the 01-08-19 or I re-certify it e.g extend my certification.

 

We've had issues in the U.A.E where when the whole airspace was restructured and controllers from like 2/3+ years came back without knowing what happened with the new procedures.

CHRISS KLOSOWSKI
Division Director, VATSIM Middle East & North Africa  
VATSIM Network Supervisor, Team 5
##  [email protected] 
##
 http://vatsim.me/    
     

1185353147_Signature(1).png.e6818c4256541cb309a1888bad7c9d33.png

Link to post
Share on other sites

That's the issue I wanted to point out. Also, in many regions/countries we suffer from a lack of staff - that's the reality and an hour-requirement is possibly a way to keep people slightly active and involved instead of having to re-train them every now and then.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Board of Governors

...also I think some level of activity requirement to stay on a roster is entirely reasonable, otherwise one ends up with rosters stuffed full of people who controlled once and are never going to return again. What a mess that would be after a year or two.

 

I'm not suggesting there should be hundreds of hoops to jump through to become 'active' again but the reality is that things (local customs/procedures/systems for coordination for a start) change over time and if you are not controlling somewhere with at least a bare minimum of regularity then there is no way you would be across the sort of stuff which not only allows you to provide a good service for pilots but also ensures you are a good neighbour to your adjacent controllers.

 

Ideally

A suggestion that people don't simply jump back into the deep end from the start.

 

Whilst I agree with the sentiment of this sadly the reality is that people prove, time and time and time again, that too many are utterly incapable of adhering to this sort of advice/request and thus at some point hard limits have to be put in to stop people from being silly. I would say if someone has been away from an area for over a year then I don't think it is too much to ask them to spend an hour with a mentor just to get back up to speed (and more if they feel they need it).

Vice President, Pilot Training

Link to post
Share on other sites

One particular ARTCC requires three (3) hours per month for visitors, but not for divisional members. I have been a visitor on and off for 7yrs, and regularly get dumped and have to reapply because I can’t do the required hours for a particular month.

 

Whilst I do agree with currency, I don’t think currency should be confused with hours connected.

 

If currency and competence is a real issue, then you cannot measure that by connection time.

 

Great suggestion for BOG to make a call on so we have some standard policy across the network.

Sean

C1/O P3

spacer.png

Link to post
Share on other sites

I have several ideas on that Andreas.

 

However, I’m sure the BOG will pursue things they see as a priority. This is simply a forum for discussion, and as I have no position of appointment, I would not even begin to put my opinion onto others.

 

I think the board is slowly opening its eyes and accepting that with so many members active, that maybe some of them do have ideas that are beneficial.

 

One day we will have more open minded board members who ask the community what they think, and not ask those they know.

Sean

C1/O P3

spacer.png

Link to post
Share on other sites

This is how it is in the real world too. If you've been out more than a few weeks, someone needs to sit with you when you're back.

 

A mandatory 30-60min session with an instructor to pinpoint holes in one's knowledge is the better option. It fixes the issue of not knowing what's going on, as well as incentivising people to A; Don't go inactive, and B; don't get a refresher unless you actually mean to put in a few hours. Humans are notoriously bad at checking their own shortcomings, so the external input helps everyone in having a better time.

 

As for quantifying it, I like my vACCs version (Biased? Of course not!): 10 hours over 6 months. It allows for more than a month or two away without losing your active status, but is still easily maintained.

Link to post
Share on other sites

ARTCC Training Staffs pour a ton of human capital into training students. Do students believe that ARTCC Training Staffs go through the effort just to transfer knowledge and call it a day? They train students so they can contribute on the network by manning ATC positions while providing quality service. Virtual controllers provide a service to virtual pilots by simulating ATC. Pilots fly on the network to interact with quality ATC. Do controllers really believe they can maintain quality by controlling once or twice a year? Is controlling on the network an hour or three a month too much to ask? Training bandwidth is at a premium and it’s a waste of training resources to train someone who doesn’t want to control on the network.

Mani Manigault

Division Director

VATUSA

Link to post
Share on other sites

This is a hobby.

 

VATSIM has no requirements for anyone to maintain a roster of active controllers, as long as CERT says you have a rating within a Divison you can control any positon for which that rating allows, no one can be removed from the network for having time away, no one can be removed from the network for controlling a positon after a vACC removes them from the optional roster. With the exception of Visitors and Endorsements.

 

Ratings are issued at a Division level not the vACC level.

 

The busiest airport on the vatsim network has no minimum time requirements.

Kirk Christie - VATPAC C3

VATPAC Undercover ATC Agent

Worldflight Perth 737-800 Crew Member

956763

Link to post
Share on other sites

Currency requirements are established at the subdivision level. If the busiest facility on the network doesn’t have currency requirements, that’s their prerogative. VATSIM is a simulation. An effective simulation benefits from proper ATC and pilot execution. For most that requires frequent practice of skills — regular currency.

Mani Manigault

Division Director

VATUSA

Link to post
Share on other sites

I would argue that, that is against the GRP. Removing some ones rights to control, or restricting them from controlling after a leave of absence, would be in contravention of 5.4 and 5.5.

 

5.4 Local rules cannot restrict who can provide ATC services on any position that is not approved as Designated Airspace in accordance with Paragraph 6 of this policy for members rated S2 or higher.

 

5.5 Local rules cannot provide restrictions that would be in contravention of this policy.

Kirk Christie - VATPAC C3

VATPAC Undercover ATC Agent

Worldflight Perth 737-800 Crew Member

956763

Link to post
Share on other sites

Let's see it this way: if a controller - resident or visitor - wants to stay proficient in his airspace and its [Mod - Happy Thoughts]ociated procedures then he or she needs to control on a regular basis. Otherwise I can't say that it is fun for the ATCO in question. I guess for the majority a "fun ATC session" is defined as "goes well without hickups caused by my own inexperience and lack of knowledge". An hour requirement - I like the the concept of 10 hours/6 months - is therefore one good way to go. If somebody is not interested in controlling a position/airspace more than this, he/she could also just quit, because the quality will not be good. Good pilots and ATCOs are good because they exercise their privilege to fly/control on a regular basis! Yes, privilege! All those who have gone through ATC-training know how many countless hours are invested by training staff: creating docomeents, train the trainees, create an administration platform to manage all of this at ease for all parties involved, perform practical tests, be available to questions etc.. Do we do this for candidates that want to control only 10 hours a year? Will they ever get proficient to bring the vACC/vARTCC forward? In my opinion, becoming an ATCO means that you really want to do this and that you are prepared to invest a significant amount of time and dedication into this. In return, ATCOs receive some very good training by experienced members of VATSIM and they will have the privilege (there we go again!) to be allowed to control.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I disagree, having returned from having a break from ATC since November last year, (almost a year) I logged back in, and started controlling like I had never left, I updated all my sector files.

 

Further more, I have been an Instructor and docomeent/course writer, do I feel like I have wasted my time, if some one I p[Mod - Happy Thoughts], never logs back in again or only controls 10 hours a year? not at all, I have done what was required when it was required, because I wanted to.

 

This is a hobby, you do what you can when you can.

Kirk Christie - VATPAC C3

VATPAC Undercover ATC Agent

Worldflight Perth 737-800 Crew Member

956763

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Kirk,

 

then you are talented and you are good at self-[Mod - Happy Thoughts]essing your level of knowledge. With your ATC- and training-history you do NOT fit into the standard category of low-time ATCOs who control every fortnight. You should know this

 

I do agree with you, however, that VATSIM is a hobby and that we should not create hurdles for re-joiners. From what I can see at VATSIM Germany, almost all "returners" are disciplined, they contact their respective local training staff and ask for what has changed, even for some refresher-training. But in theory they could just jump in and create chaos. With an hour requirement (or whatever) you just formalize that someone should make some research before getting back into the ATC-chair with customers who expect nothing else but perfection.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I do concur that this is just a hobby, and that the barriers to entry should not be high.

 

But the BoG themselves support the notion that controllers should be certified and trained, per the CoC.

 

To then say that someone is fit to control in perpetuity without further training, research, or practice is to ignore a basic tenet of the human mind: that skills and knowledge begin to atrophy the moment they are learned. To maintain knowledge and skill in aviation require constant practice.

 

Again, I do not support onerous currency requirements, but to say that we should not have any at all is to ignore the hours and hours we put into training, as students and instructors. The skills learned, must be practiced to be maintained at a reasonable level.

 

While hours alone does not indicate competency, it is the best and most painless way to show continuing interest in the division. The alternative would be to have recurrent testing, which would require scheduling and coordination and be a burden for the controllers and the administrators.

 

I generally support the idea of a currency requirement of a few hours every few months. I do agree it is sneaky to remove users without a warning. The currency requirement should be used not as a punishment, but as a reminder to "Stay in the game." I think a 15 day warning prior to expiry is fair and should be included with any currency requirement.

Rob Nabieszko | VATCAN3

Director of Training, VATCAN

[email protected]

18.png

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think most of us can agree on the following:

1.) It's just a hobby/game/simulation....choose your preferred descriptor.

2.) Without volunteer controllers, VATSIM does not exist.

3.) Now that the voice codec is fixed, the number one pilot complaint will be lack of controllers online when they want to fly.

 

With that said, instead of a hard and fast recurrency training rule for returning controllers, maybe an informal voluntary request that the controller just meet for a few minutes with a mentor/instructor would be a better option. The more hurdles you put in place during initial training, or for a returning qualified controller, the more people you will exclude.

 

I think that with any hobby, it's up to the individual to put into it whatever they want to get out of it. Minimal currency requirements are fairly meaningless. Many people drift into and out of a hobby in a cyclical manner. They are fired up about something for a few months, then tire of it, and move on. Then after a few months, they miss it, and come back to it. Any roadblocks for the return back only means fewer overall controllers, and the VATSIM system then ends up with an endless supply of new controllers then never become old controllers.

 

And initial training....well....that's a whole 'nother topic. I think VATSIM is going to get a big wakeup call soon, when Brand P comes online with their initial training model.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Playing organized sports is a hobby too. Even though it’s a hobby, players are expected to attend practice and show up for the games. There’s no difference between that and our currency requirements. Controllers are not the only ones with currency requirements. Pilots in many virtual airlines have them too. Our hobby depends on participation. Facilities are required to put their Administrative Policies online in front of a p[Mod - Happy Thoughts]word for public viewing thereby giving potential members the opportunity to view currency requirements before making a commitment. In VATNA, the maximum allowable currency requirement is 3 hours a month. That equals 36 hours a year or 0.4% of a year. If that’s too much to ask, perhaps VATSIM is not the right fit as a hobby.

Mani Manigault

Division Director

VATUSA

Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...