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Controller Activity Requirements


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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.

 

In my opinion you are saying meet the hours or get removed. I don’t agree with the sport analogy, because people have breaks etc and still come back. As a adult educator, I don’t agree with time = competency. What about driving a car? Driving a boat? There are numerous things which don’t require collection of hours to allow future operation.

 

I respect that divisions are authorised to restrict access by controllers based on their hours, I don’t agree with it. By saying “We don’t want you controlling unless you can do three hours every month!” I think you are excluding a lot of members, and increasing the training requirement on volunteers (if I miss a month, and then get dropped, then apply the next month, I have to start over again)

Sean

C1/O P3

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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

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.

 

In my opinion you are saying meet the hours or get removed. I don’t agree with the sport analogy, because people have breaks etc and still come back. As a adult educator, I don’t agree with time = competency. What about driving a car? Driving a boat? There are numerous things which don’t require collection of hours to allow future operation.

 

I respect that divisions are authorised to restrict access by controllers based on their hours, I don’t agree with it. By saying “We don’t want you controlling unless you can do three hours every month!” I think you are excluding a lot of members, and increasing the training requirement on volunteers (if I miss a month, and then get dropped, then apply the next month, I have to start over again)

 

Not quite. Earlier in the thread, I said "Currency requirements are established at the subdivision level." It's up to the subdivisions to set currency requirements. I'm an adult educator as well. VATSIM's primary training channel is ILT. Training staffs are stretched very thin as it is. Facilities barely have the bandwidth now to train new members/students the first go round much less recheck for competency after a member has been absent for awhile. The best way to remain competent is to regularly practice your craft.

Mani Manigault

Division Director

VATUSA

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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.

 

It is quite clear that you cannot create a local policy, that would restrict a rated controller from controlling a position in an area for which they are qualified.

Kirk Christie - VATPAC C3

VATPAC Undercover ATC Agent

Worldflight Perth 737-800 Crew Member

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The GRP says it all. All of the divisions and subdivisions that have these restrictions are in fact violating the GRP.

 

If I am a resident of a division that has such policy, and I contravene that local policy, then I am actually doing nothing wrong as per the GRP and they cannot stop me from logging on.

Andrew Ogden | I3
Gander Oceanic OCA Chief
VATSIM Web Developer

Visit us: https://ganderoceanic.com
Contact: [email protected] 

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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.

 

It is quite clear that you cannot create a local policy, that would restrict a rated controller from controlling a position in an area for which they are qualified.

 

The CoR is not local policy. Facilities are given the authority to establish currency requirements from the Regional Director. The CoR gives the Regional Director authority to establish rules to ensure a ATC coverage. This has absolutely nothing to do with the GRP.

 

“ Provision of ATC Services: A Regional Director shall ensure that his or her division puts into place policies and staff which result in the widest possible ATC coverage for the pilots of VATSIM. In addition, a Regional Director shall ensure that no policy is put into place which either adversely affects the overall staffing of the airspace delegated to them or impedes the growth of facilities in his or her region. Furthermore, a Regional Director shall provide to the VATSIM Board of Governors periodic reports, as directed by said Board, on all steps taken to ensure such coverage and growth of his or her region. “

Mani Manigault

Division Director

VATUSA

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The CoR is not local policy. Facilities are given the authority to establish currency requirements from the Regional Director. The CoR gives the Regional Director authority to establish rules to ensure a ATC coverage. This has absolutely nothing to do with the GRP.

 

“ Provision of ATC Services: A Regional Director shall ensure that his or her division puts into place policies and staff which result in the widest possible ATC coverage for the pilots of VATSIM. In addition, a Regional Director shall ensure that no policy is put into place which either adversely affects the overall staffing of the airspace delegated to them or impedes the growth of facilities in his or her region. Furthermore, a Regional Director shall provide to the VATSIM Board of Governors periodic reports, as directed by said Board, on all steps taken to ensure such coverage and growth of his or her region. “

 

IMHO that does not say “A Regional Director can disregard the CoR.” This shouldn’t end up a legal debate, however an appointment of responsibility does not allow non-compliance of the docomeent. Otherwise it would say “A Regional Director is not bound by the CoR when implementing policy and procedure.” Sometimes the BoG and/or Founders need to come out and make a public call, especially if a Division believes they don’t have to comply with the CoR.

Sean

C1/O P3

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Mani, interpretation is the key here, you see this section of the COR as a green light to make policies that ensures a quality of service.

 

My interpretation is that your controller commitment policy goes against this section.

 

In addition, a Regional Director shall ensure that no policy is put into place which either adversely affects the overall staffing of the airspace delegated to them or impedes the growth of facilities in his or her region.

 

I Put it to you that your policies contravene this section, by revoking a controllers rights to control a position for which they hold a rating, you are in effect, reducing the overall staffing of the airspace, and growth of a facility by forcing returning people to undergo more training and [Mod - Happy Thoughts]essments than what is required.

 

That's even if this section of the CoR relates to Ratings, it could be about restricting parts of your delegated airspace.

Kirk Christie - VATPAC C3

VATPAC Undercover ATC Agent

Worldflight Perth 737-800 Crew Member

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In my opinion you are saying meet the hours or get removed. I don’t agree with the sport analogy, because people have breaks etc and still come back. As a adult educator, I don’t agree with time = competency. What about driving a car? Driving a boat? There are numerous things which don’t require collection of hours to allow future operation.

If you agree that you will provide all Divisions of VATSIM - worldwide! - with enough staff, instructors, mentors etc., then we can remove the hour requirement right away. Since you and nobody else can achieve this, it's unlikely to happen unless there will be an "executive order".

 

And you cannot compare controlling to primitive things like driving a car, you really cannot.

 

Look, I hold an ATPL, I fly hundreds of hours per year, but still I need to fly a certain number of hours/landings&takeoffs per year to upkeep my SEP (Single Engine Piston) cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] rating, although I believe it does not matter whether I fly a jet or a C172, it's all similar and I am competent enough to make a self-[Mod - Happy Thoughts]essment of my currency before carrying p[Mod - Happy Thoughts]engers on the little lawn mower. But, not it's not possible, the law is different and I have to accept it.

 

Can we please move on and invest our time into different, more important things. Like controlling? If all the members who complained about "activity requirements" used the same time to actually control, then we wouldn't have had this discussion.

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The CoR is not local policy. Facilities are given the authority to establish currency requirements from the Regional Director. The CoR gives the Regional Director authority to establish rules to ensure a ATC coverage. This has absolutely nothing to do with the GRP.

 

I would ask... under what authority does the EC create policies? It seems to me that the EC's authority is derived from the authority of its member regional directors which itself is granted by this exact clause that you refer. In effect, a violation of an EC policy is equivalent to a violation of a regional policy.

 

As a former division director, it is alarming to me that there are senior division staff believe that they are not obliged to manage their division in accordance with EC policies...

David Zhong

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If you agree that you will provide all Divisions of VATSIM - worldwide! - with enough staff, instructors, mentors etc., then we can remove the hour requirement right away. Since you and nobody else can achieve this, it's unlikely to happen unless there will be an "executive order".

 

And you cannot compare controlling to primitive things like driving a car, you really cannot.

 

Look, I hold an ATPL, I fly hundreds of hours per year, but still I need to fly a certain number of hours/landings&takeoffs per year to upkeep my SEP (Single Engine Piston) cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] rating, although I believe it does not matter whether I fly a jet or a C172, it's all similar and I am competent enough to make a self-[Mod - Happy Thoughts]essment of my currency before carrying p[Mod - Happy Thoughts]engers on the little lawn mower. But, not it's not possible, the law is different and I have to accept it.

 

Can we please move on and invest our time into different, more important things. Like controlling? If all the members who complained about "activity requirements" used the same time to actually control, then we wouldn't have had this discussion.

 

1. So the reason you imply now is to force people to be online more...... I thought it was because of competency. It now sounds more like small competitions between ARTCC’s to have more online hours.

 

2. Don’t disagree with competency. But missing a month and removing them, isn’t about competency. It’s about trying to force members online (which is your first paragraph). I am sure that there are divisions that don’t force time online, yet are still active and competent. If VATNA wants to run it that way, it’s their lawn mower to push. It isn’t the only way, so don’t be scared to think of other ideas.

 

3. It’s always good to see people have the ability to state their case and discussion things without saying move-on.

Sean

C1/O P3

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Question for the EC members, in Quarter 2 2016, it was raised and discussed in the EC meeting, per the following.

 

C. Global Rating Policy - Recurrency Training – NF, DD

 Return of controllers on extended leave

 Discussion on recurrency training requirements

 Non-Major versus Major facility need for recurrency training

 Discussion on topics published on the VATSIM forums

 Cost analysis of mistakes versus need for recurrency

 DD would like to come back with a proposal for recurrency training

 In the interest of time, and necessity to discuss this matter further,

it will be tabled for the next session.

 

As stated it was to be put on hold for the next session, however, upon reviewing the following session minuets, it was never discussed again.

Kirk Christie - VATPAC C3

VATPAC Undercover ATC Agent

Worldflight Perth 737-800 Crew Member

956763

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1. So the reason you imply now is to force people to be online more...... I thought it was because of competency. It now sounds more like small competitions between ARTCC’s to have more online hours.

[..]

3. It’s always good to see people have the ability to state their case and discussion things without saying move-on.

I don't know, what else can I explain, you seem a bit slow to understand or you refuse to understand?? Regular controlling means that someone will be current in his/her job and this is important for ATCOs and pilots alike. A great amount of time and resources are invested in controllers to get them up to the required level to perform sufficiently or better. If you do not control a lot or only with long gaps between sessions on a specific sector your performance and knowledge will degrade. To avoid this hour requirements are the easiest MEASURABLE way to check someone's currency on a specific position.

 

You did not reply to my demand to supply hundreds if staff and instructors to check our ATCOs' currency and competence.

 

It's always good to have very vocal members like you who will never stop discussing little things.

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Well, currency, and re-currency requirements are just the tip of the training iceberg. The initial training process is just as flawed.

 

No easy answers, but as often occurs in corporate type settings, arbitrary rules, with no basis in evidence, will often be put in place as feel good measures. The mentality behind them is "it's better to do something, even if it's wrong, than to not do anything at all."

 

Interesting discussion.

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Sorry Andreas I am not in a position to supply hundreds of staff for you, that would require divisions to ask for volunteers, and I don’t have that authority.

 

I am also sorry for upsetting you. I am genuinely trying to discuss the issue without attacking anyone.

Sean

C1/O P3

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In my opinion activity requirements are really the only way to make sure controllers are able to keep up-to-date with their skills. With that being said, entirely removing controllers from the roster because they don't meet these requirements is not OK. People have lives outside of VATSIM as well. Instead, the ARTCC/FIR/vACC can move those controllers to an "inactive roster" until they come back. When the controller is ready to start controlling again a short training/refresher session with an instructor or mentor should be required to make sure their skills are still up-to-date and if everything checks out, they are moved back to the active roster. This process would eliminate the need to remove controllers while still making sure their skills stay current.

 

Cheers,

Josh Jenk

CZVR C1 controller

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In my opinion activity requirements are really the only way to make sure controllers are able to keep up-to-date with their skills. With that being said, entirely removing controllers from the roster because they don't meet these requirements is not OK. People have lives outside of VATSIM as well. Instead, the ARTCC/FIR/vACC can move those controllers to an "inactive roster" until they come back. When the controller is ready to start controlling again a short training/refresher session with an instructor or mentor should be required to make sure their skills are still up-to-date and if everything checks out, they are moved back to the active roster. This process would eliminate the need to remove controllers while still making sure their skills stay current.

 

Cheers,

 

That's the usual process in VATUSA. The Division does not require ARTCCs to have an activity policy. Most if not all choose to have one. Activity requirements range from 1-3 hours a month. Facilities chose how often to measure (every 30, 60, 90 days). If a member is removed for inactivity, they can request a transfer back into the facility. If the transfer is within six months, they pick up where they left off. If the transfer is between 6-12 months, the member will usually have to go through some sort of informal evaluation process to check for competency. If the transfer is after 12 months, ARTCCs usually require a more formal training refresher process.

Mani Manigault

Division Director

VATUSA

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In my opinion activity requirements are really the only way to make sure controllers are able to keep up-to-date with their skills. With that being said, entirely removing controllers from the roster because they don't meet these requirements is not OK. People have lives outside of VATSIM as well. Instead, the ARTCC/FIR/vACC can move those controllers to an "inactive roster" until they come back. When the controller is ready to start controlling again a short training/refresher session with an instructor or mentor should be required to make sure their skills are still up-to-date and if everything checks out, they are moved back to the active roster. This process would eliminate the need to remove controllers while still making sure their skills stay current.

 

Cheers,

This is the right answer, and how it's done in VatSca. I'm more in favour of our 10h/6months than I am in a monthly requirement though, as it's easier for people with busy lives to skip a month or two without falling out completely. A 30-60 minute check for inactive controllers is all that should be needed on return, unless more severe lapses in competency is found by the instructor.

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In my opinion activity requirements are really the only way to make sure controllers are able to keep up-to-date with their skills. With that being said, entirely removing controllers from the roster because they don't meet these requirements is not OK. People have lives outside of VATSIM as well. Instead, the ARTCC/FIR/vACC can move those controllers to an "inactive roster" until they come back. When the controller is ready to start controlling again a short training/refresher session with an instructor or mentor should be required to make sure their skills are still up-to-date and if everything checks out, they are moved back to the active roster. This process would eliminate the need to remove controllers while still making sure their skills stay current.

 

Cheers,

This is the right answer, and how it's done in VatSca. I'm more in favour of our 10h/6months than I am in a monthly requirement though, as it's easier for people with busy lives to skip a month or two without falling out completely. A 30-60 minute check for inactive controllers is all that should be needed on return, unless more severe lapses in competency is found by the instructor.

Exactly. within the next few months, I have lots of events coming up. This meant I had to leave a lot of ARTCCS, to avoid being removed on bad terms.

It's quite sad.

Tristan Garratt

VATPAC C1

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Is it "bad terms" when you get removed from their rosters due to inactivity? You just re-apply and you'll be back in. For me this "removal from rosters" is just an administrative act, as long as you can easily re-activate or re-join those rosters again when you have more time on your hands.

 

EDIT: typing errors

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In my opinion activity requirements are really the only way to make sure controllers are able to keep up-to-date with their skills. With that being said, entirely removing controllers from the roster because they don't meet these requirements is not OK. People have lives outside of VATSIM as well. {...}
{...} I'm more in favour of our 10h/6months than I am in a monthly requirement though, as it's easier for people with busy lives to skip a month or two without falling out completely. {...}
Exactly. within the next few months, I have lots of events coming up. This meant I had to leave a lot of ARTCCS, to avoid being removed on bad terms. It's quite sad.

Tristan -- you mean you had to withdraw from some of the 70 or 80 places you visit, in favor of more like 30 or 40? Tragic.

Cheers,

-R.

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Is it "bad terms" when you get removed from their rosters due to inactivity? You just re-apply and you'll be back in. For me this "removal from rosters" is just an administrative act, as long as you can easily re-active or re-join those rosters again when you have more time on your hands.

the issue is, some ARTCC DATMs that I have talked to said they will be reluctant to bring me back on if I was removed due to inactivity. I also have experienced this reluctance with ZOB.

 

Rosters are only required for endorsements, and Major certifications.

Not neccesarily Kirk. Rosters are required for visiting controllers. For instance, VATPAC does not have major endorsements, so therefore we do not have a roster for our home controllers (publicly available), but with our designated airspace such as BN-TSN ML-IND, there is a roster.

 

It's all really up to whether the area has major or not...

Tristan Garratt

VATPAC C1

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