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8.02 Activity Requirements for Minor Fields


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4 hours ago, Matthew Bartels said:

if the controller has real life get in the way, or just flat out forgets to control it’s goodbye. That’s not right.

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?

Edited by David Solesvik 1341101
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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 th

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 particula

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

Matt,

unless I'm misunderstanding you, the issue you/the BoG seem to have with the current method is that someone who is removed from a roster has too many hurdles to jump through before being able to control again. If the problem is with rejoining controllers, why does the go-to solution seem to be "make it so no one has to rejoin"? It seems to me like a more agreeable solution would be to mandate a sort of fast-track program for someone who was removed from a roster recently. That way, FIRs can still decide how often someone needs to control to be considered competent, but also minimize the friction of someone who wants to rejoin after a period of inactivity

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NYARTCC Community Manager

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OK Folks, as this thread is repeating itself; a roll up of the review input is necessary.

1. All the public review input so far is against 8.02(a) for 1 hour/12 months.

2. As 8.04 already allows local jurisdictions to set level of activity for Major Airspace and Event Endorsements (no greater that 1 hour or event/3 months), then 8.02(a) applies only to minor and Restricted airspace.

Revised wording options provided for consideration by the working group:

1. Keep present wording (always an option)

2. Revise 8.04 to also include Restricted Airspace, leaving 8.02(a) for minor airspace only. Then revise 8.02(a) to some more frequent number like 1 hour every three months.

3. Leave 8.02(a) as is (covers both minor and Restricted) and up the hours to 2 hours per three months.

4. Do Item #2 above and also revise the hours of 8.04 to 2 hours/events per three months.

5. Let all currency hours be set locally with division approval (current requirement.

 

My only question from the posts above is what is the problem statement we are addressing?

Ed Sterling

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18 minutes ago, Edward Sterling said:

My only question from the posts above is what is the problem statement we are addressing?

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.

Edited by David Solesvik 1341101
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There is a general theme throughout this thread and that is some people agree that some controllers come back and are motivated to update themselves with local procedures and policies before they log back in and provide a top quality ATC.

There are also some that aren't that motivated and just log back in and potentially operate porley.

With the current activity requirements, its assumed that everyone returning is in the latter situation, aka guilty untill proven innocent, and thats not fair, and not how we as a society operate.

The current situation means thay any one who doesn't met the activity requirements of a sub division needs to be checked, re checking already qualified controllers, who may not need it, this delays training and assessments for new controllers, in a situation where ATC training departments are already over worked and understaffed.

The proposed situation means that people returning from less than 12 months away has an opportunity to prove that they are ok to control without taking up the time of the training division. If you have 10 people return from LOA and only get complaints about 2, then that's 8 people that did not have to do a check ride or currency check.

Activity requirements and regular controlling doesn't prevent people from becoming complacent, there is evidence of that around the place, where people fail to, or choose not to remain up to date or current as procedures change, what's in place to ensure quality of service for some one that regularly controls? 

 

Current activity requirement policy's are not enforceable, no SUP or higher is going to remove a person from a position on the basis that they are not on an ARTCCs active roster, given that there is no such requirement to maintain a roster of active controllers, only a list of endorsed controllers. Activity policy's have only worked because people believe they have to follow them, which they don't. 

Edited by Kirk Christie
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Kirk Christie - VATPAC C3

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This thread may be repeating itself, but numbers are important here… if only a few people speak up about their distaste for this part of the new GCAP, then that isn’t much reason to listen, is it?

Activity & Currency... These words seem to mean different things at different times.


What is the “GOAL” of the activity requirement?

Is it to make rosters/stats look better or is it to ensure someone stays proficient with their skills?

If the former, then that is a waste of administrative processes.

If the latter, then 1hr a year isn't enough time to maintain proficiency in ANYTHING, let alone a technical skill such as even PLAYING “ATC”.


I believe the GOAL should be “PROFICIENCY” and HOW it is maintained should be the discussion here…

I would argue that your Activity/Frequency of practice is one of the key methods for maintaining your proficiency.

If you have an issue with a real world situation that keeps you from meeting the activity requirement, that is completely understandable... this hobby isn't for everyone and just because you had a real world situation happen, doesn't mean that you magically keep your proficiency up. The reason doesn't change the outcome. When you can, come back and get training to build your skills back up and jump back in. Heck, it is even a good idea to get a refresh on your skills and knowledge every now and then.

I see some here are ok with things like 1hr every 3 months. No. Absolutely not. That does not cut it either.


In Real World ZOB, (I know, we aren't RW controllers, im getting there)... 16hrs every month is what is required to be considered the BARE MINIMUM for proficiency, however you will see a very large majority of RW controllers disagree with that minimum, as it's nowhere close to what is actually needed.

But hey... we aren't RW controllers, right?

You know what... let's take it further and cut that in half, twice! If we are going to set a max activity requirement to maintain proficiency, 4Hrs a month should be the goal, not reducing it further.


My current facility requires 2hrs a month, and you should come observe the ones that only do that amount; they forget how to do almost everything. These controllers tend to be difficult to work with and frankly deter me, at times, from even getting on and controlling. Not because they are bad people but, I would have to coordinate with them and are more likely to hand over a messed up aircraft/situation… again, because they aren’t proficient.

Are you really ok with reducing that amount even further and calling it good enough to maintain proficiency?

Yes, as Kirk has pointed out, just because you remain active does not mean you are exactly proficient but it is one of the main methods to keep your proficiency and helps prevent a majority of the loss of skill.

I challenge anyone to find any task that is anywhere close to the complexity of this hobby… then show me how you can maintaining proficiency with only an hour every 3 months. Let alone a YEAR.
 

Edited by Kyle Sanders
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Kyle Sanders
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39 minutes ago, Kirk Christie said:

There is a general theme throughout this thread and that is some people agree that some controllers come back and are motivated to update themselves with local procedures and policies before they log back in and provide a top quality ATC.

There are also some that aren't that motivated and just log back in and potentially operate porley.

With the current activity requirements, its assumed that everyone returning is in the latter situation, aka guilty untill proven innocent, and thats not fair, and not how we as a society operate.

The current situation means thay any one who doesn't met the activity requirements of a sub division needs to be checked, re checking already qualified controllers, who may not need it, this delays training and assessments for new controllers, in a situation where ATC training departments are already over worked and understaffed.

The proposed situation means that people returning from less than 12 months away has an opportunity to prove that they are ok to control without taking up the time of the training division. If you have 10 people return from LOA and only get complaints about 2, then that's 8 people that did not have to do a check ride or currency check.

Activity requirements and regular controlling doesn't prevent people from becoming complacent, there is evidence of that around the place, where people fail to, or choose not to remain up to date or current as procedures change, what's in place to ensure quality of service for some one that regularly controls? 

 

Current activity requirement policy's are not enforceable, no SUP or higher is going to remove a person from a position on the basis that they are not on an ARTCCs active roster, given that there is no such requirement to maintain a roster of active controllers, only a list of endorsed controllers. Activity policy's have only worked because people believe they have to follow them, which they don't. 

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?

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45 minutes ago, Kirk Christie said:

no SUP or higher is going to remove a person from a position on the basis that they are not on an ARTCCs active roster,

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.

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1 hour ago, Alexandra Robison said:

Why even have a roster to begin with?

Where is the requirement to maintain a roster? there isnt one, everything is on cert, your rating and division. The only requirement is for VACCS to list visitors and endorsements. 

Probabbly easier to have some one removed in VATUSA because of their fictional VACC that they move people to when they become inactive.

 

1 hour ago, Karl Mathias Moberg said:

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.

Does your CERT show you as a VATPAC controller? A sup will check CERT, if you are listed as being a VATPAC controller with a S3 rating then they can't remove you, even if VATPAC had activity requirements, and you had not met them, as a division we know that activity requirements can't be enforced and thays why we don't have on. There has certainly been discussions about it between members and staff, but the staff step in and say it can't be done under the current vatsim structure, so they are either lying to us or other divisions are bending the rules to suit their own agendas.

People seem to forget that CERT exists....

 

1 hour ago, Karl Mathias Moberg said:

As for the rest of the statement: I'm sorry, but I completely disagree

And you are welcome to disagree with my opinion, not dismiss it. These are my observations from reading this discussion. The whole point of a review and consultation is to openly discuss and share options regardless of weather other people agree with them or not.

Edited by Kirk Christie
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Kirk Christie - VATPAC C3

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1 minute ago, Karl Mathias Moberg said:

That might be because, unlike VATPAC, VATUSA and formerly VATNA, staff members doesn't have access to CERT. 

The only people at VATPAC that have access to CERT is the division director and the training director. (Local supervisors excluded) so all of two staff members....

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3 minutes ago, Alexandra Robison said:

CERT doesn't exist anymore (outside of the name of the database).

Regardless there is still a database that holds all our info home division, ratings, and reports that SUPS, Admins, division directors and training staff access to affect changes.

Still waiting to see where it is required to list active controllers on a VACC data base (endorsements and visitors excluded) 

Edited by Kirk Christie

Kirk Christie - VATPAC C3

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1 minute ago, Kirk Christie said:

Regardless there is still a database that holds all our info home division, ratings, and reports that SUPS, Admins, division directors and training staff access to affect changes.

Still waiting to see where it is required to list active controllers on a VACC data base (endorsements and visitors excluded) 

Still, you're splitting hairs, so I am too. If there are truly no rosters, I guess I'm gonna go hop on NY_CTR now. @Karl Mathias Moberg you cool with that?

Oh wait, that's ridiculous. Subdivisions have been maintaining rosters since the beginning of VATSIM. I can literally go back to 2004 on the Wayback machine and see a roster on the ZAB website. Just stop.

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1 minute ago, Alexandra Robison said:

, I guess I'm gonna go hop on NY_CTR now

As I said to the last guy that said they would hop on SY_APP, your vatsim credentials would not show you as a ZNY controller, pretty sure there isnt a need to repeat the same thing again. 

VACCS keeping rosters may have been a thing for a long time, but is a thing that VACCs do at their own accord, otherwise all divisions and sub divisions would maintain a website roster, which is not the case, that's a fact, not an opinion.

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3 minutes ago, Kirk Christie said:

As I said to the last guy that said they would hop on SY_APP, your vatsim credentials would not show you as a ZNY controller, pretty sure there isnt a need to repeat the same thing again. 

VACCS keeping rosters may have been a thing for a long time, but is a thing that VACCs do at their own accord, otherwise all divisions and sub divisions would maintain a website roster, which is not the case, that's a fact, not an opinion.

My VATSIM credentials only show me as a VATUSA controller. I don't have a subdivision. You can see for yourself here: https://api.vatsim.net/api/ratings/999230/

So, by that data and your logic, I'm good to open NY_CTR.

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ALEXANDRA ROBISON
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Back on track:

The intent of this policy isn't 100% bad, but it needs more flexibility in my opinion. I would word the policy thusly:

"8.02(a)A controller is considered active provided they have completed the activity requirements of their sub-division. The sub-division policy must be no less strict than division policy. Division policy must require at least one ATC session within the rostered division or sub-division of at least 1 hour duration within the preceding 12 calendar months, an observer who is actively seeking training, or a VATSIM Staff Member at any level performing duties for the network. A sub-division  or division may NOT require a controller to control more than 1 hour per calendar month to remain active. This requirement can be proportionally extended to allow controllers to accomplish currency in a greater timeframe as long as the total time does not exceed 1 hour for each additional calendar month included. However, the time between each controlling session cannot exceed 12 calendar months."

"8.04(a)A Major Airspace Endorsement may be subject to an activity requirement per sub-division and division policy. Sub-division policy must be no less strict than division policy. Division policy can be no stricter than at least 1 controlling session of at least 1 hour duration within the endorsed airspace in the previous 1 calendar month. This requirement can be proportionally extended to allow controllers to accomplish currency in a greater timeframe as long as the total time does not exceed 1 hour for each additional calendar month included. However, the time between each controlling session cannot exceed 12 calendar months."

This gives flexibility for Divisions/Sub-Divisions to choose any time between 1 hour per month and 1 hour per year as they see fit. Realistically 1 hour per month is still too low and flies in the face of all research on human cognition and memory, but I get the BoG stance on this and I don't really think we can/should impose a much stricter rule.

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7 hours ago, Matthew Wurzbach said:

 

"8.02(a)A controller is considered active provided they have completed the activity requirements of their sub-division. The sub-division policy must be no less strict than division policy. Division policy must require at least one ATC session within the rostered division or sub-division of at least 1 hour duration within the preceding 12 calendar months, an observer who is actively seeking training, or a VATSIM Staff Member at any level performing duties for the network. A sub-division  or division may NOT require a controller to control more than 1 hour per calendar month to remain active. This requirement can be proportionally extended to allow controllers to accomplish currency in a greater timeframe as long as the total time does not exceed 1 hour for each additional calendar month included. However, the time between each controlling session cannot exceed 12 calendar months."

"8.04(a)A Major Airspace Endorsement may be subject to an activity requirement per sub-division and division policy. Sub-division policy must be no less strict than division policy. Division policy can be no stricter than at least 1 controlling session of at least 1 hour duration within the endorsed airspace in the previous 1 calendar month. This requirement can be proportionally extended to allow controllers to accomplish currency in a greater timeframe as long as the total time does not exceed 1 hour for each additional calendar month included. However, the time between each controlling session cannot exceed 12 calendar months."

THIS. RIGHT HERE.

Matt, you spoke of guardrails. Here they are. Activity requirement of no less than 1 hr per year but no more than 12 per year. (Maybe the upper limit can be higher.)

Each subdivision has an excellent understanding of how complex their space is and how often most controllers need to be online. Allow them the freedom to design a policy that works for them within these guardrails.

 

And I also have to support the notion that the personal responsibility clause to be proficient in local information, while noble, has no practical value. I recognize that hours do not equal experience, but for the sake of easing the burden of administration, it is the only easily measurable tool we have.

 

 

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Rob Nabieszko | VATCAN3

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I think Matt's concern is more one of frequency of controlling rather than quantity of controlling. So extend the period for which they're allowed to go AWOL, but not the amount of controlling they need to do to get caught back up...

As many have said, even one hour a month is extremely lenient. Just about everywhere I've been in VATUSA requires 2 hours per month. My facility requires 3 hours per month (which I believe is a few-way tie for the highest in the division). I could have them pull the stats for me, but the number of controllers who work more than zero but less than three hours is... essentially zero. It never happens! What happens is that they forget to come do it.

So Matt, you want a compromise, that's fair: here's one for consideration. Let's say my home facility can't require 3 hours any more, and has to take the 2 hours many others use. No problem. Let's further reduce it to not be a MONTHLY requirement, but a QUARTERLY requirement. That yields 6 hours in the last 90 days, compared to our original 3 hours per month-- a huge reduction in expectations.

In the end, this policy should only act to provide divisions/subdivisions with a cap on their activity requirements which prevents "ridiculous" expectations. So let's quantify "ridiculous" better, by calling it "any more than 6 hours, measured quarterly". Because unlike a cap of 1hr/yr, a cap of 6hr/qtr is something 95% of facilities could actually work with.

 

 

Edited by Erik Quinn
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I think Matt has valid points, sometimes life happens and you can't control. I don't think that means you should lose all of your progress and ratings and have to go through more training to get back at it. I do also think there needs to be a consistent universal activity requirement, although I think that should be left to the Divisions to set and not the BoG. 

I don't think having controllers who don't control more than once or twice a year sit on a roster is helpful, if we are being honest somebody like that is not active. A roster should be an accurate depiction of active controllers in the Division/Sub-Division.  If I am being frank that smells like the BoG trying to artificially inflate activity numbers. I think the better move here is to make it so that if you get removed there is an easy, accelerated path back that takes minimal effort.

While I was the ATM at ZOA the policy was that if you left the facility and came back within 6 months you got everything back (including major certifications) no questions asked. If you left for greater than 6 months but less than 12 months you would get everything back (including major certifications) after you completed a recurrent CBT and/or written exam. Beyond 12 months you would need to do training again for the major certifications. I feel something along these lines, with the Division setting a reasonable activity requirement, is likely a more agreeable approach somewhere in the middle of this discussion.

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Ryan Parry - 965346

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And everything here seems to imply that sub-division staff just wants to remove people from their rosters. That they are waiting to a year and one day to finally remove someone. Obviously I can't speak to everyone, but it would be weird if that was the case somewhere. We put training resources in our students, we would want them to be active. The minimum activity requirement is a big stick we can use if someone really lacks the competence and isn't actively trying to get better. And barely getting online doesn't help that.

Say there's a requirement of two hours a month. It's not like we immediately mark someone as inactive if they haven't met the minimum requirement. You're correct, life gets in the way and as we are all human, we understand that.

I've said it before, it's a bit of a harsh opinion, but really straight to the point: if you're only for one hour in a year, you should really find a different hobby. Obviously no offense intended to anyone for that.

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I promise you this isn’t about artificially inflating numbers.

This is about letting someone who earned a rating come back with no significant hoops they need to jump through to control again.
 

We’re really not interested in mandating an activity requirement. If a division or sub division  did not want to have an activity requirement we would fully support that. We’re in essence now allowing activity requirements which really hasn’t been acknowledged by global before. The point is they can’t be excessive and we’re already discussing revisions. Something to the tune of 6 hours within 6 months seems to be gaining traction.

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I read through this entire topic - and it appears the representative (sorry if this is not the correct phrasing) for the BoG is completely out of touch with what almost every person who controls on the network or manages an ARTCC in some form appears to be trying to get across. I am that pilot (the one who Matt initially proposed opinions from closer to the beginning of the topic).

I am a pilot on the network - a pilot who has had a lot of amazing experiences. As someone who sometimes takes breaks, I myself struggle with coming back after a while. - add the responsibility of a controller, and in the long term, the overall quality will suffer dramatically. In a sense, not much different from a pilot coming back into an FNO after being gone for 9 months because friends are hanging on discord. Controllers will be frustrated, pilots will be frustrated, and the entire ARTCC and that sector won't look too great.

We are all human. Who knows - maybe a few can come back on with a minimum of training after a year. The idea that someone can hop on to meet the minimum requirements in an area that gets little to no traffic is not only disheartening but seems to completely go against what vatsim and the people using the network has strived for. Quality and upholding of a minimum standard.

Requirements are being discussed which are more realistic - and yet they appear to be getting shut down with things that are completely unrelated. Then, when those issues are also addressed by various controllers, something else comes into play that has absolutely nothing to do with the proposed policy change. These are people on the ground - people who are going through these issues, seeing them first hand and trying to come up with solutions that work for everyone. And so far as I can tell they are being dismissed time and time again, despite being more realistic both in a real world sense and from a controller POV, and having an end result that would be moving vatsim in a more positive direction.

I'm no controller, I'm no manager, I'm just a guy who enjoys the network and the time and effort people have put into making it a place that I can enjoy. Right now I feel like this is a way to make the numbers climb and eventually lead to burnout of senior staff, managers and controllers who already devote their doubtlessly limited free time to make this network what it is. Clearly something needs to change - everyone but one person is giving countless alternatives, so it seems.

These are just my thoughts - adding one more voice to a flurry of similar, in hopes that it will help.

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8 hours ago, Matthew Bartels said:

I promise you this isn’t about artificially inflating numbers.

This is about letting someone who earned a rating come back with no significant hoops they need to jump through to control again.
 

We’re really not interested in mandating an activity requirement. If a division or sub division  did not want to have an activity requirement we would fully support that. We’re in essence now allowing activity requirements which really hasn’t been acknowledged by global before. The point is they can’t be excessive and we’re already discussing revisions. Something to the tune of 6 hours within 6 months seems to be gaining traction.

This sounds like a good middle ground here.

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Luka Stevens

Belux vACC Training Director (ACCBE2)

Belux vACC | vACC for Belgium and Luxembourg on VATSIM.

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