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Real World Controller, Instructors/Mentors/Controlling


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As a Real World Controller (RWC), I know more than a few, that would be willing to come in at least to train on the positions they work.  I would like to see the "I" ratings to include that possibility, and or to bring in real world controllers to help train on positions they know and work.

My other idea is to allow RWC, to bypass certain certifications.  For example:   A RWC,  that is certified on Center, could work Center, for events, or RWC certified on a Tower, could work that tower. etc.

I know the "Top Down Model"  is a VATSIM idea, but it's one that could be fixed.

If an S1, is working a ground position and there is no controllers above  them, they say, change to unicom or advisory freq approved.    If a RWC, was rated as a C1, but not any position below them, and no other controllers online,  they could still say,  "No other controllers online, change to Unicom or advisory freq. approved.

You would encourage more  Real World Controllers to come work in VATUSA / VATSIM, you would get a higher quality of controlling, and training.  Making a RWC, center certified controller, start back at the bottom,  DEL / GND / TWR / MINOR / MAJOR / APP / then CTR.   is a poor business model, and why most RWC don't  come to VATSIM / VATUSA.

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It's an interesting idea. I would certainly love to see more quality trainers.

Here's the few issues that will likely stand in the way:

1) RW Controllers will still need some training. Not on doing the job. But on the technical side of things. How the audio system works. Login rules. That sorta stuff. Could we fast-track? Sure can. And have done for RW controllers. But some training is still needed.

2) Because the top-down hierarchy has existed for so long, everyone understands it and operates by it. Pilots choose where to fly based on it. If we have a select few controllers that are exceptions to it, no one will know until they call the controller that they actually are not performing that role. By then the flight is already moving, but the pilot will not get the expected ATC.

So changing the top-down hierarchy is possible, but would be a monumental shift. Not just a 1 sentence policy 'tweak'.

 

I would flip it around and say  the top-down system is a great way for RW controllers to learn how their counterparts operate. Centre controllers can really get a feel for what local controlling is like, and vice-versa. Its not the reason I joined, but understanding the other side of the scope has made me a much more effective RW pilot.

We welcome everyone to come and teach, but come and learn while you're here too!

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Rob Nabieszko | VATCAN3

Director of Training, VATCAN

[email protected]

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I understand your point of view.  Most people who FLY or CONTROL in VATSIM/VATUSA are  Pilot's.  

1)  Teaching a Real World Controller the technical side, of Audio, how to sign in, "VATSIM-ISMS" and slight differences in Radar Clients are minimal,  at best, and would take a Real World Controller a few sessions at most.

2) The Top-Down Hierarchy,  and the mindset that everyone understands it and operates by it.  Sounds like, "we hate change" attitude.

3) Pilots may decide today, based on these notions. However, we have seen a huge uptick in Flight Simulators, and people on the network.  Many people are either dropping out or considering to drop out based on the fact that pilot's are not required to have any training to fly on this network.  Or, quitting to go to other networks like, Pilot's Edge, because they get poached, or feel like their years of hard work and study is worth something.

4) Real World Controllers, could transform this network almost overnight. Everything including Training, Standards, Procedures, Management, Traffic Management, Oceanic.  A monumental shift, for the better.

I am one of the few Real World Controllers that have joined VATSIM.  Throughout 30+ years  I have worked  Deliver | Ground | Tower | Approach | Center | Oceanic | Traffic Management | Trainer |  Supervisor | Manager |   At multiple facilities.

I have been relearning on VATSIM, each position as I go, and I love to learn.   But, you can't honestly expect people who have not had that experience to be able to perform as an Air Traffic Controller, and understand how to Teach Air Traffic Control. Let alone, in a timely fashion.  One day a week is honestly not good enough, nor is it fair to anyone who doesn't have an Air Traffic background.

Everyone here sees, that VATSiM and Flight Simulations are changing and growing at a huge rate. 

Doing things the same way and expecting different results  is a mistake.






 

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Your point hits home. After 10 years, I am quite happily set in my ways. However, my post was much the "Devil's Advocate" post. They are the points of resistance you'll encounter from many people, not just me. As a Training Director, I am always happy to find ways to recruit new instructors. There are simply never enough.

 

I will say this about the top-down system: I personally enjoy it. When it is quiet, performing all the roles helps increase the workload to a point that is satisfying. There is a certain logic behind it, and I like to provide the best service I can to as many pilots as I can. Top-down allows it.

 

So let me ask, would you change the order of training? Would you allow people to reach for any rating that they are interested in and not worry about other 'lower' positions? Always wanted to work arrival? Just get an APP rating only and nothing else above or below?

(In this case, I am genuinely asking, can we find a better way to train controllers by focusing only on places they want instead of forcing them to learn every role? As I said, I have been on this network for a long time now. If I am too set in my ways, what could we change by thinking way outside the box? This GCAP rewrite won't go down this road. But can we play hypotheticals to brainstorm better ways to do this? If you built a network from scratch, how would you go about training/certifying controllers?)

Rob Nabieszko | VATCAN3

Director of Training, VATCAN

rn[email protected]

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Wait, the fast track program doesn't exist outside of VatEUD? I thought it was global across the whole of Vatsim. From the VatEUD policy:

image.thumb.png.c3cc715555a16a628ad862bb30e56a5e.png

 

Edited by Thimo Koolen
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ACCNL5 (Assistant Training Director) - Dutch VACC

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Thomas,

'Who controls airfield XXXX when YYY is offline' is the #1 question for new pilots. Therefore, a clear and consistent top-down model is paramount IMO. Framing this as a "we hate change attitude" is not really helpful IMO.

Fasttracking, as described above, is the way to go. Since you'll need some training anyway (VATSIMisms...), learning the lower positions can't be a big problem.

Martijn

 

 

 

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I was led to believe this was a place to give feedback, not to play devil's advocate.   My feedback is this:

1)  Bring in Real World Controllers and have them Teach and or Control positions they work in real life. 

2) Allow Instructors to train people during events.

In no way am I suggesting that anyone that isn't a real world controller simply pick where they want to begin. For beginners the progression of training is sound.

Currently there are restrictions on who trains based on their certification level in VATSIM / VATUSA.

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  • Board of Governors

@Thomas Hawke 1416153 I would love for us to take every opportunity for real world controllers to share their knowledge with us. The thought is sound, the execution is what needs a bit of work here. It may be for a different type of policy even.

Using you as instructors only is a great idea for your specialties and something that training departments should jump at given the chance. 

My question is would your counterparts want to control, would they be willing to provide top down service, getting the basic instruction on how to work tower for instance?  For the most part, Top Down service tends to be a lot more abbreviated in practice than what you would receive from an actual online tower controller.

VATSIM hurts enough for ATC staffing as it is, which is why top down is such a critical VATSIMism.

 

Matt Bartels
VP: Marketing & Communication
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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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I would love for us to take every opportunity for real world controllers to share their knowledge with us. The thought is sound, the execution is what needs a bit of work here. It may be for a different type of policy even.

VATSIM hurts enough for ATC staffing as it is

I disagree, I think we are successfully able to deploy daily or at least weekly ATC with a lot of successful staffing. Especially during events, where we experience a lot of ATC.

C1-rated controller

Gander Oceanic Operations Director & Instructor | VATSIM Spain Events Director & Operational Assistant | Eurocontrol West Sectorbuddy

[email protected]

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@Matthew Bartels 863645

As a Real World Controller, I am following the VATSIM guidelines that I have read and others have explained to me. So far I have not
seen any comprehensive policy that outlines how Real World Controllers are utilized for training.   I have been told that all instructors
must attain a certain ratings, before being allowed to train.

Is there an actual policy for Real World Controllers to train on their particular specialty, in the VATSIM / VATUSA policies?
It appears that each facility has different ideas on how this is accomplished. Which is why I am going through the process,
and also because I desire to model good behavior.

Is there a comprehensive policy for fast tracking controllers in VATSIM / VATUSA?  

Why does VATSIM hurt for ATC staffing?

How many people are certified in each of the following ratings?    S1 |  S2 | S3 | C1

How much time does it take for a new VATSIM controller to go from   S1 to C1?

Do most people get to about S2, get a Minor or maybe Major tower, then either stay there, or dropout?

What is the dropout rate at each level?

VATSIM seems to focus on "New" Pilot's who would of course need help at the lower level facilities, such as DEL | GND | TWR

Is that really the focus, new pilots?  What about seasoned pilots?  Professional Pilots?

Why aren't pilots required to get as much training as VATSIM controllers to work on the network?

Why are VATSIM controllers also required to know everything that a pilot should know, in order to educate them?

The reasons I am bringing these things up are because after witnessing multiple events, I have watched Controllers being expected to do
way too much.  I have seen controllers just disconnect for various reasons. This includes a facility during an event, that all controllers quit
at the same time.  The questions that people are asking seems to suggest that there are no Real World Air Traffic Controllers involved in the
decision making process. I can't be the only one bringing up these concerns.

I truly am trying to offer real solutions to solve these problems

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15 hours ago, Matthew Bartels said:

VATSIM hurts enough for ATC staffing as it is, which is why top down is such a critical VATSIMism.

Off-topic: Just a little, depending on the region and time frame. Peak sessions on PAC/EUR/USA are nicely staffed. I wouldn't make this problem that large enough, to be a drowning man clutching at a straw. 

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Mateusz Zymla - 1131338

VATSIMer since 2009, IRL pilot rated.

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As long as we fail RW ATCOs (personally known to me) during CPTs for pilots doing "VATISM-things", we are still far from being as inclusive as possible to RW ATCOs. And also as long as some mentors try to teach those RW ATCOs "how it's really done" 😄

It is understandable that the affected ATCO is not interested in controlling at VATSIM anymore. He would have been a great resource to our training team to improve our standards of ATC even more!

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2 minutes ago, Thomas Hawke said:

Thank you!  Oh, I see,  VATSIM / VATUSA apparently don't have this policy, so I guess I should write it and submit that proposal myself.

 

Maybe you should check with the GCAP team and/or VATUSA first to see if they are even interested in your potential proposal before spending time on it 😉 

Edited by Lars Bergmann
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13 minutes ago, Lars Bergmann said:

Maybe you should check with the GCAP team and/or VATUSA first to see if they are even interested in your potential proposal before spending time on it 😉 

In my experience, people are more receptive to something if you have written it first.  Always indicate that your version is only a "draft" and you are looking for feedback.

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I know ZTL does something unique in this regard-- they have a program for C1s who do NOT have the ATL/A80 major endorsements to get certified for ATL_CTR without top-down. Basically, ATL_APP has to be open for them to be able to work center. It works great, and is a brilliant way to bolster their staffing especially during events.

Obviously doesn't help with a RW controller with an OBS rating, but it shows a current program where a huge operational advantage is realized without requiring that top-down link. If you could think up a way it could work, I'm sure VATUSA and many subdivisions would be inclined to participate!

Training Administrator, vZMA ARTCC

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3 hours ago, Martijn Rammeloo said:

Aren't there any other (minor) airfields that CTR is supposed to provide provide top-down service for?

Martijn

 

In essense CTR is supposed to provide top-down service for all airfields within his area. However, the service you can expect depends on the type of airfield. Uncontrolled/-manned airfields might only have traffic information. AFIS airports is an example of this (in Denmark an example of an AFIS airport is EKSB - Sønderborg). Controlled airports will AFAIK always be controlled by CTR (unless a lower position covering the airport is online)

Edited by Torben Andersen

Torben Andersen, VACC-SCA Controller (C1)

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17 hours ago, Erik Quinn said:

I know ZTL does something unique in this regard-- they have a program for C1s who do NOT have the ATL/A80 major endorsements to get certified for ATL_CTR without top-down. Basically, ATL_APP has to be open for them to be able to work center. It works great, and is a brilliant way to bolster their staffing especially during events.

Obviously doesn't help with a RW controller with an OBS rating, but it shows a current program where a huge operational advantage is realized without requiring that top-down link. If you could think up a way it could work, I'm sure VATUSA and many subdivisions would be inclined to participate!

Nice, and what about other controlled airports?

What would happen if APP controller suprisingly disconnects?

Mateusz Zymla - 1131338

VATSIMer since 2009, IRL pilot rated.

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Yes, they presumably would provide top-down service to the minor airports outside of A80, but I don't know for sure.

And if they "surprisingly disconnect", they'd be in trouble anyway for a violation of SOP. You obviously have to coordinate prior to opening/closing any position to ensure operational continuity. Nobody just disconnects quietly when they're involved in a top-down structure.

At ZMA, we have a fake center "sector" which is just "all unopened approach controls and towers". So if I opened MIA_LO_CTR instead of MIA_APP, I would be doing all of the top-down stuff, leaving center-only service for a controller to open MIA_46_CTR. We don't currently certify people for non-top-down center-only, due to it being such an unusual circumstance where it would be possible. But just sharing in case it inspires ideas which help you. 🤷‍♂️

Edited by Erik Quinn

Training Administrator, vZMA ARTCC

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1 hour ago, Erik Quinn said:

And if they "surprisingly disconnect", they'd be in trouble anyway for a violation of SOP. You obviously have to coordinate prior to opening/closing any position to ensure operational continuity. Nobody just disconnects quietly when they're involved in a top-down structure.

Technical problems (internet down, power outage) or servicemen (firemen) may be in this situation. No, it won't happen often, but it usually happens at the most inconvenient time 🙂

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On 7/23/2021 at 7:52 AM, Matthew Bartels said:

@Thomas Hawke 1416153 I would love for us to take every opportunity for real world controllers to share their knowledge with us. The thought is sound, the execution is what needs a bit of work here. It may be for a different type of policy even.

Using you as instructors only is a great idea for your specialties and something that training departments should jump at given the chance. 

My question is would your counterparts want to control, would they be willing to provide top down service, getting the basic instruction on how to work tower for instance?  For the most part, Top Down service tends to be a lot more abbreviated in practice than what you would receive from an actual online tower controller.

VATSIM hurts enough for ATC staffing as it is, which is why top down is such a critical VATSIMism.

 

Let me be clear.   The reason you don't get real world controllers is because the "Top Down Service" is flawed.   I could list several ways in which it fails. I don't know if you really want me to do that, in this forum.

I believe that everyone here wants to make VATSIM better.

Please answer this question.

Are you willing to take input from Real World Controllers?

 

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  • Thomas Hawke changed the title to Real World Controller, Instructors/Mentors/Controlling

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