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9.01(d)A Transfer controller must control at their current ATS Rating for 100 hours prior to
transferring to another Sub-Division or Division.

9.01(e)A Transfer Controller who has utilized live training resources shall be subject to the time
frame in 9.01(d) of 200 hours.

9.01(f) The time requirements specified in 9.01(d) and (e) may be waived in exceptional
circumstances by the Sub-Division Director, Division Director, or Regional Vice President from
which the controller is transferring.

Is it just me, or does that seem like an awfully high hour requirement for a transfer?

I've been here eight+ years now and only have 1200 hours controlling in total.

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It is very high and for good reason. The training staffs invest significant amounts of time training people for their area and we want to make sure their work isn’t in vain. The requirements ensure that those places see the return on their time investment as opposed to someone coming in to skip a training queue somewhere and then immediately transferring out after getting their rating.

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I don’t see how making someone control 200 hours somewhere before they have to transfer can be a good thing.

 

I completely understand the ‘get out what you put in’ training wise, but 100-200 hours is not nearly the time that instructors will spend instructing a student.

 

I think that forcing a student to control a fairly significant amount of time somewhere where they don’t want to control anymore will burn them out and turn them off from controlling in general. I believe that a policy like this will succeed with the problem of ‘rating hunters’, but will have an effect on controllers who a legitimately seeking a transfer somewhere else, where the result of them is quitting the hobby.

 

Like with Nate, he has only controlled 1200 hours on the network in his 8 years, and I know that he has more time to commit to VATSIM every week. For a person that doesn’t have the same timing ability, it could take months for them before they could transfer and begin controlling where they actually want to control.

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6 hours ago, Kolby Dunning said:

I completely understand the ‘get out what you put in’ training wise, but 100-200 hours is not nearly the time that instructors will spend instructing a student.

Hi Kolby,

how often do you or your instructors invest several hours into a single candidate, just to see him become inactive after a few weeks or months? At least overhere in our region this happens a lot and probably only one out of ten ATCO-trainees stay for more than 6 to 12 months, before disappearing, making all the training become lost time. Let's say, one instructor needs to spend 6 hours of practical training for one student advancing from zero to DEL/GND/TWR. With the above statistics  in mind, 9 times 6 hours (=36 hours) could be lost, maybe even more!

Looking at the bigger picture, if someone just wants to come to a place to get a rating and then go to a place that they originally wanted to control at (but there may be a backlog of training, increased training demands etc.), then you also lose your invested time and effort. At least have them control for a couple of months to donate time as well to promote your own facility/VACC. That's just fair, because your team has donated dozens of hours to train new arrivals.

 

The biggest issue of VATSIM is the scarcity of human resources (because we are a volunteer organization in a very specialized niche) and also the fact that we are not very good at efficiently managing them. That's something where we need to improve.

Edited by Andreas Fuchs
correect spelling...
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These hours are finally something that I agree of in this policy. It's unfortunate that people are leaving for a different (sub-)division to get quicker training and then try to get back. While mentors usually don't spend 100+ hours training someone, it doesn't need to be equal. I completely agree that students should put in more hours than they have received training.

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2 hours ago, Thimo Koolen said:

While mentors usually don't spend 100+ hours training someone, it doesn't need to be equal. I completely agree that students should put in more hours than they have received training.

Does a mentor not get any enjoyment those 100 hours? Is providing training a chore or is it another way for a mentor/instructor to enjoy the hobby? If the former, then the concept of "lost time" has some credence, but if the latter, it's hardly "lost time".

If one is not having fun instructing/mentoring, surely there are more productive and enjoyable ways to spend ones' time? 

4 hours ago, Kolby Dunning said:

I think that forcing a student to control a fairly significant amount of time somewhere where they don’t want to control anymore will burn them out and turn them off from controlling in general. I believe that a policy like this will succeed with the problem of ‘rating hunters’, but will have an effect on controllers who a legitimately seeking a transfer somewhere else, where the result of them is quitting the hobby.

I agree with Kolby, "owed time" becomes a "working a job" and not "playing a game". 

 

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1 hour ago, Ron Yan said:

Does a mentor not get any enjoyment those 100 hours? Is providing training a chore or is it another way for a mentor/instructor to enjoy the hobby? If the former, then the concept of "lost time" has some credence, but if the latter, it's hardly "lost time".

The Mentor gets enjoyment when the student goes through training, does great on the network, and moves on to better ratings within the same sub-division. 

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Speaking from a division where we were known in the past for "rating tourism" I can tell you that this 100 hour requirement before transferring will make an effect. We had several members from multiple divisions notably from VATEUD and VATUK in the past come here get training in the small quiet places and then transfer out after 50 hours and 90 days have passed. Some quiet vACCs would love to train more people so they get activity I think these quiet vACCs need to be recognized. Not everyone is VATEUD or VATUK in terms of activity, if a vACC wants to retain it's member then this is one way to do it in my opinion. Controllers need to think thoroughly before pressing the "transfer" button. Am I going to stay here for a prolonged period of time? Am I going to contribute significantly to this vACC? Am I just here for the rating? There are several factors in the back as well. I think everyone would agree here that wasting people's time especially during mentoring someone whether it is a new controller that will then leave or a controller that just transferred in for a specific rating and then leave.

We had an issue as well where in the past during this period people were not trained to the standard that was required this has been changed since I've come in. But that is another story for another day.

We recently combated the "rating tourism" issue since I've come on board and things have gone down a bit with these sort of members. This will make the member think twice before transferring. Like Collin mentioned above my mentors and instructors are proud of the students that they train and see them progress throughout their division/sub-divisions ranks. I'd rather see this then a student I've trained pretend to contribute to our little community and then transfer out after 50 hours and 90 days have passed.

If we take into account the C1-rated members in the Emirates vACC I think you'd be all shocked. The only C1-rated members that we have within the vACC are the staff members themselves and part of the divisional staff including myself. We had lot's of C1s back in the day but those were people that would come in specifically for the rating only and then leave after 50 hours and 90 days. I'd rather want member retention then someone that leaves especially in a vACC in the Emirates vACC where we really need C1 rated controllers for events that require the capacity such as Cross the Land etc...

At the moment we have lot's of committed S1, S2 and S3 controllers in the ranks that have contributed their time to the community, division and sub-divisions. We value these members truly and thank them for their participation in staff-up, events and so forth. 

Edited by Chriss Klosowski
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CHRISS KLOSOWSKI
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With a high number of members not staying, it is becoming increasingly difficult to motivate existing and potential mentors. At least that's the situation here. Why should I donate an entire evening (after a busy day at work) for someone who will probably not stay for long?

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1 hour ago, Ron Yan said:

Does a mentor not get any enjoyment those 100 hours? Is providing training a chore or is it another way for a mentor/instructor to enjoy the hobby? If the former, then the concept of "lost time" has some credence, but if the latter, it's hardly "lost time".

If one is not having fun instructing/mentoring, surely there are more productive and enjoyable ways to spend ones' time? 

I agree with Kolby, "owed time" becomes a "working a job" and not "playing a game". 

 

No. Instructing really isn’t that enjoyable. There is a lot of time and effort invested in each student to ensure that they are able to provide ATC on the network. Instructors do this selfless job because they want to contribute and make VATSIM, but more so their local facility a better place.  It is the ultimate insult to an instructor and their time to leave immediately after getting your rating. This is why we are making that controller who used the time of the instructor have to contribute back to the community they trained in, before they are allowed to transfer out.

As with most things in this policy, there is an allowance for a waiver to be granted. In this case the waiver has to be granted by the subdivision, division, or RVP who is losing the controller. 

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2 minutes ago, Matthew Bartels said:

No. Instructing really isn’t that enjoyable. There is a lot of time and effort invested in each student to ensure that they are able to provide ATC on the network. Instructors do this selfless job because they want to contribute and make VATSIM, but more so their local facility a better place.  It is the ultimate insult to an instructor and their time to leave immediately after getting your rating. This is why we are making that controller who used the time of the instructor have to contribute back to the community they trained in, before they are allowed to transfer out.

As with most things in this policy, there is an allowance for a waiver to be granted. In this case the waiver has to be granted by the subdivision, division, or RVP who is losing the controller. 

Exactly this. Instead of mentoring during my free-time I could spend the time doing other things in my life. However, in my eyes I want my division/sub-divisions to succeed and see activity grow so I invest my time to make my goal happen.

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CHRISS KLOSOWSKI
Division Director, VATSIM Middle East & North Africa  
VATSIM Network Supervisor, Team 5
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41 minutes ago, Matthew Bartels said:

No. Instructing really isn’t that enjoyable.

Interesting...

54 minutes ago, Collin Koldoff said:

The Mentor gets enjoyment when the student goes through training, does great on the network, and moves on to better ratings within the same sub-division. 

This is a very outcome oriented goal as opposed to process oriented...just an observation. There's a role of course for both types of goal setting, however this metric of "success" you are measuring this is not entirely in the control of the instructor/sub-division. The students' personal motivation to progress or control in a certain subdivision plays a larger role. Their desire to "contribute back to the community they trained in" is a result of the culture of the sub-division that allows this to happen.

Of course instructing is not enjoyable if you pin your success on the voluntary participation of hobbyists who can stop at any time. It's not a job for the instructors/mentors, but nor is it for the students and controllers at large.

Mandatory hours doesn't guarantee a contribution to the community, instead, a community that fosters the satisfaction of the controllers and students at large plays a bigger role in this. To quote Kolby again:

"I think that forcing a student to control a fairly significant amount of time somewhere where they don’t want to control anymore will burn them out and turn them off from controlling in general."

I think a question should also be: "What things can be done to encourage controller retention?" or "how can we convince this 'rating tourist' that it's better to stick around and control here?". Seems this policy is a starting point, but IMO it will fall short if that's where it ends.

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As I wrote, at VATSIM we are wasting too many human resources, we are not managing them efficiently. As we have a very limited number of mentors, we need to use them wisely. That's where this policy is trying to make a point.

Controller retention has always been a difficult subject and many things have been tried to improve it. It did not work.

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4 hours ago, Ron Yan said:

"how can we convince this 'rating tourist' that it's better to stick around and control here?"

Simply put you can’t. “Ratings tourist” is a nice name here. The true identity of these people are those that want to control in a place that has a very long training queue. To jump the line, they transfer somewhere where they can get trained fast and once they get the rating, the transfer back to the place they really wanted to be, allowing an accelerated training program now that they have the rating, thus leaving the previous place in the dust. 

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43 minutes ago, Matthew Bartels said:
5 hours ago, Ron Yan said:

 

Simply put you can’t. “Ratings tourist” is a nice name here. The true identity of these people are those that want to control in a place that has a very long training queue. To jump the line, they transfer somewhere where they can get trained fast and once they get the rating, the transfer back to the place they really wanted to be, allowing an accelerated training program now that they have the rating, thus leaving the previous place in the dust. 

In the spirit of root cause analysis, wouldn't the issue of 'rating tourist' really stem from the very long training queue? (and indeed it reads as though this is being addressed in other parts of the GCAP draft). Sure, some may be malicious as you described, but say what of the person who wants and is keen to contribute in a division only be told there's a 9 month waiting list? "Review the SOPs, log on to observe!" -- how fun!......

6 hours ago, Matthew Bartels said:

Instructors do this selfless job because they want to contribute and make VATSIM, but more so their local facility a better place.

Not discounting this sentiment, but it is self congratulatory and says nothing of students' preparation and time commitment for a supervised session nor of a student's contribution to VATSIM. (yes there will be people who don't come prepared..etc etc). Again, I just want to draw attention to attacking this issue by "blaming the tourist student" when your root cause analysis has identified other potential causes.

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To be clear: I do not think that it is bad to start your training in another place, if your originally requested place of control has a huge queue. But I do expect such trainees to pay respect to the place where they received their training and contribute to their ATC roster for a while. This is the minimum that you should do.

For this, the new policy is spot on, I think.

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Hypothetically, by these policies:

9.01(d)A Transfer controller must control at their current ATS Rating for 100 hours prior to
transferring to another Sub-Division or Division.

9.01(e)A Transfer Controller who has utilized live training resources shall be subject to the time
frame in 9.01(d) of 200 hours.

 

What would happen if a transfer controller did 2 training sessions, did not enjoy the program and wanted to go somewhere else? By 9.01e they would need to commit 200 hours prior to being able to transfer to another sub-division. 9.01f does state that the requirements can be waived in 'exceptional circumstances', but this happens often enough where I personally wouldn't consider it one.

 

9.01d seems a bit high for me, but I understand how other sub-divisions could benefit. 9.01e is the part that concerns me.

 

Being in a 'smaller' FIR, we have had the issue of rating tourists in the past. Although, this has only happened once or twice in the two years I've been in Winnipeg. Most of our controllers come from different FIRs in Canada seeking shorter training queues, but end up staying with us and visiting other places instead of leaving immediately after finishing their C1. I think the 200 hour requirement will push away more controllers who are trying to legitimately transfer than the time saved with rating tourists.

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19 hours ago, Matthew Bartels said:

Simply put you can’t. “Ratings tourist” is a nice name here. The true identity of these people are those that want to control in a place that has a very long training queue. To jump the line, they transfer somewhere where they can get trained fast and once they get the rating, the transfer back to the place they really wanted to be, allowing an accelerated training program now that they have the rating, thus leaving the previous place in the dust. 

But in this scenario, it's BOTH FACILITIES who lose, because the controller probably was not trained to the full level of competency. Which is why the way to handle this is with GRP checks when they transfer back in. If they pass, then great, I just received a free controller that I didn't have to train! If they fail, I can create a training plan to address the specific things that weren't up to code.

But the rating factory facilities will always have this problem. Forcing them to log 200 hours when all they want is to leave is WAY more likely to cause them to give up on controlling, and even if it doesn't, they will be annoyed about it. They'll sit on position for 8 hours at a time through the middle of the night, get annoyed by pilots disturbing them, chastise them on the frequency, garner bad feedback, etc. And most importantly, the subdivision they want to transfer to is hurt by them sitting on position for long hours, with poor technique, permanently engraining bad habits which will take forever for the receiving facility to fix.

The way you fix the "leave to get the rating" issue is with these GRP checks you hate so much. That way they know that if they come back with a rating they don't deserve because they took a shortcut and don't have the competency, they'll have to earn it through remedial training anyway, so they might as well pick a place where they want to be. Then they can choose consciously between putting in the work for the subdivision they like, or choosing a less busy one for a slightly less demanding training process. But forcing an unhappy controller to log hundreds of hours is the most restrictive thing I've ever even heard discussed for this network, and it doesn't even have a net positive effect on even one party-- they all lose.

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43 minutes ago, Erik Quinn said:

They'll sit on position for 8 hours at a time through the middle of the night, get annoyed by pilots disturbing them, chastise them on the frequency, garner bad feedback, etc. And most importantly, the subdivision they want to transfer to is hurt by them sitting on position for long hours, with poor technique, permanently engraining bad habits which will take forever for the receiving facility to fix.

Hi Erik,

I think you are seeing this too negatively. To me the glass of water is half full, not half empty.

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7 minutes ago, Andreas Fuchs said:

Hi Erik,

I think you are seeing this too negatively. To me the glass of water is half full, not half empty.

Nothing will be less engaged or productive than a controller going through the motions to fulfill minimum hours to transfer.

The end goal of GCAP seems to just be force feeding controllers into position. Never mind how dead-end those ATC positions are or how badly those controllers do or do not want to be working them. A connection in the list is the important data point.

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VATUSA ZMP ATM | Instructor | VATSIM Network Supervisor

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2 minutes ago, Andreas Fuchs said:

Hi Erik,

I think you are seeing this too negatively. To me the glass of water is half full, not half empty.

Maybe it will be infrequent. But all I know is I can recall a few cases of grumpy people "wanting out right away", and telling them "you have to log a gazillion hours first" would result in malicious compliance. They'll sit on position in order to earn the right to leave, and will make my facility look bad intentionally.

And even without any negativity, forcing them to log a lot of hours can hurt them if they are practicing incorrectly. Mistakes are easy to correct, but correcting established habits-- less so.

If the intent is to avoid the instant transfer out, then maybe try a time period rather than hours-- like 90 days from any promotion. But to be honest, I think it all (a) is pointlessly overrestrictive to the controller, and (b) still sticks the receiving facility with an incompetent controller who they can't do a GRP check session with.

Training Administrator, vZMA ARTCC

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38 minutes ago, Erik Quinn said:

But all I know is I can recall a few cases of grumpy people "wanting out right away", and telling them "you have to log a gazillion hours first" would result in malicious compliance. They'll sit on position in order to earn the right to leave, and will make my facility look bad intentionally.

If they don't perform well or, worse, behave badly towards other members, you always have the tools to discipline them. And all units need to play the game the same or in a similar way: we expect candidates to embrace the chance. They receive training and a rating, in turn the least they owe is service to members. I am sure that 95% of people will be fine, whatever the system looks like.

I am more positive about it and I think that you also should see the bright side of it: smaller units that attract such transfer-controllers, will be able to provide more ATC services more often and for longer. This, in turn will, attract more pilots, which will also motivate ATCOs to connect and control. It's an entire process of creating new traffic for units that would be rather quiet, otherwise. Do you see the point I am trying to make?

I think this policy is at least worth a thorough try and then see how it went, after a year. There will always be members who play the system, no matter what we do. VATSIM is just an image of the real world.

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2 hours ago, Andreas Fuchs said:

If they don't perform well or, worse, behave badly towards other members, you always have the tools to discipline them.

What type of discipline? Stop offering training? Don't let them control? That's a quick way to get someone to stop playing Vatsim altogether isn't it? Why would they want to 'help the community' of the training facility if they are even further penalized?

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20 minutes ago, Ron Yan said:

What type of discipline? Stop offering training? Don't let them control? That's a quick way to get someone to stop playing Vatsim altogether isn't it? Why would they want to 'help the community' of the training facility if they are even further penalized?

Have you read the quoted sentence in context? And disciplinary action could be the removal of controlling privileges for a certain/airport/airspace.

On one hand we have facility managers complain that they have to endure rating-tourists, on the other it's not right that you are entitled to do something against those, who get frustrated by sitting on an unwanted position and snap at pilots.

What now?

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Yes I have and it does not change my comment.

13 minutes ago, Andreas Fuchs said:

And disciplinary action could be the removal of controlling privileges for a certain/airport/airspace.

Again, would this not further embitter the already disgruntled "tourist"?

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