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Visiting controller: the balance between instructors and trainees


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One of my concerns regarding visiting controllers is the balance between available instructors and students.

Obviously, instructors and staff invest a lot of time in their students. However, at some point these students start 'giving back', by becoming a mentor, assuming staff positions etc. Thus, the system is able to maintain itself, but only barely, witnessing the 1-2 year waiting list in 'my' VACC (Dutch VACC).

However, visiting controllers will disrupt this balance significantly in a negative way, as they will 'consume' a lot of time, but I hardly expect them to give back a lot. In other words, the more visitors enter our training queue, the less new instructors will be created. After some time, this will make training impossible, regardless whether the aspiring controller is an actual member or a visitor.

I am afraid that Dutch VACC is one of the subdivisions will suffer from this, as we are fully expected to receive visitors (no language excuse at all) and we 'own' a very popular major airport on the network, Schiphol. But obviously, the same concern applies to many other VACCs.

Martijn

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Aren't you allowed to give preference to local controllers in terms of training?

On the other hand: visiting controllers are supposed to be experienced already, their training to know EHAM's SOPs should not be that extensive. Candidates (visiting) should be expected to be extremely well prepared for their training session(s) and if it becomes evident that they are not, should be taken to the back of the queue or restricted to secondary airports, such as EHRD.

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4 minutes ago, Andreas Fuchs said:

Aren't you allowed to give preference to local controllers in terms of training?

On the other hand: visiting controllers are supposed to be experienced already, their training to know EHAM's SOPs should not be that extensive. Candidates (visiting) should be expected to be extremely well prepared for their training session(s) and if it becomes evident that they are not, should be taken to the back of the queue or restricted to secondary airports, such as EHRD.

I don't think (!) the spirit of GCAP allows us to prioritize.

I am not so sure about the latter part, though. Many controllers will never see the traffic that we are used to, regardless of their rating, and theory, SOPs etc only get you so far. But even then, let's assume they only need 50% of the effort a fresh controller would need. Still, no giving back, so the end result would be the same, being the queue coming to a complete stop.

Martijn

 

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This is one reason we have limited it to you may only visit at two places and must be at least an S3. If you do get that flood, I am hopeful to see a mechanism in GCAP that allows Divisions/Sub-Divisions with approval, to temporarily restrict new visitors from joining. Plus the major training is separate from any visitor endorsement, so EHAM certs would take some time anyways I would imagine.

Home controllers should always be your priority.

Edited by Rick Rump
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VATUSA Mid-west Region Manager | Former VATUSA Training Director | Former ZDC ATM/DATM/TA/WM

VATSIM Network Supervisor | Team 5

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1 hour ago, Rick Rump said:

This is one reason we have limited it to you may only visit at two places and must be at least an S3. If you do get that flood, I am hopeful to see a mechanism in GCAP that allows Divisions/Sub-Divisions with approval, to temporarily restrict new visitors from joining. Plus the major training is separate from any visitor endorsement, so EHAM certs would take some time anyways I would imagine.

Home controllers should always be your priority.

(Just to be sure: my concern regards visitors joining training on the/our major)

I understand, and appreciate, the measures already proposed. But still, I fear the top 10 airfields (traffic-wise) in the world will function as a 'visitor-magnet'. 

So, while you may limit the demand, the supply of 'fun' aerodromes is still very small.

 I am looking forward to learning accepted ways to prioritize home controllers.

Martijn

 

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Martijn Rammeloo said:

I am not so sure about the latter part, though. Many controllers will never see the traffic that we are used to, regardless of their rating, and theory, SOPs etc only get you so far. But even then, let's assume they only need 50% of the effort a fresh controller would need. Still, no giving back, so the end result would be the same, being the queue coming to a complete stop.

I'd be a bit more optimistic. Yes, I am sure that you have made bad experiences in the past and that's your training is so strict. Well, then make visitors control secondary airports only for the first 25 hours as visitors. This might actually be a good incentive to control at EHRD and provide services there and increase traffic. There's more than just Amsterdam 🙂

If you make it a bit harder to control at EHAM, those who are not really willing to study and practice will be filtered out right from the beginning. And as Rick wrote: priority shall always be given to home/local controllers.

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Visiting controllers will first control minor airspace, that's a given. However, if everyone joins the (long) queue for EHAM, then it will (at some point, when the first visitors reach the top of the list) result in less throughput for home controllers. And as Martijn mentioned, I don't think it's allowed in GCAP to give priority to home controllers. So while I would prefer to have that possibility, it needs to be allowed to do that.

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ACCNL5 (Assistant Training Director) - Dutch VACC

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3 hours ago, Thimo Koolen said:

when the first visitors reach the top of the list) result in less throughput for home controllers.

They are visitors, they have to stand in line behind any home controller. Just do it. Of course you may want to promote good visiting controllers a bit quicker, because they will be an asset to your team. And longer waiting times may motivate some visitors to actually become members and stay longer.

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I agree that would be the fairest for home controllers. My suggestion was a balance to be fair for everyone and give visitors a possibility to control major as well. I would most definitely be in favor of having the posibility to close majors for visitors, but I don't think that's gonna be realistic within the GCAP. (Whoops, wrong topic)

And just to be sure: you mean pushing back visitors on the list if a new home controller joins the list?

Edited by Thimo Koolen

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ACCNL5 (Assistant Training Director) - Dutch VACC

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No, not really. You allow, let's say, 5 VCs in the queue for training on DEL/GND/TWR at a time. They will be in the queue just like any member. New VCs will only be allowed into the queue when there are less than 5 VCs in the training-list and they have to line up at the end of the list, like anyone else.

Or: you assess where they come from (level of training and traffic) and quickly push them through, saving resources.

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Ah, got it. In that case it's just restricting how many visitors can be in the queue at one time and that would be fine as well.

Obviously they will get through training faster (since they're S3 at minimum), but that doesn't allow them to skip the queue. If they're online, they are also reducing the chance for home controllers to go online, as there's not unlimited spots.

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ACCNL5 (Assistant Training Director) - Dutch VACC

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