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8.04(a) Air Traffic Controller Currency, Activity, and Quality Control


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We strongly disagree with this point. It is simply not possible to keep yourself current on procedural changes at a major airport controlling only 3 hours over three months. This requirement should be increased to at least 10 hours for major airports.

What if an airport undergoes major procedural changes that are completely new to the controller? This has happened before in the U.A.E with the airspace restructure of the WHOLE FIR. 

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CHRISS KLOSOWSKI
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I would like to propose the following idea;

If a major airport/airspace undergo crucial procedural changes (I can think of multiple examples, e.g. implementation of new RNAV STARs and SIDs), then all members who are validated (or at least those who are, who haven't controlled in a set period of time) have to go through some sort of session (let this be a group session) to get themselves familiarised on new procedures. How does this sound?

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How hard can it be for someone to read a document of what is new and what has changed so trainers can have more time to spend for new controllers rather than re train the ones already rated?  How does 7h more uptime help with being proficient with major changes than someone connecting 10h? Its still the same document to read.

Whats the scope of major frequent changes on procedures and how does this affect the fun factor ? An fir restructure doesnt happen so frequently

20 minutes ago, Chriss Klosowski said:

We strongly disagree with this point. It is simply not possible to keep yourself current on procedural changes at a major airport controlling only 3 hours over three months. This requirement should be increased to at least 10 hours for major airports.

What if an airport undergoes major procedural changes that are completely new to the controller? This has happened before in the U.A.E with the airspace restructure of the WHOLE FIR. 

If high standards and reasonable requirements are superseded by the above, then something's wrong. One shall not forget this is a hobby on free time.

 

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3 minutes ago, Anastasios Petros Stefopou said:

How hard can it be for someone to read a document of what is new and what has changed so trainers can have more time to spend for new controllers rather than re train the ones already rated? 

 

How do you know they have read it or even are updated on procedures? Heck, I know people that have been inactive who log on major positions using sector files that were made to facilitate Airac cycles 3 years ago. If they haven't updated their sector files, how can they possibly be up-to-date with new procedures? How do you know such people just haven't ignored new procedural changes? 

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An fir restructure doesnt happen so frequently

It can happen at least once a year. In just the last 3 airac cycles, I can think of at least 4 major airports that have undergone restructures.

Edited by David Solesvik

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2 minutes ago, David Solesvik said:

I would like to propose the following idea;

If a major airport/airspace undergo crucial procedural changes (I can think of multiple examples, e.g. implementation of new RNAV STARs and SIDs), then all members who are validated (or at least those who are, who haven't controlled in a set period of time) have to go through some sort of session (let this be a group session) to get themselves familiarised on new procedures. How does this sound?

Supposing this is done. Whats the impact on training and its backlog. There have been huge posts about delays. This is another contributing factor to create more training needs. 

Common sense needed here. New sid stars or rnav is just too easy to read a new chart and radar client to update the airac, i do not see how training session will be a benefit on this sort of changes. More complex airport noise abatement procedures or restricted airspace within major airports, perhaps yes. 

 

 

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1 minute ago, Anastasios Petros Stefopou said:

How hard can it be for someone to read a document of what is new and what has changed so trainers can have more time to spend for new controllers rather than re train the ones already rated?  How does 7h more uptime help with being proficient with major changes than someone connecting 10h? Its still the same document to read.

Whats the scope of major frequent changes on procedures and how does this affect the fun factor ? An fir restructure doesnt happen so frequently

You seem to think that everyone will take the responsibility to read the new document despite an announcement to do so to all controllers... I've been here in the last 3-4 years and have seen it all, doesn't matter how many times you can ping someone to read a document some won't do the initiative to do so despite reminders. 

You cannot practice new procedures with only 3 hours every 3 months. You need to practice in order to adapt to these new procedures. Letter of Agreements could change, hand-off procedures, and other things that could be affected. 

4 minutes ago, Anastasios Petros Stefopou said:

If high standards and reasonable requirements are superseded by the above, then something's wrong. One shall not forget this is a hobby on free time.

Yes and same applies to instructors and mentors it is a hobby for them in their free time. Spending their time to train people for people to become inactive for some time and then come back with not reading the procedure changes or updating their sector files is great respect to them...

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1 minute ago, Anastasios Petros Stefopou said:

Supposing this is done. Whats the impact on training and its backlog. There have been huge posts about delays. This is another contributing factor to create more training needs. 

Common sense needed here. New sid stars or rnav is just too easy to read a new chart and radar client to update the airac, i do not see how training session will be a benefit on this sort of changes. More complex airport noise abatement procedures or restricted airspace within major airports, perhaps yes. 

 

 

I agree here that it can indeed cause a potential backlog. That's why training departments have to be efficient. And I 100% know that this is much easier said than done, so of course, this is something that has to be considered. But we still have to think Quality>quantity. New SIDs and new STARs quite literally mean a complete new restructure of the TMA airspace and the way things are done. You can't just "read up" on new SIDs and STARs because you still need to be trained on how to apply appropriate control under these completely new SIDs and STARs. That's even considering people have read up on them - call it "guilty until proven innocent", but I'd rather have a controller wait to get re-validated after they haven't been active, rather than have someone come online and provide control that is completely irrelevant today, that make 0 sense as per updated procedures, and just embarrass the reputation of the facility.

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4 minutes ago, David Solesvik said:

You can't just "read up" on new SIDs and STARs because you still need to be trained on how to apply appropriate control under these completely new SIDs and STARs.

SIDs and STARs don't just change and lead you from point A to B in a straight line. They could be crossing other departure or arrival flows for instance... 

Certain airspaces classes don't magically appear randomly for no reason, same applies to restricted, danger and prohibited areas.

Restrictions on certain routes don't magically appear either... Common sense why have they been implemented by the REAL WORLD CIVIL AVIATION AUTOHORITY? We want to be as real as it gets right? Then spend the time reading up on those changes and putting them into practice.

Edited by Chriss Klosowski
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2 minutes ago, David Solesvik said:

How do you know they have read it or even are updated on procedures

How do you know that controllers have read and passed theory test for a rating? same principle applies here. How do you know the group under training by a trainer (which i suppose is online on radar and on voice) all  understand the new procedures? 

 

6 minutes ago, David Solesvik said:

I know people that have been inactive who log on major positions using sector files that were made to facilitate Airac cycles 3 years ago. If they haven't updated their sector files, how can they possibly be up-to-date with new procedures? How do you know such people just haven't ignored new procedural changes? 

I happen to know both people proficient and non proficient. The non proficient ones will point out where the local system currently active lacks so its corrected towards the better. Is there an announcement space where everyone receives latest updates ,perhaps members listed as inactive need to know which steps needed to become active again. pointing fingers to people who have been away for long wont help. 

What is your balance about new procedural changes and people returning? I see procedures are more important in your post. How does your division or vacc welcome those people back? 

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Would like to tag @Artur Vasiljev here to explain a perfect example - Riga's recent implementation of RNAV procedures.

From what I know, this completely changed the way things work. First up, all STARs have completely different routings and meanings, as they don't really go direct the VOR for a hold or an ILS VOR transition. They now have proper IAFs near the localiser and there are now 2 ILSes - ILS Z and ILS Y. Same with SIDs, they are now more complicated. Riga required all S3+ home and visiting controllers to go through a Sweatbox session (considering there aren't many of these this was all done in a day) with these new procedures and SIDs and STARs to train them on the changes and how to manage traffic with these new structural changes. What I described might not be as accurate as intended - I'm not yet validated on this airspace, so I don't know the main differences, which is why Artur can probably explain this in more detail. But in any case, this just shows how much things can change within an airspace.

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9 minutes ago, Chriss Klosowski said:

You seem to think that everyone will take the responsibility to read the new document despite an announcement to do so to all controllers... I've been here in the last 3-4 years and have seen it all, doesn't matter how many times you can ping someone to read a document some won't do the initiative to do so despite reminders. 

Moodle with the changes and a test of 10questions, then a pass rate, how hard can that be?  If changes take so frequently place then the training department would need a huge amount of people and man-hours to retrain and always retrain every 3 months, 6months. Doesnt sound reasonable. Workload and backlog increase which was an argument in other posts. Thats contradicting.

 

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4 minutes ago, Anastasios Petros Stefopou said:

perhaps members listed as inactive need to know which steps needed to become active again. pointing fingers to people who have been away for long wont help. 

We have several cases in our end where we have tried our best to help those types of people just to ignore us... We had a C3 who had been dormant for around 4-5 years and came back straight away on a CTR position. Despite numerous efforts to negotiate that he needs a few sessions to get through the FIR restructure and all of that he disregarded them. It took around 3 months and getting a friend of his to persuade him to do the sessions...

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Just now, Anastasios Petros Stefopou said:

How do you know that controllers have read and passed theory test for a rating? same principle applies here. How do you know the group under training by a trainer (which i suppose is online on radar and on voice) all  understand the new procedures? 

You don't, until you do a session with them where they demonstrate their knowledge and competencies. That's why we do these competency checks. Quality>quantity. I just know that there are far more people that do not read up on new documentation and procedural changes, than those that do. And as I said, a lot of details just can't be learnt based on reading up new documentation. Sessions are crucial for controller understanding of updated procedures. Chriss, being a division director, explained this in detail as well. 

Quote

Is there an announcement space where everyone receives latest updates ,perhaps members listed as inactive need to know which steps needed to become active again. pointing fingers to people who have been away for long wont help. 

There are many announcement spaces - division/sub-divisional forums, discord, and more. But if someone isn't active, why would they be interested in reading that if they don't control there at the time anyway? Sure, you can "trust" such members to make the right steps to become active again. But as I said, I've seen far more people that don't do so, rather than those that do.

Quote

I see procedures are more important in your post. How does your division or vacc welcome those people back? 

Competency checks and sessions to ensure the knowledge of the student.

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

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7 minutes ago, David Solesvik said:

Riga's recent implementation of RNAV procedures.

So its like the rest of the most airports in the world now. If there were 30 controllers we talk about 30 sweatbox sessions. Which would be a better solution according to the post , than a document showing whats new , map examples and some comments on how to operate there and a tick box for a controller to state has understood the new concept, perhaps solve 5 questions in a test and move on. 

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2 minutes ago, Anastasios Petros Stefopou said:

So its like the rest of the most airports in the world now. If there were 30 controllers we talk about 30 sweatbox sessions. Which would be a better solution according to the post , than a document showing whats new , map examples and some comments on how to operate there and a tick box for a controller to state has understood the new concept, perhaps solve 5 questions in a test and move on. 

I would rather sweatbox the entirety of my vACC than see someone "read-up" on the new procedures, which literally anyone can do from the AIP or similar relevant sources and then get around 30 aircraft in their face on an event and don't know what to do. If you have enough coordination between people, all necessary practical re-training for new procedures can be done in 1-2 days regardless of vACC size, given that everyone can find 2 hours of their free time *just once* to study and practice.

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5 minutes ago, Artur Vasiljev said:

I would rather sweatbox the entirety of my vACC than see someone "read-up" on the new procedures, which literally anyone can do from the AIP or similar relevant sources and then get around 30 aircraft in their face on an event and don't know what to do. If you have enough coordination between people, all necessary practical re-training for new procedures can be done in 1-2 days regardless of vACC size, given that everyone can find 2 hours of their free time *just once* to study and practice.

This, a simple "moodle" exam with 10 questions and a simple pass rate + plus a tickbox to confirm the controller has read the procedure change won't do it at all... You need to get the controller to put this into practice... 

Depending on the procedure you may not need 30 sweatbox sessions but also group seminars may be possible to do so.. That is efficient.

Edited by Chriss Klosowski
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6 minutes ago, Anastasios Petros Stefopou said:

So its like the rest of the most airports in the world now. If there were 30 controllers we talk about 30 sweatbox sessions. Which would be a better solution according to the post , than a document showing whats new , map examples and some comments on how to operate there and a tick box for a controller to state has understood the new concept, perhaps solve 5 questions in a test and move on. 

The example that I brought up only had around 5-6 people that had to do sweatboxes, all of whom completed them with no difficulty. Group sessions and seminars can resolve this if there is a large number of people that need to be introduced to the session. That way, procedures can be explained in a "lesson" environment, with everyone having the ability to ask questions and to clarify on things that may be unclear. This is much better than trusting someone to read up on "updated procedures", which as we already mentioned, isn't a reliable option if people don't even update controller clients. 

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41 minutes ago, David Solesvik said:

Heck, I know people that have been inactive who log on major positions using sector files that were made to facilitate Airac cycles 3 years ago. If they haven't updated their sector files, how can they possibly be up-to-date with new procedures? How do you know such people just haven't ignored new procedural changes? 

The GCAP gives you the posibility to remove Controller if they prove that there not up-to-date an use a Sectorfile that is 3 Years old would be an good start of proving that they are not up-to-date. I think we can help us all if we thrust our Friends more that they read before they control and are up-to-date. And if we see that they are not that we give Feedback to them. 

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20 minutes ago, Chriss Klosowski said:

We had a C3 who had been dormant for around 4-5 years

How many of similar cases the last 4 years? In this example there is nothing wrong with requirements. Its the mindset of the controller or wasnt aware 

19 minutes ago, David Solesvik said:

That's why we do these competency checks. Quality>quantity

Who checks the trainer to ensure quality is passed to the rest of controllers with the new important changes? My guess is reading the new changes, so nobody.Im trying to save time from your local facility and show you there are other ways to achieve more in less time. As far the quality quantity, It has been mentioned over and over everywhere. There is no filter on who joins and under what sort of skills. So quantity you will have a lot. Quality you can control up to a level and receiving feedback. This level needs to be reasonably enough to allow space for people from various backgrounds and experiences to enjoy being online and on the same time having a friendly environment where they can learn, up again to a level since this is a simulation network. 

30 minutes ago, Chriss Klosowski said:

SIDs and STARs don't just change and lead you from point A to B in a straight line. They could be crossing other departure or arrival flows for instance... 

Certain airspaces classes don't magically appear randomly for no reason, same applies to restricted, danger and prohibited areas.

Restrictions on certain routes don't magically appear either... Common sense why have they been implemented by the REAL WORLD CIVIL AVIATION AUTOHORITY? We want to be as real as it gets right

Seems there is no backlog or trainer shortage in the division then. Revalidating someone already rated in so frequent intervals for a sid and star rnav change sounds like examining the same rating skills. There are places having much more complex airspaces with more effective way passing information to their controllers, such as usa. 

 Yes, common sense must be used in a hobby which is simulating the real world. Simulating. People will connect when they have free time and if they in their free time they have to be revalidated over and over again eventually they will not be there anymore. It's not the end of the world if someone makes a mistake while online controlling. It is again a new opportunity to learn and move on. This is another quality management rooting from the members experience without necessarily involving training departments. Unless there is a hope that everyone shall meet proficiency as the real world authority providing ATC services since its "as real as it gets" .The real world does not follow this short of training management or revalidation on already rated people. There is always issuance of amendments, SIB, revisions etc. 

 

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I've said it before and I'll say it again.

By asking VATSIM to allow the activity requirement to be more than 3 hours, you are asking them to impose stricter requirements than is required to maintain a real world pilots license.

This is unreasonable and unnecessary for virtual air traffic control.

Furthermore, if a controller does not review and make themselves familiar with local procedures before logging onto the network, they are in breach of C1 and C2 of the Code of Conduct. You should be reporting them to a supervisor or referring them to the DCRM.

Lastly, if the entire controller cohort of a division is unaware of a major airspace change, then I suggest that the procedures used to implement the airspace change are at fault and must be reviewed. VATPAC implemented a major airspace change for AIRAC 2110. We provided multiple NOTAMs and announcements. We have had zero issues with compliance or understanding.

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29 minutes ago, Artur Vasiljev said:

I would rather sweatbox the entirety of my vACC than see someone "read-up" on the new procedures

And we still talk (or at least try) about efficiency. Whats the logic of being strict more than real world or to make your life (and the members subsequently) hard. So no backlog or delays expected in the division- looking forward to see how things progress.

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49 minutes ago, Chriss Klosowski said:

We had a C3 who had been dormant for around 4-5 years and came back straight away on a CTR position.

Section 8.09 (b)(ii) permits a competency check for a controller that has been absent for more than 12 months. 

Will VATSIM AME be seeking to install Major airports after the implementation of GCAP? something that entire region has never done since the introduction of GRP1 and GRP2. if the answer is no, then what affect does it have on your divison or (we) as you have put it, the set hours for a Major Aerodrome when you curently have none.

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5 minutes ago, Zach Biesse-Fitton said:

I've said it before and I'll say it again.

By asking VATSIM to allow the activity requirement to be more than 3 hours, you are asking them to impose stricter requirements than is required to maintain a real world pilots license.

This is unreasonable and unnecessary for virtual air traffic control.

Furthermore, if a controller does not review and make themselves familiar with local procedures before logging onto the network, they are in breach of C1 and C2 of the Code of Conduct. You should be reporting them to a supervisor or referring them to the DCRM.
 

You said it all. Cant agree more.

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2 minutes ago, Kirk Christie said:

Section 8.09 (b)(ii) permits a competency check for a controller that has been absent for more than 12 months. 

Many things can and typically do change within a matter of 12 months.

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C1-rated controller

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

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12 minutes ago, Anastasios Petros Stefopou said:

And we still talk (or at least try) about efficiency. Whats the logic of being strict more than real world or to make your life (and the members subsequently) hard. So no backlog or delays expected in the division- looking forward to see how things progress.

In real life people go through a lot more than our virtual controllers do + they do it for a living, so their skills don't evaporate as quickly as they do on a network that is solely based on volunteering. If you don't do something often enough, you lose the skill. I don't see why asking a controller who was long gone to prove their ability to control is a problem, especially if the airspace has had some drastic changes that wouldn't let you control it the way you did prior to the changes. Even though mistakes are inevitable, it is our (or at least my personal) goal to make them as rarely as possible and to provide the most realistic service possible.

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ARTURS VASIĻJEVS | VATEUD5
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