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Academy....what was the point??


Josh Brown
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Okay, just went through my entire email archive for the past 3 years and I have no email from you addressing any concerns. Are these forum posts you are talking about? You have certainly never brought any of this up with me online. So, please, email me with these concerns that have been ignored by VATSIM. I'm curious now. Are we talking VATSIM or VATUSA?

 

Richard,

 

I owe you an apology. I'm sorry if you inferred that when I said that issues were addressed to VATSIM and VATUSA, that meant they were addressed to you. When I said "VATSIM" I meant the organization as a whole, from VATUSA1 upwards. I did not specifically mean "Richard Jenkins". Silly me for linking the president of the organization with responsibility for the organization.

 

I'd recommend checking your spam filters. I have 3 e-mails that I cc'd you on over the past 2 years. I didn't send them TO you, so I can see how you can't be responsible for VATSIM "ruining" my experience. It's ironic in that we used to have the exact same problem at work "never got the e-mail".. That was until we went to Exchange Server and had received and read receipts available. Ahhh well, the joys of the internet.

 

I am not the type of person who when they have a problem, immediately goes to the President of the organization with it. I believe in the chain of command, and unfortunately I guess the upper levels of the organization abide by the "no news is better than bad news" philosophy. I may be the only one "down in the trenches" who thinks this (though I doubt it): The perception that I have of the VATSIM management (VATSIM being all-inclusive), is that some of the more senior members tend to live in their ivory towers, and have really lost feeling of the pulse of the organization and what's really going on.

 

That's my perception of the current state of affairs. I guess if information isn't making all the way up, then from the top down, everything is just perfect.

 

Regards,

 

I love good sarcasm - Want to have a serious conversation?

Richard Jenkins

richard(a)vatsim.net

"It's all fun and games until the cops show up."

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I love good sarcasm - Want to have a serious conversation?

 

That's what I'm best at. Sometimes it's the only way to find humor in a subject to keep you from going insane.

 

Want a serious conversation? You have my e-mail (or, can look it up).

-Dan Everette

CFI, CFII, MEI

Having the runway in sight just at TDZE + 100 is like Mom, Warm cookies and milk, and Christmas morning, all wrapped into one.

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In addition, when people are intimidated by repercussions or direct threat not to speak out against the popular party line, it affects the quality of the network. There were several instances where I, and others, were directly threatened to tow the party line, or face repercussions. I can elaborate in email, if you'd like. The BoG is responsible for putting people like that in positions of authority. I CANNOT in good conscience call it leadership. If something ain't right, it just ain't right. There were, at one point, people who were interested in effecting positive change in the network, who had more than enough credibility, and expereince in aviation, both real, and virtual, to speak up. They were muzzled, and have since moved on to other things, or have silently slipped into the background. That's a shame. The BoG is responsible for policing those who police us. Be more involved, and be more proactive in eliminating Gestapo type authority on the network.

 

I could not agree more.

N029TY

ASUS M3A79-T Deluxe | Phenom 2.3 Quadcore | 4G OCZ Reaper 1066 | 3870X2 (2) Crossfire | 1000W OCZ Power Supply

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HOLD ON....

 

I am so messed up right now.

 

I just p[Mod - Happy Thoughts]ed the Academy Entrance Exam and will start at the academy soon. Once I start that I need to p[Mod - Happy Thoughts] a test after each section. after I p[Mod - Happy Thoughts] the whole academy I go to one of the ARTCC and I need to learn everything over again there?

 

so really I will end up takeing more test just to become a ATC on VATSIM then at high school?

 

why not make it once you p[Mod - Happy Thoughts] the academy you can control TOWER and BELOW and then get training from the ARTCC to get higher?

 

How long before I can just plug-in?

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why not make it once you p[Mod - Happy Thoughts] the academy you can control TOWER and BELOW and then get training from the ARTCC to get higher?

 

How long before I can just plug-in?

 

Mike you still have to p[Mod - Happy Thoughts] SOP tests wherever you go.

 

You know how to run the software and the basics, but they put the spit and polish on you at your first ARTCC.

 

At MANY ARTCCs you can control TWR and below ( just not their major airports until you p[Mod - Happy Thoughts] procedures... granted each ARTCC is different and you should investigate where you wish to go before you make the move )

Richard Green

VATSIM Supervisor

SB Testing & Support Team

VRC Testing & Support Team

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Michael,

 

The Academy teaches you the basics. You learn to configure your Radar Client, check weather, alter flight plans and learn some basic routing information. You get some practice issuing a few clearances, taxiing some aircraft and clearing some aircraft for landing and take off. We want you to practice the phraseology and get a general idea what to expect before heading out the ARTCC.

 

The staff at the ARTCC will [Mod - Happy Thoughts]ign tests for their SOP's and evaluate you on your handling of each postion at their ARTCC. Normally you need to have gain the confidence of the ARTCC staff to work a position alone. They will start you out at Delivery and when you have proved you can work it alone you will be certified and then start the process for the next position on up through Tower.

 

This process can be relatively short at some of the smaller ARTCC's with simpler airspaces or it can take a substantial amount of time at the larger ARTCC's with complex airspaces. The Academy was never meant to short cut that process only to standarize the basic training and offload some of the routine training from the ARTCC's.

 

As for how long before you can, in your words, "just plug-in"; that depends completely on you, your abilities and the ARTCC you choose.

David Kluempers - 884266

VATSIM USA Division

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi everyone,

 

Considering the fact that many people have already had their share of answering this question i think i should have an answer as well. I aggree with VATUSA and the BoG's believed that this was a good idea to be able to get new controllers to have an idea of the basics of ATC. I heard about this forum post many of times and have wanted to comment, but i havent because i wanted to post my comment when the dust subsided. If you think about it the academy has lead to many ups and downs in Vatusa. For instance, ZMP Roster has doubled in 2 months, doubled which i fiind major success considering the fact that we've been having trouble getting controllers to come to ZMP. I bet many other ARTCC's have also seen a big increase in controlling and more people issued on the roster. What makes Vatusa great is really the people who put some great deal of time towards making VATUSA better . In my opinion and im stating this as an opinion that this subject of academy... whats the point just went way too far. Some people actually took time to answer the question to the forum poster in a friendly way. While some other people came out with some sorta sarcastic remarks which i bellieve wernt a big deal. But there was some barking back and forth going on with newer people posting a replly on this forum that didnt mean anything towards the question. Its like they only posted and answer towards someone elses opinion.

 

The Academy has been a good step towards improvement im not going to say a great step or a huge step. I think what Vatusa did with establlishing an academy was a great step toward VATUSA moving foward. I believe that alll the BoG and VATUSA staff members are their because they love there job and what they do and love VATSIM and making it better. The point of making the academy was to give fresh new ATC student the basics and then go off to an ARTCC and learn the basics of the ARTCC as well from the DEP routes for del. to the phraseology of Tower. Then move up the ranks.

 

I was more than stunned while i was reading through all the posts before mine. I would have to say its sort of a shame to see people argueing over an idea that was presented to try to help VATUSA become better.

 

 

Thanks for Reading,

 

Timothy Aaron

DATM ZMP

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HOLD ON....

 

I am so messed up right now.

 

I just p[Mod - Happy Thoughts]ed the Academy Entrance Exam and will start at the academy soon. Once I start that I need to p[Mod - Happy Thoughts] a test after each section. after I p[Mod - Happy Thoughts] the whole academy I go to one of the ARTCC and I need to learn everything over again there?

 

so really I will end up takeing more test just to become a ATC on VATSIM then at high school?

 

why not make it once you p[Mod - Happy Thoughts] the academy you can control TOWER and BELOW and then get training from the ARTCC to get higher?

 

How long before I can just plug-in?

 

Unless the Academy starts proving me otherwise...you are not a perfect Tower cab controller once you fall out of the Academy. A lot of things go in one ear and out the other.

Timothy Boger

ZMP ATM!

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HOLD ON....

 

I am so messed up right now.

 

I just p[Mod - Happy Thoughts]ed the Academy Entrance Exam and will start at the academy soon. Once I start that I need to p[Mod - Happy Thoughts] a test after each section. after I p[Mod - Happy Thoughts] the whole academy I go to one of the ARTCC and I need to learn everything over again there?

 

so really I will end up takeing more test just to become a ATC on VATSIM then at high school?

 

why not make it once you p[Mod - Happy Thoughts] the academy you can control TOWER and BELOW and then get training from the ARTCC to get higher?

 

How long before I can just plug-in?

 

Michael, I graduated the Academy on March 6, 2007. I joined ZLA and p[Mod - Happy Thoughts]ed the solo for Ground at KLAX. I don't know about your skills, but I can tell you from recent experience that I was not comfortable working anything without the help of ZLA'a mentors. I'm not saying that the Academy is not doing a good job. In fact, I learned alot there. The people are great! The cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts]es are structured. The lab instructors make every effort to help students. The only way I could have walked right out of the academy and plugged into ground (forget tower) at KLAX would have have been to stop taking Academy cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts]es and spend that time learning the procedures and policy's for ZLA and committing them to memory. Then resuming cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts]es at the Academy.

 

My first night with a mentor on ground at KLAS I issued 8 IFR clearances in less than 30 minutes. That dosent sound like very many, but wait till you try it. It is not easy. Then we moved to Tower where I had VFR aircraft in the pattern doing touch and go's as well as IFR departures and arrivals. No way I could have done it without help from a mentor. Keep in mind, I had to p[Mod - Happy Thoughts] a written test for ZLA just to do this. The test was open book and the things I had to read and learn to p[Mod - Happy Thoughts] the test were essential.

 

Give it time, don't worry about the tests, if you read the things they recommend, you will do well on them. Good luck at the Academy and tell them I said hello.

ZLA Director of Pilot Relations

 

 

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HOLD ON....

 

I am so messed up right now.

 

I just p[Mod - Happy Thoughts]ed the Academy Entrance Exam and will start at the academy soon. Once I start that I need to p[Mod - Happy Thoughts] a test after each section. after I p[Mod - Happy Thoughts] the whole academy I go to one of the ARTCC and I need to learn everything over again there?

 

so really I will end up takeing more test just to become a ATC on VATSIM then at high school?

 

why not make it once you p[Mod - Happy Thoughts] the academy you can control TOWER and BELOW and then get training from the ARTCC to get higher?

 

How long before I can just plug-in?

 

I feel that it is important for new members to understand that Vatsim isnt "just a game". I have dealt with more than one instance of certain students new to the network that are unbelievably impatient and it drives me crazy. We try to obtain the most realistic environment for everyone on the network and sometimes, it takes a little bit of time to be able to offer the most realistic training environment. There are many aids for new students and it needs to be understood that receiving a Vatsim ID is only the beginning to being able to "plug-in".

Ryan Holloman

ZHU C3

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I feel that it is important for new members to understand that Vatsim isnt "just a game". I have dealt with more than one instance of certain students new to the network that are unbelievably impatient and it drives me crazy. We try to obtain the most realistic environment for everyone on the network and sometimes, it takes a little bit of time to be able to offer the most realistic training environment. There are many aids for new students and it needs to be understood that receiving a Vatsim ID is only the beginning to being able to "plug-in".

 

AMEN!

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HOLD ON....

 

I am so messed up right now.

 

I just p[Mod - Happy Thoughts]ed the Academy Entrance Exam and will start at the academy soon. Once I start that I need to p[Mod - Happy Thoughts] a test after each section. after I p[Mod - Happy Thoughts] the whole academy I go to one of the ARTCC and I need to learn everything over again there?

 

so really I will end up takeing more test just to become a ATC on VATSIM then at high school?

 

why not make it once you p[Mod - Happy Thoughts] the academy you can control TOWER and BELOW and then get training from the ARTCC to get higher?

 

How long before I can just plug-in?

 

I feel that it is important for new members to understand that Vatsim isnt "just a game". I have dealt with more than one instance of certain students new to the network that are unbelievably impatient and it drives me crazy. We try to obtain the most realistic environment for everyone on the network and sometimes, it takes a little bit of time to be able to offer the most realistic training environment. There are many aids for new students and it needs to be understood that receiving a Vatsim ID is only the beginning to being able to "plug-in".

 

Totally agreed(we in Canada do not have an academy but we demand a certain standard before students log on). I know that the training in my region(CZEG) is excellent and students will be greatful for this training. They will be glad once they reach higher levels that we did not just bump them up. I'm totally with you there Ryan, students who want quick advancement and don't take the training seriously will not get far.

Jeremy Skerry

VATCAN Instructor

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Why not, it takes you months NOW to get started at an ARTCC! I agree, what is the point of the academy if you have to re-learn everything at your facility.

 

SOP in VATSIM...when in doubt another test can't hurt....

 

Richard, I second your thoughts completely. It is really beginning to be absurd. The hoops one has to jump through to become a VATSIM controller is purely insane. I should not have to be a controller to pretend to be one! I think that is a thread for another time!

 

Jason Vodnansky

810003

 

I dont get what you mean Vodnansky. After I graduated I started at ZTL the very next day!

Joshua Clement

Air Traffic Manager

Salt Lake City ARTCC

VATSIM/VATUSA Supervisor

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I dont get what you mean Vodnansky. After I graduated I started at ZTL the very next day!

 

In reference to that, and JJ's post as quoted, the original question really was about a problem of an ARTCC not treating an Academy graduate differently than a member who hasn't attended the Academy (and who is starting without any training). An Academy graduate has basic training, and doesn't (or shouldn't) need a recurrent training on 7110.65 standards and phraseology once he graduates (while a normal student will). The problem of the original post was that an ARTCC had tests that tested more on 7110.65/regulations/phraseology than the actual SOP, and in fact, acted more as a basics test than an SOP test (an SOP test is what is necessary for graduates). As such, the student was confused as to why he attended the Academy, when it appeared that the ARTCC was doing the same stuff all over again.

 

The tests at the ARTCC level just need to be adjusted, or separate tests for Graduates need to be made per ARTCC. Once you graduate the Academy, no, you can't just jump online...however, you should be able to review the SOP for the ARTCC, take whatever test on that necessary, and get started fairly quickly. The Academy should be the majority of a student's training, while ARTCC training afterwards is an SOP checkout. (until you get started with Radar/Approach training)

 

Josh, it's good to hear that.

Steve Ogrodowski

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doesn't (or shouldn't). . .should be able to. . .The Academy should be. . .

 

Ideally, you're right, but what "should" be isn't always reality. The Academy is essential for laying down the groundwork (providing the building blocks as he said), however the Academy cannot meet every ARTCC's standard. I'm sure that for some ARTCC's, a student fresh out of the Academy with a very basic knowledge of TWR down will be permitted to hop right on. Other ARTCC's may expect a better and deeper understanding of the phraseology and principles behind the phraseology before the controller is free to control without supervision. The Academy SOPs talk about the fact that individual ARTCCs may have their own series of 'check outs' that still must be gone through before a controller can control. The Academy gives the students the building blocks and tells them what they are. The ARTCC's job is to take those students and those building blocks to build a respectable section of airspace within VATUSA.

 

Students that apply themselves and actually learn their stuff will proceed quickly (It took me roughly 4 months after the Academy to get to C3/CTR at an ARTCC with relatively high standards). Students who don't apply themselves as much (or understandably don't have as much time to apply to the learning) will take longer. Its that simple. The only alternative to this is to lower our standards at VATUSA and expect LESS from our controllers.

 

I, for one, expect MORE.

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Robert, to quote myself:

 

The problem of the original post was that an ARTCC had tests that tested more on 7110.65/regulations/phraseology than the actual SOP, and in fact, acted more as a basics test than an SOP test (an SOP test is what is necessary for graduates).

 

There are two types of students in VATUSA at present: Those who have taken the basic training at the ATC Academy, and those who are starting without any training. The students who have graduated the ATC Academy have taken several written exams, all that have questions about phraseology and basic training. And I'm all for ARTCCs having their own unique systems and expectancies. Also, as you discussed, an ARTCC might teach a deeper level of meaning about the procedures and phraseology to the students who graduate the Academy.

 

There are then, also, the students who haven't already p[Mod - Happy Thoughts]ed written exams about basics like the ATC Academy students have. They, as an ARTCC deems, can have written tests that test a student's knowledge of procedures and phraseology...basic stuff that is certainly covered by the Academy already.

 

And so my point in that post was that ATC Academy graduates do not need to have the "basic" type questions about phraseology and basic procedures. If an ARTCC goes beyond what the Academy teaches, then sure, they should be free to have written questions about the stuff that they teach. But, an Academy student should not need to go through further written tests about the SAME stuff that was taught at the Academy. As an example, many of the questions on the Academy tests will look like:

 

"A pilot filed this flight plan: KABC ABD BRAVO VCC ZNZ.ZULU1 KDEF, Cruise altitude 16,000. Which of the following responses is the appropriate IFR Clearance?"

 

That's a generic question about Clearance Delivery phraseology (an IFR clearance). I would expect similar questions for students who haven't attended the Academy, but a graduate shouldn't need to answer a similar question on an ARTCC written test; they have already p[Mod - Happy Thoughts]ed the Academy tests. That is the issue I was talking about (and that was asked in the original post). Now, lets say that your ARTCC teaches about the meaning and difference between the terms "Cleared" and "Approved," and ramifications of usage. That's something that an Academy test doesn't specifically have on it, but the ARTCC taught on its own curriculum. You should be able to ask a question about that on a test, if you want. Understand the difference in what I meant, hopefully?

 

[[On a personal note: I prefer Practical tests (Over-the-Shoulders or On the Job training) over written tests. Written tests are generally designed as fool proof (you can, in most cases, look up the SOP/rulebook and find the answers you need). Practical tests are more reliable as to testing a person's capability while actually performing. Yes, I think it would be better if we could see some written tests replaced by just practical exams.]]

Steve Ogrodowski

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I feel that it is important for new members to understand that Vatsim isnt "just a game". I have dealt with more than one instance of certain students new to the network that are unbelievably impatient and it drives me crazy. We try to obtain the most realistic environment for everyone on the network and sometimes, it takes a little bit of time to be able to offer the most realistic training environment. There are many aids for new students and it needs to be understood that receiving a Vatsim ID is only the beginning to being able to "plug-in".

 

I 100% agree with this.

 

On a side note, the academy actually does have a point, as a teacher there it lays down your basic foundation. Then by the time you graduate from the academy, you go to your ARTCC, when you get at the ARTCC you receive more training. The academy teaches you the basics on delivery, ground, and tower. Your ARTCC will give you specific SOP training for those positions, and then training for departure, approach, and center. I see students graduate, then I go fly a couple days later and they'll be on say Detroit tower... come back a week later, oh wow now they're on Detroit approach.

 

It doesn't take months to be able to "plug-in" you just have to dedicate some time to it, learn and know what your doing. It would kill VATSIM if all the new controllers didn't have sufficient knowledge of moving those greens blips that show up on your monitor around.

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The Academy should be the majority of a student's training,

 

Really? On average? Anyone with some supporting empirical data?

 

Regarding updated tests, let's say that the graduate comes to the ARTCC and takes the unadjusted (open book) ARTCC written tests (which are maybe too specific to the 7110.65.), and then fails the test. What then?

ZDC Events Director

www.zdcartcc.org

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I think this likely varies by ARTCC. I could certainly see a case where the ARTCC has pretty light SOPs and it would take very little time for an Academy grad to get certified. It also depends on the typical proficiency level required of a student before they are certified. This varies by ARTCC, too.

Developer: vPilot, VRC, vSTARS, vERAM, VAT-Spy

Senior Controller, Boston Virtual ARTCC

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There are two types of students in VATUSA at present: Those who have taken the basic training at the ATC Academy, and those who are starting without any training. The students who have graduated the ATC Academy have taken several written exams, all that have questions about phraseology and basic training. And I'm all for ARTCCs having their own unique systems and expectancies. Also, as you discussed, an ARTCC might teach a deeper level of meaning about the procedures and phraseology to the students who graduate the Academy.

 

 

Explain to me how there are two types of students still around, since the VATUSA Policy/proceedure as follows:

 

Enrollment Policy:

New Member Enrollment: Members who joined VATUSA on or after April 17th 2006 who wish to become ATC are required to enroll into the Division Training Academy, regardless of real-world training. There is no byp[Mod - Happy Thoughts] system in place and no exceptions will be made. Complete and submit the enrollment application located at http://vatusa.org/training/academy_enroll.html.Once your application has been received and approved you will be notified by email that you have been signed up to take the ATC Academy Entrance exam at the VATUSA Certification Center. P[Mod - Happy Thoughts]ing this exam with an 80% or higher is required before the enrollment process can be finalized.

 

 

Or has there been a change in policy that has not been posted?

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