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"We are the protagonists of our stories called life, and there is no limit to how high we can fly."

Type rated on A330, B747-400, B747, B757, B767, B737, B727. International Airline Pilot / Author / Speaker. Dedicated to giving the gift of wings to anyone following their dreams. Supporting Aviation Safety through training, writing, and inspiration.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

ATC Training Part II

The Discussion Continues...

Two weeks ago, I posted an email from a reader who was concerned about ATC training:  

The discussion that ensued prompted a second email. Enjoy the read, and as always... I am looking forward to your thoughts.

"I’ve been reading the responses on twitter and in the comment section on your blog, and I wanted to write back and clarify a few things.

We have the best air traffic controllers in the world. My previous post was in no way directed at the people who separate our planes.

Not all of the students are lazy. In fact, several classes spend their break time with their books open, asking each other questions. I should have brought attention to them, too, but I mainly wanted to raise awareness about the problem groups. Last week I overheard two instructors discussing the novelty of seeing so many students with their textbooks open. If anything, people who went to the Academy knowing they worked hard and showed respect to their instructors have no reason to be offended.

It’s important to be able to look around and recognize when things aren’t as good as they should be. I hear people badmouth my university all the time, but I know I’m not the subject of their complaints and I also know which of their issues are valid, so I don’t take it personally.

Academy training is very different from facility training. Mostly, the facilities will wash out people who can’t make the cut. Sometimes a person can do very well at the Academy and get all the way through most of their training, only to fail certification on the last sector. This means anywhere from two to five years’ training is down the drain. It’s really unfortunate, but sometimes it happens. We have no way of knowing whether these new hiring changes are getting people through their facility training at higher rates yet, since it’s only been two and a half years since they were instituted.

If anything, more people failing at the Academy instead of at the facilities (not failing in general) would be a good thing. Why? It costs the taxpayers less money when someone fails after only a few months instead of a few years.

The job is always going to have an 80-90% washout rate, because so few people can do it, and so much of it can’t be taught (or at least taught quickly), such as picturing movement in three dimensions. But dedication to the training goes a long way, too, and someone with a demonstrated interest in aviation would, in theory, be more likely to complete training than someone who only applied because they heard it paid well. There will always be people who pick it up faster than others, but there’s a noticeable difference between people who study their phraseology and people who don’t.

It boils down to this. 30,000 people applied to the most recent hiring bid. The FAA can only process 1400 a year through the Academy, yet they need far more, close to 10,000 over the next five years. Surely they can find 1400 people who can read military time and know that 250 knots is faster than 90. The burden should not fall squarely on the facilities to sort out who’s qualified and who’s not."

 And then what should be posted on line last week?

 Flight For Sanity coming soon....
 Catch up on the series so you will be ready!

Motivation and Children too! 

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