BN747DFWHNL From United States of America, joined May 2005, 53 posts, RR: 0 Posted (9 years 3 months 3 weeks 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 3250 times:
Hi - I'm a huge commercial-aviation enthusiast who is writing to get feedback/advice/information about ground control positions at airports and dispatch positions with airlines (unfortunately I haven't logged any flight time because I can't afford the training):
1) Does one get hired for ground control positions via an airline or the government? I was once told by an airline employee that airlines have their own ground control people to manage the aircraft to/from the active taxiways. Not all airports are major hubs, though, so I'm confused how it actually works.
2) If airlines hire ground controllers, what sort of prerequisite training/qualifications must one have to be a suitable candidate? Is there some sort of school, as with dispatchers, that one must enroll in, or do you have to start on the ramp and work your way up in the company?
3) With the majority of the airline industry hurting as much as it is today, is a job as a ground controller or dispatcher in any capacity (not necessarily with a major airline) possible to come by once training is completed, or is the job market completely oversaturated with suitable candidates (thereby making it foolish to consider a job change)?
Any help with these queries would be sincerely appreciated; thanks.
EMBQA From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 9364 posts, RR: 11
Reply 1, posted (9 years 3 months 3 weeks 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 3230 times:
It is a Dispatchers are a Gov't Licensed position. Don't know much about the training, but I don't think it's too long....16 weeks or so. There are several school that offer the training class.
There is no 'Ground controller' per-say. all ground movement are handled by ATC. Airlines at bigger airports do have Operations people that monitor ground operations, help assign gates, needed manpower to cover gates and flights and so forth.
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Goldenshield From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 6018 posts, RR: 14
Reply 2, posted (9 years 3 months 3 weeks 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 3208 times:
5-6 to be exact. The dispatch written exam is equivilant to the ATP required by many airlines to even be hired as a pilot, but is more focused on dispatching.
Schools range in the $3500 range without housing. The schools vary in quality as far as teaching goes, but they all have one thing in common -- to get you ready for the written, oral, and practical examinations.
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DAirbus From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 593 posts, RR: 2
Reply 3, posted (9 years 3 months 3 weeks 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 3177 times:
You are basically talking about three or four separate positions. Dispatchers are the airline personnel responsible for flight planning and flight following. They share operational control or joint responsibility with the Captain for the safe conduct of the flight. The previous posts have some information regarding the training required for your dispatch license. Ground controllers are Air Traffic Control Specialists who work the ground control position in the airport control tower and are responsible for aircraft in the movement area (taxiway and runways). Airline controllers or coordinators are senior experienced airline personnel who oversee the ramp operation for their airline and are responsible for such things as gate changes, equipment changes, and service requests. Some airports also have ramp controllers who are responsible for pushback clearance and traffic control in the ramp or non-movement area. I believe they need specialized training but are not full ATC Specialists like FAA controllers and do not have a license. They may or may not be employed by the airlines themselves.
Here in ATL they have the following system for ground control. The FAA controls aircraft movements on the runway complex. These are the runways and the adjacent taxiways. The traffic on the ramps in-between the concourses is controlled by a separate group of controllers employed by the City of Atlanta who operates the airport. They work out of the ramp towers on top of concourses A, C, and E where the airlines also have personnel coordinating their ramp operations. Many of the city controllers used to work for Eastern years ago.
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BN747DFWHNL From United States of America, joined May 2005, 53 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (9 years 3 months 3 weeks 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 3075 times:
Thanks for responding; I appreciate it.
So, if I want a job where I look at planes all day, I should either:
1) pursue the ATC angle and go specifically for a ground control position (do you choose or specialize within ATC? or do you have to learn everything and then just take what you're assigned when a job comes open?), or
2) more unrealistically, somehow get a basement position at an airline in today's difficult industry and eventually work my way up into a ramp coordination/gate-assignment job at one of their hubs.
I haven't ruled out dispatch as a potential aviation job because the training is affordable, but sitting in a room all hours of the day/night isn't exactly my first choice since I can't see the flights I'm tracking.
Mir From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 21571 posts, RR: 55
Reply 6, posted (9 years 3 months 3 weeks 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 3034 times:
Quoting BN747DFWHNL (Reply 5): 1) pursue the ATC angle and go specifically for a ground control position (do you choose or specialize within ATC? or do you have to learn everything and then just take what you're assigned when a job comes open?)
Ground controllers work in the tower, and also handle clearance delivery and tower controller duties, on a rotational basis. As far as I know, when you graduate the FAA ATC training program, you get to pick whether you want to do radar or tower. Radar is Center, Approach and Departure, and you sit in a room looking at radar scopes. Tower is Tower/Ground/Clearance, and sounds like the one that you are looking for. You get a first choice and second choice region, and then you wait for a vacancy to show up (most likely a smaller Class D airport), and off you go.
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XFSUgimpLB41X From United States of America, joined Aug 2000, 4195 posts, RR: 37
Reply 9, posted (9 years 3 months 3 weeks 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 2964 times:
You're thinking of ramp controllers. This is an area that is out of ATC ground control's jurisdiction. They strictly control the alleyways in certain airports...such as DTW. ATC ground gives us clearance to the ramp entrance..and we contact ramp control as we are entering the area from the assigned spot.
We contact operations right after we touch down to confirm our gate assignment, reiterate any special requests, and find out if the gate is open or not.
Then we can notify ground if we need to hold someplace to wait for our gate to open up. Once in the ramp they can also hold us if our gate isnt open and/or clear us to the gate.