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For ATC: Terminal Or Artcc?  
User currently offlineMariner63 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (4 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 3261 times:

Hey everyone. This post is mainly for the controllers, if any, on this site. Right now I am a CTI student and still have about 2 years to go until I graduate. I was wondering, for those that are controllers, which type of facility do you prefer? A terminal facility or an ARTCC? I have heard both positive and negative feedback about both kinds of facilities and would like to hear what everyone else has to say.

19 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineIAHFLYR From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 4790 posts, RR: 22
Reply 1, posted (4 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 3242 times:

Having been a controller for quite some time I would say TERMINAL, all the way!!!! You are able to be located at an airport and see airplanes unless you were assigned to a large TRACON facility at an off airport location.

The terminal facility folks get to actually use different IFR separation standards not just the same old 5 NM, 1,000' below FL410. There are runway separation standards if you're in a tower, or the different distances used on final depending on wake turbulence. Then you have the 2.5 NM reduced separation on final inside 10 NM from the threshold plus the added fun of VFR's in Class B airspace if you are assigned to a major airport. For me it is simply more adventure each day, IMHO.

Quoting Mariner63 (Thread starter):
I have heard both positive and negative feedback about both kinds of facilities

It would be interesting to learn what they positives/negatives were that you heard.



Any views shared are strictly my own and do not a represent those of any former employer.
User currently offlineP3Orion From United States of America, joined May 2006, 544 posts, RR: 3
Reply 2, posted (4 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 3241 times:

Quoting Mariner63 (Thread starter):
A terminal facility or an ARTCC?

Avoid ARTCC's like the plague. They are miserable places to work. I have friends here at ORD that thank God everyday they escaped ZAU and now work in the terminal world.

The biggest difference between the two is that Center is more strategic and Terminal is more tactical.

Again, avoid Enroute at all cost.

You have been warned.

[Edited 2009-12-10 21:02:27]


"Did he say strap in or strap on?"
User currently offlineMariner63 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (4 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 3220 times:



Quoting P3Orion (Reply 2):
It would be interesting to learn what they positives/negatives were that you heard

Where are you a controller at? I am hoping to work at a terminal facility, but I'd be happy with anything.

Well the big advantage I've heard about terminal facilities is that you get to actually see what is going on, granted you are in a tower. Now if one was at an up/down facility, that could be the best of both worlds since you get to experience controlling both in the cab and down in the radar room.

The disadvantage I've heard about terminal facilities is that it can get "boring". Basically meaning that you are only controlling one airport if you are in the cab.

Now what I've heard about ARTCC's; the real only good thing I've heard is that you get to deal with many different airports and not just one.

The disadvantages, well first off I've heard that most centers are really old, building wise. Likewise with what I've heard about terminal facilities, I've heard that working at centers can get somewhat old after sitting in front of a scope day after day.

Quoting P3Orion (Reply 2):
Again, avoid Enroute at all cost.

Haha thanks! I'll keep that in mind in a few years, but thanks for the input.


User currently offlineTiger119 From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 1919 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (4 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day ago) and read 3203 times:



Quoting Mariner63 (Reply 3):
Where are you a controller at?

- His profile shows ORD ATCT (that would be a fun job).

Quoting Mariner63 (Reply 3):
The disadvantages, well first off I've heard that most centers are really old, building wise

- I can tell you that ZID has been in the same building for as long as I can remember (but it does sit adjacent to IND unlike some other centers that are not). I have not been inside for many years but from what I remember it reminded my of something you would have seen in the movies "Iron Eagle" or "War Games." Rows of scopes and no windows! Just a darkened room. Growing up in my neighborhood in the late 60s and 70s, we had an ARTCC controller living next door to an Allegheny DC9 captain (back then Allegheny did not fly much farther west than Indy). They had some interesting conversations.

Good luck in your future,

David



Flying is the second greatest thrill known to mankind, landing is the first!
User currently offlineSPREE34 From United States of America, joined Jun 2004, 2246 posts, RR: 9
Reply 5, posted (4 years 8 months 2 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 3179 times:



Quoting P3Orion (Reply 2):
Again, avoid Enroute at all cost.

You have been warned.

Poor advise. Have you worked in both? Which one will get you to the big money quicker?

Quoting P3Orion (Reply 2):
They are miserable places to work.

I worked in several ATRCCs, and had a ball.

Quoting Mariner63 (Reply 3):
Now what I've heard about ARTCC's; the real only good thing I've heard is that you get to deal with many different airports and not just one.

I worked in TRACONs and ARTCCs, and this was one of the things I like about the Center. I could come back from a break or lunch, and sit down to a completely different geographical area of airspace, using different separation rules. In the larger TRACONs this can be somewhat true. An example would be Denver. They also work Grand Junction and Pueblo airports via remoted RADAR and radios.

Quoting IAHFLYR (Reply 1):
The terminal facility folks get to actually use different IFR separation standards not just the same old 5 NM, 1,000' below FL410.

You appear mis-informed on Center separation standards. Centers don't just use 5 and 1000. Centers also "actually" use Visual, passing diverging, timed, diverse departure route, and 3 miles vs 5 in areas where a single sensor (RADAR site) is adapted. My TRACON experience served me very well at one Center where we had single site adaptation and provided approach control services to an ANG F16 training squadron, as well as itinerant traffic. Yep, 3 nm, and the Snitch Patch just stayed lit up on that sector for hours.



I don't understand everything I don't know about this.
User currently offlineIAHFLYR From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 4790 posts, RR: 22
Reply 6, posted (4 years 8 months 2 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 3172 times:



Quoting SPREE34 (Reply 5):
You appear mis-informed on Center separation standards. Centers don't just use 5 and 1000. Centers also "actually" use Visual, passing diverging, timed, diverse departure route, and 3 miles vs 5 in areas where a single sensor (RADAR site) is adapted.

No sir, not mis-informed at all, I'd rather call it just flat out old and actually forgot about the visual since from where I watch it would doesn't seem to be used much at all. Now, in an attempt at sounding mis-informed again, isn't visual only below FL180?

The 3 increasing to 5 on diverse departure routes is actually nice but mostly set up by the terminal facility from what I've seen and within a few miles under center control the 5 miles is achieved, it is the 3 increasing to 5 that should be used more frequently.



Any views shared are strictly my own and do not a represent those of any former employer.
User currently offlineSPREE34 From United States of America, joined Jun 2004, 2246 posts, RR: 9
Reply 7, posted (4 years 8 months 2 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 3138 times:



Quoting IAHFLYR (Reply 6):
isn't visual only below FL180?

Correct. That's why we used the passing diverging up high. You could still end up with less than 5, tail to tail, and set the patch off.

Quoting IAHFLYR (Reply 6):
The 3 increasing to 5 on diverse departure routes

I forgot about that one. I was referring to coming out of airports where Center is the IFR facility.

Are ya'll still doing the no speed limit below ten?



I don't understand everything I don't know about this.
User currently offlineP3Orion From United States of America, joined May 2006, 544 posts, RR: 3
Reply 8, posted (4 years 8 months 2 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 3121 times:



Quoting SPREE34 (Reply 5):
Poor advise. Have you worked in both?

Yes, I worked at Washington ARTCC in the B area. I am well aware of: "Turn ten degrees left for buildups" or "Light chop all altitudes" or "I was on a handoff line, say again."

Quoting SPREE34 (Reply 5):
Which one will get you to the big money quicker?

Money does not give happiness or fulfillment.

Some people love Enroute, others do not. I feel very comfortable saying that the ARTCC's have very low morale. And that does not matter if it is in the eastern part of the US with tons of traffic and no airspace or the western US where the sectors cover entire states.



"Did he say strap in or strap on?"
User currently offlineSPREE34 From United States of America, joined Jun 2004, 2246 posts, RR: 9
Reply 9, posted (4 years 8 months 2 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 3119 times:



Quoting P3Orion (Reply 8):
Money does not give happiness or fulfillment.

You are right. One of my moves was a downgrade, but I could ski everyday.

Quoting P3Orion (Reply 8):
Yes, I worked at Washington ARTCC in the B area.

Eeeeewww. I'm sorry. Long skinny sectors suck.



I don't understand everything I don't know about this.
User currently offlineP3Orion From United States of America, joined May 2006, 544 posts, RR: 3
Reply 10, posted (4 years 8 months 2 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 3116 times:



Quoting SPREE34 (Reply 9):
Eeeeewww. I'm sorry. Long skinny sectors suck.

So you are familiar with Woodstown and Dupont? Anyway, for me, I enjoy Terminal, be it Approach or Tower. I like the instant gratification of the environment. I have also found Terminal facilities, with the exception of the large TRACONS, to be happier places to work. We have it very good at ORD ATCT. Whereas I have heard horror stories about Chicago TRACON (C90) and Chicago ARTCC (ZAU). My buddies at ZDC and ZBW have similar experiences. Maybe it has something to do with working in the dark al the time.

The best facilities, in my opinion, are the up/downs. You get to play both tower and radar.



"Did he say strap in or strap on?"
User currently offlineIAHFLYR From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 4790 posts, RR: 22
Reply 11, posted (4 years 8 months 1 week 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 3061 times:

Quoting SPREE34 (Reply 7):
Are ya'll still doing the no speed limit below ten?

No!! Quite possibly the most efficient and simplest departure tool in the last 30 years was taken away after the Super Bowl traffic left town in 2004.

Quoting P3Orion (Reply 10):
Maybe it has something to do with working in the dark al the time.

It isn't the dark, but I'm not going to provide my cents for what I believe the real reasons for some of those stories you may hear.

I still say go terminal....those who I know that have worked in both do prefer the terminal side of the career.

[Edited 2009-12-12 06:57:18]


Any views shared are strictly my own and do not a represent those of any former employer.
User currently offlineMKEflyer717 From United States of America, joined Jul 2004, 431 posts, RR: 12
Reply 12, posted (4 years 8 months 1 week 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 3008 times:



Quoting Mariner63 (Thread starter):
Right now I am a CTI student and still have about 2 years to go until I graduate.

I'm right there with you man! I'm down at Embry-Riddle and will be done by the fall of 2011 at the latest. After some serious consideration I myself have definitely been leaning toward the terminal world vs en route. As of now I really want to start at a medium-sized up/down facility like MKE where I can gain experience in both tower and TRACON to see which I like the most. Then someday I desire to ultimately end up at a busier facility like ORD or DEN ATCT.



Avoid the Chicago ORDeal!! Fly MKE!
User currently offlineIAHFLYR From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 4790 posts, RR: 22
Reply 13, posted (4 years 8 months 1 week 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 2992 times:



Quoting MKEflyer717 (Reply 12):
As of now I really want to start at a medium-sized up/down facility like MKE where I can gain experience in both tower and TRACON to see which I like the most

A very smart move. There a young kids walking right out of CTI class and OKC training to their first facility which is an ATC 12 with no experience. In most cases they will not get the best possible training as these facilities training programs have been focused on training experienced controllers the local area and procedures, not how ATC basics and rules. It isn't fair to the new hire nor the OJTI who gets them.

The facility is concerned about having a controller check out on a position to get their numbers up and they will be used for coverage rather than get quality training on other positions. The good side of that for the older folks is most of these positions they check out on are usually crap positions that nobody wants to work.



Any views shared are strictly my own and do not a represent those of any former employer.
User currently offlineSPREE34 From United States of America, joined Jun 2004, 2246 posts, RR: 9
Reply 14, posted (4 years 8 months 1 week 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 2972 times:



Quoting MKEflyer717 (Reply 12):
I'm down at Embry-Riddle

Hey, does ERAU get you guys up to ZJX, JAX, or across the field to DAB for any real traffic observation?



I don't understand everything I don't know about this.
User currently offlineMkeflyer717 From United States of America, joined Jul 2004, 431 posts, RR: 12
Reply 15, posted (4 years 8 months 1 week 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 2954 times:



Quoting IAHFLYR (Reply 13):
A very smart move. There a young kids walking right out of CTI class and OKC training to their first facility which is an ATC 12 with no experience.

Yeah that's what several people have been telling me. I've heard some pretty bad stories where recent CTI grads wash out at level 12's. They probably have the aptitude and are perfectly capable of being great controllers, but they just need to start somewhere that allows for them to develop their skills without being overwhelmed from the start. That's why I think a level 9 like MKE would be a great place to begin for me.

Quoting SPREE34 (Reply 14):
Hey, does ERAU get you guys up to ZJX, JAX, or across the field to DAB for any real traffic observation?

Not directly through any class, but I'm in the Air Traffic Oranization on campus and we plan trips during the semester to different facilities. Just about a week ago the group went to Miami Tower and Center but unfortunately I couldn't make that one because of schedule conflicts. Next semester were hoping to get out to MCO tower and/or ZJX. DAB tower never seems to cooperate much with us for tours etc, but apparently we have pretty good relations with ZJX.



Avoid the Chicago ORDeal!! Fly MKE!
User currently offlineTiger119 From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 1919 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (4 years 8 months 1 week 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 2870 times:



Quoting Mkeflyer717 (Reply 15):
DAB tower never seems to cooperate much with us for tours etc, but apparently we have pretty good relations with ZJX

- I bet both DAB, ZJX and ZMA are all busy in February with both NASCAR action and Spring Break going strong!

David



Flying is the second greatest thrill known to mankind, landing is the first!
User currently offlineAlias1024 From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 2753 posts, RR: 2
Reply 17, posted (4 years 8 months 1 week 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 2850 times:



Quoting Mkeflyer717 (Reply 15):
DAB tower never seems to cooperate much with us for tours etc, but apparently we have pretty good relations with ZJX.

Have you tried asking the higher ups in the flight department if they have any connections at DAB that could arrange a tour? I know in the past there have been agreements which allowed ERAU flight instructors to tour both upstairs and downstairs.



It is a mistake to think you can solve any major problems with just potatoes.
User currently offlineMkeflyer717 From United States of America, joined Jul 2004, 431 posts, RR: 12
Reply 18, posted (4 years 8 months 1 week 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 2806 times:



Quoting Tiger119 (Reply 16):
- I bet both DAB, ZJX and ZMA are all busy in February with both NASCAR action and Spring Break going strong!

Yeah especially DAB, for the Daytona 500 they shut down RWY 34/16 to park all the corporate jets.. I was flying at Riddle during the Daytona 500 weekend and I was number 10 for departure behind a DL 757!! It was pretty awesome! Anything that breaks the continuous flow of C172s is nice  Wink

Quoting Alias1024 (Reply 17):
Have you tried asking the higher ups in the flight department if they have any connections at DAB that could arrange a tour? I know in the past there have been agreements which allowed ERAU flight instructors to tour both upstairs and downstairs.

Nope, I havent exactly done that.. I've just called the tower attempting to schedule a tour for another organization on campus, and they immediately rejected me saying "we don't do tours anymore...." I didn't really fight it so I moved on to calling SFB tower. At first everything sounded good with them, but eventually I was left haning there too  Sad

Thanks for the advice though, maybe I'll considering pursuing that sometime next semester if need be.



Avoid the Chicago ORDeal!! Fly MKE!
User currently offlineTiger119 From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 1919 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (4 years 8 months 1 week 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 2791 times:



Quoting Mkeflyer717 (Reply 18):
Yeah especially DAB, for the Daytona 500 they shut down RWY 34/16 to park all the corporate jets.. I was flying at Riddle during the Daytona 500 weekend and I was number 10 for departure behind a DL 757!! It was pretty awesome!

- A friend of mine who worked at FXE used to drive to Daytona every year for the race. One time he and his business partner flew up in a four seater, low wing, fixed gear single with a 180 HP motor (I do not remember which plane they took). After the race, they walked over to DAB, loaded up their gear, pre-flighted, got in, fired it up. Hit clearance on the radio (I assume 119.3) and was told promptly and sharply to shut down the engine, switch to a different frequency and wait. And they waited and waited. Finally they were cleared to start, and when they started taxiing they were something like 12th or 15th for departure. He said that was the last time he flew to DAB for the race! Fun times had by all.

Quoting Mariner63 (Thread starter):
Mariner63

- Once again Mariner, good luck in your future. Aviation is the best career field out there (with it's ups and downs of course).

David



Flying is the second greatest thrill known to mankind, landing is the first!
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