ph0king
Posts: 20
Joined: Fri Oct 21, 2005 3:14 am

Deciding To Become An Air Traffic Controller

Wed Nov 09, 2005 12:35 pm

I’m debating or not whether to go to air traffic control school at mt. Sac in southern California.

I’m a college grad with a business degree, but I I’m looking to go into something else.

I love airplanes, I love watching them, and I want a job where I can talk. My ambitions were to be an announcer or a news reporter, but it doesn’t seem to make ends meet.

I think being an air traffic controller may combine my passion for planes with my desire to communicate in a career.

However, the cons are I feel that the job is very fast paced( I hear this is one of the most stressful jobs in the nation, and accuracy is a must or else you and the planes you are trying to sepearte are dead meat.

If there are any air traffic controllers out there or people with experience in air traffic control, I would like your opinion on my desire to become an air traffic controller.

Also, does anybody know of anywhere I can go to experience hands on what air traffic control is like?


Here are my pros and cons

Pros
Good money
Watch planes
Talk to planes

Cons
High stress
Must be accurate at all times?

Is it true that air traffic controllers only work 2 hour shifts?

Your replies are appreciated, especially those who are air traffic controllers.
 
AirIndiaOne
Posts: 139
Joined: Sat Mar 05, 2005 2:10 pm

RE: Deciding To Become An Air Traffic Controller

Wed Nov 09, 2005 3:03 pm

Quoting Ph0king (Thread starter):
Is it true that air traffic controllers only work 2 hour shifts?

That is true because of FAA regulations.
Unlike US, in India the ATCOs work 8 hour shifts and are paid half of what US ATCOs earn.

Pros as you mentioned are promising as the money is good but life is stressful. Plus the kind of training you need to become certified and earn FAA ratings is quite tough.
I hope you know that you need a minimum of 80% marks to keep progressing
ALL THE BEST!
"You don't have to be crazy to be in aviation, but it helps", JRD Tata
 
irelayer
Posts: 929
Joined: Wed Jul 06, 2005 4:34 pm

RE: Deciding To Become An Air Traffic Controller

Wed Nov 09, 2005 3:53 pm

I want to pass along a good luck and also a reminder to watch the movie "Pushing Tin" if possible.

-IR
 
ATCisgreat
Posts: 101
Joined: Tue Apr 06, 2004 12:19 am

RE: Deciding To Become An Air Traffic Controller

Wed Nov 09, 2005 7:36 pm

Just go for it! It's the best job in the world...And I don't even see the planes I talk to for real - they're all squares.
I'm afraid you will have to be accurate all the time but you will learn that. As you will learn everything else. And I wouldn't be too worried about the stress-issue. It is usually the first thing people come up with when I tell what I do for a living: "Isn't that stressful?" I tend to say: No. You get trained for it. You grow in it. Of course you have moments of stress but you have those in every job that exists. And it's really ok.
Training is tough and standards are high but that is to ensure that you will be fine in the end - and not too stressed because maybe you weren't completely suited.
We are allowed to work max. 2:30h in a row, then there's break. Those rules depend from center to center and provider.
All the best!
ATC is great
Next: 26.05. DUS-LHR BA939, LHR-HKG BA25; 01.06 HKG-LHR BA32; 02.06. LHR-DUS BA938
 
SPREE34
Posts: 1560
Joined: Tue Jun 29, 2004 6:09 am

RE: Deciding To Become An Air Traffic Controller

Wed Nov 09, 2005 10:02 pm

Quoting Ph0king (Thread starter):
Pros
Good money
Watch planes
Talk to planes

Cons
High stress
Must be accurate at all times?

Is it true that air traffic controllers only work 2 hour shifts?

-The money isn't going to stay good with privatization around the corner.
-I too love too watch planes, funny I never worked in a tower, just radar.
-Accurate at all times, well at least have an "A" plan backed up by a "B,C,D,E, and F" plans.
-2 hour shift? NO! 8 hour shift. You are not supposed to work a position for more than 2 hours straight without being "offered" a break. That's not regulation, but in the collective bargaining contract.
-Stress? Yes, at times.

Follow you passion. If you go into ATC for anything but fun and passion for the job you'll be a miserable old man by age 40.

Good luck
Controller since 1976
I don't understand everything I don't know about this.
 
mightyfalcon
Posts: 378
Joined: Sat Jun 09, 2001 5:46 pm

RE: Deciding To Become An Air Traffic Controller

Wed Nov 09, 2005 11:28 pm

Quoting ATCisgreat (Reply 3):
Just go for it! It's the best job in the world...

I couldn't agree more!

That said, if you think that ATC will give you a chance to talk ("My ambitions were to be an announcer or a news reporter")... Forget about it! We're using phraseology and that's far away from a chat!

Stressful job... Not really. I mean, you don't feel the stress because you are trained to cope with it. Dangerous situations or emergencies may raise your adrenalin levels from time to time but that's not a daily treat.

You will be working shifts, usually 8 hour-long; in most countries, you are not allowed to work more than 2 hours in a row on a position, then you take a break.

You like watching planes... Only Tower/Approach ATC will give you that chance. Area (en-route) ATC is most of the time located away from airports.

I have been an Atco for +23 years and have only one single thing to tell you: GO for IT!

It's an exciting job, no routine, good money, plenty of free time... What else do you want?!

Regards
MightyFalcon
The sky has no limit...
 
IAHFLYR
Posts: 3941
Joined: Sat Jun 25, 2005 12:56 am

RE: Deciding To Become An Air Traffic Controller

Thu Nov 10, 2005 12:51 am

U go for it....I have been controlling since 75 in military and FAA, made some fabulous friends that fly jets and we sit for hours talking of our passions for the aviation industry. Never a boring moment but like others have said if you want to see planes then a tower, not even approach controls in all cases are at airports anymore....but it is great rewarding work that you will get no praise other than the pilot telling you thanks for a comfortable route around thunderstorms or a pilot telling you great turn to final (words I have never heard  Smile) ) or nice job with a busy sector from the supervisor!

Don't see Pushin Tin unless you want Hollywood's version of what it is like, go to an actual facility and get a tour from them, sit and ask questions, sit and watch radar or hang out in the tower, listen to the radio and ask what they are doing with the planes. Best to ya and your decision.
Any views shared are strictly my own and do not a represent those of any former employer.
 
burnsie28
Posts: 5026
Joined: Mon Aug 02, 2004 1:49 am

RE: Deciding To Become An Air Traffic Controller

Thu Nov 10, 2005 1:37 am

Quoting Ph0king (Thread starter):
Is it true that air traffic controllers only work 2 hour shifts?

8 hours, your supposed to have a break after 2 hours

Quoting SPREE34 (Reply 4):
-The money isn't going to stay good with privatization around the corner.

Well since its not likely that most airports will be private. Just many of the much smaller airports will be.

I go to the University of North Dakota and am switching to ATC. Its a great school and soon will become the only school with direct hire to placement, meaning not having to go to Oklahoma City for FAA training as that will be done here in the normal time. We are also the only school that has the new computer the FAA is putting in place. We got them even before the FAA placed them in their first facility.
 
crjflyer35
Posts: 509
Joined: Tue Nov 08, 2005 2:26 am

RE: Deciding To Become An Air Traffic Controller

Thu Nov 10, 2005 2:15 am

Have you ever given thought to possibly joining the Air Force and becoming an ATC journeyman. Free Training and a sense of pride, can't beat that!

Good Luck, whatever your decision is!! Hope to speak to your someday when I'm on approach!
Ok, wait for the RJ to pass, cleared to push tail south Mike, and you're cleared to spin #2 in the push.
 
crjflyer35
Posts: 509
Joined: Tue Nov 08, 2005 2:26 am

RE: Deciding To Become An Air Traffic Controller

Thu Nov 10, 2005 2:23 am

Have you ever given thought to possibly joining the Air Force and becoming an ATC journeyman. Free Training and a sense of pride, can't beat that!

Good Luck, whatever your decision is!! Hope to speak to your someday when I'm on approach!
Ok, wait for the RJ to pass, cleared to push tail south Mike, and you're cleared to spin #2 in the push.
 
ph0king
Posts: 20
Joined: Fri Oct 21, 2005 3:14 am

RE: Deciding To Become An Air Traffic Controller

Thu Nov 10, 2005 3:49 am

Quoting IAHFLYR (Reply 6):
go to an actual facility and get a tour from them, sit and ask questions, sit and watch radar or hang out in the tower, listen to the radio and ask what they are doing with the planes.

Is this possible? Does anyone know the appropriate person to get in contact for a tour at an airport? I think watching in live action would be a great idea. I live in the Bay Area. Is it possible to do this at SJC, OAK, or SFO?


But even better than watching is to try it. Does anybody know of any places where i can go to try a simulation in Northern California?

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