Automation, Terminal-EnRoute & other dumb questions

Piker

New Member
I applied OTS back in May and got a "well-qualified" score on the ATSAT. I'm enthusiastic about a possible career as a controller, but I have some nagging concerns:

1- With computers and GPS systems more advanced than ever, what is the long term future of air traffic control? Obviously no one can say for sure. I've read a few articles about automation and most indicate that any future software will assist the controlers, not replace them. This seems logical but I was wondering what the long-term effects of this could be. Could the FAA could someday decide to cut the workforce drastically to trim redundancy? Can any controllers could give their thoughts on it.

2- Concerning Terminal vs- EnRoute, which work environment seems more likely to be affected by future automation? Also, as an controller is it relatively straightforward to move from one area to the next?

3- Concerning scheduling, is it possible to attend grad school while being employed as an ATC? Not out of disloyalty to the career, it's just always good to have a plan 'B'.

This career is something I would love to do. But I'm currently in a industry that's been changed drastically by computer technology in just a few short years. If you can't already tell, I'm a little wary about job security.

Thanks!

PS- This is a great board; the posts have given me a better understanding of the entire application process. If you're reading this, you've probably already helped me more than you know.
 

Zeppelinpilot

New Member
You can rest assured that the "job" will be around for quite some time. Yes automation is an increasing reality in the world of ATC, but it is just not possible to replace humans. Those who are out there working on future ATC systems (ironically very few are former or current controllers) seem to think that with the help of automation, we can move so a "self separation" system, in which the flight crew with have all traffic data presented to them on the flight deck. With this information in the hands of the pilot, they can assume more separation responsibility and the controller can take more of a "monitoring" position. ADS-B is the first step in this direction. Right now, the FAA is only requiring ADS-B "OUT" capabilities, meaning that an aircraft can broadcast its position for use in ground based operations (ie: ATC). But pretty soon the FAA will require installation of ASD-B "IN" which would allow an aircraft to see all other (ADS-B equipped) aircraft in its area. If you ask most pilots if they want to assume responsibly for separation, they will most likely say no. It is simply naive for these people to think this will work. And it would be naive for any of us to think it will actually happen.

Basically, don't worry. Especially not for your 25 year career.
 

Zeppelinpilot

New Member
As for a your other questions, I would guess that Enroute is more likely then any of the others to be affected by automation. We can see this happening already with the installation of URET. It is a system that is being installed in most (if not all) ARTCC's around the nation. It eliminates the need for a D-Side controller. I have heard mixed things about it, but for the most part, it seems like a pretty good system.

When I visited Jacksonville Center, the controller giving the tour said they were only using it on less busy sectors.
 

ATLTRACON

MODERATOR
I applied OTS back in May and got a "well-qualified" score on the ATSAT. I'm enthusiastic about a possible career as a controller, but I have some nagging concerns:

1- With computers and GPS systems more advanced than ever, what is the long term future of air traffic control? Obviously no one can say for sure. I've read a few articles about automation and most indicate that any future software will assist the controlers, not replace them. This seems logical but I was wondering what the long-term effects of this could be. Could the FAA could someday decide to cut the workforce drastically to trim redundancythey could start with middle manglement...so fat in that area? Can any controllers could give their thoughts on it.

2- Concerning Terminal vs- EnRoute, which work environment seems more likely to be affected by future automation? Also, as an controller is it relatively straightforward to move from one area to the next? no..different rules and presentations as far as radar scopes go..the job is the same but it is also very different in terminal vs enroute

3- Concerning scheduling, is it possible to attend grad school while being employed as an ATC? Not out of disloyalty to the career, it's just always good to have a plan 'B'. not working six days a week...or even five. with quick turn arounds/OT and the like...very diff. not impossible but very diff.

This career is something I would love to do. But I'm currently in a industry that's been changed drastically by computer technology in just a few short years. If you can't already tell, I'm a little wary about job security.

Thanks!

PS- This is a great board; the posts have given me a better understanding of the entire application process. If you're reading this, you've probably already helped me more than you know.
 

Prino

Well-Known Member
i guess if you are getting a masters from online rather than traditional B&M school it wouldnt be so hard
 

GnW

New Member
i guess if you are getting a masters from online rather than traditional B&M school it wouldnt be so hard
University of North Dakota offers a Masters in Aviation via correspondence. I'm pretty sure they're the only university to do this... assuming you want to stay in the aviation field.
 
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