Just A Controllers Opinion

ArchieLeague

New Member
OK, after reading the Just One OTS’s Opinion thread I just couldn’t lurk on the forum any longer.


Well, I'll just give a little background information on myself before I give my opinion.


Fair enough, I will do the same.


First I have almost 7 years of higher education, a BS and a thesis short of a MS.


First, I have 32 years as an air traffic controller (9 military, 23 FAA). My “higher education” was 9 years as a military controller. I guess that would make me about 183 credit hours short of my MS.

You need to understand something. 99.9% of the controllers I know don’t care if you have a BS, MS, MBA or were a member of the NBA. They do not care if you were CTI, MARC or military. When you show up on the floor to work you are a developmental controller. What you did in the past does not matter to anyone, it does not prove a thing. Starting the day you walk in the facility you must prove yourself.


I applied to become an ATC because I've always been interested in becoming one.


I would have to say the same thing. I got interested when, in 6th grade we took a field trip to a local tower. I thought it would be real cool to wear short sleeve white shirts, black ties and slacks with a flat top to work.


The fact that we have the intelligence to fly has always amazed me.


I am amazed that a person that is just short of their MS would be amazed at the scientific principals of flight.


I've received a TOL from the NYC PEPC to work at a level 12 TRACON. I look at this as a blessing and I am excited to get started.


NOW THAT does amaze me. When I started it was very rare to send a new person straight to a very busy facility.


My point of this post is to express my concern of the lack of job security and morale in what I hope to be my career.


Here is a suggestion, DO NOT TAKE THE JOB if you are that concerned. In 20+ years in the FAA, with the exception of training failures, I have only seen 3 controllers terminated from their job. I have never, and I mean never seen anyone terminated that did not deserve it.

I've read the posts of some of the experienced air traffic controllers here, and while some of them are disheartening, there is a level of truth behind all of the negativity.

Please tell me how in the world you would have any idea what the level of truth is? You haven’t plugged into a sector one time and you know what it is like to be a controller.

Now, after seeing all of this, I'm just like WTF? First, I must agree that if I was a CTI graduate, that I would be pissed off too.

Why? Because they paid for a job? From what I have seen the CTI graduates are no more qualified than the person off of the street.

Seriously, I could have gone in and said anything during the interview and still would have received a TOL.

Actually, you are 100% correct there. The limitation placed upon the FAA does make the interview process less than desirable.

Second, the FAA's justification for lowering salaries is ridiculous.

It is called fiscal responsibility. The fact that they can get you with your “thesis short of a MS” to apply for the job, knowing what the pay will be, is justification enough.

The same problems that were the reason for the 1981 PATCO strike are still prevalent today.

There you go again; talking about something you have no knowledge of.

It's just now instead of striking, they are retiring.

And why are they retiring? Because of the early retirement gained by PATCO and the pay gained by NATCA BOTH paid for by the government makes for a nice retirement.


As for new trainees, let's do the math. We are making 30% less than before

No you are not making less than before… YOU never had the money before, YOU will be making what the FAA tells you they will pay you and you agree to work for. If you don’t like the pay find another job.


and will eventually be handling more traffic than our predecessors.

As well you should, if you read the FAA “Flight Plan” you will see that is the plan. The government is investing a large amount of money into the NextGen system. This system is going to, in theory, take away many of the routine decision making jobs that the controller performs now. Systems such as DSR, ERAM, URET, TMAT and a dozen other acronyms are being developed to take the workload off of controllers. Will it all work like is should? I am not as confident as those who brief us on how all of this will work. Early on, I never saw the need for a lot of the equipment we currently have but I would never want to work without it today.

Ok, well maybe you were like me and my initial thinking that 131k a year is still not that bad.

I have talked about this before with my son who is a teacher (and isn’t a thesis short of his MS). From what I hear, that is good pay for that amount of education.

But that's the top end and there is no telling how long it will take you to reach that.

If you worked with me your concern would be if, not when you reach that pay level.

So here's the formula you need to remember.

Here is what you need to remember. You are not being drafted, you are applying for a job and you know what the pay is. If you don’t like the pay, don’t take the job.

Does that make it clearer for you all? We, meaning the people working at a level 12 facility, should be starting off at 57k a year.

So you feel that, right off the street, you deserve to be paid more than a CPC at a lower level facility.

which would really make a difference in those student loan repayments.

Had my starting pay been higher than my military pay (it wasn’t) it would have made my Corvette payments easier. I sure wish I would have thought about that when I got hired, I would have got the Porsche instead. Why you feel entitled to pay based upon a debt you assumed is beyond me.

And at the top end, 188k a year.

Now there is something I can agree on. If they pay you more, I get more.

I don’t look forward to sitting around doing nothing, making 40k a year, with a second job, waiting for a new training class to start.

Don’t worry about that. I can guarantee you that you will not be sitting around doing nothing.

With all that being said, I still want to do it.

I am truly sorry to hear that. If I had anything to do with hiring, you would not get the job. Not because you are not qualified, not because of your education. My reasoning is that you have already made up your mind that you are over worked and under paid. You have decided that your employer is out to screw you and you are just going to be another miserable soul going to work day in and day out for a pay check.

For no other reason than I think I’ll enjoy it.

From what you have said, I just don’t think so.

I will join the NATCA and become a vocal member.

Vocal? Over what? You haven’t stepped foot in the door and you have made up your mind you are going to be disgruntled.

Disclaimer: This is in no way a slam against NATCA. Despite mistakes made with the last contract negotiations (non-negotiations) they have been the best thing that has ever happened to controllers.

I just felt like venting after watching those hearings.

I guess this gets down to the whole point of my post. You sir have NOTHING to vent about. Get your CPC and spend 3 hours working busy traffic during weather THEN I would be happy to buy you a cold one and vent with you. Until then, sit down, shut up, face the scope and learn your job.

Just a controller’s opinion.
 

MrBucket

Well-Known Member
I feel like Daddy just hit Mommy at the dinner table and threw a bowl of spaghetti at the wall.:drool:
 

PhilipArnold

New Member
I'm not sure how I feel about this post but I know I like you more than the other guy. The pretentiousness of his post made me feel like I could swim in it...
 

Piker

New Member
That was a good post with lots of useful information. Unfortunately you responded to some guy's extended, incoherent rant.

So let me ask you something that's been on my mind...what's to keep 75% of the work at smaller towers or En Route Centers from being computerized/contracted out? Is it something that's even on the horizon?
 

Philip

New Member
Disclaimer: This is in no way a slam against NATCA. Despite mistakes made with the last contract negotiations (non-negotiations) they have been the best thing that has ever happened to controllers.
In what ways?
 

ArchieLeague

New Member
So let me ask you something that's been on my mind...what's to keep 75% of the work at smaller towers or En Route Centers from being computerized/contracted out? Is it something that's even on the horizon?
Well to start with, most of the smaller towers and FSS have been contracted out. The next step is anyone's guess but it is apparent to me that it is not going to stop soon.

Again, it is just my opinion but I feel the driving force behind the pay "reorganization" that just took place is contracting. You will hear that one of the reasons they want to get the pay under control is that if they don't a contractor will.

I guess what it comes down to in the end is, unless congress steps in there is nothing that can stop contracting if that is what the FAA decides to do.
 

ATLTRACON

MODERATOR
Excellent post Archie...you made some of the same points that I made on the original thread, but better said.

BTW, Welcome to Jetcareers.

CJ @ A80
 

bigdil511

New Member
I guess being from NY seeing somebody being humbled and told to stop bitching makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
 

esw2005

Well-Known Member
Again, it is just my opinion but I feel the driving force behind the pay "reorganization" that just took place is contracting. You will hear that one of the reasons they want to get the pay under control is that if they don't a contractor will.


That is what I was told by an FAA employee who is involved in the hiring process. It is all about fiscal responsibility.

I also found the following quote from a NATCA website "Specifically, under the Agency’s(FAA) final contract offer: .. We(FAA) will implement a new air traffic pay plan with salary bands that line up with the rest of the FAA workforce.
 

Triger37

New Member
I rather enjoyed this thread. Thanks.

My simple opinion is I'm a simple living guy, anything above 50k a year where I don’t have to spend my days in the sun pounding pipes(ex surveyor) and other monuments, where white short sleeve shirts, and slacks sounds good to me. The stress level might be high, but from what I've found out from researching this is stress comes with the job. That’s fine with me. I'll just look distinguished earlier.:nana2:(the ladies will love it, I just hope my wife will also)
 

Acey97

New Member
I am the type of person who likes to make my own judgments about people and a job. I appreciate the information provided by actual controllers and I would advise people to not go into this profession already forming opinions about things you may or may not know about. Even at my current job, from the rants of more experienced employers, you would think that all of the managers are complete jerks, but in my own personal experience I think they are doing a good job. Keep an open mind.
 
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