Newbie questions regarding IFR vs VFR

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hopefulguy
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Newbie questions regarding IFR vs VFR

Post by hopefulguy » Thu Jan 10, 2019 2:50 am

Newbie hopeful future ATC here, and I just have a few questions.

first of all, I see a lot of info on pay for IFR, but what about VFR (and FSS)? Just how much lower is it? Is it just the base rate that's lower? What about premiums and other bonuses?

Secondly, if VFR requires seeing, does it require better eyesight? Also, does that mean Towers shut down at night, meaning no night shift? While IFR goes on for 24 hours?

Also, if IFR is just giving strict rules/guidelines to pilots while VFR gives a lot more leeway, doesn't that mean VFR is a lot more stressful because pilots have more room to do something stupid? Is there a lot more communication between pilot and controller in VFR vs IFR?

Thanks.
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Braun
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Re: Newbie questions regarding IFR vs VFR

Post by Braun » Thu Jan 10, 2019 6:35 am

Newbie hopeful future ATC here, and I just have a few questions.

first of all, I see a lot of info on pay for IFR, but what about VFR (and FSS)? Just how much lower is it? Is it just the base rate that's lower? What about premiums and other bonuses?
All IFR controllers have the same base pay, the only thing that changes is you get a higher premium depending where you work (YYZ is the highest). All VFR towers have different payscales depending on trafic volumes and complexity. YUL, YYZ,YVR and YYC towers are paid the same as IFR controllers

Secondly, if VFR requires seeing, does it require better eyesight? Also, does that mean Towers shut down at night, meaning no night shift? While IFR goes on for 24 hours?

You can see at night so not sure I understand this. Some towers do close but it's because the trafic levels aren't high enough to justify a controller staffing the controller at night

Also, if IFR is just giving strict rules/guidelines to pilots while VFR gives a lot more leeway, doesn't that mean VFR is a lot more stressful because pilots have more room to do something stupid? Is there a lot more communication between pilot and controller in VFR vs IFR?
IFR isn't just giving strict rules. We manage VFR's on a daily basis as well. I wouldn't say VFR is more stressful, i'd say they both have their challenges. The amount of communications is not really a comparaison you can make as it depends on so many factors.


Thanks.
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hopefulguy
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Re: Newbie questions regarding IFR vs VFR

Post by hopefulguy » Thu Jan 10, 2019 2:08 pm

Thank you so much, Braun! I know I speak for a lot of other hopefuls lurking the forum without posting when I say we REALLY appreciate the time you put in to help answer our questions! I read a lot of your other answers and they've been very very helpful! Thank you!

Hmm. One other question, and I'd like input from anyone: What do you think differentiates someone who would fit better as an IFR or VFR? Like, is it a personality difference? Or the way they communicate? Or the way they handle stress? Or a mathematical mind vs an artist mind? Or?
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Braun
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Re: Newbie questions regarding IFR vs VFR

Post by Braun » Thu Jan 10, 2019 2:29 pm

No worries. I try and answer what I can. I signed up to this website in 2006 when I applied so I know what it is like and how helpful it can be to get answers that aren't readily available.
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stabilizedapproach
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Re: Newbie questions regarding IFR vs VFR

Post by stabilizedapproach » Fri Jan 11, 2019 7:52 am

hopefulguy wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 2:08 pm
Hmm. One other question, and I'd like input from anyone: What do you think differentiates someone who would fit better as an IFR or VFR? Like, is it a personality difference? Or the way they communicate? Or the way they handle stress? Or a mathematical mind vs an artist mind? Or?
The way it was explained to me is that IFR is like a science - some hard and fast rules. VFR is like an art. If you operate well by following procedures, IFR would be a better fit. If you are okay with the fluidity of VFR, then that will be a better choice.

Both are great.
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Braun
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Re: Newbie questions regarding IFR vs VFR

Post by Braun » Fri Jan 11, 2019 12:27 pm

True but if you work in IFR and are a terminal controller it is COMPLETELY different to a high level or even enroute. Each site and specialty has it's differences.
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kevenv
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Re: Newbie questions regarding IFR vs VFR

Post by kevenv » Fri Jan 11, 2019 1:23 pm

Just to add to what Braun has said: lots of older controllers have done both VFR and IFR. There is no magic formula for where you will do best. I have done towers, terminals and enroute. They are all different, even the same job at different locations. In recent years, with the ability to transfer jobs (with sufficient seniority) I have seen younger controllers from towers come IFR with no issues.
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