Frustrations of a Military ATC and the Big Leap

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FailedApproach101
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Frustrations of a Military ATC and the Big Leap

Post by FailedApproach101 »

Hello all,

this will be a bit of an essay; I give my thanks to all those who take the time to read and respond. I'm a newly qualified military terminal controller. Despite having been freshly qualified, the way things have been at work has me thinking about the future.

With our budget cuts, aging air frames, and an absolutely hemorrhaging experience pool in aircrew trades (pilot/ATC), traffic levels have decreased significantly. With the exception of the odd day here and there, I am lucky to be speaking to perhaps 3-4 A/C at any given time. Most evening and night shifts are spent idly sitting about, zooming out and curiously looking at what my adjacent sectors are up to. I am already feeling frustrated with not being able to do my job as much as I'd like- perhaps this is me getting ahead of myself in my young enthusiasm.

With my obligatory service coming to a close in a few years time, I am becoming more and more interested in jumping ship to Navcan. With that being said, I am here to ask for some input from anyone who has any to share. I've heard many mixed things from previous colleagues, both successful and not, that already made the move.

1. Manning levels: I am particularly curious about the climate of Navcan's controller pool, particularly in Edmonton ACC. I've visited the ACC myself.

When I mentioned that I was a terminal controller, one of their terminal managers very enthusiastically told me to "stop the military non-sense and come over". While endearing to hear, I'm not sure if there is any weight behind this. We all know the way controllers view things don't necessarily align with how management views things.

2. Experienced Controller Bid (?): My understanding of this is that Navcan will simply upload an experienced controller ad on their careers page when the need arises. I've recently checked their careers page and noticed two positions being available for Vancouver terminal. If my desired FIR does not have one of these posted, is there simply no outlet for me to utilize, even as an experienced controller? I am from Vancouver but the cost of living and traffic levels make me question whether that is where I would like to go.

Applying from the street causes complications as I would have to coordinate when I officially leave the military alongside with a Navcan course loading message. Of course, this isn't guaranteed and I simply cannot leave my current job and jeopardize my finances without a guarantee that I will have a spot.

Some people from my facility have literally visited the local ACC with their resumes in hand, after being prompted to do so over the phone with pertinent managers. For many, however, nothing has come of this. Instead, I am told that the referral program has been taking precedence, which, of course, I do not have any connections for.

Is the most I can do is simply watch the website closely and bide for the right time?

3. OT protection: Controversial topic. I've heard many mixed stories about this one. I've heard of certain ACCs failing off entire courses for this reason. I am told the company has begun to address this problem more seriously- does anyone have some insight on this?

4. Terminal vs. Low Sector

I love the arrival portion of my job, I find arrival sequencing to be the most mentally stimulating and satisfying. Having said this, I've been curious about low sector ops as well. Is anyone able to provide some input on the differences?

Thank you very much.
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Lotro
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Re: Frustrations of a Military ATC and the Big Leap

Post by Lotro »

I'll take a shot at answering...

First off all, if you're interested, just apply and decide if you want to do it after you get an offer. It can take a long time to get an offer, so I typically just tell everyone to go for it. The national qualification rate is around 30% of people who are coursed, the number of applicants offered a course is around 5% or less last time I checked. It's always a long shot. If you want to do it, do it.

If you can't realistically take the job until you've finished your service (which I as a citizen duly appreciate), I guess you'll have to hold off on applying?!

1. Staffing is low everywhere. NavCanada is actively trying to get to 100% staffing. Training controllers takes a long time. People are retiring. They're hiring as fast as they can load courses. If you qualify, your unit will probably still be short.

2. I'm not super well versed on the experienced controller program, but as far as I know, your military experience doesn't make you eligible. The site says you "Must hold a valid IFR Air Traffic Controllers license". That license is issued by Transport Canada and administered by NavCanada. I know a few military cross-over controllers who had to apply off the street and go through all of training from start to finish. I don't think there's a fast track option based on your experience.

3. No.
If you get the opportunity to ask about the qualification rate for the specific specialty/unit and can get a straight answer, that would be good information to know before mortgaging your house and moving to a new city...

4. Can't help you. I have windows.

Hope this helps.
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whatisttv
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Re: Frustrations of a Military ATC and the Big Leap

Post by whatisttv »

Contrary to what Lotro has said, I think there is a fast track option for military ATC controllers...I've met a few military controllers who has received an offer from Nav Canada to skip the entire application process and to receive a conversion course/OJT. Not only that but they would receive similar pay as they did from the military during this conversion course.

Aren't military controllers' license issued by Transport Canada? I thought it was.
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jakeandelwood
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Re: Frustrations of a Military ATC and the Big Leap

Post by jakeandelwood »

whatisttv wrote:
Wed Jul 17, 2019 10:37 pm
Contrary to what Lotro has said, I think there is a fast track option for military ATC controllers...I've met a few military controllers who has received an offer from Nav Canada to skip the entire application process and to receive a conversion course/OJT. Not only that but they would receive similar pay as they did from the military during this conversion course.

Aren't military controllers' license issued by Transport Canada? I thought it was.
Interesting, it says on Nav Canada's website in the "frequently asked questions" that there is no fast track program for other controllers, maybe that's from another country though. One would think an experienced controller from a high traffic area in the US would be a shoe in.
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whatisttv
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Re: Frustrations of a Military ATC and the Big Leap

Post by whatisttv »

jakeandelwood wrote:
Wed Jul 17, 2019 11:01 pm
whatisttv wrote:
Wed Jul 17, 2019 10:37 pm
Contrary to what Lotro has said, I think there is a fast track option for military ATC controllers...I've met a few military controllers who has received an offer from Nav Canada to skip the entire application process and to receive a conversion course/OJT. Not only that but they would receive similar pay as they did from the military during this conversion course.

Aren't military controllers' license issued by Transport Canada? I thought it was.
Interesting, it says on Nav Canada's website in the "frequently asked questions" that there is no fast track program for other controllers, maybe that's from another country though. One would think an experienced controller from a high traffic area in the US would be a shoe in.
I think an experienced controller from a high traffic area in the US lacks a fundamental prerequisite - Canadian citizenship.
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jakeandelwood
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Re: Frustrations of a Military ATC and the Big Leap

Post by jakeandelwood »

whatisttv wrote:
Thu Jul 18, 2019 8:20 am
jakeandelwood wrote:
Wed Jul 17, 2019 11:01 pm
whatisttv wrote:
Wed Jul 17, 2019 10:37 pm
Contrary to what Lotro has said, I think there is a fast track option for military ATC controllers...I've met a few military controllers who has received an offer from Nav Canada to skip the entire application process and to receive a conversion course/OJT. Not only that but they would receive similar pay as they did from the military during this conversion course.

Aren't military controllers' license issued by Transport Canada? I thought it was.
Interesting, it says on Nav Canada's website in the "frequently asked questions" that there is no fast track program for other controllers, maybe that's from another country though. One would think an experienced controller from a high traffic area in the US would be a shoe in.
I think an experienced controller from a high traffic area in the US lacks a fundamental prerequisite - Canadian citizenship.
Let's say they obtained that and were planning to move.
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Braun
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Re: Frustrations of a Military ATC and the Big Leap

Post by Braun »

whatisttv wrote:
Thu Jul 18, 2019 8:20 am
jakeandelwood wrote:
Wed Jul 17, 2019 11:01 pm
whatisttv wrote:
Wed Jul 17, 2019 10:37 pm
Contrary to what Lotro has said, I think there is a fast track option for military ATC controllers...I've met a few military controllers who has received an offer from Nav Canada to skip the entire application process and to receive a conversion course/OJT. Not only that but they would receive similar pay as they did from the military during this conversion course.

Aren't military controllers' license issued by Transport Canada? I thought it was.
Interesting, it says on Nav Canada's website in the "frequently asked questions" that there is no fast track program for other controllers, maybe that's from another country though. One would think an experienced controller from a high traffic area in the US would be a shoe in.
I think an experienced controller from a high traffic area in the US lacks a fundamental prerequisite - Canadian citizenship.
There is an indeed a way to get in as a Military ATC, no formal process and it's on a case by case basis. Also, you don't need citizenship to work for Nav, only permanent residency status,
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DHC-1 Jockey
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Re: Frustrations of a Military ATC and the Big Leap

Post by DHC-1 Jockey »

I was put on the YYZ tower course a few years ago, and there was a Trenton combined Tower/Terminal military controller on my course. He was looking at a promotion and riding a desk so he left the Forces for NavCan. He didn't have to go through the basic airport control course that the rest of us new-hires did. I think he just did a few sessions in the basic tower SIM to get versed in "civilian phraseology" or something like that before starting the complex YYZ course.

He got his license too and still works at YYZ.
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FailedApproach101
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Re: Frustrations of a Military ATC and the Big Leap

Post by FailedApproach101 »

I appreciate the responses.

Few things:

1. We do get issued licenses from TC, albeit military controller licenses, similarly to what our pilots receive compared to civilian licenses. We do go through the same structured process and my license does have IFR qual on it.

2. I've heard of numerous colleagues getting offers (or approached in someway) either on course at Cornwall or during a nightshift over the hotline lol.

The consensus seems to be that if they are offered something they get to skip generic, and straight into speciality or some kind of stream-lined program. We had one just leave for Billy Bishop and they will just do some classroom work then go straight into live, while keeping her pay grade.

But this, as mentioned, seems to be case by case basis. I've also heard of people showing up to an ACC during a tour with resume in hand. Apparently they were met with good reception initially but this went nowhere in the end.

I guess I wanted to see if anyone had any insight or whether this process actually had any structure or was case by case. Guess I'll start poking the ACC shift managers in the future and see what they can do for me. Appreciate the responses.
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AuxBatOn
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Re: Frustrations of a Military ATC and the Big Leap

Post by AuxBatOn »

FailedApproach101 wrote:
Mon Aug 05, 2019 1:32 am
I appreciate the responses.

Few things:

1. We do get issued licenses from TC, albeit military controller licenses, similarly to what our pilots receive compared to civilian licenses. We do go through the same structured process and my license does have IFR qual on it.
Your license isn't from TC. It is from the military. The Aeronautics Act is clear that the MND is responsible for airworthiness issues related to "defense-related services" (that includes licensing) while the Minister of Transport is responsible for airworthiness for civilian flying.

Fun fact: when a contractor flies a mission for DND, it is subjected to DND flying rules vs the CARs.
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ProfessionalATC
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Re: Frustrations of a Military ATC and the Big Leap

Post by ProfessionalATC »

What about the possibility of ex Military ATCs working in other areas of the world such as Dubai and the rest of the middle east. I know they take experienced controllers, do they consider the experience of he military?
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