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Air Traffic Controller

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by miracleboy, 7 Jun 2006.

  1. miracleboy

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 31 Oct 2002

    Posts: 2,313

    Thought I saw some threads here in the last about this - is anyone here involved in this area, and what is it like as a career? Is there any maximum age to get into the profession? Just been reading some stuff on the NATS site.
     
  2. SideWinder

    Consigliere

    Joined: 12 Jun 2004

    Posts: 149,359

    Location: NW5

    Scuzi is. :)
     
  3. Yas786

    Caporegime

    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 48,285

    Location: All over the world...

    And Charlie Bravo if im not mistaken
     
  4. miracleboy

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 31 Oct 2002

    Posts: 2,313

    Hmm looks like what I'm reading on the NATS career site, I've left it too late (2 years to be precise) - age limit is 30 for entry to training, which is a bit depressing. :(
     
  5. Scuzi

    Man of Honour

    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 19,721

    Location: Жит&#10

    30 is the maximum age for Nats although if you have previous aviation related experience you will be considered. Previous aviation experience can be anything that is remotely related to aircraft so if you have any such experience, give the HR department a call and see what they say.

    As far as the job is concerned, I love it. I work at West Drayton as a radar controller, controlling all flights in and out of the northern half of the London TMA. There are different types of controlling, i.e. Area, TMA, Approach and Aerodrome and all are very different jobs but everyone I've spoken to in the other disciplines seems to love it. The job satisfaction is second to none as it is very challenging and never gets boring. The money is excellent, the holidays are even better and the big bonus is that when you unplug your headset and go home, that's it, you can forget about air traffic until you next go to work.

    It's an excellent career, so if you have any aviation related experience, get on the phone to HR to see if they can help you. Failing that you can self fund an aerodrome licence and apply for a job at a non-Nats airport but if you want to do TMA or Area Radar control, you'll have to work for Nats.

    Any questions, just ask :)
     
  6. Bug One

    Capodecina

    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 10,472

    Location: Sandwich, Kent

    I applied years ago. I went through a week of tests, then on the last day they said that they wont be recruiting anyone for at least a year and a half as they were retraining all their current staff at the moment.

    Stuff that.
     
  7. Bes

    Soldato

    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 7,269

    Location: The Ghetto: AKA Brixton

    Scuzi- It must be quite stressful knowing that a mistake could potentially kill hundreds of people... what are the chances of one operator's negligence actually causing an accident, as I don't think I could live with that in the back of my mind if I worked in ATC
     
  8. Kell_ee001

    Capodecina

    Joined: 19 Oct 2004

    Posts: 12,387

    Location: Jesmond

    I have a question :)

    Is the ability to hold 5 coloured pens in your face a necessity or just a bonus? :p
     
  9. Scuzi

    Man of Honour

    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 19,721

    Location: Жит&#10

    Things are better nowadays with devices such as TCAS (Traffic Collision Avoidance System) and improved procedures but non of it is fail safe. Even with all this in place, putting two or more planes together is still possible, the Uberlingen disaster being a more recent example.

    If things are ticking over nicely and you've got a bit of a rhythm going, your decision making is good and your pace is good, things are generally not too bad. When things are going smooth you generally don't think about the bad possibilities as you're so damn busy concentrating on getting it right. However, when you make a mistake (and we all do) and two planes get close or had the potential of getting close, you do begin to think about the possibilities and it's quite sickening. Dealing with emergencies is another stressful situation as you have to deal with it on top of everything else you were doing. At this time of the year especially we can be working to our maximum capacity, situations can get tense when the situation becomes too complex or there is too much traffic. The London TMA is one of the busiest bits of airspace in the world and is renowned as being the most complex and we have to take it rather seriously as the margins are tight but at the end of the day the systems and procedures in place are very good at helping us keep planes from banging into each other.

    I personally try to think of it as a computer game and am generally quite relaxed but it's not always easy. I've came home from work some days feeling sick in the stomach with stress and so mentally exhausted that I've been unable to do things like put the correct key in the door, but I'm not that experienced. Most days I come home feeling relaxed and happy. I haven't had an airmiss myself so can't comment on that but I've had some close calls where it has really hammered home what we've been dealing with.

    Don't let that put you off flying though, no matter how busy we get, we NEVER compromise safety. If things do become too much we have procedures in place to help controllers cope. We're all a big team and help each other out so the support is always there.



    It's not a necessity but it's a distinct advantage ;)
    To cope with the job you need to be a bit crazy and easy going, we'd all crack if we took it all deadly 'straight faced' serious. Everyone might think I'm a bit weird and quirky but it's the way I have to be. Pretty much everyone I work with is at least equally as crazy or quirky. We work hard and as such we have to play hard, sometimes letting our hair down a bit too far :D
     
    Last edited: 7 Jun 2006
  10. Berserker

    Man of Honour

    Joined: 4 Nov 2002

    Posts: 15,448

    Location: West Berkshire

    What's this about thinking you're weird? :confused: :p :D
     
  11. Scuzi

    Man of Honour

    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 19,721

    Location: Жит&#10

    I've no idea, a few people have suggested it but I'm at a loss as to what they're talking about. They're the ones who are weird, I'm just special ;)
     
  12. Bug One

    Capodecina

    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 10,472

    Location: Sandwich, Kent

    Thats the thing that they were introducing and training all their staff on when I applied.