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To be or not to be...an ATCO

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To be or not to be...an ATCO

Old 15th Feb 2011, 06:22
  #21 (permalink)  
 
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I'm trying!


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Old 15th Feb 2011, 06:42
  #22 (permalink)  
 
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Bizarre stuff.... I cannot comprehend anyone getting bored in ATC. If you're stuck in an office, maybe, but not in a tower or on radar as an operational controller. Not once in my time in ATC was I ever bored; it simply never happened.
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Old 15th Feb 2011, 11:56
  #23 (permalink)  

Naughty but Nice
 
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I was bored at 03.15 this morning....
I've never got bored so far I must admit.

Cheers
Northerner


"Keep smiling - it makes people wonder what you're up to...."
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Old 15th Feb 2011, 14:58
  #24 (permalink)  
 
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I took
In your dreams, maybe?
To mean that I was maybe 'dreaming' in my grasp of reality, re sequencing and my employment as an APP controller entering my third decade of employment (4 ANSPs and 3 countries).

In light of possible misunderstanding I apologise and have deleted.

Last edited by Track Coastal; 15th Feb 2011 at 15:18.
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Old 15th Feb 2011, 15:43
  #25 (permalink)  
 
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Track Coastal.. I was referring to your comment:

"When its quiet one can get grumpy with some bird that thinks 'maintain speed 210kts' is only a suggestion. When its busy and he can't play you just take him out of the sequence, waaaay too much going on to baby Capt Ego"

That struck me as an unusual way for a professional controller to think in real life, hence my comment "In your dreams". If that's the way ATC functions where you work(ed) then I misunderstood. It's certainly not the way any controller I have ever worked with would think..

C'est la vie..
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Old 15th Feb 2011, 17:17
  #26 (permalink)  

 
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Bizarre stuff.... I cannot comprehend anyone getting bored in ATC. If you're stuck in an office, maybe, but not in a tower or on radar as an operational controller. Not once in my time in ATC was I ever bored; it simply never happened.
Just about all the other approach or TMA controllers at TC have (actually are required to have) validations on different approach or area sectors, thus a bit of variation.

The majority of the LL controllers at TC just do LL with little chance of doing anything else even if they wanted to (although they are not required to) due to the perpetual under staffing.

18 years now of just saying leave LAM heading 270 (occasionally perhaps 265 or 275, who says there isn't variety!) is not always particularly inspiring I regret to say.

Whilst I have no desire to go down the GS/management route, it would be nice to think one was occasionally coming in to work to do something a little different. Bored isn't the correct word, it's just a bit of variety would be nice.
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Old 15th Feb 2011, 17:53
  #27 (permalink)  
 
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Just about all the other approach or TMA controllers at TC have (actually are required to have) validations on different approach or area sectors, thus a bit of variation.
Maybe semantics, but not quite correct from a TMA perspective. North, South and Midlands (the majority of the sectors) controllers, just like EGLL controllers, are not required to do another sector. The fact that the majority of them do on goodwill (for no reward) is the reason the Ops room functions at all from a TMA perspective.

The three sectors, but especially North and South offer a huge variety within themselves. The other 2 sectors, East and Capital are extensions - east used to be a bolt hole for a first validation if there were no training places available, but this is no longer practiced as it has been proven that it is very difficult to cross train onto North or South as they are much more difficult. The idea being that we are a band 5 unit for a reason... Capital has never been offered as a first validation as it is too sporty (when busy) and does not reflect the ideal practices a controller should display - too much performance based controlling is required when the sector kicks off (fairly seldom in the past couple of years, but it will go that way again when traffic picks up).

'Tis a shame about the lack of EGLL bods with regard to cross validation, as the chap on my watch who does another airport loves the variety 9and the freedom the other airport gives hime with a nice big RMA)!
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Old 15th Feb 2011, 18:45
  #28 (permalink)  
 
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<<18 years now of just saying leave LAM heading 270>>

We must have worked together, but you haven't got your knees brown yet . I did it for 31 years and never understood anyone who said Heathrow was a sausage machine. Every day was different - wind, weather, delays, emergencies and all... I loved it all. I still miss it after being away from 8+ years... but I'd rather be at home!!
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Old 15th Feb 2011, 18:53
  #29 (permalink)  

 
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I thought the TMA bods had do do another sector/bank, I stand corrected.

Bren, yes we did work together both at the tower and at TC. It is different every day, but it's still the same if you see what I mean. If I may be allowed a little rose tinted reminiscing, by far the best days of my ATC career* were back when approach was still at the tower. You could do tower and approach the same day and go for a stroll through the terminal or a run out on to the airfield in Pixie on a break.

Very happy days...

* somewhat more than just the 18 years LL approach has now been at TC.
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Old 15th Feb 2011, 19:07
  #30 (permalink)  
 
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Great days indeed, Roffa. Guess you won't see their like again.

Take care my friend....
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Old 15th Feb 2011, 22:35
  #31 (permalink)  
 
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"I can't stand all that conspiratorial whispering and "who said what about who to whom" nonsense - and I like the idea that as an ATCO, you're there to control, and there's no time for playing ridiculous power games."

Ha Ha Ha Ha. That has made my day. Try working at LACC for a day and that misconception will be blown out of the water rapidly. Its far worse than most offices as not only do a lot of Atco's socialise together but they also go out , marry and divorce each other. Its like a bloody soap opera most of the time.
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Old 15th Feb 2011, 23:39
  #32 (permalink)  
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blueskythinking
agree with you there speaking as one whose ex wife was posted to the same watch along with her new husband. It made night shifts cosy with me on North and he on South, particulary when we used to put it all on together on the North bank (CCF days) together with the TV set.

The place is, as you say, like a soap opera, or a Jilly Cooper Bonkbuster!

Good fun tho!

Last edited by Vercingetorix; 16th Feb 2011 at 03:52.
 
Old 16th Feb 2011, 10:02
  #33 (permalink)  
 
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Good old LL days!

When I was a LATCC controller,(not for long thankfully, 74-80 ) there was all this talk about LL sausage machine. It maybe was,but bloody difficult sausages to make!

When I went for my 'look see' from DM prior to requesting a posting there in '86,it was RW23 with an ILS calibration on the 28s plus the odd lander as well,23 ILS was u/s, wx was poor so there were 2 Final Directors doing SRAs to visual - nearly did my head in. I sat with John Siddell on No1 N,who I slightly knew from football days,and boy did my respect for him as a controller reach the heights!

Back in the days before the other London area airfields got busy I used to think that if LL 'sneezed' the rest of the LTMA 'caught a cold'!

One of my best ATC days was when I was U/T supervisor - did spells up and down and gave a break on Twr and again on Radar,plus a trip round the 'drome in Pixie.

Then some barsteward had the idea of putting App radar into CCF, and ruined ATC fun for many of us! I couldn't then, and still don't now, see that there was any advantage in doing it. In fact it cost money; at LL the staffing was 75 but had to be increased to 90 to achieve the split! I expect some management fool got a gong or huge bonus for that.

I remember hearing that EHAM ATCOs refused to implement a similar plan and I tried to convince my colleagues that we could have done the same. Sadly too many LL controllers wanted to give up TWR and others thought they would be cross-training on to TMA - some vain hope!

All in the past now - a cycle ride beckons!

BW
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Old 16th Feb 2011, 12:03
  #34 (permalink)  
 
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Interesting conversation here.

I passed stage 1 of the NATS application process there a few weeks ago, and have stage 2 on May 6th.

I think asking whether a job is for you or not is really something only you can answer, for example, I love night shifts and and early mornings. My body clock never allows me to sleep beyond 6am anyways, so at least early rises won't be an issue!

Anyways - good luck with whatever you decide, but only you can decide it!
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Old 16th Feb 2011, 12:16
  #35 (permalink)  
 
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Back in the days before the other London area airfields got busy I used to think that if LL 'sneezed' the rest of the LTMA 'caught a cold'!
It's quite telling how things have changed - highlighted greatly by the downturn in traffic.

The 'other' LTMA airfields have had reduced traffic but Heathrow has maintained and even had increased numbers.

The TMA has been much quieter which shows that when it comes to traffic, the 'other' airfields do indeed create a lot of work for TMA; in fact it is they who add the complexity.

However, if it does go wrong at Heathrow, it still has a huge impact on the rest of the room, just as I am sure it did in 'the old days'...
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Old 16th Feb 2011, 15:48
  #36 (permalink)  
 
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<<Its far worse than most offices as not only do a lot of Atco's socialise together but they also go out , marry and divorce each other. Its like a bloody soap opera most of the time.>>

Ahhh... the first SATCO I had was back in 1966. Among his first words to me were: "Never socialise with air traffic people". I never did, right until just before I retired.
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Old 17th Feb 2011, 09:35
  #37 (permalink)  
 
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The late Flying Wing Adj at Farnborough had an attitude; he said 'you shouldn't have female ATCOs as they might marry a male one and breed'!
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Old 17th Feb 2011, 10:23
  #38 (permalink)  
 
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What is the retirement age for ATCOs in UK? Anybody know if there is a lower limit than the normal 65 years old?
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Old 17th Feb 2011, 10:46
  #39 (permalink)  
 
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Under present UK legislation, you cannot be forced to retire at a set age, but the national age for males is presently 65, and NATS 'encourage' you to retire at 60.
Don't take this as gospel, but I understand in Spain ATCOs retire at 52.
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