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ACC or TWR/APP if I wish to transfer?

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ACC or TWR/APP if I wish to transfer?

Old 2nd Dec 2017, 11:45
  #1 (permalink)  
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Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Europe
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ACC or TWR/APP if I wish to transfer?

Hello everyone,

I am a trainee ATC in Europe, and soon I'll have to choose between working in an ACC or a Tower. As a matter of fact, I find both jobs really interesting with each having his pros and cons. However, i would like to have the opportunity to move quite easily to other countries later on so I am wondering which one is more interesting to go with considering that fact. In other words which rating allows you to work in more places?

Many thanks

Shamrock2
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Old 2nd Dec 2017, 14:46
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Join Date: Feb 2010
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Twr/App for flexibility but it's a lot more boring than Area
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Old 2nd Dec 2017, 17:39
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Join Date: Sep 2000
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Originally Posted by obwan View Post
Twr/App for flexibility but it's a lot more boring than Area
You've obviously never worked at an "interesting" tower.

As for which to choose, choose what you think you'll enjoy more.
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Old 2nd Dec 2017, 21:47
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Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: River Thames & Surrey
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In Area, you never get to see an aeroplane.
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Old 3rd Dec 2017, 11:18
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Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Oz
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After 10 years Area, 20 years Approach, much more job satisfaction in the complexities of Approach - though that depends on whether you are good enough. (dons flame retardant suit)
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Old 3rd Dec 2017, 12:38
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Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: etha
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In Area, you never get to see an aeroplane.
Yes, because we are kept in an underground bunker for the entirety of our careers and never see the skies or anything flying through it
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Old 3rd Dec 2017, 15:52
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Join Date: Sep 2013
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Originally Posted by chevvron View Post
In Area, you never get to see an aeroplane.
I thought you were hired for the safe and efficient control of traffic, not for planespotting.
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Old 3rd Dec 2017, 18:13
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Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: River Thames & Surrey
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Originally Posted by core_dump View Post
I thought you were hired for the safe and efficient control of traffic, not for planespotting.
My first posting was LATCC at West Drayton. One side of the ops room had a huge window about 20 ft high. Every so often, someone would shout 'it's passing Woodley' and there would be a mass rush to the window of both controllers and assistants to look up at a contrail headed by a 'rare' type or one that rarely visited Europe.
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Old 8th Dec 2017, 10:07
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Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: by the seaside
Posts: 81
Originally Posted by Shamrock2 View Post
Hello everyone,

I am a trainee ATC in Europe, and soon I'll have to choose between working in an ACC or a Tower. As a matter of fact, I find both jobs really interesting with each having his pros and cons. However, i would like to have the opportunity to move quite easily to other countries later on so I am wondering which one is more interesting to go with considering that fact. In other words which rating allows you to work in more places?

Many thanks

Shamrock2
TWR / APP is very interesting in a busy airport. You will get to experience both the work of a tower controller (actually see the aircrafts, apron, runway, taxiways etc) and a radar APP controller. There are also sectors where the APP controller coordinates traffic with the enroute sectors.

APP is fun, you can expect a lot of vectoring and traffics climbing and descending. The number and complexity of APP sectors depends a lot on the density of traffic, flows of traffic and the design of airspace around (military areas, how close are busy airports to each other etc).

As an area controller, you would be taking over the planes departing, transferred by the approach controllers and clearing them to climb to cruise level, and dealing with flows of traffic already flying at their cruise level.

TWR / APP could probably give you a broader perspective of the profession than working as enroute controller, and it may offer more possibilities to relocate if that's your wish. APP controllers work with a radar screen, performing a different task from enroute controllers but with the same sort of equipment and using similar skills. The tower controller deals with different tasks, in a different setting, an airport instead of an air traffic control centre.
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Old 9th Dec 2017, 11:56
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Join Date: Dec 2017
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Thank you for your answers!
Originally Posted by Satellite Man View Post
TWR / APP is very interesting in a busy airport. You will get to experience both the work of a tower controller (actually see the aircrafts, apron, runway, taxiways etc) and a radar APP controller. There are also sectors where the APP controller coordinates traffic with the enroute sectors.

APP is fun, you can expect a lot of vectoring and traffics climbing and descending. The number and complexity of APP sectors depends a lot on the density of traffic, flows of traffic and the design of airspace around (military areas, how close are busy airports to each other etc).

As an area controller, you would be taking over the planes departing, transferred by the approach controllers and clearing them to climb to cruise level, and dealing with flows of traffic already flying at their cruise level.

TWR / APP could probably give you a broader perspective of the profession than working as enroute controller, and it may offer more possibilities to relocate if that's your wish. APP controllers work with a radar screen, performing a different task from enroute controllers but with the same sort of equipment and using similar skills. The tower controller deals with different tasks, in a different setting, an airport instead of an air traffic control centre.

I understand that in your opinion TWR/APP is far better than area control especially because of the possible complexity of the airspace. But I guess the airspace and management of traffic in an area control center can be equally complex and fun... ?
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Old 15th Dec 2017, 18:44
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Join Date: Jun 2014
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Originally Posted by Shamrock2 View Post
Thank you for your answers!



I understand that in your opinion TWR/APP is far better than area control especially because of the possible complexity of the airspace. But I guess the airspace and management of traffic in an area control center can be equally complex and fun... ?
No, I was explaining that APP sectors get more complex when you have large airports relatively close to each other, and when traffic goes up, like in the last few years. The flows of traffic from different airports interact when they are close and it may imply to have more APP sectors and smaller sectors, and approach routes can also be redesigned in different ways.

Enroute control can be fun if you are working in sectors that deliver traffic to approach sectors. The lower enroute sectors are more fun than the upper ones, in my opinion, because you are going to have traffic climbing and descending, but there is not so much vectoring as in approach. On upper enroute sectors you are going to be adjusting traffic by Mach number and looking at possible conflicts of traffic already cruising.

What I tried to explain is that working at TWR / APP in a busy airport you are going to see radar control with a lot of vectoring and tower work, visual circuits etc and it could be a more comprehensive work than enroute. It is easier to move from there to enroute, or focus on APP, or go to work at any tower. Gives you better options, in my opinion.

Moving from enroute to a busy tower or viceversa is a very big change.
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Old 15th Dec 2017, 19:52
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Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Wherever someone will pay me to do fun stuff
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Each discipline is different, each offers its own challenges and those challenges are not necessarily related to traffic density or other seemingly apparent factors.

As for which you should choose, I would echo cossack's suggestion - pick whichever appeals to you more. At your stage in the business you do no not have the experience or appreciation of the subtleties of the job to make a fully reasoned decision. Overall, there are more airports than ACCs so approach/tower may offer more opportunities but the development of remote towers continues unabated and may change this balance.

Indeed, it's hard to know what the future holds for the industry and, more specifically, to the job of a controller. However, it seems unlikely that the technological advances designed to reduce the need for controller skills that are envisaged by some driving the current direction of the industry will be achieved or accepted in the timescales anticipated. In summary, if this is the case, it will mean that there will be a substantial shortfall in coming years of suitably skilled and experienced controllers (and I don't simply mean licensed controllers) in Europe, if not worldwide. So perhaps the best strategy you could follow for the moment is to get yourself qualified in whatever discipline appeals and get a few years decent experience under your belt. There's every chance that by the point at which you have a CV and profile that is marketable, the world will be your oyster.
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