ATC Issues A place where pilots may enter the 'lions den' that is Air Traffic Control in complete safety and find out the answers to all those obscure topics which you always wanted to know the answer to but were afraid to ask.

ANS v NATS

Old 31st Jul 2019, 19:45
  #41 (permalink)  
 
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My own opinion is that you can稚 compare learning to fly with learning to control. They are completely different. I知 not a currently licensed pilot, so some may think I知 talking rubbish, but I have done some flying, and of course there are generalisations coming up......

Learning to fly is basically physics. Given a set of variables, such as; airspeed, aircraft/aerofoil design, angle of attack etc, then a given control input will result in reaction A. Always. Change one variable, and the given control input will result in reaction B. Always. Learning to fly is how to string those control inputs together to result in a sequence of reactions to get the aircraft to do what you want it to do. This is how there can be zero flight time simulators.

ATC has far more variables, many of them involve human interaction.. Our main method of controlling is communication to other parties. We致e all sat through the PowerPoint about how much non-verbal comms are used in life. Given an infinite amount of money and staff and time, one could possibly build a 想ero controlling time ATC sim, but you壇 literally need 50 people, all with different accents, first languages, different distractions and ideas to each act as a pilot/driver/airport ops person/other controllers. Controlling is about putting yourself in the head of the pilot/driver etc. It痴 about balancing priorities based on many factors that you only get knowledge of through experience. That痴 why it痴 more effective to do the bulk of training in a live environment. The basics can be done in a sim, learning phraseology, basic techniques etc, but that can only get you so far.

I would equate ATC training to an airline pilot command course. It痴 not about flying the aircraft, it痴 about being ahead of any situation and having to weigh a lot more factors to form an executable plan, while having alternative plans ready to activate in case something changes.
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Old 31st Jul 2019, 20:43
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Originally Posted by Gonzo View Post
My own opinion is that you can稚 compare learning to fly with learning to control. They are completely different. I知 not a currently licensed pilot, so some may think I知 talking rubbish, but I have done some flying, and of course there are generalisations coming up......

Learning to fly is basically physics. Given a set of variables, such as; airspeed, aircraft/aerofoil design, angle of attack etc, then a given control input will result in reaction A. Always. Change one variable, and the given control input will result in reaction B. Always. Learning to fly is how to string those control inputs together to result in a sequence of reactions to get the aircraft to do what you want it to do. This is how there can be zero flight time simulators.

ATC has far more variables, many of them involve human interaction.. Our main method of controlling is communication to other parties. We致e all sat through the PowerPoint about how much non-verbal comms are used in life. Given an infinite amount of money and staff and time, one could possibly build a 想ero controlling time ATC sim, but you壇 literally need 50 people, all with different accents, first languages, different distractions and ideas to each act as a pilot/driver/airport ops person/other controllers. Controlling is about putting yourself in the head of the pilot/driver etc. It痴 about balancing priorities based on many factors that you only get knowledge of through experience. That痴 why it痴 more effective to do the bulk of training in a live environment. The basics can be done in a sim, learning phraseology, basic techniques etc, but that can only get you so far.

I would equate ATC training to an airline pilot command course. It痴 not about flying the aircraft, it痴 about being ahead of any situation and having to weigh a lot more factors to form an executable plan, while having alternative plans ready to activate in case something changes.
Im a flyer not a controller. However, if I was to compare the two I would probably simplify controlling in the same way you simplified flying. Which means we壇 probably both be wrong.
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Old 31st Jul 2019, 22:46
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Originally Posted by handleturning View Post


Im a flyer not a controller. However, if I was to compare the two I would probably simplify controlling in the same way you simplified flying. Which means we壇 probably both be wrong.
Which is why trying to compare the two shouldn't be done. There are parts of training for each that would probably improve both.

What I do know that simulators for aircraft are very realistic as in how an aircraft will have to be flown in any situation. So you can train very accurately in them.

Simulators in the ATC world are accurate in replicating kit (as its the same) but not very good at replicating the aircraft and what they will do. The people pretending to be pilots and other atcos do their best but ultimately after a certain point the trainee starts to get no benefit from them. I have seen trainees move massive amounts of traffic in the sim but as soon as you add real people in the real world they can't move a 10th of what they do in the sim. The only way to get over this is to train on live traffic in hopefully appropriate traffic levels. I say hopefully because at the beginning of live training it's very hard to find in todays busy airspace.

I think there is a place for incremental learning in the rating courses for atcos to get the basics but once on unit it becomes very hard to achieve.
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Old 1st Aug 2019, 09:42
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I'm with Gonzo. I'm currently a controller but did, previously, fly professionally, albeit not civil. Could ATC training be better? Of course it could be. Right from the very first point of applying, through aptitude testing and interviews to validation, there could be improvements. Same with flying training. Flying training, as with ATC, varies in quality depending where you go.

I would say that flying instructors are, generally, on average more interested in teaching. Flying to those who do it seems to be more of a passion than controlling, though there are controllers out there who are really passionate about it. This in turn means that instructors may be more enthusiastic,

However the two beasts are different. ATC is very much, by rote, whilst procedures and specific airspace is learned and understood. You can't throw someone in on a busy session and expect them to get on with it. Same with flying; you teach the basics first then you go on to the more demanding aspects.

Like it or not, flying is easier in many respects... you are in charge of one aircraft, ultimately responsible for the safety of it, but guided by ATC in many aspects. You cannot compare like for like the training of the two, but you can take certain aspects from each and apply them
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Old 1st Aug 2019, 16:19
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Bear in mind that instructors at the NATS College are on the highest salary band so if you were at a Band 1 unit and got posted to the college, you'd instantly become Band 5.
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