Tagged Air Traffic Control

Week of Firsts

2/15/2016 21:11

I know this repetitive but I’m falling behind on writing and I’m going to try and make more of an effort to dedicate the time. Now I find myself taking the shuttle again some what frequently so hopefully I can make that time happen. Believe me, this writing thing just doesn’t spew right out of me like rotten yogurt. This article alone took me 31 minutes; that time up there is when I started writing it. Hopefully I don’t look back at this as a considerable waste of time.

So last week was a week of firsts: New Job, MAX SIM, and Valentines Day. Even though I started the week prior to last I consider this previous week my first real week at my new job. I’m still unsure of it to be honest. It’s a rather small company without the tools and reach my previous one possessed. It is a staffing agency, however, the owner is trying to branch out into the more technical positions I am familiar with and make it more of a recruiting firm. This places a rather large emphasis on me doing recruiting which is not what I’m trying to do.  At the same time it offers great potential to help a business grow and expand. This needs to be a launch pad and I will not accept a failure to launch and be grounded indefinitely. I DO NOT want to become a recruiter.

Now, enough of the drowning story that is my work life. Last week was also my first time in the MAX Simulator, and working incoming traffic on ground control. MAX SIM is the 320 degree simulator that simulates a tower cab, and incoming traffic means airplanes that have landed and need to taxi to their terminal for parking.  Both of these aspects introduce quite a learning curve. First, the MAX SIMs lack of ground radar makes you control traffic solely based off of looking out the tower cab. This means you really have to be to look outside and know what you’re looking at. Second, giving “taxi to the ramp” clearances really means you have to know how to formulate routes; which means you have to know the map and what you’re looking at. Working parking traffic into your flow of departing traffic is also another plate to spin and balance. I will start writing more with regards to my progress on the simulator and tips I find that help.

Lastly, last week was also the first Valentines Day in which I was in a relationship. My girl and I have been at it for what I want to say is nine months (this is probably something I should undoubtedly know). Regardless, this is the only serious relationship I’ve ever had in my life and it is a nice change. As time goes on I definitely feel my love for her grow, and it becomes harder and harder to look into to my future and not see her there. Being the cynical ass that I am I can’t end it on that note. So I want to take this time to address what a fucking scam Valentines Day is. Whack a racket, men seriously get bent over for this holiday; I’m still too scared to even look at my bank account and see the aftermath.

Losing Weekends

Its days like these that are especially hard. It is 0842 on this friday morning and I just got up and am waiting for my keurig to spit out my coffee. My next class isn’t until 1500 on monday, so thats a three and half day weekend ahead of me. However, I have such a vast amount of homework to do that I don’t think I’m going to have a weekend at all. I am relatively positive I will not leave my apartment except to go to the gym. Now your thinking big deal, you lost a weekend. What you don’t know is that over the past three weeks I’ve been limited to being able to go out only one night, and having to actually leave early so I can get up at a decent hour to do homework the next day. So for it to finally come to not having a weekend at all just sucks a little. Plus valentines day is tomorrow, which is obviously never fun when your single.

TRACON Tour

Had a Sky Harbor and Pheonix TRACON tour the other day. I’m just now writing about it at 0756 in the morning several days later because I am absolutely swamped at the moment; I actually had to get up 30 minutes early today just to do this. Back to the point: TRACON and Tower tour. This was intact the first I have ever seen a real radar scope, and It was absolutely amazing. This is something I highly recommend doing if you find yourself some how possessing the opportunity.

Phoenix TRACON is basically a dark circular room with scopes all long the wall with people just sitting at them and murmuring into their headset. The energy in that room is just something to marvel over. It is quiet and clam, yet at the same time it is the most serious and hectic room in all of Arizona. Most people probably wouldn’t feel the same way I do about it, but it definitely felt like I place I’d like to call my second home. Definitely very motivating to be there and see it, and I really do hope that I could be a talented enough controller to one day make it there.

Sky Harbor Tower was very impressive as well. Standing at something like 400ft tall makes for some pretty outstanding views of the entire valley. We spent so long in the TRACON that by the time we got up there is was night time. Which actually, is something I recommend doing if you somehow can. An airport at night, at least to me, is much more interesting. All the run way and taxi lights are actually quite beautiful, not the mention the 360 degree view of endless miles of city lights.

Even though this event sent me drastically behind on my homework, it was totally worth it. Really hoping I can pull off having my internship there. I feel like my grades and my resume should put me ahead of most of the competition, but you never know. There is always going to be someone who is better then you. That is my free life lesson of the day for you. Now I have to get to my ATC class.

“If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?” – Albert Einstein 

Because my desk right now is a mess, and I am using this to justify it.

Carrolyn Bostick, Good Riddance

I received news a couple days ago that Carrolyn Bostick was forced to resign. Bostick was the front runner behind the FAA’s new insane/disturbing controller hiring processes. This is great news for someone like me, and makes the future look a little brighter. Obvious the next bid coming in  march isn’t going to change and I will be taking the biographical questionnaire when I apply. However, that leaves me with some hope that if I don’t get picked up in March (2015), I will be a prime candidate in 2016 when I graduate. Fingers crossed.

Pressure is building

School is starting to get to me a little. After joining a voluntary Non-Radar Separation class I now find myself in six classes, two of which have labs. Therefore, free time at the moment is next to non existent because I literally always have something that I need to do. Non-Radar isn’t for credits or a grade, but its contents are invaluable. It is the first thing they teach you at the academy (if your going for en route), and it also accounts for 14% of your overall grade there. The other students in this class are further in the program than I, so it is a little intimidating. Overall, the objective is to know the map (since it is the same one used at the academy, here is a link to it) inside and out. Every word, number, line, and object must be memorized. Apparently at the academy a test they give is that they hand you a blank piece of paper and make you draw the entire thing from memory. Pretty Gnarly.

Dreaming

January 27th, 2015 20:48

Last night marked the third time since I started at ASU that I’ve had a dream about a plane(s) crashing. I’m thinking this may be some kind of repressed fear surfacing itself since the actual thought of being responsible for thousands of lives a day actually excites me. The odd thing about these dreams though is that these planes aren’t crashing due directly to me; I just happen to be there and witness it.

Dreams are mostly forgotten shortly after waking, so I don’t remember the first one because I probably thought nothing of it at first. The second time I was actually in a control tower and I watched several planes just plummet into the earth and explode; thats pretty memorable. Last night, for some odd reason the aircraft was a space shuttle, and I was just on the street and happened to notice two people eject from it. Then it just withered its way down to the earth like a falling leaf.

Not sure what these dreams mean if dreams actually supposed to mean something. I do plan on asking my professor if this is common among controllers. Therefore, standby for an update.

Update: He said he had never heard of it. However, he told me not to worry about it. He thought it was most likely a result of me learning how much more gnarly being a controller is; compared to what I had in my head before I started this program.

Heated Argument

January 21st, 2015 22:01

Found myself involved in a heated argument during the middle of a lab tonight. We took a vote to start the class at 6pm instead of 6:30pm. The class which this lab is for gets out at 5:45pm (and we are all in it). Naturally everyone voted yes because sitting around with your thumb up your ass for 45 minutes sucks. However, one kid said he needed that time to “go get dinner” and ruined it for the rest of us. I called him out on his bullshit across the class in front of everyone and he got rather butt hurt about it. Now we all get to waste 10 hours of our lives over the span of this entire semester because this giant baby can’t pack a protein bar like the rest of us.