NavyDEP
 

Go Back   NavyDEP > Ratings (Jobs) > Airmen (Airdales) > AC = AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLER

Family Members join our new Facebook group sponsored by NavyDEP: https://www.facebook.com/groups/Rtcgreatlakes


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 05-20-2013, 03:49 PM   #1
Tasha360
Junior Member
 
Tasha360's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Florida
Posts: 35
Rep Power: 7
Tasha360 is on a distinguished road
Default Air Traffic Control A School

Hi guys
There's not very much information on the AC rate in the forums but maybe I haven't searched enough. I'm wondering what A-School in Pensacola is like for Air Traffic Controllers? The official rating documents say that the A-school is one to two years!! This seems intense for a rating that is not mentioned much.
Anybody in Correy Station who are familiar with what they do and what their typical daily life is like once at a duty station willing to share?
Tasha360 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-21-2013, 01:21 AM   #2
shannoneliz
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: San Diego
Posts: 78
Rep Power: 12
shannoneliz is on a distinguished road
Default

All of the aviation ratings actually go to NAS Pensacola. Corry Station has the CTs and such. AC A school's difficult with a very high dropout rate. If you're not good at studying or memorizing things quickly, you'll have a hard time. The first block is all academic. They start teaching you the 7110.65 (atc manual, you could start taking look at it now but you really won't understand anything) and give you something like 10 tests in 8 weeks. If you aren't constantly in the books, it's very easy to fail a test in this portion. And to warn you, it's reeeally dry stuff. Just expect not to have a life. I think to date, only one class (my class started out with 14) has made it all the way through this block with all the original members (if you fail a test and fail a retake, they'll usually set you back, if you fail a second or third, you'll probably be kicked out of the school).

The second block is three weeks. They spend a week teaching you the basics of tower and then stick you in a tower simulator for two weeks. At the end of two weeks, you'll be tested on local, ground, and flight data - local is the most failed portion here. The third block is six weeks, I believe, and it's all about radar. You'll take your last written test (and the hardest, in my opinion), then you'll do 3 radar sims (ASR, PAR, and Arrival). Usually, if you make it through block 2, you'll graduate, but I did know a couple people who got kicked out on the last test (arrival) right before graduation.

Your day starts out pretty early. You'll PT in the morning before class at 0530 two or three times a week for an hour. They'll give you a bit of time to shower/eat breakfast afterwards, then you meet up with the other ACs and march up to the schoolhouse. Class starts a little after 8. You get about an hour for lunch (when I first got there, they let us march to the galley with your class, but people got in trouble and they made us go with the whole scholhouse after that). I don't remember what time we got out (maybe 4?), but I know we were pretty much always the last school to finish and we never got out early on Fridays like most everyone else.

AC is a difficult rate. It can be very stressful, very intense. If you're not good under pressure, it's not the job for you. It can get very boring when you're on position and there's absolutely no traffic. There are about a zillion rules you have to follow and you're expected to know them off the top of your head - a lot of the time, you don't have time to look stuff up. If you make a mistake, you can kill somebody and even go to jail. That being said, it can be a lot of fun and it's suuch an adrenaline rush when you handle a lot of traffic successfully.

A good atc resource is stuckmic.com

Also this is worth a read: https://www.facebook.com/notes/david...50167724793049
shannoneliz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-22-2013, 08:32 PM   #3
zackthespartan
Newbie
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 12
Rep Power: 5
zackthespartan is on a distinguished road
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by shannoneliz View Post
All of the aviation ratings actually go to NAS Pensacola. Corry Station has the CTs and such. AC A school's difficult with a very high dropout rate. If you're not good at studying or memorizing things quickly, you'll have a hard time. The first block is all academic. They start teaching you the 7110.65 (atc manual, you could start taking look at it now but you really won't understand anything) and give you something like 10 tests in 8 weeks. If you aren't constantly in the books, it's very easy to fail a test in this portion. And to warn you, it's reeeally dry stuff. Just expect not to have a life. I think to date, only one class (my class started out with 14) has made it all the way through this block with all the original members (if you fail a test and fail a retake, they'll usually set you back, if you fail a second or third, you'll probably be kicked out of the school).

The second block is three weeks. They spend a week teaching you the basics of tower and then stick you in a tower simulator for two weeks. At the end of two weeks, you'll be tested on local, ground, and flight data - local is the most failed portion here. The third block is six weeks, I believe, and it's all about radar. You'll take your last written test (and the hardest, in my opinion), then you'll do 3 radar sims (ASR, PAR, and Arrival). Usually, if you make it through block 2, you'll graduate, but I did know a couple people who got kicked out on the last test (arrival) right before graduation.

Your day starts out pretty early. You'll PT in the morning before class at 0530 two or three times a week for an hour. They'll give you a bit of time to shower/eat breakfast afterwards, then you meet up with the other ACs and march up to the schoolhouse. Class starts a little after 8. You get about an hour for lunch (when I first got there, they let us march to the galley with your class, but people got in trouble and they made us go with the whole scholhouse after that). I don't remember what time we got out (maybe 4?), but I know we were pretty much always the last school to finish and we never got out early on Fridays like most everyone else.

AC is a difficult rate. It can be very stressful, very intense. If you're not good under pressure, it's not the job for you. It can get very boring when you're on position and there's absolutely no traffic. There are about a zillion rules you have to follow and you're expected to know them off the top of your head - a lot of the time, you don't have time to look stuff up. If you make a mistake, you can kill somebody and even go to jail. That being said, it can be a lot of fun and it's suuch an adrenaline rush when you handle a lot of traffic successfully.

A good atc resource is stuckmic.com

Also this is worth a read: https://www.facebook.com/notes/david...50167724793049
I just flunked out of nuke school and got reclassified as an air traffic controller. I am excited to be going to my new rating but I already have concerns even though I'm still waiting to receive my orders to Pensacola.

The AC's A school is starting to seem more like second to nuke school in terms of academically rigorous programs in the military; mainly due to the fact that ACs have amongst the most stressful jobs in the world. I'm beginning to wonder if the frustration and moral toll on my confidence that affected me during nuke school is gonna come back to haunt me again.

Can you offer me any advice on how to deal with the pressures of A-school?
zackthespartan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-22-2013, 08:38 PM   #4
warehimer33
Senior Member
 
warehimer33's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Orlando, FL
Posts: 435
Rep Power: 48
warehimer33 is on a distinguished road
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by sheX360 View Post
Hi guys
There's not very much information on the AC rate in the forums but maybe I haven't searched enough. I'm wondering what A-School in Pensacola is like for Air Traffic Controllers? The official rating documents say that the A-school is one to two years!! This seems intense for a rating that is not mentioned much.
Anybody in Correy Station who are familiar with what they do and what their typical daily life is like once at a duty station willing to share?
Not sure if this helps but the guy that sits next to me in Trig just got out of the Navy as an AC. He said he loved it. He has never been on a ship and advanced pretty well. He was stationed in Pcola( or Jville; not sure) and his family was in Florida so he would just drive home on the weekends. Sounds legit.
__________________
Depped In: 15 AUG 13
Ship Date: 03 APR 14

"All the waste in a year from a nuclear power plant can be stored under a desk." --Ronald Reagan
warehimer33 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-23-2013, 12:54 AM   #5
sweetmtn
Senior Member

 
sweetmtn's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: N. CA
Posts: 3,710
Rep Power: 381
sweetmtn will become famous soon enough
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by zackthespartan View Post
I just flunked out of nuke school and got reclassified as an air traffic controller. I am excited to be going to my new rating but I already have concerns even though I'm still waiting to receive my orders to Pensacola.

The AC's A school is starting to seem more like second to nuke school in terms of academically rigorous programs in the military; mainly due to the fact that ACs have amongst the most stressful jobs in the world. I'm beginning to wonder if the frustration and moral toll on my confidence that affected me during nuke school is gonna come back to haunt me again.

Can you offer me any advice on how to deal with the pressures of A-school?
Mind me asking how far you got in nuke school? Did you finish A school or only part of it and which one MM or EM/ET?
__________________
Proud Military Mom, Navy Vet Justin(MM2n), and Army Vet SSgt Clayton

"Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude." Thomas Jefferson
sweetmtn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-23-2013, 08:24 AM   #6
zackthespartan
Newbie
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 12
Rep Power: 5
zackthespartan is on a distinguished road
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by sweetmtn View Post
Mind me asking how far you got in nuke school? Did you finish A school or only part of it and which one MM or EM/ET?
I was an ET, flunked out at week 20 during A-school. I made it as far as Grading Period 2 of I&CE (Instrumentation and Control Equipment). I did well up to Efunds 4. Digital was a disaster and I&CE was even worse; by that point, my GPA was poor enough that I didn't even get an academic board; I was an auto drop.

Math was pretty easy for me and BE was not that much harder because it was mostly equations and math has always been my strength. I actually considered myself lucky to have survived Efunds without failing any tests. Everything went downhill from the start of Digital.

I would think that all A-schools have some measure of academic challenges. But in terms of things like note-taking during class, type of tests (multiple choice or long-essay type) taken, etc, how does Air Traffic Controller School compare to nuke school?

Last edited by zackthespartan; 06-23-2013 at 08:27 AM. Reason: another question
zackthespartan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-23-2013, 12:27 PM   #7
shannoneliz
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: San Diego
Posts: 78
Rep Power: 12
shannoneliz is on a distinguished road
Default

As long as you can memorize stuff for a test (and forget it right after), you'll be fine for the academic portion of AC school. You don't have to understand it, not yet. All of the tests in block one are multiple choice. People will try to make the school sound impossible, it's not - I saw some real dummies make it through. I remember a succession of people walking into our class the first week trying to scare us. Yeah, there are some people who honestly can't cut it, but I think a lot of people just give up.

You'll get yelled at a lot in block 2 while they try to teach you tower and you'll feel so stupid for not being able to get local, but honestly no one expects you to learn to be local controller in 2 weeks. You'll understand it enough to pass the test and then you'll move on. Block 3 is really chill for the most part. I wouldn't worry too much about that.

Look, any job can be stressful. When you actually get to the fleet as an AC you'll have months to learn a position and even when you get qualified you'll have a supervisor watching you, ready to interfere if there's a safety of flight issue. They're also there to help relieve the pressure if you get slammed and they'll stick someone else on in the case you get overwhelmed. There are qualified people at my command who really aren't very strong controllers and the sup will basically just stand behind them the entire time they're on.

You really don't know if you'll be a good controller yet though (and you definitely won't know in A school, most of the stuff you learn there you won't even use) . Stop worrying so much!
shannoneliz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-24-2013, 06:43 AM   #8
Tasha360
Junior Member
 
Tasha360's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Florida
Posts: 35
Rep Power: 7
Tasha360 is on a distinguished road
Default

This is really good information. I had no idea the rate could be so challenging, but it sounds worth it.

I wouldn't worry about flunking out of AC A school if you made it through 20 weeks of Nuke. I'd consider that a really good accomplishment.
Tasha360 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-26-2013, 08:28 PM   #9
zackthespartan
Newbie
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 12
Rep Power: 5
zackthespartan is on a distinguished road
Default

Thanks for the advice. Could you give me an overview of what the base at NAS Pensacola is like? Such as, where the barracks for single sailors are located, where the classroom buildings are, the NEX, etc. Also, is there a duty driver there? If so, where do they dropoff/pickup and what is their usual route?
zackthespartan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-30-2013, 10:30 AM   #10
Gilli
Newbie
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 12
Rep Power: 5
Gilli is on a distinguished road
Default

Just out of curiosity being myself a CTI student at Broward College, is the Navy ATC program comparable to a civilian ATC program ?
Gilli is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-27-2013, 11:08 AM   #11
WhiskeyCharlie
Newbie
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 2
Rep Power: 0
WhiskeyCharlie is on a distinguished road
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by zackthespartan View Post
Thanks for the advice. Could you give me an overview of what the base at NAS Pensacola is like? Such as, where the barracks for single sailors are located, where the classroom buildings are, the NEX, etc. Also, is there a duty driver there? If so, where do they dropoff/pickup and what is their usual route?
The barracks are pretty nice and you'll be in the Abraham Lincoln (Alpha). You will have one or two roomates and up to 3 headmates. A minifridge and microwave are provided. Everything is within walking distance. The NEX isn't bad. There is a Starbucks, Taco Bell, A&W, Pizza Hut, Subway, Panda Express, a pizza place and a bar if you are of age. There is a pool table in the barracks and plenty of vending machines for snacks. There are a couple lounges on each floor with couches and TV's. No cable in the rooms but there is WIFI you can sign up for and pay for. I bought a TV and Xbox when I got here and do not regret that decision at all (Netflix for days!). You can have you're car but don't really need it to get around the base. The schoolhouse is about a 5 minute walk up a hill and you will march with the school house to and from class in the mornings and after class. For chow, you march with the block you are currently in. You get about an hour to eat. There are always cabs on base if you want to go off base and a bus as well. It's is free if you are in uniform. When you first get here you will be Phase 1. You have to go through a week of Indoc and a Saturday class before you can leave base. No civillian clothes while in phase one, and no drinking. You will also have a muster every night around 930. Phase 2 is 3 weeks long and no more 930 musters, you can wear civillian clothes, drink and stay out till midnight on the weekends. Phase 3 is overnight liberty on the weekends. Being an AC, you will be here for quite a while and it gets boring. You get to the point where you don't recognize very many people because most of the other rates are out of here in a month or two. Study hard! I graduate next Tuesday at the top of my class with a 95 average and that is very hard to do. After Block 1, it is pretty easy untill that last written test. It's a bitch and by the time you get there, you are burnt out from studying. Block 3 (radar) is really fun! You will also be put back down to phase 1 if you don't maintain an 80 average or better. The chow here is pretty good, but the lines are a bitch sometimes. There is a gym within walking distance and near the NEX, but is usually packed. There is another one about a mile away and much nicer. There is also a movie theater by the NEX which has movies about a month old for only a couple bucks. You are hear to study and learn your job, do just that and you will be just fine. I have seen some people get in some big trouble down here and they are starting their careers off on the wrong foot. I hoped this helped!
WhiskeyCharlie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-27-2013, 11:44 AM   #12
tiffanynacole
Member
 
tiffanynacole's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 75
Rep Power: 11
tiffanynacole is on a distinguished road
Default

thanks for that info, how far are you allowed to travel on weekends. i live about an hour and a half from pensacola and would like to come home occasionally.
__________________
I do not fear failure. I only fear the slowing up of the engine inside of me which is pounding, saying, keep going, someone must be on top, why not you?"
tiffanynacole is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-27-2013, 01:58 PM   #13
WhiskeyCharlie
Newbie
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 2
Rep Power: 0
WhiskeyCharlie is on a distinguished road
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by tiffanynacole View Post
thanks for that info, how far are you allowed to travel on weekends. i live about an hour and a half from pensacola and would like to come home occasionally.
You should be good. I believe the travel limit is like 250 miles.
WhiskeyCharlie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-27-2013, 02:17 PM   #14
tiffanynacole
Member
 
tiffanynacole's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 75
Rep Power: 11
tiffanynacole is on a distinguished road
Default

thats great to know, thanks!
__________________
I do not fear failure. I only fear the slowing up of the engine inside of me which is pounding, saying, keep going, someone must be on top, why not you?"
tiffanynacole is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-27-2013, 02:20 PM   #15
tiffanynacole
Member
 
tiffanynacole's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 75
Rep Power: 11
tiffanynacole is on a distinguished road
Default

about how long would you call A school there. I keep hearing different things?
__________________
I do not fear failure. I only fear the slowing up of the engine inside of me which is pounding, saying, keep going, someone must be on top, why not you?"
tiffanynacole is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-30-2013, 12:12 PM   #16
andylite
Newbie
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 9
Rep Power: 5
andylite is on a distinguished road
Default AC stuff

A school is about three and a half months long. But depending on when you get there it could take anywhere from two weeks to three months to start classes. I got there Feb 1st and graduated the beginning of august.
andylite is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-30-2013, 12:32 PM   #17
tiffanynacole
Member
 
tiffanynacole's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 75
Rep Power: 11
tiffanynacole is on a distinguished road
Default

thats not as bad a some of the rumors i have been hearing. some people have told me that it was be like a year.

how hard was school?
did alot of people fail?
pretty much anything you feel like explaining in detail would be appreciated so much!

thanks!
__________________
I do not fear failure. I only fear the slowing up of the engine inside of me which is pounding, saying, keep going, someone must be on top, why not you?"
tiffanynacole is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-22-2013, 08:43 PM   #18
kyle100
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 1
Rep Power: 0
kyle100 is on a distinguished road
Default Former Controller

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tasha360 View Post
Hi guys
There's not very much information on the AC rate in the forums but maybe I haven't searched enough. I'm wondering what A-School in Pensacola is like for Air Traffic Controllers? The official rating documents say that the A-school is one to two years!! This seems intense for a rating that is not mentioned much.
Anybody in Correy Station who are familiar with what they do and what their typical daily life is like once at a duty station willing to share?
I attended ATC A School in 1980 and was told I was the youngest at the time to have ever graduated I was 17 at the time of my graduation.

Not much equipment wise has changed since I have been out. The A school use to be in Millington Tenn. I was in a ATC control tower a few years ago and everything looked the same except they have updated the flight data strip printer. I could have stepped in and remembered most of what I use to do.

We started with 75 students in my class. There were so many they split our class into two classes. Half way through they merged us back together into one class. In the end only 5 of us graduated. People failed in every module and segment of training. I personally did not think any of the program was easy and those that did or who thought they were to smart to study were gone. I kept my nose down, found a good study partner and did not party or go out once school started. I studied from 6am before breakfast until late at night for the entire time.

When I attended school anyone that failed a test, radar, or any other module was gone. I did not see anyone get a second chance. It sounds like maybe today they do but I am not sure based on what people are saying above.

When I attended there was a room with a sign on the door that read Academic Review Board. Anyone that failed 1 exam or lab or module was sent there the next day. I never saw anyone again that went into that room. By the time we got back to barracks at the end of day they were gone.

AC's had their own barrack's and it sounds like they still do. On a Carrier AC's had their own bunk area and did not bunk with the general crew.

After you graduate you are not an air traffic controller you have proven that you are trainable. You will be sent to your first duty station where you will spend 1.5 to 2 years getting certified on all positions at the facility. There you will memorize lots of maps, altitudes, radio frequencies, policies etc. (This profession means you study a lot).

After A School I was sent to Jacksonville for my first duty station. Shortly there after Ronald Reagan fired most of the nations Civil air controllers for going on strike and the military was sent in to replace them. I was sent to Jacksonville International Airport for 4 years. I then served 4 more years as a Navy ATC after reenlisting. I then left the military and today I run my own business.

I never went to work for the FAA because I was not interested in it after 8 years. I had been doing it since I was 17 and was ready to try other things. The job is fun but I hated the shift work, the midnight shifts and everyone fighting over holidays off. ATC is 365 days a year 7 days a week 24 hours. So just remember on holidays you may be working because not everyone can have the day off. Every time you go to another airport you will start out at the bottom and have to certify on every position all over again. I did see one person in my 8 years that graduated A school but could not certify at their first duty station. They basically spent their time cleaning bathrooms and mopping floors and working in flight ops filing flight plans and updating the weather.

Do not take any part of school as a joke, take notes in class and do not ignore your studies or you will not graduate I can promise you that. Most of the stuff you will learn you will never have heard of before and most of it will be new unless you were a pilot before hand. Practice your labs and study with your study partner or group that's all you need to know the entire time you are in school.

I took a lot of guff because I would not go out with the class and party but I was one of the 5 that finished none of the partiers finished. I never saw any of the people I attended school with during my entire 8 years, so if you need a friend find a dog, your there to study, pass and leave.

They will gig you on your uniform so keep everything looking sharp or they will be on you. When I attended, Marines and Navy went to the same schools and some of the teachers were marine sergeants etc. Do not get on the bad side of any instructor remember they will be scoring your live labs and they hold your career in their hands as they score you. Hope this helps..

Last edited by kyle100; 10-23-2013 at 10:44 PM.
kyle100 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-14-2013, 05:38 PM   #19
andylite
Newbie
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 9
Rep Power: 5
andylite is on a distinguished road
Default

how hard was school?
did alot of people fail?
pretty much anything you feel like explaining in detail would be appreciated so much!

Sorry I haven't been back on forever, been busy getting qualified on my position(s).

School is iabout as hard as any school you've had before. Meaning there are hard parts, easy parts, boring parts and parts you wish would never end.

A lot of people fail, but not because school is very hard, they fail because this is the first time in their life they are responsible for their own actions and they don't do well. Many Airmen have a rough time handling having a paycheck and freedom AND needing to do well in school. A caveat, though, some people are not cut out for this rate and find it hard to wrap their heads around certain concepts.

ACs have the longest hours out of any school in Pensacola and we need them. Our job is purely academic and the lessons are long, mostly dry and some are hard to grasp. You'll be in a class of 9-14 people (navy and marine)and if you're an e-3 its a good idea to try to be class leader (if you can keep the job you're likely to get a promotion point). The schoolhouse is run by Marines as well as Navy so familiarization with Marine rank and tradition will help in a small amount. No, one, I repeat, no one is going to curse you out like boot camp, unless you start failing tests or degrading fellow students. If that happens you'll go to a Review board. I've never been in that room but I heard the worst possible noises coming out of it when I walked past.

If you, or anyone, has any specific questions I'll be on here more regularly to answer them.
Go Navy... Smooth sailing.
andylite is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-02-2014, 09:34 AM   #20
Olio23
Newbie
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 3
Rep Power: 0
Olio23 is on a distinguished road
Default

I heard that you have to take a flight physical upon arrival to your A school, what does that consist of?
Olio23 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-03-2014, 02:12 PM   #21
andylite
Newbie
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 9
Rep Power: 5
andylite is on a distinguished road
Default

Your flight physical will just be weight, height, a brief health questionnaire and bloodwork. Nothing to worry about unless there's an abnormality (E.g. anything from anemia, to a heart murmur to straight up cancer son).
andylite is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 08:14 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 3
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

vBulletin Optimisation provided by vB Optimise v2.6.0 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2018 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
This site and contents 2009-2014 NavyFamiles