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Messages - Brandon Wening

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NOTAMs / S2 Visiting Exemption Request
« on: May 07, 2024, 11:33:16 PM »
Effective May 12, 2024, an exemption will be required for an S2 controller to visit another subdivision. Pursuant to VATUSA policy DP001 13.4.1 "In rare circumstances, controllers within the VATUSA Division who hold an S2 rating may be authorized to visit a single ARTCC within VATUSA at the discretion of the Deputy Director- Air Traffic Services." The form attached below is used to facilitate the approval or denial of such exemption requests. Requests will only be considered if all of the below requirements are met. Meeting these requirements does not mean your request will be approved, but it will be considered. Only one request can be submitted at a time. If a request is denied, a controller may submit another request for a different ARTCC unless otherwise instructed. The request must be accepted by both VATUSA2 and the Visiting ARTCC ATM before an exemption may be granted. Once an exemption request is approved, the controller cannot submit another request for 6 months and until all other relevant requirements outlined in DP001 Section 13 are met. An S2 may only visit a maximum of one facility at once. An acceptance of an additional request shall promptly remove the controller from the previous visiting roster.

Must hold the S2 rating
Must be in good standing as a home controller in a VATUSA subdivision
Must have held the S2 rating for 1 year
Must have controlled for over 250 hours at the S2 level
Must not have any disciplinary history within the past 2 years
Must have met all relevant requirements in DP001 Section 13
Must not have had an exemption request accepted within the previous 6 months

Please contact Brandon Wening - Deputy Division Director, Air Traffic Services with any questions ([email protected])

S2 Visiting Exemption Request Form:

News / Iron Mic Awards: April 2024
« on: May 05, 2024, 12:08:26 AM »
April 2024 Iron Mic Awards

Congrats to our April 2024 Iron Mic winners!
Enroute: LAX_CTR - ZLA
Tower: PDX_TWR - ZSE
Ground: SEA_GND- ZSE

Enroute Top 3
LAX_CTR 34.8%
JAX_CTR 30.9%
DEN_CTR 26.18%

JAX_APP 27.38%
SCT_APP 22.73%
MCO_APP 20.35%

Tower Top 3
PDX_TWR 32.15%
SAN_TWR 20.47%
LAX_TWR 19.69%

Ground Top 3
SEA_GND 48.01%
SAN_GND 37.11%
MEM_GND 17.65%

News / Position Posting: Anchorage ARTCC Air Traffic Manager
« on: April 11, 2024, 10:28:38 PM »
Anchorage ARTCC Air Traffic Manager Vacancy Announcement

Position: Air Traffic Manager
Location: Anchorage ARTCC (ZAN)
Time Commitment: 4 to 8 hours per week+, and required quarterly controller hours to maintain facility membership
Supervisor: Deputy Division Director - Air Traffic Services (ATS)
Application Deadline: Closes April 19th, 2024 23:59z

The Air Traffic Manager (ATM) is the overseer of all ARTCC operations. The ATM's primary responsibility is to ensure the smooth operation of the ARTCC, along with drafting and implementing ARTCC policies and LOAs. The ATM is the primary point of contact and representative of the facility for VATUSA management.
Main responsibilities:

Manage the ARTCC
Handle Transfer/Visiting requests
Maintain the ARTCC roster
Communicate regularly with VATUSA2
Collaborate closely with ARTCC staff to ensure transparent and effective communication with the membership
Oversee the air traffic control training program, events, social media, and data services/facilities infrastructure
Foster a positive, healthy, and educational environment for members to learn and grow in
Maintain a strong online presence through various platforms to foster community engagement and facilitate information dissemination
Develop/Grow the ARTCC in alignment with division goals
Oversee the Deputy Air Traffic Manager and Training Administrator directly
Develop and implement policies, air traffic control standard operating procedures, and letters of agreement alongside the DATM
Manage an active staff of DATM, TA, EC, FE, and WM

Potential responsibilities (based on ARTCC needs):

VATUSA Workgroups
Assisting the Junior and Senior staff in all aspects
Community moderation/development

Requirements for the role:

Active member of VATSIM in good standing
Ability to maintain ARTCC activity requirement standards
Strong understanding of the WM, EC, FE, TA, and DATM roles
Obtained a rating of C1
Ability to manage a team of at least 5
Positive and professional attitude with the time commitment necessary to lead the ARTCC
Excellent written and oral communication skills
Strong understanding of US Airspace and the NAS

Preferred qualifications for this role:

Familiarity with the ARTCC
Understanding of the VATUSA Structure
Prior staff experience
Prior teaching/education experience

ATM is a Senior Staff role and therefore is not an entry-level position. The ATM could be required to dedicate several hours daily to managing the ARTCC. However, the ATM must also be able to utilize his/her staff to effectively delegate tasks to ensure the continued operation of the ARTCC. Only those who understand the requirements and can make the appropriate commitment should consider applying for this position. Candidates can expect an initial evaluation of their application after which they may be contacted for a comprehensive interview.

If you wish to apply for the ATM position, please email Brandon Wening, Deputy Division Director - Air Traffic Services ([email protected]) with a detailed VATSIM/relevant real-world résumé and cover letter by April 19th, 2024 23:59z. The letter of application should summarize the applicant's reasons for wanting to lead the ZAN ARTCC, compelling evidence to show how the position requirements are met, and how the facility will thrive under the applicant's leadership. Your virtual resume should consist of all prior VATSIM experience and any real-world experience you feel is applicable. Please also include your name, active email address, CID, current ARTCC, and current rating.

News / Iron Mic Awards: March 2024
« on: April 04, 2024, 10:49:34 PM »
March 2024 Iron Mic Awards

Congrats to our March 2024 Iron Mic winners!
Enroute: LAX_CTR - ZLA
Tower: PDX_TWR - ZSE
Ground/Delivery: PDX_GND/DEL - ZSE

Enroute Top 3
LAX_CTR 31.59%
BOS_CTR 25.72%
MSP_CTR 20.47%

SCT_APP 21.58%
MCO_APP 18.59%
HNL_APP 16.19%

Tower Top 3
PDX_TWR 32.61%
LAX_TWR 24.25%
SAN_TWR 19.57%

Ground/Delivery Top 3
PDX_GND/DEL 27.72%
SAN_GND/DEL 26.24%
JAX_GND/DEL 21.58%

News / Iron Mic Awards: February 2024
« on: March 04, 2024, 07:29:28 PM »
February 2024 Iron Mic Awards

Congrats to our February 2024 Iron Mic winners!
Enroute: LAX_CTR - ZLA
Tower: PDX_TWR - ZSE
Ground/Delivery: JFK_GND/DEL - ZNY

Enroute Top 3
LAX_CTR 33.09%
MSP_CTR 28.64%
BOS_CTR 27.95%

SCT_APP 21.15%
DEN_APP 19.38%
BOS_APP 18.93%

Tower Top 3
PDX_TWR 32.33%
LAX_TWR 20.57%
BOS_TWR 20.01%

Ground/Delivery Top 3
JFK_GND/DEL 22.34%
EWR_GND/DEL 20.49%

News / Re: VATUSA Social Media Team Lead
« on: February 22, 2024, 08:09:01 PM »
Congrats Chris, and welcome to the team!!

News / Re: ZFW has a new WM!
« on: February 06, 2024, 12:18:21 PM »
Congrats Jonathan! Wishing you success in your new role!

News / Re: ZTL has a new EC!
« on: February 06, 2024, 12:17:44 PM »
Congrats Meg!

News / Re: vZFWs new DATM!
« on: February 06, 2024, 12:17:21 PM »
Congrats Tyler! Can't wait to watch your continued success in a new role!

Thank you Jon for your leadership and commitment to ZFW. Your hard work did not go unnoticed :)

News / Re: ZME's Newest DATM!
« on: February 06, 2024, 12:16:10 PM »
Congrats Chris!

News / Re: Salt Lake City ARTCC has a new Facility Engineer!
« on: February 06, 2024, 12:15:54 PM »
Congrats and welcome Cameron!

News / Iron Mic Awards: January 2024
« on: February 03, 2024, 05:14:27 PM »
January 2024 Iron Mic Awards

Congrats to our January 2024 Iron Mic winners!
Enroute: LAX_CTR - ZLA
Tower: HNL_TWR - HCF
Ground/Delivery: EWR_GND - ZNY

Enroute Top 3
ZLA 31.4%
ZBW 27.8%
ZME 19.7%

MSP 32.8%
SCT 21.7%
ATL 18.8%

Tower Top 3
HNL 26%
LAX 25.3%
BOS 20.7%

Ground/Delivery Top 3
EWR 22.4%
JFK 20.7%
PDX 20.4%

General Discussion / Re: Iron Mic
« on: February 01, 2024, 07:33:45 PM »
Are there any requirements for the type of airport that is staffed for iron mic consideration?  More to the point can it be civilian or military airport? Does it have to be class D or above? Does it have to meet a minimum requirement for aircraft movements per year?
Hi Richard,
There are no requirements for the airport to be considered other than it has to be a controlled airport.

News / VATUSA Goals for 2024
« on: January 04, 2024, 08:15:56 AM »
2024 has arrived, and VATUSA is excited to get the year started! Building off of Brandon Barrett’s From the Desk of VATUSA1 post, I’d like to provide further details on the vision we have for the new year and some goals we have set for 2024.

Our theme for the new year is “Growth.” We look to apply this goal by embracing the VATSIM motto of “Aviate, Educate, Communicate.” Growth will not be measured by a single factor of the amount of rostered controllers, training hours completed, etc. Growth requires us to evaluate every facet of our operation, determine specific areas of improvement, and work toward achieving feasible goals. 2023 brought about plenty of changes. We have had many staff members retire, new staff members hired, and plenty of policy/administrative changes that have required a great deal of effort to process and complete. While all of these changes may have been necessary, it is important to not become complacent and think that our work is done. It is up to us to identify new ways to improve the member experience and devise custom solutions. I look forward to working with ARTCC staff throughout the year to identify areas of growth, create an action plan, and support their pursuit of achieving their goals. With that said, I would also like to specifically thank our previous staff members who took a step back for their passion, dedication, and mentorship while in their roles. The work of these individuals made each facility and the division better, and we couldn't have gotten to where we are now without their contributions!

Below is a summary of each department’s goals for 2024:

  • Update and release the next version of DP001 in early February
  • Establish Event Certifications
  • Work with ARTCC staff to set a growth plan
  • Be active in communities and help staff meet goals
  • Continue to monitor and support GCAP implementation & CRC rollout
  • Mentor and guide new ATMs
  • Administer the Iron Mic Award Program, encouraging an increase in “regular day” controlling

  • Update DP002, Standardized OTS Evaluation Forms, and other resources related to the GCAP conversion
  • FAA Familiarization Course for visiting controllers from outside VATUSA
  • Rollout the DICE Program to provide rating training assistance across the division
  • Continue to improve OBS/S1 Academy and training
  • Increase mentor and instructor count
  • Continue to provide masterclasses and other continuing education opportunities

Support Services
  • Grow division & facility-specific pilot resources
  • Improve communication and outreach to our community of pilots and controllers

Social Media
  • Reevaluate and recruit more team members
  • Provide relevant and educational content for members to enjoy, use, and learn from
  • Partner with existing content creators and streamers to expand outreach and support

  • Continue to provide unique event opportunities
  • Improve coordination and awareness during event planning stages
  • Expand relationships with other VATSIM divisions, VAs, and other groups
  • Continue to develop the TMU program and improve educational/operational resources

  • Provide G Suite for ARTCC staff
  • Develop a completely new website suite that better serves the current needs of the division, and provides expansion opportunities for the future
  • Explore hosting technology platforms for the subdivisions

Staff Development
  • Improve the vacancy posting, hiring, and onboarding processes
  • Provide mentorship to new staff members by implementing a new staff mentor partnership program
  • Create staff manuals to help new staff learn the responsibilities of their new role
  • Conduct staff position training programs that provide opportunities for interested members to learn how to become a staff member in VATUSA

I am so excited to watch these goals be accomplished as we move through the new year! I am confident that through the hard work of our division staff, great things will happen. As Brandon Barrett wrote in his address a few weeks ago, it is our collective responsibility to ensure that this great hobby will continue long after we leave. Everyone in our division matters, and everyone can have an impact and make a difference! If you are passionate about one of the above goals and want to help out, message a VATUSA staff member and we will point you in the right direction to help out. If you have an idea that you believe would improve the member experience within our division, your facility, etc, share it with us! Our goals and vision for the division are not just created by our own wants and desires, but by the community’s needs and wishes as well! I’m as optimistic as ever about the future of VATUSA, and I look forward to continuing on our quest to never stop learning and always have fun besides all of you. Happy New Year, and welcome to VATUSA: 2024 Edition!

News / Iron Mic returns in 2024 for VATUSA
« on: December 31, 2023, 08:19:54 PM »
Iron Mic returns in 2024 for VATUSA!

The long awaited return of the Iron Mic program has arrived, and we are excited as ever to present this to you all! Recognizing the hard work of our members is a top priority for VATUSA, and in addition to that, who doesn’t love a little friendly competition?

Awarded on a MONTHLY basis, we will be recognizing the top DEL/GND, TWR, APP/DEP, and CTR/FSS positions, Iron Mic style! Iron Mic style is defined as the time an ATC position is staffed, not the total amount of time logged on the position. This means that if 2 people were splitting a position for 1.5 hours (such as DEN_W_GND and DEN_E_GND), only 1.5 hours will count towards the Iron Mic style awards, not 3.
In addition to the position awards, we will also recognize the subdivision that has the highest total controlling hours overall! For this award, Iron Mic style will not apply and the split ground example above would count for 3 hours.

Iron Mic Rules:
1) The awards will be announced on all VATUSA mediums shortly after month end
2) Controllers must be on the facility home/visiting roster for hours to count towards the awards
3) Controllers must follow all VATSIM, VATUSA, and ARTCC policies, SOPs, LOAs, and any other procedures at all times. If a controller is suspended from the network by a supervisor for being idle/AFK, the position the controller was working will be disqualified from receiving an award for that month. An attempt to sabotage or gain an unfair advantage outside the spirit of friendly competition could result in a disqualification of the entire subdivision and/or a disciplinary review.

While we have a fantastic events team that continue to raise the bar, producing excellent and well-prepared events throughout the division, we are excited to get back to our roots and enjoy controlling with others on a regular Tuesday! So challenge your neighbors, get together with your fellow controllers, and see how many awards your ARTCC can earn this year!

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