What Does It Take? What Do I Do? How Do I Become a Controller?

Derek Vento

  • Members
  • 54
    • View Profile
What Does It Take? What Do I Do? How Do I Become a Controller?
« on: October 05, 2017, 11:10:54 pm »
Time and time again, I get the question of "How do I get involved with air traffic control, and is it stressful?". For starters, stress in any avenue of life may come and go but those moments are only temporary. This December will be my third year at Columbia ATCT, a Level 6 up/down facility. Within this time I have gone from just your average trainee to the Union president of my facility. The path we all take toward securing a career in air traffic will vary from person to person but it's what you do to get there that will make a difference in not only your life but those around you. It's hard to believe I am coming up on my 10th year on VATSIM and I cannot begin to explain how important the word "foundation" truly is. My initial foundation was right here on VATSIM, a Sunday - Sunday hobby at the age of 15. This network has set the tone for myself as well as other real world controllers. If you wan't to get involved with ATC, start now! Start this very second and apply yourself; No, I'm not saying VATSIM comes before your homework, but your exam scores and practical application is as only as good as your initiative to learn the material. There was a post I had written up earlier this year and it made me think of the term "pass on the torch". If you are a high ranking controller or even a MTR or INS, you have a responsibility. Your responsibility is to continue to teach and pass on what you know. Don't think you can sit on your throne and act like the learning is over. For the up and coming folk, your goal should be to exceed the expectations of your training staff and instill a sense of confidence in them and produce quality work. I say this because it all translates to "What does it take? What do I do? How do I become a controller?". Becoming a controller wasn't going to Oklahoma City, taking the exams, and training in labs...It was the discipline to stay "grounded", to remain focused, read, take initiative and pride in your work. Additionally, I found that my greatest moments were not in celebration but instead remaining humble and reminding myself that there is another set of stairs to climb.

Air traffic control is a job that requires confidence, both when nobody, and everybody is watching you. People will critique your phraseology, control instructions (vectors, climbs, speeds etc), and any other types of decision making, and it's something you better get used to. I'll let you in on a little secret...this is a GREAT thing; One, it allows self reflection and a chance for improvement. Two, you and your fellow controllers will advance your knowledge. Remember, the goal is to provide a quality service to the VATSIM public, and I can't begin to explain how important it is that your be professional and give it your all. We are all characterized in some way, shape or form by our controlling skill set. Ensure you're always ready to learn and willing to be critiqued.

I additionally want to say thanks for all the support from many of you over the years. I'm thrilled to announce that I am transferring to A80 Atlanta TRACON this winter and will be making the big ATL my new home. If anyone is down and around the area, give me a shout and let's get together.

dvento27@gmail.com

See ya on the scopes!
DK

Josh Glottmann

  • Members
  • 172
    • View Profile
Re: What Does It Take? What Do I Do? How Do I Become a Controller?
« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2017, 11:59:15 am »
Great post Derek, as always. Congrats on the move up!

Don Desfosse

  • VATUSA Staff
  • 1490
    • View Profile
    • http://
Re: What Does It Take? What Do I Do? How Do I Become a Controller?
« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2017, 08:40:50 pm »
What ^ he said!  Congrats!
Don Desfosse
Division Director Emeritus, VATUSA

Derek Vento

  • Members
  • 54
    • View Profile
Re: What Does It Take? What Do I Do? How Do I Become a Controller?
« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2017, 09:14:39 pm »
What ^ he said!  Congrats!

Thanks Don, hope all is well!

Krikor Hajian

  • ZBW Staff
  • 170
    • View Profile
Re: What Does It Take? What Do I Do? How Do I Become a Controller?
« Reply #4 on: October 08, 2017, 09:23:39 pm »
Great post DK. Congrats again on the move to A80, that's quite exciting! If you're ever in Boston feel free to give me a shout!


Krikor Hajian (HI) - 1283146
Events Coordinator | Instructor
krikorh@bvartcc.com
- - - - - - - - - -
VATUSA ACE Team Member | VATSIM Supervisor

Reuben Prevost

  • Members
  • 20
    • View Profile
Re: What Does It Take? What Do I Do? How Do I Become a Controller?
« Reply #5 on: October 09, 2017, 10:45:36 am »
Congrats on the new job bro. Enjoy ATL!

Also, great post.

Derek Vento

  • Members
  • 54
    • View Profile
Re: What Does It Take? What Do I Do? How Do I Become a Controller?
« Reply #6 on: October 15, 2017, 11:24:31 pm »
Thanks Reu!

Shane VanHoven

  • Members
  • 82
    • View Profile
Re: What Does It Take? What Do I Do? How Do I Become a Controller?
« Reply #7 on: October 18, 2017, 08:30:59 pm »
Congrats on the move!

Currently enjoying a break from studying for the end of course test for basics. I never thought 5 weeks would fly by like it did. 2 months left down here and I'm certain it'll fly by. I'd be lying if I said your advice from our phone call hasn't popped into my brain a couple of times since I started, so thanks for that! ;P

Great post as always!
Shane VanHoven
Minneapolis ARTCC, VATUSA ACE Team | Instructor
Private pilot, Instrument, ASEL
FAA Air Traffic Developmental, Terminal