Every year, more and more people are expressing their interest to be a ‘guardian of the sky.’ Now more than ever, the appeal to become an air traffic controller (ATC) is stronger and with reasons that are beyond the air traffic controller salary. However, being an ATC is not an easy job. It is good to know that there are many practical tips and advices that you may consider if you want to be an air traffic control specialist. Here are some of the most important tips that you must consider.
1) Be positive. Always! This needn’t be explained further, but this must be emphasized. You need to stay during the entire air traffic controller training and beyond that. Positivity is contagious which can make the work environment light and fun to be in.
2) Be prepared. Always! You need to know ‘everything’ about the aircrafts as well as MVAs, SOPs, phraseology, and handoffs inter and intra facilities among many others. Some managers, supervisors or heads are asking you casually, but actually they are already testing you.
3) Be punctual. Do not forget that you are a trainee and you are on probationary period. You should arrive at least 15 minutes before the shift every time. Make sure that you are also there before the coffee, dinner or lunch break ends. Your superiors are watching your every move. So, put your best foot forward.
4) Get to know the Alpha Dogs. When we say alpha dogs, these are the people who are considered leaders or authorities on a particular team, unit or group. If possible, you should familiarize yourself with information on who are the best ATCs. Observe how they do their respective works.
5) Never argue. Most especially, you mustn’t argue with the mentor or instructor specifically about position. Remember that this is his/her ticket. If you have any disagreements, questions, concerns, issues or reactions, the proper venue is at the debriefing session.
6) Be a sponge. Observation is key. Watch the CPCs (certified professional controllers) and learn from them. CPCs often have their own brand of air traffic controlling techniques that you may copy and apply.
7) Avoid unnecessary mistakes. If it is your first time doing a task and failed at it, it might be forgivable. However, you mustn’t make these mistakes again. Again, your superiors have their eyes on you. Obtain a copy of training reports, but do not just read them. Internalize the contents!
8) Ask questions. Do it nicely and politely. Learning starts from curiosity. You’ll only learn if you will ask. Some instructors are not impressed by trainees who asked lots of questions. They either really doesn’t know the answer or they do not read their learning materials. Instead, ask where you might find the information is something’s not clear to you.
Evidently, you cannot find these tips while on air traffic control school. Nonetheless, these tips will help you on becoming a fully certified air traffic controller in the future.