Quit Heli's, go ATC?

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Eastwoodblade
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Quit Heli's, go ATC?

Postby Eastwoodblade » Sat Aug 30 2014, 14:28

Hi all,

Just wondering if anyone has or knows of people who gave up GA to chase air traffic control? im serioisly thinking of going down that path and wanting feedback on how to study for the psych tests/ maths aspect which I know I'll have to apply myself to get a heads up. Any advise?
Rotary as in not the Wankel engine...
Charbuque
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Re: Quit Heli's, go ATC?

Postby Charbuque » Sat Aug 30 2014, 20:47

Go and have a chat with the guys and gals in your local tower. They'll know a bit about area radar too.
rotarycat
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Re: Quit Heli's, go ATC?

Postby rotarycat » Sun Aug 31 2014, 07:13

Watch pushing tin
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AgRattler
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Re: Quit Heli's, go ATC?

Postby AgRattler » Sun Aug 31 2014, 07:31

Watch pushing tin

Haha gold.
Redlining in neutral
robbiedan
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Re: Quit Heli's, go ATC?

Postby robbiedan » Sun Aug 31 2014, 08:07

Not much you can do to study for the aptitude and psych tests - you either got it or you don't. The ATC ones are a little unique in content (compared to say defence force tests). You need to be good at remembering things quickly etc, lot of emphasis on speed and timing.

If you fail them the first time you get a second go after waiting at least twelve months. I think you are only allowed two goes in total (ever). Most of the testing is done online if they like your initial application. You need to be well rested and have a clear head before attempting them.

Just remember these are testing basic skills all controllers need. If you can't manage these then you have no place in charge of directing aircraft. I'd suggest getting permission to visit your local Class D tower to get an idea of what's involved. Like everything in aviation there is no easy money in aviation.
Kieran
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Re: Quit Heli's, go ATC?

Postby Kieran » Tue Sep 2 2014, 06:21

The recruitment process is fairly long, it starts with submitting an application, after that you'll be asked to do a bunch of online psych tests. These cover things like pattern recognition (next in a sequence type thing), memory, verbal and logical reasoning (answer questions based only on a short bit of text), mental maths and a few other things. There are a few web sites around with practice tests to get used to what happens, but it's not really something you can train for as such. Make sure you have somewhere peaceful where you won't get distracted (Brunswick public library where I did mine wasn't really ideal...).
When you get through the online part they'll call you for a quick phone interview and then there's the testing day. At this you'll re-do the online tests then go through a bunch of exercises and interviews. After that you'll eventually get a training position.

There are two different streams of ATC that get trained for. The first is tower with training lasting about 9 months, the second is enroute which lasts about 12 months. During training you get paid around $46K. You'll do a lot of theory and then sim training.
When you pass the academy you'll start field training at your end location (a tower location anywhere around oz or enroute in Melbourne or Brisbane). Field training typically lasts a few months during which your pay goes up to around $70k.
Once you get your first rating pay's in the order of $96k.

To get an idea of what's involved call your local tower and arrange to go in and have a chat. Also, there a pilot information nights run at ML an BN centres each month during which you get a look around and see what it's like in on the inside.

Enroute control is what I do. My airspace is a large section of WA involves class G,E and A CTA plus G and A OCA. Part of It stretches from 250nm outside PH to the north and east, from Kalgoolie to Port Hedland and down the west coast from SFC to FL600 (hello to the helicopters out of Karratha going out the XNR/AGP etc...). The rest of my airspace shares boundaries with Jakarta to the north, Colombo and Male to the north west, Mauritius and Johannesburg to the west, Antarctica to the south, New Zealand to the east and back along the Bight to WA. It's a big area and provides lots of variety from day to day.
It's a job that has a very high responsibility, but you get well trained and have all you need to do the job when you're doing the job no one gets in your way (if a manager or anyone else is distracting, just tell them to go away). It allows for a steady lifestyle in so far as you can settle in one location for as long as you want, it pays well and all the people you work with all get along well.

But that all said, it's not flying... (makes flying tax deductible though...)

Have a nice Day
Kieran
JohnHopkins
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Re: Quit Heli's, go ATC?

Postby JohnHopkins » Tue Sep 2 2014, 06:44

Sounds like an interesting job.

Kieran wrote:
But that all said, it's not flying... (makes flying tax deductible though...)

Have a nice Day
Kieran


I think you should research that a bit more before you get a rude shock from the ATO.
Kieran
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Re: Quit Heli's, go ATC?

Postby Kieran » Tue Sep 2 2014, 08:01

I think you should research that a bit more before you get a rude shock from the ATO.


It goes back to tax ruling IT2404, T. v. Wilkinson. It's been superseded by further rulings and updates since 1987 but the supreme court has ruled as such.

[Link added - Mod]
arrrj
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Re: Quit Heli's, go ATC?

Postby arrrj » Tue Sep 2 2014, 08:56

G'day Kieran,

Great post and thanks for looking after us...I have always found the ATC guys to be more than helpful, and that's just how we want it to be.

Good on you.

Arrrj
ozloadie
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Re: Quit Heli's, go ATC?

Postby ozloadie » Tue Sep 2 2014, 13:14

Good on you Kieran, great response.
Good people to have there when things go hairy.
More aviators across the board should see how versatile ATC can be and what an extensive resource can be provided by them.
"Ask nicely and you are likely to receive!"
It appears that not many civil pilots experience ATC operations on site whereas the defence aircrews are introduced a number of times during their courses and operations. It certainly helps to frame the information passed when you know what the guys on the other end of the radio are looking at.
A good relationship either way also helps to illuminate the blind spots.
Keep it flying, don't quit!
Kieran
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Re: Quit Heli's, go ATC?

Postby Kieran » Wed Sep 3 2014, 02:47

If you ever get a chance, come along to a pilot info night, some of it can be a bit dry as covers things like runway incursions and VCAs and stuff but you do get to have a look around and see how it works. Similarly, every so often we'll arrange to do famil flights in the jump seat. Not many carriers do them but the last one I did was to Singapore for a few days with Emirates...
Interesting fact for the day: My airspace when it's all combined has 23 internal frequencies plus a further 18 surrounding frequencies, so when A109 NZQ calls in the middle of the night at Karratha it'll be rebroadcast around the state and the RFDS PC12 in Kalgoolie will hear it...

If you've got any questions I'm happy to answer, tower stuff isn't my game but the rest I'll do my best.

Kieran
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Eric Hunt
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Re: Quit Heli's, go ATC?

Postby Eric Hunt » Wed Sep 3 2014, 09:37

Umm... so, where's that Malaysian aircraft? Did he pass silently through your airspace?
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helothere
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Re: Quit Heli's, go ATC?

Postby helothere » Wed Sep 3 2014, 10:01

Kieran wrote:...hello to the helicopters out of Karratha going out the XNR/AGP etc...


Hello Kieran
:wink:
Kieran
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Re: Quit Heli's, go ATC?

Postby Kieran » Wed Sep 3 2014, 10:24

Eric Hunt wrote:Umm... so, where's that Malaysian aircraft? Did he pass silently through your airspace?


At the bottom of the ocean and yes they did.

During the aerial phase of the search we were dealing with about 20 search aircraft of various nationalities both civil and military. A couple had datalink connections but for the most part done through HF. During the first month there was something in the order of 5000 hours flown (not including ship launched helicopters). While they were on task they would be in communication with a RAAF Wedgetail circling for hours at FL200 but when tracking out and back that was through us. Most had good communication skills, some less so. When the two Chinese IL76s were being brought in they were about 15 minutes apart, one person on one plane spoke English -when an instruction was given to one they would chat away in Chinese on area for a minute or so working out what the instruction was before replying...
The US Poseidons would usually fly due regard, which means they don't have to speak to us, on at least 5 occasions that I was on, they would be converging with civil aircraft coming in from the Mid-East or South Africa at the same point at the same time. Civil aircraft FL370, Military aircraft FL365. A bit scary to watch when they come into range of PH radar but as is their right up to 12nm from the coast...
Fact for the day- Oceanic separation tolerances for aircraft without RNP4 is 50nm either side laterally and 15 minutes for and aft longitudinally. One of our civil search aircraft had a habit of calling us on departure from the search area on climb to FL245 (top of G in OCA) requesting clearance and climb to FL410 -requiring immediate clearance otherwise would need to declare fuel emergency. Most of the time it wasn't so bad but there were times where we had to move 5 or 6 other aircraft (both SAR and RPT) out of his way to get him up. Made for some busy times...

The Indian ocean's a big deep place- they're in there somewhere.

Kieran
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Re: Quit Heli's, go ATC?

Postby Kieran » Wed Sep 3 2014, 10:36

helothere wrote:
Hello Kieran
:wink:


PXE?
Eastwoodblade
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Re: Quit Heli's, go ATC?

Postby Eastwoodblade » Wed Sep 3 2014, 12:52

Hi Kieran,

Thanks a lot for the reply. Great to get some feeback from someone in the field. I just assumed there would be heavy calculus/math involved but other people I've spoken with say maths B level and good metal math only. For some reason tower interests me the most and have heard that you start on ground surface movements initially. Its hard though as Brisbane is nice and close to home and enroute traffic would keep you on your toes! ps..the Malaysia stuff must of been intense, I like the conspiracy theory that both are the same planes?!

Once again thanks to all the posts, love my flying job and will stick at it for some time to come, just keep thinking my needs now vs. family/kids/lifestyle in 10-15 years time from singledom, chasing chicks and flying.
Rotary as in not the Wankel engine...

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