Tower vs Terminal

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BlueandYellow
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Tower vs Terminal

#1 Post by BlueandYellow » Wed Jan 25, 2006 9:32 pm

I'm applying to get into ATC and was wondering about the finer differences between the life of a terminal controller vs tower. Is one more difficult in certain ways? Are there specific skills/personality traits that are better suited to one or the other?

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grimey
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Re: Tower vs Terminal

#2 Post by grimey » Wed Jan 25, 2006 9:40 pm

Terminal controllers seem to get yelled at more on here than tower controllers.
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Re: Tower vs Terminal

#3 Post by goldeneagle » Wed Jan 25, 2006 10:34 pm

BlueandYellow wrote: I'm applying to get into ATC and was wondering about the finer differences between the life of a terminal controller vs tower.
There is one obvious difference, even to a lowly pilot. When I'm arriving at 3am, I am talking to a terminal controller during the descent. When I get close to the airport, I get handed off to the local frequency, where, the tower is closed.

I think shiftwork is a MAJOR component of lifestyle, and there's a lot of towers closed at night, not many terminal sectors close up shop at 8pm.
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#4 Post by bigfssguy » Thu Jan 26, 2006 12:19 pm

One thing i should point outthat IFR has 2 disciplines (terminal= approach control) and enroute sector (self explanatory). There is no gaurantee that you will be streamed to terminal, it depends on how you do in the school and where your strengths are. VFR would be more fun in my books, like golden eagle said there are a lot of part time airports so you can have a reassonable normal life and you actually get to see planes instead of a dot or and square surrounded by an octagon (as has been pointed out to me by my egg-head ifr buddies). I have 2 more years and i can apply to cross train meaning i can go from FSS to ATC. I plan on going VFR, its easier to pass and get your license. Eventually i will bid into a center and go ifr but that is much easier once you have a license its just a matter of bidding on a spot when a bid comes up, doing a test and then starting your training. Plus if worse comes to worse and you CT out of the center you can go back to your tower job. I would like to say someday that i have been through every operational discipline in the ATS world.
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#5 Post by Jerricho » Thu Jan 26, 2006 4:45 pm

Having trained for both Tower and Terminal (but only "validated" my Approach ticket, as the Brits would say), my feelings is terminal is much more fun. But like everything in this job, a good tower controller can make a terminal person's life easy just as much as a good terminal controller can for the tower.
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#6 Post by cyyz » Thu Jan 26, 2006 5:08 pm

bigfssguy wrote:I have 2 more years and i can apply to cross train meaning i can go from FSS to ATC. I plan on going VFR, its easier to pass and get your license. Eventually i will bid into a center and go ifr but that is much easier once you have a license its just a matter of bidding on a spot when a bid comes up, doing a test and then starting your training. Plus if worse comes to worse and you CT out of the center you can go back to your tower job. I would like to say someday that i have been through every operational discipline in the ATS world.
I was reading on Squakident they've stopped cross training?? If you apply for FSS you're stuck in FSS, or re-apply do the tests and interview etc. You sure about the cross training?

Still 5 years?
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#7 Post by BlueandYellow » Thu Jan 26, 2006 5:45 pm

Jericho said:
Having trained for both Tower and Terminal (but only "validated" my Approach ticket, as the Brits would say), my feelings is terminal is much more fun.
Why do you think there's more fun in Terminal?
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#8 Post by hydro » Thu Jan 26, 2006 7:34 pm

Aprx 3 years ago they stopped cross training until "they figured out a different way to do things". They've reopened it requiring at least 5 years in the company, and jump through the hoops declaring your eligibility while the then company picks and chooses the people they like most to get the training.
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#9 Post by cyyz » Thu Jan 26, 2006 9:19 pm

hydro wrote:Aprx 3 years ago they stopped cross training until "they figured out a different way to do things". They've reopened it requiring at least 5 years in the company, and jump through the hoops declaring your eligibility while the then company picks and chooses the people they like most to get the training.
*hugs and kisses* thanks for the update..
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#10 Post by charlie_g » Fri Jan 27, 2006 1:29 am

The qualification rate for tower is much higher than centre (terminal or otherwise) by about a factor of 10, so that might be one consideration. When I was in Cornwall, my class and just about every class around us lost 50% or more of their people in that first six months. By contrast, at the time, nobody had failed out of the Cornwall segment of the tower program in over 3 1/2 years.

The jobs are totally different, so that's another thing to consider. While both are called "ATC", I wouldn't know where to start if you put me in a tower, and vice-versa.

One thing to consider is location. If you apply at a centre, you will be hired and trained at that centre. In the case of towers, you will be assigned to one of the 42 (?) towers across the country, so you have much less control over where you end up. There can also be a substantial difference in income between towers and tower & centre, if that's a consideration for you.

As stated before, you don't apply to be a terminal controller. You apply to go either IFR (centre) or VFR (tower) and are streamed from there. Where you end up - terminal, en route, high or low level, depends on the centre's staffing needs and which course(s) they happen to be running when you get there.

Generally I think you could argue that ATC is comprised of four disciplines -- tower, terminal, low level, high level (for those areas that have a high/low split). Each area has its own quirks and skill set, and you cannot simply transition from one to the other without several months (6-8 or more) of retraining.
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#11 Post by Jerricho » Fri Jan 27, 2006 9:57 am

BlueandYellow wrote:Why do you think there's more fun in Terminal?
For me, I enjoy radar much more than looking out the window. Getting a good sequence with everything lined up on final 3 miles apart is very satisfying. You also have the chance to get creative in what you do. Plus us terminal guys are all really nice, well balanced people ;)

But as I said, I am biased. I once had an enroute guy sit with me on famil and he said there was no way he could do what terminal controllers did. I went and sat next to him a couple of weeks later and there ain't no way I could do enroute (especially that procedural stuff)
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#12 Post by Fusion13 » Sun Jan 29, 2006 9:57 pm

If you have superior intelligence and are much better looking than the average supermodel you can be a terminal controller. Everyone else should go to a tower. 8)
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#13 Post by Jerricho » Mon Jan 30, 2006 11:35 am

Oh crap!?!?!

Guess I slipped through.
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#14 Post by taskforce58 » Tue Jan 31, 2006 6:52 am

charlie_g wrote:Generally I think you could argue that ATC is comprised of four disciplines -- tower, terminal, low level, high level (for those areas that have a high/low split). Each area has its own quirks and skill set, and you cannot simply transition from one to the other without several months (6-8 or more) of retraining.
You can add a fifth - oceanic controllers (in Gander ACC).
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#15 Post by Raydar » Tue Jan 31, 2006 8:29 am

Fusion that was great...

Want to make decesions and be in control? Choose IFR...want to have someone else make most of your decesions? Choose VFR...
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