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  1. #1
    flybyfive's Avatar
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    Question for Air Force guys

    I was talking to a customer that comes into my work (currently employed at a sales job), he works at the TRACON near my hometown. He was Air Force, I asked him where he was rated and what quals he got. He was telling me that he wants to retire from the FAA and work contract towers, but can't because he was rated radar only. My question is two fold- 1. Does the FAA allow you to cross train to gain a CTO at a tower without a transfer? 2. How many Air Force guys DO NOT gain a CTO during their time as controllers? Aside from the guys who are lazy or wash out, how many go to radar only and come out w/out a CTO? Just was curious, I just enlisted into ARNG and was surprised he'd been in 20 years and didn't have a CTO.

  2. #2
    DavidSW's Avatar
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    Re: Question for Air Force guys

    Well, as for your questions, very few people go through their entire AF career without at least having the opportunity to obtain a CTO. That being said, it is possible I suppose to avoid a tower all together, but to be honest the way things are in the AF today you would have to try to stay out of one. Keep in mind that while a person may spend the majority of their career in a radar facility, many times they will have the opportunity to "go upstairs" and get dual rated if they really want it. In short, it may be possible that he hasn't had the opportunity, but it is not very common.

    As for the FAA's "cross training", I'm not completely sure what you are asking, but I'm assuming your wondering if you are at a radar only facility such as D10 (DFW TRACON) can you cross over to DFW's tower which is a tower only facility without transferring there. The answer to that question would be no, however many of the FAA facilities are "up/downs" whereby you are required to get rated in both the tower and the TRACON to be a fully checked out controller (CPC). In simplified terms, if the FAA tower or TRACON only requires you to get checked out in the tower or the TRACON to be a CPC, you will not be able to train in the other facility without transferring there.

    As for the person you met working in a TRACON center, keep in mind that in the AF they call the radar facilities RAPCONs (Radar Approach Control) as opposed to TRACON (Terminal Radar Approach Control), and of course centers are a different kind of facility all together. I'm not trying to call you out, but I'm sure someone else would if I didn't point it out.

  3. #3
    flybyfive's Avatar
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    Re: Question for Air Force guys

    This gentleman works for the FAA, so it is TRACON. I stated he'd been in the Air Force and now currently works for the FAA. Again, just was surprised Air Force hadn't come out with a CTO, but then again he got out in the early 90's.

  4. #4
    DavidSW's Avatar
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    Re: Question for Air Force guys

    Quote Originally Posted by flybyfive View Post
    He was Air Force
    Ehh...read that as "is" for some reason. Sorry! Hope the rest of the info was helpful though.

  5. #5
    gims's Avatar
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    Re: Question for Air Force guys

    Most people I know are one or the other. I have gotten both since I have been in, but I can think of only 1 other person who I went through training with who has had both. Mind you I'm talking about RAPCON ratings and not GCA. I think it just depends on where you are stationed. Some places are going to be easier to do this than others. I would say 15-25 % get both but thats just a guess from what I have seen. If you stay in long enough your chances of getting both are really good. I would say it doesn't happen for most in their first term.

  6. #6
    Roddy_Piper's Avatar
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    Re: Question for Air Force guys

    if you did 20 years and retired from the AF then there's a really good chance you got a CTO. if you did your 4-6 years and got out then it's roughly 50/50 that you didn't get a CTO. i was tower only and never worked a RAPCON in 8 years of AF time and now i work a TRACON. got friends that were RAPCON only in the AF and now tower in the FAA.

    getting a CTO in the AF (any mil branch) is a definite plus for the contract tower world.

  7. #7
    Radium's Avatar
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    Re: Question for Air Force guys

    4 yr af, only radar, now tracon. No CTO for me

  8. #8
    flybyfive's Avatar
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    Re: Question for Air Force guys

    Radium, roddy, are you both FAA controllers now

  9. #9
    atcbrownie's Avatar
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    Re: Question for Air Force guys

    6 years af rapcon only no cto. FAA now TRACON only still no cto nor do I want one.

  10. #10
    Roddy_Piper's Avatar
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    Re: Question for Air Force guys

    Quote Originally Posted by flybyfive View Post
    Radium, roddy, are you both FAA controllers now
    yes for me, and yes for radium. anything we can do to help let us know.

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