Advice on the EnRoute Performance Verification (PV)
The Performance Verification, or better known as the PV, is given to all FAA Academy students at the end of their air traffic control training. There are different scenarios for tower, TRACON, and EnRoute. The following is a prior students description and advice of the PV he took. All academy students must pass the PV to complete their training in Oklahoma City. If you cannot pass the PV, you will be let go. If you fail it the first time, you get to re-take the test one more time. This student is giving advice on the EnRoute PV. Hope this helps!
I just finished PV last week. It was the most nerve racking thing you can ever imagine. If i have any advice, it would be try to stay calm. I am a generally laid back person and don't get excited too easy. When I went in there, I was shaking. That is very much out of my nature. The best way to pass is PHRASEOLOGY. Practice it, learn it, be fluent in it. When you are taking a shower, driving to work, using the bathroom, or just sitting on the couch; practice it. Read clearances, issue heading and altitude assignments, and answer the phone. Think about point-outs, handoffs, and computer message entries any free second that you have. You WILL probably have a seperation error during the problem (flashers). That is no big deal. Everyone in our class except one guy had flashers (he got lucky). It is all in how you fix it. Don't jump to a solution blindly. When they flash, there is a minimum of a minute before it is a huge problem (in most cases). Offset the strip, analyze the following: Who is landing first, aircraft type, is anyone IAFDOF. Make a decision and then be able to articulate why you made it.
You are not going to be confident, anyone that says they were is lying. All of the people in the classes before you will tell you how easy it is and it was no big deal. Let me tell you, when you see a grown man from the group before you walk out of the room with hands full of tears, wondering how he is gonna support his family now that he is fired, THERE IS NO BIGGER DEAL. Do not get a false sense of security in the "it isn't that hard" philosophy. It is the hardest thing you will ever do. I have many life experiences to draw on and I can honestly say, It is the hardest thing I have ever done.
Do yourselves a favor: STUDY, LEARN, and do what you came to the academy to do. They will fire your a** as quick as you can say "Uh-oh" and sleep fine that night. There is no way to pass the academy without knowing the material. Go in there each day, ask questions, and LEARN. Stay out of the bar, except on weekends, and apply yourselves. I watched someone fail that is as equally talented as me if not better. The only blame for that is nervousness. You can only combat nervousness with confidence. Do not take this lightly. If you screw up a problem (problem #8 will probably be the first), which you will, figure out why and fix it.
Having said all of that, here are some things to learn that will help you:
1. If a guy is flying at 17,000ft., it is probably because he is going to hit the MOA or Restricted area. See it, fix it, forget about it.
2. If an aircraft requests anything (i.e. altitude change, deviation, etc.) it is bacause there was no one to hit where he was. Analyze it before you approve it.
3. Departures can't crash on the ground but they can cause you to get backed up. Don't let the line ring for 30 min. Answer it, give an EDC, offset the strip and get back to it when you can.
4. Block altitudes can be changed. It is not necessary to approve a block altitude for 4,000ft when it creates conflicts. Shrink it to 2,000ft.
5. PHRASEOLOGY, PHRASEOLOGY, PHRASEOLOGY. Sounding good on the radio is very important, it relaxes the grader. Some people use folksy phraseology and think that it is cool. To me, being as busy as possible, working center-level traffic, talking faster than the human tongue should be able too, all while using book phraseology...THAT'S COOL!!
6. Be respectful of your graders. Say, yes sir/yes ma'am, and realize that they are NOT your equals or your collegues. They will help you 10 times more if they feel respected by you (believe me, you'll need it). Same goes with the PVer.
7. HUGE: LOOK AT LIMITED DATA BLOCKS!! It will save your a**.
8. If the restricted area or MOA goes hot in the middle of the problem, someone is going to hit it.
9. Learn the Letter of Agreements. This concept was tough for me. They are probably the single most important thing that will come back to bite you.
10. MAKE A SAFE DECISION. If you make a decision and it is wrong but everyone lives and seperation is assured, it isn't going to fail you (normally). Make it with confidence and follow through.