Albuquerque Center - ZAB

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  1. #1
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    Albuquerque Center - ZAB

    Is there anyone selected for ZAB?

  2. #2
    blakeh's Avatar
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    Re: ZAB - Albuquerque Center

    I dont know. But, I really want this center. Cant be nearly as much traffic as other centers.

  3. #3
    RadarContact's Avatar
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    Re: ZAB - Albuquerque Center

    Quote Originally Posted by blakeh View Post
    I dont know. But, I really want this center. Cant be nearly as much traffic as other centers.
    I suppose it depends on what sectors you are in. I toured the facility a few months back. They primarily work a/c in and out of PHX it seems. I work across the line from them right now at Holloman AFB, and I just put my app in for VRA this weekend. I've got my fingers crossed.
    Applied VRA 5/21/2009
    1/23/10....Separated from AF
    3/4/2010...Referred to NM
    Applied VRA 8/9/2010
    10/18/10...referred to CA & TX
    11/24/10...Selection email CA terminal
    12/10/10...Interview @ ABQ
    12/16/10...Received paperwork request email
    12/20/10...TOL for E10
    01/07/11...All pre-employment tasks done
    02/16/11...All cleared
    02/25/11...FOL
    03/03/11...OKC BABY!!!
    04/21/11...First day at the facility
    05/18/12...CPC!

  4. #4
    blakeh's Avatar
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    Re: ZAB - Albuquerque Center

    Quote Originally Posted by RadarContact View Post
    I suppose it depends on what sectors you are in. I toured the facility a few months back. They primarily work a/c in and out of PHX it seems. I work across the line from them right now at Holloman AFB, and I just put my app in for VRA this weekend. I've got my fingers crossed.

    When you toured ZAB, what did you think of the facility?
    What was staffing like?
    What is expected staffing?
    Are they complicated sectors or fairly easy?
    Whats average check out time?

  5. #5
    DairyCreamer's Avatar
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    Re: ZAB - Albuquerque Center

    Quote Originally Posted by blakeh View Post
    I dont know. But, I really want this center. Cant be nearly as much traffic as other centers.
    Why do you assume that exactly? How much research have you done on this issue?

    I invite you out to ZAB to take a tour and answer whatever questions you have about the facility.

    Nate Johns
    ZAB SE

  6. #6
    blakeh's Avatar
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    Re: ZAB - Albuquerque Center

    Quote Originally Posted by DairyCreamer View Post
    Why do you assume that exactly? How much research have you done on this issue?

    I invite you out to ZAB to take a tour and answer whatever questions you have about the facility.

    Nate Johns
    ZAB SE
    That would be awesome!!! Maybe I can get down there one of these days.

    And I admit, its a pretty dumb assumption. Although, I was probably just thinking that because a majority of flights in the country are flying NE part of country and flights cross country fly through mid part of country. Although, im sure you get your fair share from Southern states flying to Vegas or Cali or vice versa.

    I dont know. lol.

    You work there, why dont you let us know what you think about your center?

    Tell us about the center?

    Maybe compare it to other centers in the country?

    Could you tell us about training? How long? Pass rate?

    Or staffing?

    Please, please fill us in about ZAB??

    Thanks and sorry for my naive assumption. I hope to one day be by your side!

  7. #7
    DairyCreamer's Avatar
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    Re: ZAB - Albuquerque Center

    Sorry I took so long to get back...

    The center is a center. If you've been to one, you've essentially seen them all, from an equipment standpoint anyway. The airspace and traffic of course differs from one place to the next. It's hard to describe a center without going in to great detail (which I don't have the strength to do right now) or seeing it first hand. Hence the invite to come see ZAB (or I can find out how to see the center nearest you if you'd like).

    Training is similar to other centers. We do a combined D/R-School. When you get here you basically don't see the floor formally (visits are allowed) for 6-9 months while you're upstairs drawing maps, taking CBIs and classes, and running through the labs. I actually went through the old program (D-School, D-Sides, R-School, R-Sides), and was one of the last to complete training via that method before ZAB switched to combined D/R classes.

    How long? Let's see... for me, OKC 7/28/06 to 11/16/06. ZAB 11/20/06, A-Side early Jan (no raise thanks to IWRs), spent about 5 months on the A-Side, D-School was on the order of 4 months as I recall (exact dates escape me right now). That puts us around September I think. I got my first 4 D-Sides (D1) in 12/07. Circle D (D2) a little over a month later in 01/08. Did that for a little while, then off to R-School for a couple of months. My first day on the floor as an R-Side trainee was 4/1/08. First 4 R's (D3) in 6/08. Got CPC on 7/17/08.

    So, for me, personally, all told was less than 2 years from first day in OKC to CPC. I've been told I was one of the fastest ever to check out at ZAB with no prior experience. I know I was the first from my OKC class that came to ZAB to check out. Not trying to toot my horn, honest, just trying to give perspective. Average checkout I believe is 3 years from OKC from what I've been told. I am ever-greatful to my trainers and supes for helping me grind out the hours and keeping me on track.

    2 of my 3 OKC mates that came to my area checked out since then in my area. I think one was mid December, then another early this year I believe. The 3rd is still working on R-Sides. The others... let's see, 2 washed from non-radar (which is now pass-pass here, for better or worse), one quit because of the FAA's BS (she was a legitimately good controller), one checked out, and the other 3 are struggling from what I understand. So, for our OKC class that came to ZAB, that's 4 CPCs, 3 Devs, 2 washes, and 1 quit. From the sound of things, I would expect one of those devs to become a wash from ZAB, though they'll probably get assigned to a low-level facility due to some success on the floor.

    I was told when I came in that average CPC rate for ZAB was 50% of those that walk in the door, and that number is pretty consistent among all centers. Everyone seems to agree that OKC is an absolute joke and a waste of time in terms of determining if you're cut out for the job. Only the very worst seem to fail OKC, which means most people are going to get washed out at the facility now, unlike what it used to be. No good stats have been established yet on a national scale since it really hasn't been all that long since the first batches of off-the-street hires have gotten to their facility.

    Staffing... well, depends on the area. My specialty is in fairly good shape relative to some of the other areas in our building. We're hurting like every other facility though, and up until mid-May I was working 6-day weeks almost every week (Full Disclosure: I am on the 'yes' list for OT... essentially volunteering for it if it's needed. True mandatory is rare in my specialty, not sure about the others). OT kind of dried up as of late, but semi-artificially I think due to the way annual leave bid slots were handled for this year. ZAB will probably need a few more years to really be on the other side of the staffing valley. In contrast though, we are just starting to get better when a lot of other facilities in the nation are starting their real downward spiral now. The reasoning has to do with a variety of factors that I won't expound on here.

    I love ZAB. In general, it seems a bit more chill than a lot of stories I hear from other facilities. Our Labor/Management relationship has been better than most under the White Book, and as such, life hasn't been quite so cruel here as you may have gotten the impression about from other facilities. Not saying we haven't taken knocks, and the pay is a joke everywhere right now, but that's not in our control.

    The traffic can be complex as hell. We deal with a huge number of military operations, and half our airspace is designated as SUA which can go hot just about whenever. We have IR routes out the wazoo, fairly sizeable areas of non-radar, and sectors that have traffic climbing/descending in eachothers faces all day long. Unlike the busiest centers which seem to have lots of one-way sectors, most of our traffic is opposite direction and/or crossing. I think we have 2 one-ways in the building. Dealing with Mexico can be interesting sometimes too, if you're on the Southern Tier like I am.

    We're a wide-open center in the sense that we dont have TRACONs covering 90% of our low airspace like out east. We have 6 TRACONs and 4 or 5 RAPCONs (I might be off on the RAPCON count). I believe there are only 2 VFR towers in the center airspace too (PRC and SAF). Otherwise, it's one-in-one out, non-radar goodness from the center. I like that kind of stuff, personally. One of our specialties, though, deals almost entirely with high altitude traffic, with only a single low sector... albeit a sector that can go flat down the pooper in short order though thanks to infinite military and oil tycoons flying around in the Panhandle of TX. To give a sense of scale for the area our center covers... our Sector 63 which covers West Texas basically from ELP to CNM to FST and along the Rio Grande back to ELP is laterally as large as ZNY's entire area over the US Mainland. There's 38 (give or take) other sectors in the building beyond that. Skyvector.com can help with that though for the overall boundary.

    My fingers are getting tired now though. If you have any specific questions, I'm willing to entertain. The above should cover things broadly, however.

    Nate Johns
    ZAB SE

  8. #8
    Rosstafari's Avatar
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    Re: ZAB - Albuquerque Center

    Thanks, that was a hugely informative post. We'll probably toss that into a FAQ sooner or later, if you don't mind.
    Pan pan?

  9. #9
    blakeh's Avatar
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    Re: ZAB - Albuquerque Center

    Thanks for the info. I dont see how I could possibly have anymore questions for really any center now. Thanks alot! That was probably one of the best post I have ever seen on this site! Thanks again!

    Was wondering one thing, regarding the devs that washed out or will be washing out, why is this? Is it from lack of study? Lack of the ability to control? Not cut out for controlling? Traffic too complex?

    Thanks again!!!!!

  10. #10
    FALCON's Avatar
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    Re: Albuquerque Center - ZAB

    Thanks for taking the time to contribute that informative post Nate. So what I understood is that your facility (like most other centers) desperately needs controllers right now but the current budget won't allow for it. What is the prognosis for 2010 and 2011 regarding hiring projections?

  11. #11
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    Re: Albuquerque Center - ZAB

    How many sectors are there at ZAB, what areas do they cover, and do you get to choose your sector or are you assigned depending on staffing levels?

  12. #12
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    Re: Albuquerque Center - ZAB

    Quote Originally Posted by boston757 View Post
    How many sectors are there at ZAB, what areas do they cover, and do you get to choose your sector or are you assigned depending on staffing levels?
    The great thread revival of July '10.

  13. #13
    PapaGolf's Avatar
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    Re: Albuquerque Center - ZAB

    Dairy Creamer(or anyone reading this who has worked Albuquerque Center), do you know a "Skip"?

    I'm planning to be at ZAB either this week or next (late July, early August) for a tour, probably will end up being a full-day affair.. I just want to see this "Skip" if he is still workin' there, to witness firsthand what everyone is talking about..
    Last edited by PapaGolf; 07-29-2010 at 08:50 PM.

  14. #14
    SSgt Young's Avatar
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    Re: Albuquerque Center - ZAB

    Anyone at ZAB know a dude named Dave Szlemko? He's a huge Flyers fan and uses TS for his operating initials. He trained me a long time ago at Yuma and i'm just trying to reconnect with him.

  15. #15
    PapaGolf's Avatar
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    Re: Albuquerque Center - ZAB

    I'll be there Friday, this should be fun

  16. #16
    DairyCreamer's Avatar
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    Re: Albuquerque Center - ZAB

    Yo.

    See Wikipedia for ZAB sectors. You get assigned for staffing.

    I don't know a Skip at all.

    I know Schlemmy... was on my crew until he promoted to supe a few weeks back. Still in my area.

    PG, PM me. I work tomorrow 2-10.

    ~Nate

  17. #17
    PapaGolf's Avatar
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    Re: Albuquerque Center - ZAB

    Guess I saw this a little too late. My tour was fun! Sat through ERAM training (ugh) and then plugged in around the floor for a few hours. Very intimidating at first, so much to look at/see/do/hear/observe, but after 30minutes or so I kinda fell into a groove..

    I spoke with the guys who KNEW "Skip," apparently he's long gone. Old timer stories. Ask somebody who's been there 20 years, like "Beezer."

    Thanks for the tour (and the maps) 'querque..

  18. #18
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    Re: Albuquerque Center - ZAB

    I'm trying to contact the facility manager at ZAB, can someone tell me who it is please? PM me if you would like to. Thanks.

  19. #19
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    Re: Albuquerque Center - ZAB

    Anyone at ZAB that could get me hooked up with a tour, or a good contact that can. PM me thanks

  20. #20
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    Re: Albuquerque Center - ZAB

    Does anyone having any new info on zab, recently selected for zab.

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