Atlanta Tracon - A80

noid

Curtis E. Carr
Jun 24, 2008
2,024
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In a van down by the river.
Tower experience isn't really going to help you out a whole lot. The training program seems to have gotten better. The first group of new hires (ever) arrived in Nov '06 and got back from RTF Feb '07. Of those that are left, most only have one sector left before CPC. I believe the second group has one that is CPC and others close behind as well. The training program started out rough for the new hires as they weren't sure how to train people without any TRACON experience. Since then, it's gotten better and I think people's chances have improved. That said, it's no joke. You'll start out on 1 of 3 sectors: Links, Columbus, or Macon. Those sectors are equivalent to a level 7 or 8 RAPCON. After that, you'll either move on to Satellite (which is INSANE with the airspace restrictions), Departure and the Approach Wall.

Study your ass off, don't talk back to your OJTI's (I know it sounds juvenile, but deal with it), and ask for help when you need it. There's nothing wrong with requesting going back to run sims to work on problem areas. Running sims doesn't count against your target hours, so I suggest using it as much as possible. Swallow your pride and check the ego and do what you need to do to succeed. Best of luck!
 

barty

Trusted Member
Sep 25, 2008
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You'll start out on 1 of 3 sectors: Links, Columbus, or Macon. Those sectors are equivalent to a level 7 or 8 RAPCON. After that, you'll either move on to Satellite (which is INSANE with the airspace restrictions), Departure and the Approach Wall.
Where is links? The area out over Athens?
 

noid

Curtis E. Carr
Jun 24, 2008
2,024
18
38
In a van down by the river.
Where is links? The area out over Athens?
Yep, that's the one. Using the crappy center radar with horrible coverage and slow sweeps (can you use passing/diverging....the world may never know), 3/5 mi separation right down the middle, the GVL shelf. ZTL got over big on A80 when A80 took that airspace.
 

liv2mtb

Newcomer
Sep 30, 2009
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Who is the facrep at A80? I will be visiting the area in second week of Nov and would like to visit the facility. I hear Peachtree city is a nice place to live also. I have 4 yrs lvl 6 up/down and have been at a lvl 8 class c up/down for almost 6 years. We are losing our radar next year so its time to move on. Anymore tidbits on the facility would be appreciated.
 

Pavel

Rookie
Mar 31, 2009
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I would suggest avoid Atalanta, unless you want to retire very early, that place has way too many airplanes.
 

DurdenWM

Newcomer
Sep 28, 2009
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My VRA app has been referred to GA and i want to work at A80. Anyone working there that can confirm they actually have available positions? I want to call the facility and try to talk to anyone about how to get to the facility but am reluctant because i dont wanna bother them or sound like an idiot and discourage them.
 

noid

Curtis E. Carr
Jun 24, 2008
2,024
18
38
In a van down by the river.
They always have positions "open", but the district only gets so many slots a year. Seeing that the year just started, I'm sure they will have multiple group openings. That said, I would discourage any new hire from going there as a first facility unless you are one of the few that got an approach ticket while in the military.

Brian Lentini is the ATM and is a really good guy. You can also ask for Mike Jenkins, he's the training manager/acting ATM when Brian is out, and Dan Ellenburger is the FACREP. Being that you are VRA, they might pull to get you there, but you have to sell yourself. Let them know what qualifications you have, etc. Good luck.
 

Navyatc

Newcomer
May 13, 2009
24
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Oklahoma City
Can someone please get more specific on how the training process goes on at A80. I have been refered to GA, and I'm hoping to get there.

Thanks
 

MikeATC

Retired FAA, NATCA Member
Apr 3, 2009
1,230
3
38
Nashville TN
I'm going to be blunt, "Any CTI, or OTS individual that accepts an offer to go to A80 or any of the other powerhouses is STUPID. You chance of obtaining certification is just about NIL". These facilities are not geared to training individuals with no experience, despite what you might think or what changes the FAA might attempt to do these facilities need controllers that have prior ATC-9 or higher experience not individuals who are clueless.

I recently retired after 25 years as a controller, and as far as I know, not one CTI or OTS hire has certified at A80 or any of the other powerhouses. I can't understand why someone would want to put themselves into a situation where they are basically guaranteed to fail.

I'm being completely frank by strongly recommending that you go to a ATC-7 or ATC-8 first, gain several years of experience, then move up to an ATC-10, gain more experience, then if you want to jump into A80, C90, or one of the other madhouses go for it, but don't make them your initial facility.

Us old guys want to see you new people make it, we need you guys to certify and then hopefully move up into the busier facilities. So don't set yourselfs up for failure. Trust me when I say that you will earn a lot more respect by obtaining experience and knowledge at smaller facilities before you try moving up.
 

noid

Curtis E. Carr
Jun 24, 2008
2,024
18
38
In a van down by the river.
I've been saying this since day one, but you can't talk anyone out of it. People have it in their minds that they can "try" their way to certification. I don't care how hard you try, what type of work ethic you may have, the odds are against you. People would rather play career Russian Roulette, than to play it safe at a lower level facility.

So far, there has only been 1 CTI and 1 VRA to certify at A80. Others are either washing our or requesting transfers because it's just too intense to start your career there. Hindsight is 20/20, and after it's all said and done, you'll see what we've been saying.

Seriously though, best of luck to those who try.
 

jalvis81

Senior Member
May 4, 2009
201
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Noid and MikeATC are dead on. When I toured ZTL i talked to some dude that said his daughter just transferred there; she is doing well, but she transferred in from somewhere i cant remember... basically said everything noid and mikeatc have been preaching. Its not set up for people with no experience, and the traffic workload is insane. People that want to start here without experience are dumb. Just plain dumb. :deadhorse:
 

DurdenWM

Newcomer
Sep 28, 2009
6
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1
I am not trying to argue, so don't take this the wrong way, but for the sake of discussing training at the facility; you mentioned in an earlier post that one of the three sectors you start on rates at a 7 - 8.
If you are fresh coming in, would this not be the necessary stepping stone to working the more difficult sectors? You would have to learn the necessary app/dep skills to effectively work at that level.
To me, and i realize i have no TRACON experience, it would seem like after acquiring the necessary knowledge and controlling tools, expanding your traffic capacity would be limited by personal potential/ability, regardless of what slower facilities you have worked.
My only experience is a CTO and a GCA (in a shoebox size amount of airspace) at one facility so seriously what do i know. I would like to know what you think.
And in response not to not talking people out of it. My mindset is that if you're going to do something you should try and be the best at it. So why not go to A80. Is it not better to try and fail than to not try? I find it difficult to believe, and i'm not trying to be contradicting just conversational, that an individual with some stones and talent for ATC could not go to a busy facility, put their nose to the grind and come away successful.
 

noid

Curtis E. Carr
Jun 24, 2008
2,024
18
38
In a van down by the river.
IMO, people need experience at a lower level facility for a couple of years, not a couple of weeks or months you would have at A80 prior to going back into the classroom for the more complex areas.

In most aspects of life, I would agree with you. Strive to be the best and don't take no for an answer. The problem with this philosophy in regards to air traffic is that not all controllers are created equal. Some people can walk into a level 12 and knock it out without any problems. Others may need time to develop the basics that are required before you attempt to build on those with a higher complexity. I see no advantage to rushing into a high level facility with greater odds of being unsuccessful than if you went to a lower facility.

Some people are able to get back in after washing out, but not always. Nothing in life is guaranteed, so why not give yourself every possible chance of being successful in this career field? Start slow, build your way up. You have at least 20yrs in this field, don't rush it. The money is tempting, but you can still make a decent living at a lower level facility. Within the next few years, it will be easier to transfer out of some of the undermanned facilities. Where I'm at, it averages out to about a year or year and a half after CPC.
 

Radium

Epic Member
Jan 14, 2009
1,988
8
38
Is it not better to try and fail than to not try?
Lol. Gotta remember, this is your life/livelyhood. The idea is get cpc as easy/quickly as possible.. learn the faa atc ropes.. THEN go play with the big boys/big $$. (not say "well it was a good game, gave it my best... fk that, this is how you are gonna pay bills man).

I strive to be the best at whatever I involve myself in, hell, just to stroke my own ego... but im not a dumbass... If you think you are hot shit, then go be hot shit at a lvl 9 tracon or something... then eventually go be hot shit @ a lvl 12.

I mean, I'm going to a lvl 12... but I didnt ask for it... so ya, people who ASK to get raped with a 50% chance of losing their job... thats some masochistic stuff.
 

DurdenWM

Newcomer
Sep 28, 2009
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1
You know i was really hoping, and i guess inadvertently fishing for the, " YA! It can be done!" comment, but I guess I am like most people who hear what they want to.

Good luck at your unwanted 12, A80 i assume? Do not worry, it can be done! It has been done before!

so ya, people who ASK to get raped with a 50% chance of losing their job... thats some masochistic stuff.
hahaha.

So when you dont ask but catch it anyway? what is that?
 

noid

Curtis E. Carr
Jun 24, 2008
2,024
18
38
In a van down by the river.
So when you dont ask but catch it anyway? what is that?
That's the FAA screwing over the new hires by not giving them the best opportunities to succeed. Now that the new contract is in place, you will see more CPC's transferring to higher level facilities, which will open up more lower level positions. Then the majority of new hires will go to the lower level places that they need to go to.

Of course it can be done, I'm not disputing that. I just don't see why anyone would take the chance of going to a higher level facility when the odds of it being the end of a very short career are higher than the lower level facilities.

I feel for the ones that get stuck with an upper level facility. For all the people begging for one, they need to check the ego at the door. The old tried and true saying: Be careful of what you wish for, because you just might get it.

I don't want anyone taking this as a personal attack. I'm just stating my opinion based on my personal experiences, which is reflected by many senior controllers.