CTI Ends ... Thankfully

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nightingale

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Jan 8, 2014
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I have been a controller for 35 years. I have trained dozens of CTI types since the inception of the program. Many were sharp kids who have done a great job for us. However, many had no business even being in an ATC facility. Six or eight classes over four years does not make you a viable candidate for ATC.... neither does a pilot's license. We have washed out a half-dozen high time pilots. When I went through the military we lost about 30% in training, another 5% or 10% in the field. When I was hired the FAA had a 20 to 40 percent washout rate in the academy, depending on the particular class. Almost nobody slipped through the cracks and represented a danger to the flying public. In my facility we've had two near, near, misses at a runway intersection and nobody was surprised who was on position when this happened. One controller just stared as both aircraft barreled toward the intersection ... one pilot caught it and aborted. In the other instance the controller cleared an aircraft for take-off with an aircraft landing on an intersecting runway. The CIC saw it... but too late. They missed by a couple hundred feet. These were not single engine types. In all instances air carriers, with hundreds on board. Don't get me wrong I'm not some grumpy old man ragging on college kids. I obtained a degree myself after I left the military. Unfortunately what I feel has happened is that the FAA does not want to cut its losses and get rid of folks who can't do the job. The FAA Academy for years was a rubber stamp for CTI kids, everybody got through. As I understand it is back to pass/fail ... thankfully. This profession is kind of like hitting a fast ball ... some can do it... some will never be able to do it. We have washed out college grads and had roofers come in and excel. We have washed out military pilots and had a kid who worked at Kmart tear up the program. The FAA has dumbed down the program immensely. And please don't tell me about the high success rate of CTI kids. When you lower the bar to a couple inches in the form of increased training time on position, double the amount that was given ten years ago, when getting through the Academy just takes showing up on time, and when you extend training time to reach well outside the probationary period (one year) allowing the union to fight a kid's termination, that two inch bar is not tough to jump over. Raw intelligence and the ability to perform under pressure makes a good controller, not classes in aviation management or some prof prepping you for the AT SAT. My heart goes out to the kids currently in CTI programs and those graduates not yet hired. The FAA mislead you ... or your school did. But if and when you do make it to the FAA you will find that being lied to by the FAA is fairly common. Check out the LMR Forums if you doubt me. I am pleased in knowing that going forward the best and brightest will again be hired competitively. Being the son or daughter of parents who can shell out 100k to send you to Embry Riddle is no longer a ticket in. That kid who goes to the local community college and works nights will now be on equal footing. Maybe the sense of entitlement and feeling that the FAA can't fire you anymore than the post office could will ebb away. We don't sort mail. If you can't do it hopefully you'll be gone. Sorry to be so blunt but it is what it is. By the way ... if you're a CTI kid who retests and does not score in the 90's, I'd stay start looking elsewhere. When I was hired you needed a 96 or better. I am not accounting for demographics that need to be filled, if you are an under represented minority in the workforce you might have a shot with a score in the eighties... if not move on. At my facility the CTI program did integrate the workforce. Honestly, my first thirty years in the profession was dominated by white males. Not the case anymore so the demographics at my facility are close to where they should be and finally, rightfully so. The FAA will have to carry the products of the CTI programs who would have formally never become full performance level controllers. We will weed some out via performance appraisals and deals (near misses) but not all. The rest of us will keep an eye on them. Some will grow into competency despite being checked out prematurely. Unfortunately many will be the lazy dull-witted person they were when they were hired and go through a career being carried by those of us who care enough about the flying public to put these JV players on the less busy positions or extend their breaks so they don't sit down when it is busy, or steer them to office jobs where they cannot place people in immediate danger. This is not just an indictment of the CTI program. Many military hires are just as incompetent and have benefited by the relaxed standards the CTI Program ushered in. I’m sure what is driving this change is not the incompetence and lack of talent the FAA has finally recognized, but rather, some new fangled system replete with PC buzz words and perpetuated by the office hacks in D.C. or some overpaid paid private firm helping the FAA to diagnose anomalies in the system. Whatever the reason it is a change for the better. Please send us bright motivated kids who don’t sit in the break room and play computer games or sleep. Send us those kids who are hungry to earn six figures and will study, pay attention and bust their hump to get there. I don’t care whether the kid was raised in Fairfield CT or Harlem NY … just send them!
 
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GS3k

Trusted Member
Oct 24, 2013
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Thread post fail.

So you're telling me they're doing away with the C.T.I. program?
 

Siddley

Junior Member
Jun 1, 2011
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Nice triple post, sounds like a "good ol' boy" who is stuck in the past, and never wants change. Listen I think the failure is based on the person, weather CTI or not, its not fair that because of a few examples of CTI you immediately assume all bought their way in. There are CTI people who don't ever make it in, its not a guarantee. I am sure you had Kmart baggers and roofers who did just as terrible as the CTI people you mentioned above. There will always be old timers, that no matter what in whatever profession, complain about "the new kids" and "its so much easier now" even thou they are practically you 35 years ago. I am sorry we all cannot be an ATC god like you.
 
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flyin_sooner

Trusted Contributor
Mar 23, 2010
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Nice triple post, sounds like a "good ol' boy" who is stuck in the past, and never wants change. Listen I think the failure is based on the person, weather CTI or not, its not fair that because of a few examples of CTI you immediately assume all bought their way in. There are CTI people who don't ever make it in, its not a guarantee. I am sure you had Kmart baggers and roofers who did just as terrible as the CTI people you mentioned above. There will always be old timers, that no matter what in whatever profession, complain about "the new kids" and "its so much easier now" even thou they are practically you 35 years ago. I am sorry we all cannot be an ACT god like you.
The OP said that there were all types who were good controllers. His main gripe was the CTI program provided an avenue for people who sucked to sneak in. As a CTI TOL holder I wasn't offended at all by some of the things he said. There are a couple that I graduated with who I wouldn't trust to separate their butt cheeks with their hands. Reads his post again everything he said was warranted.
 
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Siddley

Junior Member
Jun 1, 2011
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Reads his post again everything he said was warranted.
eheemmm,
1) The FAA Academy for years was a rubber stamp for CTI kids, everybody got through
2) getting through the Academy just takes showing up on time
3)Being the son or daughter of parents who can shell out 100k to send you to Embry Riddle is no longer a ticket in
 

nightingale

Newcomer
Jan 8, 2014
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Sounds like a struggling CTI type for whom the truth may hurt. Yep a triple post pal and most people agree. Sorry I don't have mountains of data. Post was based on individual experience over many years. Us "good ol boys" have presided over the safest ATC System in the world. Let's see what you bring to the table .. if you ever get there.
 
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Siddley

Junior Member
Jun 1, 2011
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Sounds like a struggling CTI type for whom the truth may hurt. Yep a triple post pal and most people agree. Sorry I don't have mountains of data. Post was based on individual experience over many years. Us "good ol boys" have presided over the safest ATC System in the world. Let's see what you bring to the table .. if you ever get there.
Sounds to me like the very sense of entitlement you just complained about the CTI kids having
 

mikechuck

Newcomer
Nov 27, 2013
11
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Cincinnati -> NCT
The OP said that there were all types who were good controllers. His main gripe was the CTI program provided an avenue for people who sucked to sneak in. As a CTI TOL holder I wasn't offended at all by some of the things he said. There are a couple that I graduated with who I wouldn't trust to separate their butt cheeks with their hands. Reads his post again everything he said was warranted.
Believe me. There are many VRA guys out there who can't separate planes (or at least not without CI open and the WS watching intensely with only 3 planes). I saw it at my home base. But I came from a complex airspace with multiple airfields and where vectoring and airspeed is seemingly given every other transmission. When I deployed I couldn't believe the inability of some Airmen to control airplanes. These individuals were from well known busy AF facilities. I came to find out that they are "canned" and haven't needed to vector or sequence a plane since Biloxi. What I will say is this. Standards have continuously decreased in the military just the same as I'm sure CTI standards have. I was fortunate enough to have a hard nosed "old school" trainer who tore me down(to the verge of quitting multiple times) and built me up to be a controller.

To Siddley. Every good controller I've ever met is confident and most likely would tell you they are either the best or better than you or humbly smile without saying it. All depending on there modesty level. Controllers are cocky and deservingly so. Some are brash. So I would watch your sensitivity level because those "good ole boys" are still around and will speak their mind. Something CTI doesn't teach you is having thick skin. Wait until your in position and your a-hole trainer is watching you and you slip up or stutter and they over-key and make it a point to tell everyone. The will do whatever they can to make your blood boil. So I hope for your sake you don't get an "ACT" (I think you mean "ATC") God as your trainer.

I'm a VRA radar guy. I have never met a CTI and believe there are many potential good controllers in the bunch. But I support the OTS announcement. Anyone and everyone should be given an opportunity to do this job. You either can do it or you can't and its a pretty quick process to figure that out. I don't see why defending an (other than ATC) unmarketable degree is even an argument. I think the job requirements should be raised (At least a 2 year degree) and the weeding out process ramped up before new hires reach their facilities. I also think a lot of you are over reacting. Unless you are older(near that 31 mark), you will get your opportunity at some point. Just calm down and wait til all the facts come out.
 

SirMario

Senior Analyst
Apr 15, 2010
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:p I have a feeling this guy just made the name to post this...i think its Jax :D...
 

RVG86

Junior Member
Mar 19, 2012
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Awesome read. You hit the nail on the head.

Unfortunately this thread is about to be flooded with CTI cry babies posting "This old fart doesn't know what he's talking about!!! I got WQ on my atsat, so I am pretty sure I know a little more about ATC than this 35 year vet...."
 
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jaxington18

Junior Member
Sep 2, 2013
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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

I'm a CTI student and i agree with everything he says. Hes right to be an ATC you do not need a degree if someone would have told me this before i chose this path i would have been much happier. The CTI students bitch not because they feel entitled that they are the best but because money was paid. We live in a capitalist society man wasting money on something that is not useful in the long run is not cool.
 

Siddley

Junior Member
Jun 1, 2011
75
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48 states
Awesome read. You hit the nail on the head.

Unfortunately this thread is about to be flooded with CTI cry babies posting "This old fart doesn't know what he's talking about!!! I got WQ on my atsat, so I am pretty sure I know a little more about ATC than this 35 year vet...."
I dont think I have seen someone yet that says they know more then the OP. What I DO however have a problem with is the attitude about CTI people before we even get a chance to show who we are or our abilities, we are all labeled as punk CTI kids who bought their way here and they never would have made it 10 years ago. Does the OP have more experience and is better at ATC then me, of course! but I'm sorry I had to jump thru a CTI hoop, the FAA made that the only way for me to get in, don't immediately sign me off and think of me as an idiot "kid" because of the way I had to get into the FAA
 

kos398663

Newcomer
Jan 7, 2014
10
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Chicago IL
I really don't care about arguing CTI or not. I would simply be curious to read more about what is going on with all of these changes. Preferably straight from the horses mouth. I am a CTI, I was formerly a flight major for two years but that wasn't going anywhere good. I switched to ATC and whether or not it was a good choice I have yet to find out. All I know is 12 credits next semester and I graduate. So I'm not quitting now. If someone could point me in the right direction to further understands what is happening I would really appreciate that. Thank you
 

DontCallMeShirley

Senior Analyst
Mar 31, 2012
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Pushing Tin SUCKS
If someone could point me in the right direction to further understands what is happening I would really appreciate that. Thank you
I believe the FAA is holding a teleconference with the CTI schools sometime today, so I'd check in here for info later. Should clear up some of the confusion, but I wouldn't hold my breath.
 

jaxington18

Junior Member
Sep 2, 2013
91
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If someone could point me in the right direction to further understands what is happening I would really appreciate that. Thank you
I don't think anyone really knows bro everything is just speculation.It seems that in the next couple of hours there will be a conference with the FAA which hopefully puts this matter to rest.I for one have not paid my tuition yet and it will not be paid until i hear a clear definitive answer from the FAA.
 

cwink94

Newcomer
Jan 7, 2014
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Well I suppose I am one of the few CTI kids that doesn't feel entitled at all. I don't know what others are being taught at their schools but at mine the instructors remind us frequently that nothing is guaranteed and most of us won't even get jobs. All we can do is put our applications in like everyone else and keep trying. I will say though that our instructors are not happy about the current events so I'm not sure of what to make of any of it. I'm in my last semester for my CTI course, I have a scholarship, so I might as well finish and decide where I want to go from there.
 
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