Level 7 VFR Tower Washout Options

007hamster

Senior Member
Feb 25, 2009
205
0
16
NATCA Meeting
Just found out I'll be going through the NEST after washing out on local. We are a busy level 7 facility where 600 ops/ day is considered slow and we have had at least 2 1000/ops+ days in the past week or so. 90% of our traffic is student pilots from a local flight school with identical 2 seater aircraft, making them a nightmare to keep track of. 150+ ops/hr are common.

I am preparing a letter to go along with the NEST packet and have found 17 facilities that I believe I could be successful at and in a location that I could live with for 3+ years.

If anyone knows any Pro's or Con's to these facilities as far as working and living conditions go *not* Cost of Living, please holler!

APC,MIC,SCK,ARB,FCM,MRY,PSP,RNO,STS,HWD,LVK,OGG,PAE,RHV,SJC, and SMF

10 out of the 17 facilities are in CA. I am not worried about cost of living as much as I am about commute time, crime, and likelihood of certifying.

My NATCA rep is helping me call some facilities, but I'd like to narrow the list down. I'd appreciate any info you might provide.

Thanks!

-007hamster :)
 

BrewnATC

Epic Member
Jan 28, 2015
2,399
36
48
Ass deep in a folding chair
Can't speak about the facility, but PAE is in an awesome area, tons to do and downtown Seattle is 25 minutes away.

SCK is a tiny little town. Think boredom and hot in the middle of nowhere living.

I would probably be worried about cost of living at APC, MRY, HWD, RHV, SJC because it will be prohibitive in where you live and what you can do. South Bay Area is extremely expensive as is Napa. Expect at least an hour commute to all of those places, unless you want a high crime neighborhood. Same goes for SMF to an extent.
 

007hamster

Senior Member
Feb 25, 2009
205
0
16
NATCA Meeting
I am from the Renton, WA area and would like PAE. My NATCA rep gave them a call and they seem to be adequately staffed for the time. My main concern is just getting checked out in an area I could stand to live for 3+ years.
 

lowapproach

Epic Member
Oct 29, 2010
1,316
33
48
WV
Your main concern is making it through NEST to any facility. There are only 2 pay bands below yours, and you still have yet to show that you can be successful in Local. That said, good luck.
 

duranme

Senior Analyst
Nov 3, 2009
920
13
18
BUR
IT will help, the nest only makes a further recommendation to another agency head that makes the call.

That being said, even if the nest determines termination, the agency person after that can overturn it. It's been done several times in western service area.
 

Macharena

Junior Member
Nov 21, 2013
90
0
6
I had a tour of SMF tower in the fall. The controllers up there are very laid back and don't hold any egos or anything. Cost of living isn't nearly as expensive as near the coast and you can find decent homes in Natomas, near the airport. Otherwise, expect a 20-30 min drive as the airport is located on the outskirts of the city. Downtown is a 20 min drive away where the American and Sacramento rivers meet. Lake tahoe is an hour away and SF 2. Weather is a little hot in the summer but overall pretty mild.
 

ATCJoe85

Rookie
Jan 14, 2012
32
0
6
Sacramento
SCK is pretty much trained by one individual who is basically addicted to training…. And he is very good at training. A few at SCK live in Elk Grove/Sacramento, most live in the Stockton or Lodi area. Consider commuting from Sac if you want a nice place to live (almost no commuter traffic when commuting from Sac, just distance)

I’ve heard varying things about SMF, I do know you’ll have to sequence in T38’s with your airlines, and that particular aspect can be a bit complex. More convenient than SCK if you want to live in Sac, but more work, and mid-shifts (SCK closes at 9).

Frankly, I’d recommend SCK just to get your feet wet. Less than a year to certify, then 2-3 years max before you transfer out.

Out of your other northern California options, any difference in pay will be negated by cost of living, and while you’ll have more transfer options once you’ve certified at a 6+, you’re most likely to check out at a 4 (unfortunately, can’t speak for how training is at APC, so don’t truly know if SCK is a better or worse option than that)

Also can't speak to the non-northern California options.
 

Stinger

Epic Member
May 24, 2009
1,563
21
38
Has SMF been open 24 hours for a while now? For some reason I thought they didn't have mids back in 2008ish.
 

estup24

Junior Member
Dec 4, 2013
103
1
18
USA
APC is just like SCK but you definitely don't have to wait 2-3 years to get out. Went to APC in a nest, checked out in 3 months and got picked up 3 months after I certified.
 

RomeoNovember

Senior Analyst
Sep 26, 2009
944
4
18
37
USA
Come to St.Thomas!!! If I was single and came here from a level 8 or higher, I would NEVER leave! 110k a year with COLA. It's an amazing training fac. It's so easy to work here here, no stress! I have my TOL for ZAB next year. We was suppose to get a OKC grad last week however she didn't make it. Another guy is suppose to come next week, I hope he passes! Our staffing is at mins with 9 CPC and we are loosing 4 next year with TOL in hand. Come to STT we need people bad and it could save your career! Everyone checks out in STT!
 

RomeoNovember

Senior Analyst
Sep 26, 2009
944
4
18
37
USA
You can live any where you choose. The gov housing is about $700 a check and most of them are really nice 2 bed 2 bath condos with ocean views. It includes everything but Internet. Here is a picture from my balcony!

 

Ram_Tough

Trusted Contributor
Jul 5, 2010
638
9
18
You can live any where you choose. The gov housing is about $700 a check and most of them are really nice 2 bed 2 bath condos with ocean views. It includes everything but Internet. Here is a picture from my balcony!

Picture don't work but, I'll take your word on it.

How easy is travel down there? Do they have a lot of like, island hopper flights? Is a weekend on a St. Lucia, Martinique or the like possible?