life at a level 12


Epic Member
May 31, 2010
Train Me.
I'm nearing CPC at an up down level 6, and can not wait to move up in the world. I was just wondering how you CPCs at these busy 10-12 facilities enjoy the job. I'll be saving level 8 pay at my level 6, but that doesn't mean much to me. How is it working that level of traffic everyday ? Do you consistently feel like you're going down the shitter ? I know after working a busy session at work I'm ready to either lift heavy, beat my old lady or bust open a single malt scotch. Would love for any controllers at these major airport to chime in and shed some insight on what life is like on a normal day at work and how you feel.


Trusted Member
Aug 19, 2011
If you're capable of doing the job, you'll just get used to working heavier traffic more consistently. Like all things ATC, the routine stuff becomes routine. You just have more to deal with when the routine goes FUBAR.

And you'll need more scotch.

The Heatles

Loving Life
Jun 15, 2008
Miami, FL
Make the move NOW... if you have aspirations, start making moves. In roughly 10 years everyone will have been moved around and people at higher level facilities will be at places they want to be for their entire career and retirements will be few and far between. It will be hard to get to these places after too long.


Epic Member
Jan 14, 2009
I see plenty of people who either start at a 12, or make the move to Chase the money... And then its too much for them.... But then its a struggle cause after making 130+, you can't think of making less.. so its tough...

Then every day they go down the shitter, and it has to beat on them... To go to your work and have people treat you with kid gloves because you are not good... Yet you don't wanna take the move/cut to find somewhere better suited to your ability/mental health...

Rough stuff


Trusted Contributor
Feb 7, 2010
A Dark Dark Room
I'm probably at the bottom end of who you're directing the question to but... Radium is dead on. Plenty of people who make the move for the money, suck, get beat on daily and have to be worked around. Seeing someone realize that they are the weak link for the first time is pretty sad.

Remember though, not every major terminal facility is the same. Some are constantly busy while others have mind dulling lulls following insane pushes that make up the difference. Some are more complex (MVAs, runway centerline distances, airspace/equipment limitations) while others are more diverse (multiple airports in the airspace accounting for the traffic).

My facility is all pushes with really poorly laid out runways. About 90% of the time on any given sector its slow and the other 10% you're too busy trying to scrape the rust off with 10 pounds of airplanes in a 5 pound bag. Its awesome when you start nailing that final with surgical precision. It sucks when the traffic dries up right as you're in the zone only to dull up for the next week waiting to hit that next rush.


Epic Member
Dec 8, 2010
Peachtree City, GA
Usually the busier facilities have plenty of things in place to help manage the traffic. You don't have people in the pattern, you have restrictive LOAs, etc. etc. It takes some of the fun out of it and things become a little more routine. Not to mention ground delays, ground stops, and now with centers doing more time based metering and miles in trail, Approaches aren't just getting bombarded like they used to.


Reft crosed trafficah
Dec 22, 2008
Too sixah reft
Late at night sometimes tune the PET to the LA arrivals frequency and listen to a guy at SCT talk continuously for's just a constant stream. Hard to imagine no breaks in traffic for hours at a time.


Epic Member
Oct 29, 2010
I've worked at an ATC-10 center and an ATC-12. The biggest differences are that the pushes last longer at the ATC-12, and I have to understand a little more about adjacent airspace because every other airplane is landing or transitioning to terminal airspace within 250 miles. But I learned how to see traffic, turn airplanes and handle thunderstorm season at the ATC-10.

Maybe you won't make it if you move, but you shouldn't let that stop you from bidding on a place you want to live, making the money you want to make. You won't be as good as you want to be right away, but that's why you ask the right questions and stay plugged in for the push. The things that got you to CPC at a ATC-6 tower are the same things that get you to CPC at an ATC-12 facility.


Jun 20, 2008
Lowspproach is exactly right if you can get trained learn correctly it will probably happen at a busier facility also. While in AF we trained officer's had one ask what do I do if there are 10 aircraft I told him same thing as if there ate 2 only quicker. If you can learn how without being a pain in the ass you can learn just about anywhere