What causes people to wash out at facilities?

Mizzou80

Senior Member
Sep 24, 2008
281
0
16
I know thats a broad queston. Is it as simple as people not taking the job seriously? Not bothering to study? I know the washout rate is somewhere around 50%. I was just curious if their are any leading causes for this.
 

apegler

Junior Member
Nov 18, 2008
77
0
6
34
Salt Lake City
From what I have heard there are a number of different things that can cause a person to wash out. Some times its just the person, simply put some people are just not cut out for the job. Other times its the pure fact that some facilities are way too busy and over whelming for some people to jump into. From what I have read, most of the highest wash out rates, are located in the busy terminals. You will hear some people say that its the FAA's fault for not training people enough others will say its the person's fault for not putting enough effort into the job. It differs from situation to situation. Making sure that you study and make sure you are willing to learn from all different people. Everyone has something to teach you. I've learned that in these first few weeks at the academy.
 

The Heatles

Loving Life
Jun 15, 2008
2,172
24
38
Miami, FL
plenty of things... having too slow of a thinking process, not being able to separate and sequence planes, not learning or understanding procedures and charts, being late to work too much and taking too long to get certified. There are set time standards for each position at each facility. If you cant get checked out in the set amount of time and cant get managment to sign off on an extension then you are gone. If they think you will never pick up on it then they wont waste the extra time.

Those are just a few of many...


And its not always the busy airports. Some airports are so busy that they are "canned" meaning that there is a set procedure for all inbounds and that is just how everyone comes in. You learn one way and that is it, not too much unusual activity to deal with. Lower level facilities have the added complexity of accomodating weird and unusual stuff sometimes. Some places mix airliners with Military fighter jets and small Cessnas as the normal. Planes come in from all directions VFR for multiple touch and goes, flying the pattern with a jet recovery or mixing and sequencing multiple GA aircraft with airliners. You wont see pattern work at most level 11 and 12 facilities. You either land or leave. Some people may find it easier at these busy airports if they dont have a very good imagination. You have to think on teh fly and constantly have an "out" for yourself if your first idea doesnt work.
 

Jeeper

Rookie
Aug 29, 2008
55
1
8
While in the military, I saw people come and go for a multitude of reasons. A common misconception is "well, if I study hard I will not have a problem". This statement is completely false because bookwork is only half the battle. Many people have a hard time applying the book-knowledge to real-world situations. I have seen some very smart, hard-working individuals wash-out because they simply could not "think on their feet". I saw others spend exactly zero time studying and get rated very quickly. Their is no equation to measure ones ability other than getting in there and doing it....Good luck!

On a side note, many foreign ATC organizations provide a personality test to applicants as the first line of defense. So far, this seems to be the best way to measure a persons shot at success in this feild, not a college degree...or being able to memorize the 7110.65...
 

SoCal_ATCer

Senior Member
Jan 6, 2009
247
6
18
So Cal
I have a coworker (old PATCO guy) who says if you can fog a mirror, you can get a job in the FAA. haha. Don't know how or if this fits in...just thought it would be a funny side note.

Oh BTW...I work at a smaller not terribly busy tower we've had two washout in the last two years.
 

ysj2482

Rookie
Dec 13, 2008
49
0
6
Phoenix, AZ
Let the snitchy bitch on the ASDE-X call you out a few times for an occupied runway and you might be packin that U-Haul again!
 

FM_Weasel

Senior Analyst
Dec 9, 2008
991
7
18
I have a sort of open question for the CPCs. Were you aware, going into this job, that you were inherently capable of becoming certified? Or were you taking a chance and later found out that you had what it took to effectively separate aircraft?

Thanks
 

ATCBOY

Trusted Member
Jun 16, 2008
353
4
18
Screwston
My academy instructor said back in the days training was different. It was train to succeed meaning there was almost no failures at all. no matter how much they sucked they were kept in training. Now days its the totally opposite. Not sure if he meant his facility or all.. So if your doing good in training, your one of a kind..lol
 

FM_Weasel

Senior Analyst
Dec 9, 2008
991
7
18
Bear in mind that up until recently, the academy tended to wash out a much higher percentage of students before they ever got to their facility. Thus, the facility would be less likely to have to wash people out.

I've read it happened just as often, but it happened at a different point in the process.
 

bagofsquirrels

Newcomer
Aug 12, 2008
13
0
1
Atlanta, GA
Look no matter what... in any job... There are people that work hard to be the best at things... and then people that expect success to fall in their laps (with minimal effort.) My parents have been in the FAA for 20+ years and said the NUMBER 1 reason that people wash out is their ATTITUDE, PRIDE & TEACHABILITY. If you lack in those... good luck to you. If you come in off the street and choose not to listen to the professionals... you are dumb... and you will fail.

If you allow the system to mold you, and do the dilligence at home of memorization...etc. you will be fine. Put in the hard work up front to be the best, and your job will only get easier as the mechanics and habits you build from the beginning will become second nature.
 

SoCal_ATCer

Senior Member
Jan 6, 2009
247
6
18
So Cal
I have a sort of open question for the CPCs. Were you aware, going into this job, that you were inherently capable of becoming certified? Or were you taking a chance and later found out that you had what it took to effectively separate aircraft?

Thanks
When I first got to my facility, I had a wedding planned about 1.5 months after I started training. My ATM asked me if I thought I would pick up the job easy enough to get checked out on the first position before the wedding. I remember being hesitant to say that "yes I would" cuz I didnt know. I knew I did fine in the academy on ground but still wasn't sure. They slowed the training because of the wedding and then right afterward I got back...finished up the last 20 hours or so quickly and got checked out with no real problems.
 

bagofsquirrels

Newcomer
Aug 12, 2008
13
0
1
Atlanta, GA
Typically (for someone off the street) How long does it take to check out on your first position. I know that is loaded... in my case... how about at a LARGE facility... preferably a TRACON...!!!??
 

ATCBOY

Trusted Member
Jun 16, 2008
353
4
18
Screwston
bagofsuirrels are you CTI? A80 is probably a fun place to be for your first facility. Probably wont have to worry about being bored as some of the lower level facilities. lol
 

SRQ

Senior Member
Jul 25, 2008
233
1
18
Sarasota/Indianapolis
I have a coworker (old PATCO guy) who says if you can fog a mirror, you can get a job in the FAA. haha. Don't know how or if this fits in...just thought it would be a funny side note.

Oh BTW...I work at a smaller not terribly busy tower we've had two washout in the last two years.
Say hi to the old PATCO guy from another. Fogging the mirror is about right, but keeping the job is the trick. Book work, is good, but if you can't apply it, think fast enough, make decisions fast enough, maybe this job is not for you.
 

bagofsquirrels

Newcomer
Aug 12, 2008
13
0
1
Atlanta, GA
No I am one of the newbee (test-takers)... I thought about the schooling for a while and just never did it. A80 should be real challenging... BUT... I have someone willing to train me that was trained by my dad 20 years ago... so I'm sure he will drill me to perfection. My dad is also a PATCO guy... Congrats to all those guys back in meow.
 

FM_Weasel

Senior Analyst
Dec 9, 2008
991
7
18
Look no matter what... in any job... There are people that work hard to be the best at things... and then people that expect success to fall in their laps (with minimal effort.) My parents have been in the FAA for 20+ years and said the NUMBER 1 reason that people wash out is their ATTITUDE, PRIDE & TEACHABILITY. If you lack in those... good luck to you. If you come in off the street and choose not to listen to the professionals... you are dumb... and you will fail.

If you allow the system to mold you, and do the dilligence at home of memorization...etc. you will be fine. Put in the hard work up front to be the best, and your job will only get easier as the mechanics and habits you build from the beginning will become second nature.

The thing is.. Any vet will tell you that you can be great at all of those above things (attitude, pride, teachability, memorization, dilligence) and STILL not be able to do the job. Which leads to my curiosity about existing controllers and whether they had any notion that they were capable before they got certified, or if they only truly found out once they attained CPC.

Thanks for the feedback, Socal, I look forward to other's opinions also.