As the old thread got locked, I decided to give this a re-boot. So, wether you’re a controller on the TS with dreams of joining the big leagues (IFATC), or an IFATC who’s been part of it for years, or anywhere in between, let’s hear your story! (It doesn’t have to be as detailed as mine)
I first tried out controlling sometime last year, December 2016. I liked it at first, however it did get pretty stressful sometimes, controlling in SoCal on the Training Server. I always tried to avoid LAX unless it was during slow hours.
I remember one time I opened up tower, I got bombarded with like 7 planes all requesting inbound at the same time, all for different ends of the runways. it was a total madhouse both on the ground and in the sky, and I was like “yea nope” and ended the session. In my early stages of TS controlling, I had no clue what pattern work meant, and same thing for transitions.
I didn’t control that often but when I did I liked it. I slowly got better with my skills, knowing what more commands meant, staying at smaller airports like KSAN, KSNA, KPSP, KNUC, etc. I even did some approach frequencies as well. I didn’t really intend on joining IFATC, however that changed.
Then, on January 3rd of this year, I sent @Mark_Denton (recruiter at the time) a PM requesting the IFATC written test. I took it on January 8th, but failed. I don’t know how badly I failed, but I guess it was “marginal” because I only had to wait 2 weeks.
Then, on March 24th, after spending the winter controlling some more, even creating numerous threads about me opening ATC frequencies in various regions, creating threads and asking for feedback, I requested another written test. I then waited a few days to take it, and on March 29th I took it again. I failed, but this time by only 1 question
Fast forward to October…
I was having more thoughts about joining IFATC again, as Global had been released I was more serious about it. I had been controlling a little bit over the summer and fall, and created some threads asking for feedback. Feedback was mainly positive, a few people even encouraged me to join IFATC. On October 26th, I sent a message to @art_martinez requesting some training before I took the test. We scheduled training sessions, however we were never able to follow through with them. I just decided to head straight for a recuiter.
On November 5th, I sent everyone’s favorite beer enthusiast, Grumpy- I mean @anon66442947 to schedule the written test. After talking a bit (apparently I automatically failed due to me being a Steelers fan), I took the test on November 6th. He said I should have a paper and pencil on hand to draw out any scenarios, and it greatly helped. I passed the written test with a score of 88%! On Wednesday, November 8th, I took the practical test. I was very nervous, and because of that I didn’t do so well. I failed, but he allowed me to re-test the next week.
Sunday, November 12th, I re-took my practical. I wasn’t as nervous and tried to be as calm as I could be. After the test, Tom asked me if I was nervous. I said a little, mainly because of the runway changes and my iPad freezing up. He said there was a few things I needed to work on, but I passed and was now an IFATC controller!!!
I started off controlling Class Charlie airports. My first session was at KLGA. Only a few planes came. 7 days later, I got access to control Class Bravo airports. My most recent session (as of writing this post) was at LIRF last night, for about 90 minutes. I love what I do, and I am so happy that I never gave up, even though it took me almost a year to get to my goal.
So, if there are any of you aspiring to become an IFATC controller, remember to never give up no matter how long/hard the journey may be!!!
I can’t wait to hear other controller stories.