Controllers! Hello and thank you for your interest in ATC on the POSCON network. This post will serve as a insight to what ATC is like currently, what our plans are for the future, and how you can be part of it. Our development team has been busy working on radar client, divisions, ATC booking system, and I would like to take this time to bring you in on the big picture.
POSCON ATC Philosophy
Our goal is to create a robust and logical ATC system across the globe. Many on our team are real world aviators, controllers, developers, bringing thousands of hours of experience to the table. We hope to simulate the world air traffic control system to the most realistic way possible, while realizing the limitations of home software use. This has been a long road because the foundations needed for this system are wide and deep. Just one example is our flight plan processing system. This had to be fully developed and fully functioning to even start ATC in any working capacity. We continue to expand realistic features through POSCON technology such as CPDLC, weather radar, ERAM simulation, etc.
Bureaucracy serves no purpose and is highly inefficient when dealing with an online community driven environment. Our division and ATC organizations will be setup to reduce this as much as possible. Division leadership will be optimized to only the essential positions such as Division Manager, Events Manager, Military Manager, Facility Specialist. This approach will streamline information, processes and practices to the members within that division. Any additional members helping a division can be created on a as needed basis through "teams". Example - the USA Facility Specialist wants some people to help with ZDV facility data, he/she can create a "team" of members to help make this happen. Teams will allow a more collaborative approach to tasks and not rely on one single "staff" person to finish the task.
In order to promote more community involvement and participation ATC authorizations will be division based. Initially these are considered "blanket authorizations" which means if you are assigned USA, you may control any position within the USA. Until divisions are ready to be opened for ATC, we don't see a need to restrict anything. This comes down to manpower and resources, if we restrict positions we must offer training. Additionally SOPs would be required to train on such position, etc. Once divisions are open to join as ATC and they have management structure in place, that local division will decide what positions to restrict that may require training. However divisional authorizations are still in place meaning you may control any non-restricted position at any time within a division.
If you have any experience on other online networks, you know how frustrating a long training process can be. This was due to the fact the network(s) itself would push the training (all of the training) to the local level. Training was delayed even further if that particular location was very popular and in high demand such as Atlanta, or London as examples. Our solution to this is to create ATC Academy(s) to bring all the core level training to a central location. Initially we will have two academies an FAA Academy and a ICAO Academy. We figured this was a great place to start as majority of the world uses FAA, or ICAO, or a combination of both. To allow more flexibility a division may select certain academy courses from both academies that suit their local needs. Example - the Bahamas division might want Delivery, Ground, and Tower courses from the ICAO academy and Approach courses from the FAA academy. Once a student completes required academy courses they return to their local division to receive local specific training. This will alleviate major training backlogs at the local level as they do not need to train the basics of delivery, or approach, they can focus on how to control a specific airport and/or airspace. This idea has not been finalized and is subject change.
Initial Division rollout ATC process
It is expected that the ATC academy will not be ready for some time. We do not want to hold up opening divisions for this process. Therefore users who want to be ATC in a division shall have previous ATC experience. Once joining a division as ATC you will be assigned the ATC knowledge exams. These will work almost identical to the process listed above with three main exams. The highest level of exam passed will determine what you can control in that division.
What about my controller rating from other networks?
Effectively any previous ratings mean nothing to us at POSCON. We care about what your experience and knowledge are in ATC. I personally strongly feel that a person can have a lower ATC rating from a legacy network but actually possess much greater knowledge. The same goes for higher ratings, some don't have the proper knowledge for their rating. This is why we don't have a controller rating system on POSCON. Everything is based off authorizations, knowledge level, and local division guidelines.
Why is an S1 or S2 from VATSIM allowed to control Approach or Center?
If a controller comes to us and says they want to control, we believe we should not restrict them based off legacy network ratings. I will assume they have the knowledge to control what they are comfortable with. Our feedback system holds everyone accountable, pilots and ATC. The members of the community have the power to dictate a controller's future on POSCON. If enough negative feedback is received a controller may be removed until we have a formal training program in place. I am a firm believer that if you come to us with the maturity, the patience, and the willingness to learn you can excel at your own pace, not be weighed down by policies and procedures. Especially right now in the beginning stages of POSCON now is the time to push your skills, learn new techniques and have fun!
Can I get training when divisions first open up for ATC?
Potentially yes! We will have no formal training structure in place or ATC academies up and running initially. However if members of a division want to take it amongst themselves to train a fellow member, please do! Example lets say you join a division and only can pass the tower exam, local division members can help you get the knowledge and train for the approach and enroute exam.
Where do I apply to be ATC?
At this time we are accepting applications via this link https://forms.gle/tu6NbXVid8WAaNMVA. Please be sure to read the rules and requirements for applying. This is a manual process for the time being so processing can take up to 7 days during busy times. Thanks and see you on the scopes!