Check Point #1 – The Green Check

Air Traffic Control Uncategorized

These posts are the story of our journey through the Air Traffic Control process since April 10, 2015. I wrote these posts at the date posted and have held off on posting them. I wrote them as a way to process. To see previous posts, click on the following links:

A Year In Review

April 10, 2015

If there is one thing that I think I am suppose to be learning at this point in my life, it is patience. Waiting is the name of the game. I can’t move forward, circumstances are completely out of my control, I can’t plan, I am in a complete holding pattern.

Aaron, at this point, I feel is the master of waiting. For every other college degree and career, you go to school, you graduate, look for jobs, interview, and start your career. Air Traffic Control is different. I have learned a lot in the last three years about the path for Air Traffic Controllers but I have a lot left to learn.

In December of 2011 Aaron graduated in Aviation Operations with his CTI certificate from St. Cloud State University. The University has since stopped this program but Aaron was able to complete his degree here. At the time of graduation, Aaron was aware that he could be waiting 2-3 years before starting his career in Air Traffic Control. At this point in time there were typically 2 hiring panels a year. When a panel opened up, Aaron applied and would be selected or not selected from the pool of applicants. Since this time, a lot has changed with the federal aviation. Through budget changes, changes in management, and changes in requirements there have been limited hiring panels since his graduation.

The hiring panels have been the luck of the draw. So far, Aaron has not been very lucky. Until today. The Hiring Panel opened online on March 23. It closed on March 31. After receiving the Red X in the past, he opened his application this time to see a Green Check Mark. Nothing else. Not an email. Not further information. Not a big congratulation sign. Just a green check.

So now, after waiting for 3 and a half years, we wait again. We wait with a renewed hope. We wait for something that we know nothing about. We wait with more questions than we have answers. We wait blindly for a potential big change on the horizon. We wait with no other information than word of mouth and rumors. We wait, knowing that all we can do is take this one day at a time.

So what’s next? All we can do is guess and trust the rumor mill. The FAA will now give Aaron testing dates. Rumors are that testing will be in May or June. After testing, if he passes, he will receive a tentative offer letter, complete paperwork and a background check. Once that is completed he will receive a class date in Oklahoma City and an assignment to either a tower for enroute traffic. Once he goes to Oklahoma City he will be there for 3-4 months and receive an assignment and job at the end of passing in OKC.

At any point in this process he could be cut. He could fail the test in May. The fail out rate in OKC is pretty high. There are no guarantees at this point so we continue to wait. We wait, we grow, we dream, and we wonder. We have started down a path and have begun a journey with an unknown destination. A new chapter in our lives has seemingly begun… all because of a Green Check Mark.