Author Topic: Tower or Center???  (Read 21778 times)

Offline JoshH

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Tower or Center???
« on: February 13, 2009, 12:40:05 PM »
I'm currently a full time student at Middle Georgia College working on my Air Traffic Management degree and I just cant make my mind up if I want to work in a Center or tower..Any suggestions???

Offline almostretiredatc

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Re: Tower or Center???
« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2009, 10:14:00 PM »
I have been a controller at ZMA, D01 and ZTL. While I have never worked a tower (all the previous facilities are radar only), I preferred to work D01 the best. The terminal environment is a little quicker moving and fun in my opinion. There were many times I would work the last evening rush and lined several planes on final and then signed out to go home. There was a great sense of pride and accomplishment seeing the lights lined up on final approach while walking to my car.  Someone else will have to give you the tower picture. That said, the FAA is total garbage outfit to work for with little or no regard for their employees. The only sense of accomplishment and job satisfaction has to come from within. While I could work for another 6 years, I am retiring at 50. With only 45 days to go until retirement, I wish you the best in your decision and career.

Offline jmcmanna

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Re: Tower or Center???
« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2009, 10:15:36 AM »
On the opposite end of the spectrum, I've worked at 2 VFR towers and currently work at an up/down facility (where the tower and tracon are in the same building).  Working the tower is a lot of fun; it's nice to actually see the airplanes out the window sometimes.  Shooting off a line of departures is fun, especially when they're between arrivals to the same or an intersecting runway. 

Radar is also a lot of fun most of the time, and I actually slightly prefer the radar room to the tower right now, but I am glad I get to work both a couple of times per week.  It's the best of both worlds being able to see airplanes one day and vector them around downstairs the next day.

Offline RV1

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Re: Tower or Center???
« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2009, 11:28:10 PM »
I've worked center, VFR tower and a TRACON. Each one provided training that made me the controller I am today. Each one also had hours of mundane broken up by moments of sheer terror! (What a blast!)
Currently, the FAA is scrambling to come up with numbers of controllers, so in my humble opinion, they will continue to split TRACONs from the towers, and then contract out the less busy towers. This will allow them to show greater numbers at the approach controls which they will combine with bigger facilities or centers. This will reduce their overhead,(less buildings to maintain) reduce the number of positions to staff, and show how they saved tons of money by contracting out the towers to private companies (look how well that worked with FSS). My advice would be to pick a 7 or 8 facility, check out, then move up. I realize that your question dealt more with 'which one would be better'. That's a personal assessment that only you can answer. If you like seeing sunrises or sunsets, center or straight approach controls ISN'T the way to go. If you don't want to talk to vehicles and the occasional monkey that drives them, towers should be last on the list!
Hey 'Almostretiredatc', congrats on the date and thank you for the service to your country. I have 3 years, 10 months and 12 days, give or take.
It is truly amazing how much ATC experience is walking out the door on the FAA...