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FSS jobs in Alaska

Stinger

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FSS ERRs should be treated the same as an enroute facility failure that gets NESTed to a tower. They have to attend the Academy Tower course, as pass/pass status, before beginning training at their new tower. In a lot of cases I'd rather hire someone from FSS to a facility and train them, instead of being sent an enroute failure that about 50-75% of the time shouldn't have been allowed to pass their tower course at the academy.
I'd like to see ERRs be accepted and considered from the FSS people, but only at terminal facilities level 9 and below and all the enroute facilities.
I'm sure there's some FSS controllers now that are certified or close to it, after being sent there through the NEST after a facility failure. They've already passed the required Academy courses if they were to get hired for the same track they failed from, so no need to even send them back to the Academy.
 

Maintainvfr

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Messages
364
FSS ERRs should be treated the same as an enroute facility failure that gets NESTed to a tower. They have to attend the Academy Tower course, as pass/pass status, before beginning training at their new tower. In a lot of cases I'd rather hire someone from FSS to a facility and train them, instead of being sent an enroute failure that about 50-75% of the time shouldn't have been allowed to pass their tower course at the academy.
I'd like to see ERRs be accepted and considered from the FSS people, but only at terminal facilities level 9 and below and all the enroute facilities.
I'm sure there's some FSS controllers now that are certified or close to it, after being sent there through the NEST after a facility failure. They've already passed the required Academy courses if they were to get hired for the same track they failed from, so no need to even send them back to the Academy.
You think FSS should to to the academy as pass/pass? Disagree
 

adub

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You think FSS should to to the academy as pass/pass? Disagree
We get it. You don't like to consider FSS as the third option of ATC. Just another controller who looks down on some of your union "brothers".
 
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Maintainvfr

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364
We get it. You don't like to consider FSS as the third option of ATC. Just another controller who looks down on some of your union "brothers".
You can be angry, that's fine. I'm not looking down at you, you're just upset that most people, correctly, don't think it's the same job. I don't even think saying it's the third option of ATC is quite right. When people apply to the open bid, the TOLs aren't split between Terminal, En Route, and Flight Service. When we get people in the NEST that get to their first level 5 facility and wash out only having flight data, they often only get offered Flight Service. I'm not trying to cause offense but I understand why you're offended. I'm not disparaging your job though, and like I said I think it's a valuable job and plays a part in the NAS. That being said, they're just not the same and obviously I'm not the only one that ranks them differently.

If you want to be upset by that, it's fine, but the reason people go through a pass/pass course is because they've already gone through a job jeopardy course and succeeded. Basics doesn't count. If the FSS training counts, does training in airport ops count? The line has to be somewhere, and I think having controlled air traffic is a pretty reasonable line.
 

adub

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You can be angry, that's fine. I'm not looking down at you, you're just upset that most people, correctly, don't think it's the same job. I don't even think saying it's the third option of ATC is quite right. When people apply to the open bid, the TOLs aren't split between Terminal, En Route, and Flight Service. When we get people in the NEST that get to their first level 5 facility and wash out only having flight data, they often only get offered Flight Service. I'm not trying to cause offense but I understand why you're offended. I'm not disparaging your job though, and like I said I think it's a valuable job and plays a part in the NAS. That being said, they're just not the same and obviously I'm not the only one that ranks them differently.

If you want to be upset by that, it's fine, but the reason people go through a pass/pass course is because they've already gone through a job jeopardy course and succeeded. Basics doesn't count. If the FSS training counts, does training in airport ops count? The line has to be somewhere, and I think having controlled air traffic is a pretty reasonable line.
I never said it's the same job. It's as different as a Center is to a tower. We have the same mission: safe and efficient operations within the NAS. But we have different missions and responsibilities to aid in getting it done. And with bids, you would be surprised, I know someone first hand who applied to an OTS ATC bid and was offered FSS. It's not common, but it does happen.

And we go through a "job jeopardy course" and succeed, too. Like Tower, RADAR, and EnRoute, we take an additional course after basics that concentrates on our job. Unlike ATS, the .4 actually requires FSS controllers to go through the FSS Academy prior to training whereas the other options have the option. IE, if you transfer from FSS to a tower or center, there is no obligation for them to be sent to OKC for an option course. But if you do the reciprocal, there is the requirement to go through the FSS course. Same if you go tower to center, or vice versa, there is no requirement to return to OKC.

Airport ops is apples and oranges. Not many outside of AK know this, but remote FSS facilities have the ability to take control of airspace to issue SVFR clearances, and assumes responsibility for separation of SVFR from departing IFR aircraft and do not call center or another controlling agency for SVFR clearances. They originate from us. Reference: ZAN and Alaska FSS Special VFR LOA. If I bust separation between a departing IFR aircraft and a SVFR aircraft that bust would fall on me. So equating us to NWS or Airport Ops is a stretch, at best. Do we have the same stress as towers and centers? No. Does tower have the same stresses that center does? No. Is our job one of the easiest options of ATC, while still holding 2152 and title of "Air Traffic Control", most definitely.. if you can pass the FSS Academy course which has some difficult sections dealing with weather. And unlike towers, we are responsible for a lot more airspace than a single airport.

Just because you wash out of a level 5 doesn't even mean you can make it within FSS, especially out in the "bush". If you cannot visualize a traffic pattern, you won't make it out here. Go do a site visit of Ketchikan, Sitka, Nome, Kotzebue, Talkeetna FSS. Those are some of the busiest and easier to reach FSS from the lower 48.

I don't think you know exactly what FSS does. I think you, like many others, think FSS exists only to do take/give weather and relay IFR clearances. There is a lot more to the job, especially in Alaska. So I am angry because you speak like you know our job, when it seems you don't.
 

Maintainvfr

Forum Sage
Messages
364
I never said it's the same job. It's as different as a Center is to a tower. We have the same mission: safe and efficient operations within the NAS. But we have different missions and responsibilities to aid in getting it done. And with bids, you would be surprised, I know someone first hand who applied to an OTS ATC bid and was offered FSS. It's not common, but it does happen.

And we go through a "job jeopardy course" and succeed, too. Like Tower, RADAR, and EnRoute, we take an additional course after basics that concentrates on our job. Unlike ATS, the .4 actually requires FSS controllers to go through the FSS Academy prior to training whereas the other options have the option. IE, if you transfer from FSS to a tower or center, there is no obligation for them to be sent to OKC for an option course. But if you do the reciprocal, there is the requirement to go through the FSS course. Same if you go tower to center, or vice versa, there is no requirement to return to OKC.

Airport ops is apples and oranges. Not many outside of AK know this, but remote FSS facilities have the ability to take control of airspace to issue SVFR clearances, and assumes responsibility for separation of SVFR from departing IFR aircraft and do not call center or another controlling agency for SVFR clearances. They originate from us. Reference: ZAN and Alaska FSS Special VFR LOA. If I bust separation between a departing IFR aircraft and a SVFR aircraft that bust would fall on me. So equating us to NWS or Airport Ops is a stretch, at best. Do we have the same stress as towers and centers? No. Does tower have the same stresses that center does? No. Is our job one of the easiest options of ATC, while still holding 2152 and title of "Air Traffic Control", most definitely.. if you can pass the FSS Academy course which has some difficult sections dealing with weather. And unlike towers, we are responsible for a lot more airspace than a single airport.

Just because you wash out of a level 5 doesn't even mean you can make it within FSS, especially out in the "bush". If you cannot visualize a traffic pattern, you won't make it out here. Go do a site visit of Ketchikan, Sitka, Nome, Kotzebue, Talkeetna FSS. Those are some of the busiest and easier to reach FSS from the lower 48.

I don't think you know exactly what FSS does. I think you, like many others, think FSS exists only to do take/give weather and relay IFR clearances. There is a lot more to the job, especially in Alaska. So I am angry because you speak like you know our job, when it seems you don't.
Ok, maybe you're right
 

Stinger

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Staff member
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1,138
You think FSS should to to the academy as pass/pass? Disagree
Since enroute failures go back to the tower academy as pass/pass, yes I do think that FSS ERRs should be pass/pass at the academy as well.
But I also don't think that those enroute recycle students should be pass/pass. Or if they have to be pass/pass, have something tied to their performance at the academy....like facility selection.
 

nbk14

Member
Messages
98
Since enroute failures go back to the tower academy as pass/pass, yes I do think that FSS ERRs should be pass/pass at the academy as well.
But I also don't think that those enroute recycle students should be pass/pass. Or if they have to be pass/pass, have something tied to their performance at the academy....like facility selection.
Whoa, if you fail to get certified at your center you get sent back to Oklahoma for terminal classes?!
 

Stinger

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1,138
Whoa, if you fail to get certified at your center you get sent back to Oklahoma for terminal classes?!
As long as they are recommended to be retained, yes. And the large majority is retained.
 

AM_4478

Member
Messages
21
I washed out of the academy last year for en route on the last day. I applied for the Alaska FSS bid, but I see in the bid that prior academy failures could deem you ineligible. Anyone have any additional insight into this and how it works?
 

RedTail

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Messages
8
Are prior AT-SA scores able to be rolled over for FSS as well? Had a talk with both PSI HR and FAA HR. Neither were able to confirm with me. Supposedly the FSS hiring is handled by a different group of individuals from the ATC hiring. Anyone able to confirm?
 

nbk14

Member
Messages
98
For this one they sent the atsa invites only 1.5 months later the bid closed. If I started FSS class but got a class date for atc--am i free to leave?
 

HalfPR

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Hey, finally got the "referred" update on this, anyone else?
I completely forgot I applied and had this thread on "Watch". Referred here too
 
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HalfPR

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I also got referred. Now what’s next?
Now... Now we wait some more. TOLs should come in a few weeks depending on ATSA scores. Same process as regular ATC. That's when the fun begins
 

LeWar09

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5
Thanks. That’s my first time applying for FSS and ATC. Looks like a long process. So this waiting game means some people might not get a TLO right?
 

HalfPR

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Thanks. That’s my first time applying for FSS and ATC. Looks like a long process. So this waiting game means some people might not get a TLO right?
Not sure how many FSS is looking for, but for ATC most will not get a TOL. Only the best qualified will get a TOL and even then not all in that tier will get one. I'm a case in point
 

LeWar09

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Messages
5
Not sure how many FSS is looking for, but for ATC most will not get a TOL. Only the best qualified will get a TOL and even then not all in that tier will get one. I'm a case in point
Got you! Thanks! Good luck to all. Hopefully TOLs will hit our emails soon enough!
 

adub

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A heads up for everyone applying/pursuing this option.. there is no transfer ability to tower or center, even though those are options of the same field. You will receive "You are not eligible to submit an ERR for this position as you do not meet the minimum qualifications" statement from regional HRs on submission of the ERR packet. If you apply for an OTS or Prior Exp bid as directed by the service areas and regional HR, you will receive a "2152 CPC cannot utilize the application process to transfer facilities" response from OKC HR. FSS is not part of the NCEPT process, even though it is covered by the MOU. FSS cannot ERR even though it is covered by the contract. NATCA "represents" FSS but does not represent FSS. Grievances to try and address the deficiencies will be received but not answered (I submitted a grievance 8 months after reporting a deficiency and only submitted it because natca reps were unwilling to meet their own timelines, and mine is now 17 months old at this point, with no responses other than 2 90-day extensions that ended Nov 21, 2018 ). The regional VP was questioned about this on the telecon last week, and was informed there are members considering external employment because of the lack of lateral transfer and was quoted as saying "I have empathy, but I have no sympathy" and "they can quit". You'll also find FSS is the only option in the FAA where a controller's inability to do basic components of the job (IE, relaying an IFR clearance) is met with a qualification so long as they are over 40, if you are under the age of 40 and misspell the name of a native language named river or you read back NOTAM information airport dept of transportation asked you to issue and the read back isn't what they wanted (but they do not correct you), you will receive a record of conversation.

Good luck all, but I'd caution against working in FSS. This is the first job that has actually made me miss working retail.
 
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