FSS jobs in Alaska

HalfPR

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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 (mine is 17 months old at this point, with no responses other than 2 90-day extensions that ended Nov 21, 2018 ). The regional rep 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.
Thanks for the heads up. As much as I would love to live in Alaska the no transfer thing kills it for me. I know my wife would be fine for a few years but then need to be somewhere closer to her family. To be honest, I'm trying to follow that one guy from earlier in the thread. Try to get a TOL sooner than the OTS in order to get my medical/MMPI/etc done. Then when the OTS TOL's go out that information can carry over. Since the ATSA emails are going out today it looks that those TOL's might be end of October/beginning of November. Hoping the timelines work out, figured it is worth a shot.
 

FightingIrish2012

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Messages
305
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.
Thanks for pointing out all that so clearly, I always shake my head when I see people on here optimistic that a ERR option might be right around the corner in this situation, and it sickens me when the Agency and sometimes even NATCA try to sell flight service reassignments to ATC washouts as being a good deal because “you should be able to ERR back to air traffic someday”.
 

adub

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117
Thanks for pointing out all that so clearly, I always shake my head when I see people on here optimistic that a ERR option might be right around the corner in this situation, and it sickens me when the Agency and sometimes even NATCA try to sell flight service reassignments to ATC washouts as being a good deal because “you should be able to ERR back to air traffic someday”.
Yup.. my ATM screwed me on training, NATCA said it was easy to ERR back. I've been fighting for 2 years for the agency to follow the contract... And still nothing. Not saying we don't have the numbers to be released, or that it's taking too long to NCEPT... We don't have numbers, and that is what I've been fighting for the past 2 years. We cannot even be considered by NCEPT because we don't have staffing numbers. As in, there's no way to determine if we're eligible to release because we have no numbers to compare against. And NATCA and the agency don't care. NATCA has made me anti-union.
 

PRCCRP

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Does anyone want to pursue this path without the concept of getting into regular atc? I have other questions like how long is the training in Okc and how long is the training in Kenai? I would just like to be close to medical services due to a disabled child that needs certain therapies. Suggestions would help in which locations that have easy medical access and livable.
 

adub

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Does anyone want to pursue this path without the concept of getting into regular atc? I have other questions like how long is the training in Okc and how long is the training in Kenai? I would just like to be close to medical services due to a disabled child that needs certain therapies. Suggestions would help in which locations that have easy medical access and livable.
If I remember correctly, academy is about 4 months in total. 1 month of basics in OKC and about 3 in Kenai. For medical, Fairbanks is your best bet. Kenai would be a second as your a few hours away from Anchorage.
 

Chickadee1514

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I live in AK and I'm considering FSS over ATC. Is facility placement similar to terminal and enroute where you don't find out where you're going till you graduate?
 

adub

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I live in AK and I'm considering FSS over ATC. Is facility placement similar to terminal and enroute where you don't find out where you're going till you graduate?
They've never done an OTS before, at least since they illegally privatized the lower 48 stations. But I believe the plan is the TOL will state the facility placement.

The "live in" stations are: Kenai, Fairbanks, Juneau (the 3 hubs), plus Palmer, Talkeetna, Homer, Dillingham, Sitka, Ketchikan. I believe Cold Bay is live in, though I've heard they're converting to a rotational schedule since they cannot get volunteers. The rest rotate, either 8 on 6 off, or 16 on 12 off (BRW only).. off days you spend back near the hub.
 

Chickadee1514

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I'm sure it probably varies between facilities, but what does staffing look like in general at AK FSS facilities? Like, is it difficult to get PTO approved? What is the attitude towards training? Does it take longer to certify at some facilities than at others?
 

adub

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I'm sure it probably varies between facilities, but what does staffing look like in general at AK FSS facilities? Like, is it difficult to get PTO approved? What is the attitude towards training? Does it take longer to certify at some facilities than at others?
Staffing is bad... but varies. Leave is per-facility. Rotating facilities have different leave abilities than those with dedicated staff (hubs). It's hard to generalize how leave works in FSS. Attitude towards training is also very different... but you'll find that there are different standards applied. Those that were FSS before the privatization are held to a different standard (lower) than those that aren't (much higher) in some places. Length to certify depends on location because each location does things slightly differently. You have to get your initial training in 1 of the 3 hubs [preflight] because hubs are the only ones setup to conduct those trainings.

How is Palmer ak? How hard would it get a preference?
Palmer is on the road system and about 60-90 minutes from Anchorage, more if roads are icy. Lots to do. Facility wise, it's one of the only remote facilities that does airport advisories but does not have the equipment to broadcast an AFIS (FSS variant of the ATIS)... so every aircraft has to be read the full airport advisory statement. Lots of student traffic given its proximity to Anchorage. Depends on your preferences, staffing, and what management decides they want to do.
 

mattallen

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Are those of you who applied to this bid and the regular ots atc bid taking the ATSA twice? I already took it about 2 months ago and I was referred for this bid (which Ive decided I will not pursue), but I'm considering taking it again for the regular atc bid.
 

Chickadee1514

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Are those of you who applied to this bid and the regular ots atc bid taking the ATSA twice? I already took it about 2 months ago and I was referred for this bid (which Ive decided I will not pursue), but I'm considering taking it again for the regular atc bid.
I got referred for FSS but I think I'm going to take the ATSA again for the regular bid. I took it for the 2018 regular bid too and I feel (though I can't be sure) that I did a lot better the 2nd time around. I don't think you can really score worse with additional practice, and I already have the day off work so why not?
 

PRCCRP

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I got referred for FSS but I think I'm going to take the ATSA again for the regular bid. I took it for the 2018 regular bid too and I feel (though I can't be sure) that I did a lot better the 2nd time around. I don't think you can really score worse with additional practice, and I already have the day off work so why not?
I don’t know if you’re able to take it twice in one year. With the previous test it was once per year. And perhaps there are rules? Does anyone know? I have co workers with the same question since they got emails for both but were not able to sign up for the second time. Assuming the score will carry over to the regular atc bid
 

mattallen

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I don’t know if you’re able to take it twice in one year. With the previous test it was once per year. And perhaps there are rules? Does anyone know? I have co workers with the same question since they got emails for both but were not able to sign up for the second time. Assuming the score will carry over to the regular atc bid
I was able to select a date for my second test
 

PRCCRP

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First the academy, then training in Kenai, then location assignment
That’s what I figured. I thought I read somewhere it was given with the TOL. Is there somewhat of a preference if you do well? I’m a single parent and some of their locations I’d be worried of getting placed.
 

Chickadee1514

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That’s what I figured. I thought I read somewhere it was given with the TOL. Is there somewhat of a preference if you do well? I’m a single parent and some of their locations I’d be worried of getting placed.
I think it's just the people who wash from towers that get their assignment on their TOL
 

adub

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That’s what I figured. I thought I read somewhere it was given with the TOL. Is there somewhat of a preference if you do well? I’m a single parent and some of their locations I’d be worried of getting placed.
The plan I've heard from inside FSS is they offer you a specific facility before you even get to the academy. It affects their hiring numbers, since FSS pretty much doesn't wash anybody. The attrition comes from resignations.
 

PRCCRP

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The plan I've heard from inside FSS is they offer you a specific facility before you even get to the academy. It affects their hiring numbers, since FSS pretty much doesn't wash anybody. The attrition comes from resignations.
That would be smart I suppose then people can be like no thanks. Lol I really want to do this. I’m ages out for regular atc so this would be something that I would like to do. Just another checkmark for places I’ve lived in.
 
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