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Military Reserves as an ATC

Discussion in 'FAA' started by StealthChain, Jan 5, 2018.

  1. StealthChain

    StealthChain Certified

    Just wondering if anyone currently is, has been, or works with someone who is an active ATC and also in any branch as a reservist and how they handle the schedule. I am currently in the reserves with 3 years left on my contract and received a TOL. I know I am still a ways away from being hired if everything works out, but wanted to know if I needed to worry about possibly going into the IRR (meaning I don't really have to do anything including the one weekend a month deal). That process can take some time so I figured I might as well be prepared if the need arises.
     
  2. MJ

    MJ Administrator Staff Member

    Not a big deal. You request military leave if you need to. Provide whatever the paperwork is they want, get leave approved. Come back when done.
     
  3. Bravo Delta

    Bravo Delta Developmental

    The faa is probably the easiest employer to work with while in the guard or reserves. I've never seen anyone get hassled about it.
     
  4. StealthChain

    StealthChain Certified

    Is it recommended to probably finish training before taking any of your leave if it is something that may take a while?
     
  5. Bravo Delta

    Bravo Delta Developmental

    The thing about training is most faa t training programs are longer than a year, and annual training for the guard and reserves have to be done in the fiscal year. So waiting until you certify isn't really an option unless you go to a tower only. They tend to be shorter training programs. Also if you start putting off your ncopd courses you set back your military career. Just take military leave when you need it and work hard and study while at your full time job.
     
    TW likes this.
  6. StealthChain

    StealthChain Certified

    This is the logical route for sure. The nice thing, assuming I can go into the IRR, is that I can buy back my military time. Time will tell though.
     
  7. DankVectorz

    DankVectorz Certified FAA

    FAA Facility:
    N90 New York Tracon
    I know quite a few people in the FAA and Guard as Controllers. None of them ever had any issues.
     
  8. KevH

    KevH Chow Runner

    What everyone else has said is absolutely correct. I'm in the Air Guard and the FAA, both as a controller. Never had a problem getting off for drills or AT, and have actually been gone for about two years on Title 10 orders. Your job is legally protected, but even absent that the FAA is pretty flexible with Guard duty. Definitely stay in the Guard/Reserves if you can. Good to be working towards two pensions, and also keeping the flexibility of going on orders. The Guard option is especially useful if you end up at a low level facility with lower pay and benefits than the military.
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2018
  9. StealthChain

    StealthChain Certified

    I got en route so I will be fortunate, hopefully, to not be at too low of a level facility. Also, I never actually even thought about the two pension thing until you just mentioned it. I in the Army reserves so a tad different than guard, but additionally not a controller so my biggest concern is losing proficiency as a controller the longer I am away if I get put on orders.
     
  10. KevH

    KevH Chow Runner

    Yeah, with en route you will be making more as a CPC than you would in the military. I'm at level 5 CPC pay and currently an E7, so total military compensation is a good deal higher than the FAA. It would be a different story if I was at level 10+ CPC pay. Considering ATC has a young retirement age of 56, I think being eligible for another pension at 60 (or earlier depending on activations) is one of the biggest perks to staying in the Guard/Reserves.

    I know I have to recertify at my facility when I go back. I haven't been doing traditional ATC duties while on federal orders, but that would be true even if I was working in an USAF tower. I never looked in depth at the rules but I think that if you are gone more than 30 days you need to be watched by a supe before being able to control on your own again. More than 6 months and I think it requires to be formally reentered in training.

    Stay in the Reserves and good luck at the academy!
     
  11. StealthChain

    StealthChain Certified

    Just thought of another question, whenever you go on orders or do anything for the military do they stop counting your time towards FAA retirement? If i go to my NCOPD courses is that time subtracted from my year?
     
  12. MJ

    MJ Administrator Staff Member

    Really good question.

     
    Uscolt45 likes this.
  13. StealthChain

    StealthChain Certified

    I hope that isn't something I could have readily found, with my lack of FAA knowledge that is. Thank you or the information! That almost makes it seem unfair though, especially if someone were to go on orders for a year or more.
     
  14. DankVectorz

    DankVectorz Certified FAA

    FAA Facility:
    N90 New York Tracon
    It would be unfair if you took that year to go weave baskets. Military service is different. There's TONS of vets and Guard/reserve in the faa. No one will hold it against you.
     
    StealthChain likes this.
  15. KevH

    KevH Chow Runner

    No, but if you go Absent-US you will need to buy the time back. The nice thing though is that if you are in a covered ATC position, go on orders, and return to the covered position the bought back time counts as good time. It will also cost you less to buy it back than if you were paying the normal FERS-FRAE deduction. 3% of military basic pay ONLY (doesn't include things like BAH, BAS, incentive pays, special duty pays, per diem, etc.) vs 4.9% of FAA basic pay which includes locality. Just to clarify, you only need to buy it back if you are Absent-US which is a type of leave without pay status. If you are using military leave or any other type of leave, you don't need to buy the time back as FERS deductions are still being withheld.

    FWIW this is one of the big reasons I am staying on military orders. The other big reason is that my total military compensation is significantly higher than my FAA pay, even after accounting for OT and other differentials. With being on Title 10 orders I am increasing the size of my Guard pension, reducing the age I can claim it by 3 months for every 90 days, while still having the time away count towards my FAA ATC pension . If all goes well I'll have reduced the age I can claim my Guard pension to at least 56.

    Personally, I like being both in the FAA and the USAF but I gotta go with the one that pays me more, especially when the comparison isn't even close. If I ever get the opportunity to move to a high level facility then I'll most likely go back to being a weekend warrior for the most part. Kind of doubtful of that happening any time soon with NCEPT though, but maybe down the road. It's good to have options. Stay in the Reserves :)
     
  16. StealthChain

    StealthChain Certified

    I definitely understand the more money thing for sure. For me, by the time I get the academy I'll have over 12 years total service, so not much longer to be able to retire. As I said before though, I'm en route (assuming I graduate the academy and get certified) so even in developmental bands I would probably make substantially more money than in the military. All in all I'll probably stay in, but do my best to avoid going on orders for extended periods of time.
     
  17. Mr.Tickles

    Mr.Tickles Developmental

    I didn't want to start another thread since this goes along the same vein so apologies if it should be its own thread.

    I am currently active duty Army on my way out the door in 3 months. I've received my TOL for en route and have every intention of fully pursuing this career. Before I explain I want to caveat that becoming a controller is my primary focus and goal. It is also worth noting that I'm 30 years old.

    Before I received my TOL I had also began the process of potentially being able to pursue a pilot position in the Army National Guard as a Warrant Officer. As it stands becoming a pilot for the Guard is something that could very likely happen if I pursue it. The issue that arises is that if I pursued this path as well and was selected, flight school would be two years long. I in no way want put the academy off for two years. If/when I graduate from the academy is it possible to go to flight school during the developmental phase of training at my center? That would mean two years away from all things related to being a controller while not having my CPC. Is that something that is even possible to do? My initial thought is that in doing so I would greatly be jeopardizing my career as a controller because of the large time gap. I know the FAA works well with people in the Guard but I feel like someone willingly signing up to be gone for 2 years before they've even started the academy may be perceived very negatively and also put my career as a controller at risk.

    Like I said previously my primary focus is becoming a controller. I'd love to become a pilot as well but it's not my primary focus. I'm currently of the opinion that the reality of the matter is that I can only pursue one of these careers and not both. I'd appreciate some advice from anyone with first hand knowledge of this type of situation or perhaps some FAA regulations on the matter that I have yet to be able to find. Thanks a bunch!
     
  18. MJ

    MJ Administrator Staff Member

    If you have orders there's nothing anyone can do to stop you. You won't get paid by the FAA, but you won't lose your job. Personally I think the route to go would be train to CPC then take the extended leave. I'm no expert, but here's why:

    Absent - Uniformed Service employee is absent (whether in pay or nonpay status) to perform duty with the uniformed services and has reemployment rights under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA – 38 U.S. Code chapter 43)

    (a)Subject to subsections (b), (c), and (d) and to section 4304, any person whose absence from a position of employment is necessitated by reason of service in the uniformed services shall be entitled to the reemployment rights and benefits and other employment benefits of this chapter if—
    (1)notice of such service to such person’s employer;
    (2)service in the uniformed services does not exceed five years; and
    (3)except as provided in subsection (f), the person reports to, or submits an application for reemployment to, such employer in accordance with the provisions of subsection (e).

    (e) (1) (D)
    In the case of a person whose period of service in the uniformed services was for more than 180 days, by submitting an application for reemployment with the employer not later than 90 days after the completion of the period of service.
     
  19. Mr.Tickles

    Mr.Tickles Developmental


    Thanks so much for the information and the advice. I greatly appreciate it. That's what I love about this site, great information with very little guess work. I think that very well could be the best course of action waiting until I'm at CPC before potentially pursing the pilot route as well.
     
  20. rugbydog11

    rugbydog11 Certified

    Ive actually somewhat thought about getting back into the guard now that I'm not 9 hours from a unit... But I didn't really fit into the whole military lifestyle.
     
    KevH likes this.

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