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Overview of Basics Course

Discussion in 'Academy Life' started by MJ, Apr 11, 2017.

  1. MJ

    MJ Administrator Staff Member

    The following write up was completed in early 2017, and is intended to provide an overview of the time spent in the basics course.

    Day 0

    This is the day before your first day at the Academy, and the first official day you can receive Per Diem. Use it to get moved it, and get whatever supplies you need (groceries, toiletries, clothes, etc). Get everything sorted out today, and figure out where you are going tomorrow.

    Day 1
    You will begin by meeting at the Visitor Center (outside the Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center (MMAC). Here, you will take the photograph for your (hopefully) future ID card. Someone from Student Services will meet you here, and go over some information regarding your stay, and then send you off to your classroom. Make sure to bring proof of ID – 2 forms (driver’s license & birth certificate or social security card work [I believe passports also work (and you would only need 1 item then)]. You will get a temporary ID and parking pass. Head to class, and start your INDOC. Fill out some forms and then you will be meeting with numerous people. HR will meet with you and discuss benefits. A rep from the travel office will meet and with you and tell you how to collect your travel vouchers and per diem. An instructor will go over your basic course information and info about the campus – including CAMI, medical, food options, etc. Someone will also to you about professional courtesy and respect. You will also get a talk from the placement division – talking about how placement works after graduation. Currently it is 2 options for each person that passes. With 33% being mandatory (they must be chosen, if not chosen, the last people to place will have to take them).

    Day 2
    Start off at CAMI and take the RVAT test. This is a newer test that uses a microphone to direct aircraft in a radar environment. They are trying to see if this test will better identify air traffic controllers. It will take about 4 hours. You then go to lunch, and then return to the classroom. You will take a pre-test – essentially just trying to get a baseline of your current ATC knowledge. Then you will complete Lesson Plan (LP) 1 – Introduction (30 minutes).

    Day 3
    You finally start an actual day of class. Do LP 2 – ATC & National Airspace System (NAS) (7 hours). This is a full day lesson. You will get 40 minutes for lunch, as well as numerous 10 minute breaks during training.

    Day 4
    LP 3 – Crew Resource Management (CRM) (2.5 hours) & Human Factors in ATC, followed by LP 4 – Airports (4 hours). You will likely begin LP 5 – Separation (4 hours), but you will need to finish it tomorrow.

    Day 5
    Finish LP 5 & do LP 6 – NOTAMS (2 hours), and part of LP 7 – Fundamentals of Radar (3 hours).

    Day 6
    Finish LP 7, LP 8 – FAA Orders & Manuals (3 hours), LP 9 – Letters of Agreement (LOA) and Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) (2 hours). This concludes your Block 1. You might review or begin LP 10 – Principles of Flight (5.5 hours).

    Day 7
    Take your Unit 1 Block Test (1 hour). Then finish LP 10, and do LP 11 – Wake Turbulence (2 hours).

    Day 8
    Go over LP 12 – Aircraft Characteristics and Recognition (5 hours), and then start LP 13 – Airspace (3.5 hours).

    Day 9
    Finish LP 13, and do LP 14 – Title 14 CFR (4 hours), and start LP 15 – Title 14 CFR Part 91 (3.5 hours).

    Day 10
    Finish LP 15 – this ends Block 2. Do LP 16 – Basic Navigation (9 hours). Make sure to study up for your block test tomorrow. You should be around the point where you can file your first voucher for travel and per diem. If you need money, then make sure to do it the first possible day, as it takes 3-5 business days to get. If you are paying your housing out of pocket, it will be around $1800.

    Day 11
    Take your Block 2 Test. Finish LP 16, and start LP 17 - Radio & Satellite Navigation (6.5 hours).

    Day 12
    Finish LP 17, and start LP 18 – Pilot’s Environment (4.5 hours).

    Day 13
    Start LP 19 – VFR Charts & Publications (10.5 hours)

    Day 14
    Finish LP 19, and then start LP20 – En-Route IFR charts (11 hours).

    Day 15
    Finish LP20. The head of the basics program came in and reiterate some of the points of day 1 – don’t get in trouble, don’t do anything stupid, watch your language, be professional, etc…

    Day 16
    Start and finish LP21 – SIDS & STARS (4 hours). Start LP 22 – Approaches (6.5 hours)

    Day 17
    Finish LP 22. This completes Block 3. You will also complete LP 23 – Fundamentals of Weather and Aviation Weather Services (4 hours). Prep for your block 3 test tomorrow. Blocks will start going a lot quicker (test every 2 days or so).

    Day 18
    Block 3 test first thing in the morning. Start LP 24 – Hazardous weather (6 hours), then start LP 25 – Current Weather (7 hours).

    Day 19
    Finish LP 25, and then start LP 26 – Forecasts and Advisories (6 hours).

    Day 20
    Finish LP 26 and LP 27 – PIREPS (2 hours). This ends block 4, be ready for your test tomorrow.

    Day 21
    Take the block 4 test (1 hour), then begin block 5. LP 28 – Intro to emergencies (4 hours). Start LP 29 – Search and Rescue (4 hours).

    Day 22
    Finish LP 29 and LP 30 – Basic Communications (6 hours).

    Day 23
    Do LP 31 – Stripmarking (5 hours) and LP 32 – ATC Clearances (2 hours). This concludes block 5.

    Day 24
    Block 5 test (1 hour). You then do an end of course evaluation where you can comment on the course, instructors, housing, parking, shuttles, student services, etc… Most of the end of course questions come from the end of lesson tests, or the end of block tests. I recommend remembering/writing down all the questions you can for the end of block and end of lesson tests. A study guide is available on this site.

    Day 25
    The end of course test will be administered. They give you 2.5 hours, but everyone will probably finish within 1 hour. After the test, AJG will come talk to you again about placement. They will tell you it is all going to change drastically by the time you finish though. You can also request to go to some hard to fill places (Alaska, Hawaii [usually only for locals], San Juan, Saint Thomas, etc.). You will now get your PIV cards at student services. You will sit around waiting for everyone get their cards activated, and then you get to go to lunch. At the end of the day you will do LP33 – Fatigue awareness (2.5 hours). You are now done with basics, and will be crossing the street tomorrow.

    Link for the pointSixtyFive Study Guide below.
    Academy - Study Guide - Basics
    Thanks to @rdyotz for the write up.
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2017
    jkeis862, Alex G, Freelance and 6 others like this.
  2. Atc1234

    Atc1234 Certified


    Christopher Roberts, srogers and MJ like this.
  3. mali

    mali Chow Runner

    Great review thanks! Do you remember how long after your tentative offer email did you receive your CIL (clearance instructions letter)?
  4. Atc1234

    Atc1234 Certified

    I got my TOL on 2/14 and received my CIL 3/6. However, a TON on people are still waiting for their CIL's. There seems to be good information out there that says that HR reps are only allowed to send 6 CIL's per rep per week as to not overwhelm medical.
  5. I'm currently in a CTI program, and I finish the last class, a Radar class on May 1st. I'm really anticipating a FOL in about two weeks, one week after my medical finishes up, so honestly, I really should've just skipped the whole basics program. Oh man, talk about some perfect timing.

    The Basics classes are going to be soooo easy. Thanks a million for this day-by-day schedule, MJ. Sincerely, appreciate it, my man.
  6. corn4ahead

    corn4ahead Certified

    I was CTI too in the same situation. I was extremely glad I took basics. It was a great refresher. You would be surprised how much you didn't think you forgot.
    seanowens25 likes this.
  7. Konsoti23

    Konsoti23 Chow Runner

    I recently received a TOL, CIL and just finished my medical. I will be taking the basics course in academy and I am trying to log in the FAA website for the basics course Welcome to AT Basics Study Guide and Self-Assessment but I don't know what should I use for the code for your acceptance letter. Does anyone know what code needs to be provided in the FAA website? Also, the lessons provided from the Academy-Air Traffic Basics download do not correlate with the lessons mentioned on this post. What would be a good study guide for the basics? Does anyone have a sample of the actual test structure?
    Also, on day two what is the RVAT test? Could anyone explain?
  8. KKM

    KKM Chow Runner FAA

    FAA Facility:
    ZAU Chicago Center
    Don't get too ahead of yourself you'll have plenty of time to study the basics test but for the code you can put it anything you want it won't matter. The RVAT test is just another form of testing the "psychology" department of FAA uses to collect data from academy students so they can later use it for better hiring, etc. You aren't required to participate but you'll be really bored if you don't because the only other thing you can do is sit in your seat.
  9. bianchiss

    bianchiss Chow Runner

    Lots of the material in the AT Basics Study Guide and Self-Assessment is outdated. However, it is still a good resource as long as you can ignore material that is outdated or is not taught any longer.
  10. mali

    mali Chow Runner

    Does anyone know what's going on with the AT Basics website, it has been down at least a week...and does anyone know what an enroute selectee could study in the mean time?
  11. twn

    twn Chow Runner

    they nixed the at basics site since it was outdated and many questions were wrong. they will not bring it online again.
    MJ likes this.
  12. MJ

    MJ Administrator Staff Member

    There’s a better replacement! Academy - Study Guide - Basics
  13. jkeis862

    jkeis862 FNG

    How many people have gone into this field without any knowledge of aviation beforehand? I graduated with my Bachelor's in Atmospheric & Oceanic Sciences, I love the weather and how it affects flight travel that's why I became interested in this career, but I feel like I have very little background knowledge of flying. Should I be looking over stuff beforehand or do they truly teach you everything you need to know in Basics in regards to aviation? Thank you!
  14. Side note: this website also enables you to DL the basics class “packet” to help get prospective academy students a head start on basics that are reviewed/taught
    MJ and jkeis862 like this.
  15. jkeis862

    jkeis862 FNG

    Yes! I saw that, definitely going to take advantage of that. Thank you!
    MJ and Naomi Anelapumehana Hart like this.
  16. I don’t have experience in air craft control nor have ever worked on aircraft. I have however, been stationed onboard aircraft carriers (all of my Navigators on Aircraft carriers are pilots so you pick up a lot being around them and the community) been a bridge watchstander specializing in naval surface fleet navigation, piloting traffic (use of radar), and tactical maneuvering which includes the use of VHF comms/Marine comms. Enroute to one of my reporting commands I worked at a naval air terminal and a helo squadron and did some work with customs and aircrafts from long approach until they were off deck.

    Upon studying for the ATSA I was shockingly comfortable (with the exception of the radar sim at the umpteeth power of speed! Hahaha). A lot of what I did in the Navy seems very similar to what I’m gathering are desired aptitudes an an ATC with the exception that this is safe Navigation in the air!

    Hopefully, I did well on the ATSA and get selected through band 1! Hoping these 10+ years doing surface navigation favors well! Whatever happens, happens. Hopeful but practical
    jkeis862 likes this.

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