Stuck in a holding pattern at a facility

colefinley

Member
Messages
31
Anyone know of/experienced being "locked in" at a facility due to EML or minimal staffing and not being able to transfer from said facility? With the pending list of facilities set to come out soon-ish for the most recent prior experience bid, I'm just wondering how common it is for people to get "locked in" to a place for a while (3-5 years) while waiting for a transfer to get approved.

Cause lets be honest, those facilities are on the list for a reason, whether that's due to a black hole/crappy location, or constant trainee washouts/turn overs. Now I know there is a pecking order for transfers, seniority, time since the transfer request has been put in, etc.

Just trying to get some insight and advice from those who have experienced it! Thanks in advance!
 

#1349

KVLT
Staff member
I ♥ pointSixtyFive
Messages
181
It is all based on the staffing of where you are sent and where you are aiming to get to.

That’s as simple an answer you can get.
 

colefinley

Member
Messages
31
It is all based on the staffing of where you are sent and where you are aiming to get to.

That’s as simple an answer you can get.
Yeah I understand that, I guess I've just heard some horror stories about people being stuck at places for years
 

GulfBravoPapa

Forum Sage
Messages
625
Yeah if you go to a poorly staffed facility that rarely gets trainees, or has a lot of other people who want to transfer our you can definitely get stuck. And I'm not talking 3-5 years. Obviously places like N90/C90 you're pretty much stuck there for you entire career. Other notoriously hard to staff facilities are remote locations like Grand Canyon Tower or places with an absurdly high cost of living compared to facility level such as Aspen.

Although who knows what the transfer program will even look like in 5-10 years. There really is no way to predict the future.
 

Foogy

Forum Sage
Messages
337
There is a guy at our facility who says he's been locked in for 5 years, of course he also only has paperwork into SLC. Soo depending on who you ask you might get different answers, we are also a one in and one out type of release. Just need to get the trainees to pass.
 

#1349

KVLT
Staff member
I ♥ pointSixtyFive
Messages
181
Yeah I understand that, I guess I've just heard some horror stories about people being stuck at places for years
Resources are abundant in this site. Basically look at the percentages of where each facility is at and the percentage required to release individuals. Old PPT’s will help you see the history of releases (if any).
 

Uscolt45

Forum Sage
Messages
455
Unfortunately there isn’t a set “do your time” anymore. There have been plenty of instances where the recent check out was immediately picked up and the guys that have been bidding for a while were passed over.

If you really need out you have to be strategic about it. What facilities are at the top of the priority list? How many can they pick up? Anyone at your facility have in for those top facilities as well? Make sure and call/email/visit the facilities as well.

There are occasionally bids to facilities that are critical to staff and do not rely on the national release policy so you could head to one of those and washout/withdraw and take your chances on the NEST if you really needed out.
 

DankVectorz

Forum Sage
FAA
Messages
634
Facility
N90 New York Tracon
There are occasionally bids to facilities that are critical to staff and do not rely on the national release policy so you could head to one of those and washout/withdraw and take your chances on the NEST if you really needed out.
No NEST. Return to where you came from.
 

SCofATC

Trusted Contributor
FAA
Messages
29
Facility
STP St. Paul Tower
Ditto what Dank said. They make it hard to game the system. Reference stories you may have heard about years ago. Time is on your side. Put in your ERRs and relax. No matter what facility you are at its still one of the best to have in the world.
 

Dolan

Trusted Contributor
Messages
224
No matter what facility you are at its still one of the best to have in the world.
You really shouldn't say something like that unless you know what life is like at the Aspens/Nantuckets of the country. You'll rot there your entire career and never save a penny for retirement
 

Stinger

Moderator
Staff member
Messages
1,036
No one is ever locked in to a facility post-CPC. Even for those at N90. You just have to be willing to look outside the ATO where the NCEPT/release process doesn't apply. Spend a couple years at the new position, and then re-enter the ATO.

Although the CPCs that only have time at the level 5s and 6s are disadvantaged the most because non-ATO jobs are heavily favored to pick up the controllers that have been at the busier facilities. But there is opportunities for the lower levels, you just have to be diligent about job searches.
 

Dolan

Trusted Contributor
Messages
224
No one is ever locked in to a facility post-CPC. Even for those at N90. You just have to be willing to look outside the ATO where the NCEPT/release process doesn't apply.
Ugh

I guess I really need to include it in every post but I mean as a controller, you can absolutely be locked in to a facility. You can quit anytime you want, you can bid other jobs, you can try to be a supe. I really think it goes without saying that most people asking how to move around aren't looking to be told that they have to give up being an air traffic controller.
 

Stinger

Moderator
Staff member
Messages
1,036
I really think it goes without saying that most people asking how to move around aren't looking to be told that they have to give up being an air traffic controller.
Only temporarily. Each person has to make up their own mind..."do I want to be stuck at MWH/JAX/N90 for 5+ years hoping we'll reach the average staffing and then playing the NCEPT lotto with dismal hope...or do I want to try for AJG/AJI/AJM/AJR/AMA jobs and spend a couple years strengthening my knowledge before I return to the ATO as a CPC/TMC/OS/SS...."
Additionally, some positions have return rights back into the ATO.
 

colefinley

Member
Messages
31
Ugh

I guess I really need to include it in every post but I mean as a controller, you can absolutely be locked in to a facility. You can quit anytime you want, you can bid other jobs, you can try to be a supe. I really think it goes without saying that most people asking how to move around aren't looking to be told that they have to give up being an air traffic controller.
Thanks what I was thinking, I've always heard (and assuming it happens more often than not) that people get locked in at a facility and end up being there for 10-15 years.
 

JNev

Trusted Contributor
FAA
Messages
194
Facility
MRY Monterey Tower
Longest I’ve heard of was a guy at FAI for 6 years. Couldn’t take it anymore and bid out as a Supe to ICT
 

Electricfence

Trusted Contributor
Messages
43
You get stuck at lower level facilities because managers years ago put your facility in a staffing whole that was collaboratively created by natca and management and it has taken years to get up to required numbers. people also bullshit hardship out and no one says anything about it, and other people play the ncept game and bid higher ncept priority facilities than you. Help build an environment where people train fast and successfully that way you create a revolving door facility and you will eventually get out and the academy will back full as soon as possible. Instead of plugging in and hoping they get it, do some work outside of the tower and radar room. That’s how it works and yes there have been some mistakes at some facilities but the academy placement list works. Not only will lower level facilities get academy grads but they will also potentially get nest placements. I was at a facility for 5 years and got out. It was far from family and in a crap location for me but I signed up to be put anywhere and dealt with it and made the best. Train people for success. In my opinion That’s the key. Instead people complain about being burnt out which I understand but thats what you signed up for.

The higher lever level facilities are a completely different story. But the facilities that get academy grads can build an environment that create a constant stream of bodies and hope you get out next go around.
 
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