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Visiting and Transferring Controller Update


Lee Roberts

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Over the last few months, we have been conducting a review of the Visiting and Transferring Controller policy. The following changes will make the process more open and fair and are provisionally effective from 1st January 2022.

NB: we are not yet accepting new applications from new visitors or applications from current visitors wishing to upgrade - there will be an announcement when this changes.

New Visiting Groups

 The aim of the new Visiting and Transferring training process (in development) is to ensure visiting controllers are of an equivalent standard to home controllers, which is required by the VATSIM Transfer and Visiting Controller Policy. Previously visitors were limited to a set of specific aerodromes/sectors whereas the new ‘Visiting Groups’ include the majority of UK airfields and sectors. Each visitor will be individually trained and validated as competent but some restrictions will remain to limit the impact of validating visitors on training workload. Heathrow validations will not be available to visiting controllers and therefore the overlying sectors (AC South, TC South etc) are also not available. Military endorsements will remain available to visiting controllers and Shanwick Oceanic endorsements for visitors will remain unchanged.

  • Aerodrome VG (S2+)
    All UK TWR/GND/DEL positions with the exception of EGLL
    Military endorsement is available on request.
     
  • Approach VG (S3+)
    All UK APP + Aerodrome VG positions with the exception of EGLL
    Military endorsement is available on request.
     
  • Enroute VG (C1+)
    All UK CTR + Aerodrome VG + Approach VG positions with the exception of EGLL, LON_S etc.
    Military endorsement is available on request.
     
  • Oceanic VG (C1+)
    Shanwick Oceanic (EGGX)

 

How will Visitors be Trained/Endorsed?

As Dan mentioned in his last update, we have been working together to develop a new training process for visiting and transferring controllers. This training process will comprise of:

  • An eLearning (Moodle) course including a theoretical exam.
  • A series of practical mentoring sessions and a maximum of two validation attempts.

This system is close to completion and full details will be published when it’s ready to go, so stay tuned!

 

Visiting Controller Currency requirements

From 1st January 2022 all visiting controllers (including those with legacy rights) will become subject to currency requirements. Visiting controllers who do not meet requirements will have their visiting rights removed. This is to ensure that visitors are sufficiently engaged with the division and that our investment in training them is not wasted.

Visiting controllers will be required to control a minimum of 3 hours in a 90 day period.

Visiting controllers to the Oceanic VG are required to control at least 1 session on Shanwick or Gander positions within 3 years.

 

I am currently a visiting controller, how do these changes affect me?

There will be no automatic conversion to the new VGs for current visiting controllers. You may continue to exercise your current visiting rights (in the old visiting groups), providing you comply with the new currency requirements and remain ‘active’.

As of the 1st January 2022, Visiting Controllers who have not exercised their visiting rights in the last 12 months (by controlling a UK position for at least 1 hour) will be removed. The exception to this, are those who only have visiting rights for Shanwick Oceanic where at least one session on Shanwick or Gander must have been controlled in the last 3 years to retain visiting rights. 

Existing visiting controllers who wish to switch to the new visiting groups may apply to complete the new training and validation process by submitting a new visiting controller application. However, should you be unsuccessful during the training process you will lose all visiting rights, including legacy rights.  We cannot allow controllers that have been assessed as incompetent to staff positions within VATSIM UK.

The Legacy Visiting Groups are listed here as for reference.

Legacy Visiting Group 1 (VG1) - S2+

  • Newquay (EGHQ)
  • Cardiff (EGFF)
  • Jersey (EGJJ)
  • Guernsey (EGJB)
  • Bournemouth (EGHH)
  • Southampton (EGHI)
  • Exeter (EGTE)

Legacy Visiting Group 2 (VG2) - S2+

  • East Midlands (EGNX)
  • Cambridge (EGSC)
  • Norwich (EGSH)
  • London City (EGLC)
  • Biggin Hill (EGKB)
  • Southend-on-Sea (EGMC)

Legacy Visiting Group 3 (VG3) - S2+

  • Leeds Bradford (EGNM)
  • Doncaster Sheffield (EGCN)
  • Humberside (EGNJ)
  • Newcastle (EGNT)
  • Durham Tees Valley (EGNV)
  • Carlisle (EGNC)

Legacy Visiting Group 4 (VG4) - S2+

  • Blackpool (EGNH)
  • Isle of Man Ronaldsway (EGNS)
  • Belfast Aldergrove (EGAA)
  • Aberdeen (EGPD)
  • Inverness (EGPE)
  • Prestwick (EGPK)

Legacy Visiting Group 5 (VG5) - C1+

  • London Control (LON_W_CTR)
  • Scottish Control (SCO_CTR)
  • VG1/2/3/4 facilities

Legacy Visiting Group 6 (VG6) - S2+

  • All UK mainland military airfields
  •  Gibraltar (LXGB)
  • RAF Akrotiri (LCRA)
  • RAF Mount Pleasent (EGYP)
  • RAF Ascension Island (FHAW)

Legacy Visiting Group 7 (VG7) - C1+

  • EGGX (Shanwick Oceanic)

 

If you have any questions about this update then please drop into the #members_help channel in discord or pop a ticket into Member Services.

Thanks,

Lee

Edited by Lee Roberts

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24 Comments


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Cole Edwards

Posted

Especially with the current waiting times on mentoring sessions, are home members prioritized for practical sessions rather than visiting members or is there no priority?

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Will Hinshaw

Posted

26 minutes ago, Cole Edwards said:

Especially with the current waiting times on mentoring sessions, are home members prioritized for practical sessions rather than visiting members or is there no priority?

+1

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Daniel Crookes

Posted (edited)

52 minutes ago, Cole Edwards said:

Especially with the current waiting times on mentoring sessions, are home members prioritized for practical sessions rather than visiting members or is there no priority?

The current plan for the training of visitors and transferees is to primarily utilise our team of division instructors. Students will be assigned a DI who will take them through the training process - albeit a limited one but it's better than zero training which people currently receive. The exact number of visitors and transferees accepted will vary depending on resources (as you mention). Whilst there will be a small amount of resource taken away from training home members - and I must stress this is a small amount - this new process will better allow our fellow controllers from abroad to engage with the UK as a controller and, as mentors which will benefit the entire training process. 

Edited by Daniel Crookes
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Alexandra Robison

Posted

Curious how not ever allowing visitors to control Heathrow is in line with GRP/TAVP in their current form...

TAVP 1.6 "A Transfer Controller will automatically be subject to any local rules, but will retain his or her current rating, whilst learning the new ATC environment. The Transfer Controller should be fast-tracked through any local assessment or endorsement, in order to become fully operational as quickly as possible."

TAVP 1.7 "A Transfer Controller must demonstrate a standard equal to the local requirements for their current ATC rating, and may be required to undertake an appropriate local competency check."

TAVP 1.8 "A Transfer Controller having satisfactorily passed a local competency check, or having been accepted as being competent, shall thereafter have the same rights and privileges as local members of the same rating."

TAVP 2.1. "The requirements detailed above for a Transfer Controller shall equally apply to a Visiting Controller"

So, per TAVP, unless you are restricting Transfers to not be allowed to train/be endorsed on Heathrow, you cannot also restrict visitors from being allowed to train/be endorsed on Heathrow. Pretty clear violation of VATSIM policy.

---

GRP 6.3.D "Before operating at a designated 'Major Airport', a controller is required to complete an endorsement for that specific 'Major Airport'. A 'Major Airport' endorsement is in addition to the Air Traffic Service rating scheme described above and applies to a new controller or a visiting controller new to that specific 'Major Airport'."

GRP specifically calls out that Major Airport endorsements apply to both new controllers and visitors alike. Heathrow is a Major Airport per GRP Appendix B. Another clear violation of VATSIM policy.

---

The restriction on Heathrow (presumably) is because it is a "complex airport", which is exactly why it is designated a "Major Airport". I don't think it is in the spirit of VATSIM to create a even more restrictive policy for an airport that is arguably less complex than JFK, ORD or DFW (all of which have a path for visiting controllers to be able to control them).

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Jack Edwards

Posted (edited)

1 hour ago, Alexandra Robison said:

Curious how not ever allowing visitors to control Heathrow is in line with GRP/TAVP in their current form...

TAVP 1.6 "A Transfer Controller will automatically be subject to any local rules, but will retain his or her current rating, whilst learning the new ATC environment. The Transfer Controller should be fast-tracked through any local assessment or endorsement, in order to become fully operational as quickly as possible."

TAVP 1.7 "A Transfer Controller must demonstrate a standard equal to the local requirements for their current ATC rating, and may be required to undertake an appropriate local competency check."

TAVP 1.8 "A Transfer Controller having satisfactorily passed a local competency check, or having been accepted as being competent, shall thereafter have the same rights and privileges as local members of the same rating."

TAVP 2.1. "The requirements detailed above for a Transfer Controller shall equally apply to a Visiting Controller"

So, per TAVP, unless you are restricting Transfers to not be allowed to train/be endorsed on Heathrow, you cannot also restrict visitors from being allowed to train/be endorsed on Heathrow. Pretty clear violation of VATSIM policy.

---

GRP 6.3.D "Before operating at a designated 'Major Airport', a controller is required to complete an endorsement for that specific 'Major Airport'. A 'Major Airport' endorsement is in addition to the Air Traffic Service rating scheme described above and applies to a new controller or a visiting controller new to that specific 'Major Airport'."

GRP specifically calls out that Major Airport endorsements apply to both new controllers and visitors alike. Heathrow is a Major Airport per GRP Appendix B. Another clear violation of VATSIM policy.

---

The restriction on Heathrow (presumably) is because it is a "complex airport", which is exactly why it is designated a "Major Airport". I don't think it is in the spirit of VATSIM to create a even more restrictive policy for an airport that is arguably less complex than JFK, ORD or DFW (all of which have a path for visiting controllers to be able to control them).

This policy is much more flexible than its predecessor and is compliant with GRP and TAVP.

Which particular regulation are you interpreting to mean that visitors must be offered the opportunity to train for a major endorsement?

1.6 - "Fully operational" is not defined in TAVP, but is assumed in this case to be the same as 'normal' home controllers, who do not have the right to control Heathrow - visiting controllers will therefore have the same rights as home controllers in this regard. Controlling Heathrow is not a mandatory stage in ATC training in the UK, so cannot be considered as a requirement for anyone to be "fully operational".

1.7 - Indeed they must demonstrate equal standards to home controllers, as detailed above, the fact that they must demonstrate this standard does not imply access to major endorsement training.

1.8 - They do have the same privileges as home members. Normal home members cannot control Heathrow.

6.3 - Major endorsements do apply to all controllers (you need a major endorsement to control a major airport), but again, that does not imply access to the endorsement programs.

Heathrow is designated as major partly due to compexity, but also because it is the single busiest airport on the VATSIM network. It would be impossible to argue (reasonably) that it should not be designated as major.

Edited by Jack Edwards
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Alexandra Robison

Posted

13 minutes ago, Jack Edwards said:

This policy is much more flexible than its predecessor and is compliant with GRP and TAVP.

Which particular regulation are you interpreting to mean that visitors must be offered the opportunity to train for a major endorsement?

1.6 - "Fully operational" is not defined in TAVP, but is assumed in this case to be the same as 'normal' home controllers, who do not have the right to control Heathrow - visiting controllers will therefore have the same rights as home controllers in this regard. Controlling Heathrow is not a mandatory stage in ATC training in the UK, so cannot be considered as a requirement for anyone to be "fully operational".

1.7 - Indeed they must demonstrate equal standards to home controllers, as detailed above, the fact that they must demonstrate this standard does not imply access to major endorsement training.

1.8 - They do have the same privileges as home members. Normal home members cannot control Heathrow.

6.3 - Major endorsements do apply to all controllers, but again, that does not imply access to them.

Heathrow is designated as major partly due to compexity, but also because it is the single busiest airport on the VATSIM network. It would be impossible to argue (reasonably) that it should not be designated as major.

If your commentary on 1.8 is correct, then I should never see anyone on Heathrow at all. If even a single member is allowed to control Heathrow (which I know to be true because I have friends certified to control Heathrow), then your entire argument falls apart. 1.8 is VERY specific that Visiting Controllers (by way of TAVP 2.1) are to be afforded the "same rights and privileges as local members of the same rating". That puts your entire argument in bad faith.

Whether Heathrow is the single busiest airport or not is irrelevant. Busy does not equal complicated, and busy does not mean that you get to just tell every visiting controller that they don't even have the opportunity to get the major certification. I am in no way saying that it shouldn't be a major (that is the discretion of VP EMEA), I am pointing out that it is against VATSIM policy to say that a visitor can never control Heathrow. Again, this is not in the spirit of VATSIM. How VATUK has gotten away with this blatant violation of VATSIM policy for as long as you have is baffling to me, because I know for a fact that if VATUSA tried to say that visitors couldn't control majors ever, we would be crucified by the BoG.

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Jack Edwards

Posted

My commentary on 1.8 is correct. Neither a home controller without a Heathrow validation (here termed: “normal”) or a visiting controller without a validation can control Heathrow. They have the same rights and privileges.

I never said the reason the reason we are not offering Heathrow training to visitors was because it was a major. If you read Lee’s article then you will see it is due to training capacity, something which limits visitor training in many divisions in VATSIM.

Clearly busy does not equal complicated (I didn’t say it did), however it does directly correlate with workload which amplifies any complexity. This requires experience and training to cope with. GRP specifically comments on this in section 6.4 when considering Special Centres.

VATSIM UK does allow visitors to control  Special Center airspace (Shanwick) as capacity allows us to appropriately train and validate controllers to do so. There is no ban on visitors getting endorsements.

I could not possibly comment on the policies of VATUSA - any opinions I have would lack context and experience of local systems. 

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Bobby Melton

Posted

Do you not give "normal" controllers the opportunity for Major training? What determines if a controller is not "normal" and can train for a major field? 

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Ben Lindsey

Posted

1 hour ago, Jack Edwards said:

My commentary on 1.8 is correct. Neither a home controller without a Heathrow validation (here termed: “normal”) or a visiting controller without a validation can control Heathrow. They have the same rights and privileges.

I never said the reason the reason we are not offering Heathrow training to visitors was because it was a major. If you read Lee’s article then you will see it is due to training capacity, something which limits visitor training in many divisions in VATSIM.

Clearly busy does not equal complicated (I didn’t say it did), however it does directly correlate with workload which amplifies any complexity. This requires experience and training to cope with. GRP specifically comments on this in section 6.4 when considering Special Centres.

VATSIM UK does allow visitors to control  Special Center airspace (Shanwick) as capacity allows us to appropriately train and validate controllers to do so. There is no ban on visitors getting endorsements.

I am sympathetic to training capacity issues. They are something most facilities are dealing with right now, including facilities within VATUSA. However, that does not mean we can completely stop giving visiting controllers training for major fields when they request it. No one is expecting it to be instantly handled, or for the endorsement to be automatically granted after a general competency check.

According to https://www.vatsim.uk/atc/endorsements, "members rated S2 or higher may undertake a number of special endorsements to be allowed to control Heathrow positions up to and including their permanent controller rating." Therefore, per 1.8 and 2.1 of the TCVP, visiting controllers must be afforded the same privileges. They shall have the same rights as local members, including the right to request a Heathrow endorsement. Application of the TCVP is not optional. Therefore, if they want to, visitors should be allowed to request Heathrow training, just like a home controller may request Heathrow training.

I really do not see how there is much of an argument here. You said it yourself: "there is no ban on visitors getting endorsements." Yet, that is exactly what you are arguing for. Per your own words, along with the restrictions instituted by the TCVP, visiting controllers should be allowed to train for a Heathrow endorsement. It seems pretty plain and simple to me.

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Liesel Downes

Posted

I really don't think VCs should be anywhere near the London TMA but if policy dictates that then so be it.

Perhaps if a significant improvement in competency is seen as a result of this policy, it could be reconsidered? 

Otherwise I really like these changes, gives transferees a fighting chance and makes visiting no longer a free for all.

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Josh Seagrave

Posted

3 hours ago, Alexandra Robison said:

If your commentary on 1.8 is correct, then I should never see anyone on Heathrow at all. If even a single member is allowed to control Heathrow (which I know to be true because I have friends certified to control Heathrow), then your entire argument falls apart. 1.8 is VERY specific that Visiting Controllers (by way of TAVP 2.1) are to be afforded the "same rights and privileges as local members of the same rating". That puts your entire argument in bad faith.

Whether Heathrow is the single busiest airport or not is irrelevant. Busy does not equal complicated, and busy does not mean that you get to just tell every visiting controller that they don't even have the opportunity to get the major certification. I am in no way saying that it shouldn't be a major (that is the discretion of VP EMEA), I am pointing out that it is against VATSIM policy to say that a visitor can never control Heathrow. Again, this is not in the spirit of VATSIM. How VATUK has gotten away with this blatant violation of VATSIM policy for as long as you have is baffling to me, because I know for a fact that if VATUSA tried to say that visitors couldn't control majors ever, we would be crucified by the BoG.

 

41 minutes ago, Ben Lindsey said:

I am sympathetic to training capacity issues. They are something most facilities are dealing with right now, including facilities within VATUSA. However, that does not mean we can completely stop giving visiting controllers training for major fields when they request it. No one is expecting it to be instantly handled, or for the endorsement to be automatically granted after a general competency check.

According to https://www.vatsim.uk/atc/endorsements, "members rated S2 or higher may undertake a number of special endorsements to be allowed to control Heathrow positions up to and including their permanent controller rating." Therefore, per 1.8 and 2.1 of the TCVP, visiting controllers must be afforded the same privileges. They shall have the same rights as local members, including the right to request a Heathrow endorsement. Application of the TCVP is not optional. Therefore, if they want to, visitors should be allowed to request Heathrow training, just like a home controller may request Heathrow training.

I really do not see how there is much of an argument here. You said it yourself: "there is no ban on visitors getting endorsements." Yet, that is exactly what you are arguing for. Per your own words, along with the restrictions instituted by the TCVP, visiting controllers should be allowed to train for a Heathrow endorsement. It seems pretty plain and simple to me.

Excuse me if I wade into the thick of this, but frankly this argument is misguided, or at best misplaced. Critical thinking hats on.

Major endorsements are not mentioned in the TCVP. As a matter of fact, there is no VATSIM policy that details the eligibility criteria for a major endorsement, nor is there any VATSIM policy that specifies that divisions must make public any criteria, should it exist. As Jack has already said, a 'normal' controller does not have the right, nor the privilege, to control Heathrow, and VATUK is not obliged to offer major training to everyone, home controller or not. Major privileges, evidenced by the lack of mention in TCVP, and the lack of policy regarding eligibility criteria and such, are a privilege established outside the normal privileges afforded to a home member. A similar scenario might be that a division does not permit visitors to mentor at their division. Is this in violation of TCVP? Surely home members are permitted to become mentors, so visitors should be too. I think most people would say it's reasonable to not permit visitors to mentor, or at the very least it's at the discretion of the division which members they offer mentor status to. If that is true then it *must* also be true for major certifications. 

If you don't like that, then I'm afraid you'd need to take the argument up with VATSIM BoG, because it's VATSIM policy that you're at odds with, not VATUK.

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Josh Seagrave

Posted

1 minute ago, Josh Seagrave said:

 

Excuse me if I wade into the thick of this, but frankly this argument is misguided, or at best misplaced. Critical thinking hats on.

Major endorsements are not mentioned in the TCVP. As a matter of fact, there is no VATSIM policy that details the eligibility criteria for a major endorsement, nor is there any VATSIM policy that specifies that divisions must make public any criteria, should it exist. As Jack has already said, a 'normal' controller does not have the right, nor the privilege, to control Heathrow, and VATUK is not obliged to offer major training to everyone, home controller or not. Major privileges, evidenced by the lack of mention in TCVP, and the lack of policy regarding eligibility criteria and such, are a privilege established outside the normal privileges afforded to a home member. A similar scenario might be that a division does not permit visitors to mentor at their division. Is this in violation of TCVP? Surely home members are permitted to become mentors, so visitors should be too. I think most people would say it's reasonable to not permit visitors to mentor, or at the very least it's at the discretion of the division which members they offer mentor status to. If that is true then it *must* also be true for major certifications. 

If you don't like that, then I'm afraid you'd need to take the argument up with VATSIM BoG, because it's VATSIM policy that you're at odds with, not VATUK.

Further to my own point, I understand a lot of visitors would like to control Heathrow, myself included. Insisting that you be gifted a training place because you think the magic book says you should is a bit silly, though.

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Nihar Modak

Posted

Well I don't feel right with visitors getting access to Gatwick and Manchester too because they are  some prime airports subject to patience showed by home members for gaining controller ratings (S1,S2 and so on) something which visitors can use to an advantage by rushing through ratings quickly outside the UK and visiting here to control Gatwick and stuff whilst the home members are waiting for ratings alone. It does have a possibility of a split in the waiting list too even though they will be trained/endorsed. Maybe a bit more clarification is needed.

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Daniel Crookes

Posted (edited)

3 hours ago, Nihar Modak said:

Well I don't feel right with visitors getting access to Gatwick and Manchester too because they are  some prime airports subject to patience showed by home members for gaining controller ratings (S1,S2 and so on) something which visitors can use to an advantage by rushing through ratings quickly outside the UK and visiting here to control Gatwick and stuff whilst the home members are waiting for ratings alone. It does have a possibility of a split in the waiting list too even though they will be trained/endorsed. Maybe a bit more clarification is needed.

Hey Nihar - the patience and commitment that home members display with our training system is something that I wanted to ensure that we captured when changing the V/T process. The current system is unfair to visitors and transferees as they receive no training prior to any validation or logging on their visiting aerodromes/sectors. As a result of this, we wanted to provided people with strong foundations prior to their validation attempt. With it, this takes a small amount of resource away from what we offer to home members, so the number of validations processed will obviously be a much smaller proportion of our overall training as to minimize the impact on home members training.

On a more general note, the line of providing resources for visitors and transferees alongside our home members is a fine one to ride. On one hand, home members must be recognised given the extensive periods of time people wait for training and the fact that this is your home in terms of controlling. On the other hand, we cannot simply disregard visitors and transferees right to access other areas of the world, or, their right to have a fair chance at passing a validation attempt. Some of VATSIM UKs biggest contributors past and present are from overseas.

I hope people can understand or at the very least acknowledge the challenges that are faced when a policy like this is changed. The overall goals of this policy change are very simple: provide more variety for visitors and transferees, and provide training with the aim of providing the context needed in order for overseas controllers to apply their previous controlling skill to the UK successfully and enjoyably. There will never be a perfect solution, just one that the team at the time of implementation feels strikes the correct balance. As always, feedback and criticism isn't just encouraged, it is required in order for us to get things right.

Edited by Daniel Crookes
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William Brushfield

Posted

I agree and commend this policy change as (having seen first hand the current policy), agree it had to be changed to allow for a fairer chance to get visiting rights instead of chucking visitors on at the deep end with a 'self study approach'. Many thanks to all the work that has gone into this policy and very pleased that the VGs have been expanded to give visitors a more fun experience in the UK. Can you confirm:

1. Which airports for each rating (Or, in the case of London, which area sectors will be used) to evaluate the visitors.

2. With current waiting times (as mentioned above) being high, I understand there will not be too much of a reduction in resources since Instructors will be used, but:

2a) Will the I1 rated instructors (Rating-specific instructors such as NCTG and TTG) Be required to assist? This may remove resources from the waiting queue

2b) Since many of the examiners are I1+ rated, will more examiners be encouraged to participate in the division around the S2+ Range? 

2c) Is there a ratio of priority for Home Members:Visitors? I understand it cannot be provided accurately since the policy isn't in circulation, so is hard to provide. 

 

Thanks!

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Daniel Crookes

Posted (edited)

11 minutes ago, William Brushfield said:

I agree and commend this policy change as (having seen first hand the current policy), agree it had to be changed to allow for a fairer chance to get visiting rights instead of chucking visitors on at the deep end with a 'self study approach'. Many thanks to all the work that has gone into this policy and very pleased that the VGs have been expanded to give visitors a more fun experience in the UK. Can you confirm:

1. Which airports for each rating (Or, in the case of London, which area sectors will be used) to evaluate the visitors.

2. With current waiting times (as mentioned above) being high, I understand there will not be too much of a reduction in resources since Instructors will be used, but:

2a) Will the I1 rated instructors (Rating-specific instructors such as NCTG and TTG) Be required to assist? This may remove resources from the waiting queue

2b) Since many of the examiners are I1+ rated, will more examiners be encouraged to participate in the division around the S2+ Range? 

2c) Is there a ratio of priority for Home Members:Visitors? I understand it cannot be provided accurately since the policy isn't in circulation, so is hard to provide. 

 

Thanks!

Hey William - thanks for your comments 😄

1) For area this will be LON_N, SCO AND LON_C. All three may not be available initially as we are still compiling a bank of self study questions for the Moodle course. Aerodromes for TWR and APP have not yet been decided.

2) Initially Division Instructors (DI) will be conducting all training relating this new policy. DIs are often assigned to/get involved with certain projects across the division and this will not be any different from that.

2a) At this time, there is no plan to add further training commitments to the TG TGIs.

2b) The logic behind the new training programme will result in the same DI conducting a mentoring session, validation attempt, and subsequent mentoring session (if required) for the purposes of continuity. If the revised training process is successful we will be looking to expand the team of examiners/validators.

2c) There is no ratio set at the moment. Rough numbers have been calculated as to avoid a large amount of guessing, but we will have a better idea around our available capacity once the system is in place.

Dan 😄

Edited by Daniel Crookes
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William Brushfield

Posted

Thanks Dan for the reply, totally agree and support everything you replied to (I Believe this is an excellent policy change!)

 

To the points above regarding Heathrow endorsements for Visiting controllers, while this may be an option in the future, as highlighted by Dan above, our training capacity is stretched thin as is, and by the response provided above, visiting controllers are not being trained by our mentors, rather our division instructors. 

 

Although policy may (or in this case may not) dictate that major endorsements are a required provided service, I think it's going to be a case of one step at a time. I think this change in policy is necessary and expands the abilities of visiting controllers and the addition of aerodromes such as Manchester and Gatwick is excellent, and Heathrow is a MAJOR aerodrome that even S1s can't control (although we have already discussed this in a previous thread!). Heathrow is one of the world's biggest hubs and had complex procedures that combine complexities that require training and endorsements for Home controllers. 

 

If the Heathrow endorsement were to be introduced in the future, I would protest to them being involved in the same system as the current home controllers go through. I believe that adding a multitude of Visitors to the Heathrow endorsement list will impact on Home Controllers, so again as Dan said above, Division instructor only would be the only way (And even then, it would be a big task for our Division Instructors!)

 

TL'DR I think it's important for us to all appreciate how much of a STEP UP this policy is for the division and these policies take time to figure out (and practical solutions come with time), I think we should see how this policy goes first.

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Trevor Hannant

Posted (edited)

Glad to see the list might get a trimming down soon - side question however, who polices the restriction on 50% controlling time on a home facility/region/division?  Is that the responsibility of the division being visited or a home division/.net level?

Edited by Trevor Hannant
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Daniel Crookes

Posted (edited)

18 hours ago, Trevor Hannant said:

Glad to see the list might get a trimming down soon - side question however, who polices the restriction on 50% controlling time on a home facility/region/division?  Is that the responsibility of the division being visited or a home division/.net level?

Hey Trev - 50% is a .net requirement set out by VATSIM centrally:

"A controller shall perform the more than half of their controlling in their home Division" (https://www.vatsim.net/documents/transfer-and-visiting-controller-policy).

Historically we (the UK) have kept an eye on this however there (to my knowledge) is no defined responsibility for who should be monitoring this.

Edited by Daniel Crookes
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Trevor Hannant

Posted

Thanks Dan, know it's a central policy matter - but it was the policing of it that I was querying more...

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Lee Roberts

Posted

On 04/11/2021 at 17:50, Trevor Hannant said:

Thanks Dan, know it's a central policy matter - but it was the policing of it that I was querying more...

It is up to individuals to ensure they do not go over the limits. We do not routinely police this however we do conduct checks from time to time if we suspect someone is controlling more hours than they should be.

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Matthew Beddow

Posted

I'm not 100% sure the visiting groups align with the revisions to the .net GCAP policy, unless I've missed something. 

6.05(j)(v) A Controller must have achieved a minimum rating of S3 to be eligible for a Visiting Controller Endorsement.

6.05(j)(vi) A long-tenured controller holding an ATS Rating of S2 may, with approval of their Home Division Director, obtain a Visiting Controller Endorsement at only one Sub-Division within their Home Division until they are eligible as an S3 and then are subject to sub-paragraph 6.04(j)(vii) of this policy.

 

Given how VATUK is its own division, with no subdivisions, it's not possible for anyone below S3 to visit the UK, which makes the aerodrome VG somewhat superfluous? (Assuming GCAP comes into force without further revision)

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Lee Roberts

Posted

On 25/11/2021 at 15:26, Matthew Beddow said:

I'm not 100% sure the visiting groups align with the revisions to the .net GCAP policy, unless I've missed something. 

6.05(j)(v) A Controller must have achieved a minimum rating of S3 to be eligible for a Visiting Controller Endorsement.

6.05(j)(vi) A long-tenured controller holding an ATS Rating of S2 may, with approval of their Home Division Director, obtain a Visiting Controller Endorsement at only one Sub-Division within their Home Division until they are eligible as an S3 and then are subject to sub-paragraph 6.04(j)(vii) of this policy.

 

Given how VATUK is its own division, with no subdivisions, it's not possible for anyone below S3 to visit the UK, which makes the aerodrome VG somewhat superfluous? (Assuming GCAP comes into force without further revision)

So as you said VATSIM UK is it’s own division so a lot of the intricacies of GCAP don’t make sense for us which has been fed back to the .net and we are still waiting to see what happens with it. Also as GCAP is not current policy we can’t make our policies by guessing what It might contain. This doesn’t mean that we haven’t ignored it completely, we just can’t make our policy depictions based off of it yet so to avoid having no movement at all on V&T we are making the changes above. Policies like V&T are not always set in stone and can and will change as needed in the future if we need to.

 

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Harrison Grose

Posted

Hey everyone! I'm just going to throw my opinion out there in a jumbled mess, take from it what you wish!

As someone who transferred to Portugal to complete their S3 training and has now long since transferred back through the old system, I can 100% support the new visiting/transferring procedures. 

I wanted to specifically pick up a point mentioned by Nihar about the potential for controllers to supposedly "skip the queue" by transferring to a different division or vacc to complete training, then transfer back. I cannot get my head around why some of us frown upon this way of doing it. Firstly, let's take a look at our real life counter parts. Many NATS trainees are sent to places such as Jerez, Spain to complete training before they return to the UK to start working properly. Similarly to this, many pilots also travel to the USA and New Zealand for example to complete their pilot licences. Not only can this provide excellent experience for trainees, it also actually alleviates the pressure from the UK training systems. I don't understand why this cannot be seen in the same light on VATSIM; those who transfer create an extra space for those who don't. 

Secondly, with no disrespect to any other divisions, VATSIM UK has, in my opinion, one of the best training departments in the whole of the network. Of course, waiting times are longer than you'd like, but the level of documentation etc is on another level. Some members would prefer to wait for this luxury, while others may prefer something a little less substancial, but would find the thrill of experiencing a new division with different airports and procedures very desirable.

Thirdly, I find it embarrasing the attitude some members of this division have towards the competence of controllers elsewhere. London has undoubtedly some of the most complex airspace in the world and requires very competent controllers to deal with that. However, suggesting that controllers elsewhere are less competent purely because the airspace they have to deal with is less complex is very unfair in my opinion. 

That being said, I do believe some self study (you have to put the effort in), consolidated by some mentoring sessions is very appropriate.

In terms of Heathrow, the balance must be that visiting controllers cannot just turn up and expect to immediately be able to control Heathrow with no validation, much like freshly passed home S2 controllers cannot immediately control Heathrow. However, it would be nice to somehow find a way to enable them to control Heathrow if they so wish.

 

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