Throughout the last few months our VATPAC Air Traffic Services (ATS) Team have been working hard behind the scenes on overhauling our department to further improve our training system and applying focus on maintaining standards within our division.
Thanks to our ATC feedback system (helpdesk.vatpac.org), discord and social media platforms we have collected a lot of valuable input from the community over time. This also includes feedback received within our ATC Training Team, identifying ongoing challenges with increased workload as we continue to see more and more community members wanting training to become controllers on VATSIM in this division. Keeping in mind all VATPAC staff are community volunteers, doing their best during downtime outside of the real-world commitments.
That being said, we have some exciting changes outlined below.
Introduction of a new and improved Training Management System (TMS) - TMS - VATSIM Australia Pacific (vatpac.org), streamlining our training process, thanks to Will Smart.
Re-structure of training roles, with the mentor position removed, allowing us to transition to instructor roles only.
I1 – Rating (S2 training and assessments)
I3 – Rating (S2, S3 and C1 training and assessments)
Ability to independently train and assess a student, streamlining our mentoring and assessment process. The option is still available for another assessor when deemed appropriate by the instructor.
Train the Trainer (TTT) courses (I1 & I3) developed for existing and future instructors, thanks to Matt Kelly.
Flexibility in the utilisation of over the shoulder (OTS) on the network for achieving competency outcomes following an assessment if deemed required by the instructor.
Currently in progress:
Recruitment of additional instructors to join the ATC Training Team. Expression of interest currently open, link here.
ATC Training moodle revamp (theory courses). All training courses to be audited and updated appropriately. This will include completing the C3 course and developing further courses helping reduce practical workload on our instructors.
Successful recruitment of Subject Matter Experts (SME) forming part of the ATC Standards Team. We currently have 4 SMEs with a variety of real-world controlling experience on Delivery, Ground, Tower, Approach, Director and Center. These SMEs will be responsible for supporting the training team where necessary and providing advice to tickets received via the helpdesk or requests via discord.
Currently in progress:
Closer aligning training practices with real world procedures and update controlling philosophy to better utilise technology available to VATSIM controllers (i.e. vatSys). E.g. procedural tower coordination requirements, standardising actions surrounding activating & deactivating FDRs, etc
On another note, you may have seen we recently released a newly proposed VATPAC Air Traffic Services Policy for consultation with the community allowing for feedback up until the 8/04/22.
A noticeable change is the implementation of the S1 (Developmental Rating) position in this division. Many of you might be wondering why we would do that... not seeing the need or a requirement in the VATPAC division.
Here’s why we are considering this rating:
As mentioned at the start of this post, we have received a lot of feedback especially since the community dramatically grew during COVID, therefore increasing wait times for training. This brought on challenges for the training team with increased workload as we seen more students come through.
To allow us to streamline the entire training process we have already implemented many changes listed above. The biggest challenge now is continuing to reduce instructor workload while retaining and even improving quality on the network.
Implementing the S1 rating would achieve the following objectives
Instructor workload reduction.
Allowing community members to receive their first VATSIM rating sooner.
Easing controllers onto the network for the first time, limiting immediate exposure to busy aerodromes while learning how the network operates through online experience instead of multiple mentoring sessions and long wait times for your S2 rating.
VATPAC S1 would be permitted to operate the following positions:
- Delivery; and
- Ground; and
- Tower positions outlined below (under an automatically issued solo endorsement).
- YSCB, YBCG, YPPH, YPAD, YBTL, YMAV, YSBK, YPJT, YBAF, YPPF, YSCN, YMMB (subject to change)
Key changes to the initial eligibility criteria outlined below:
- Minimum of 50 20 hours logged as a Pilot or Observer; and
- Minimum of 20 10 meaningful hours logged observing ATC.
S1 Assessment process outlined below:
- Studied and obtained a pass in the S1 theory course; and
- Completed at least one mentoring session and deemed competent to hold the rating by an approved VATPAC Instructor.
See comparison image below outlining differences between the proposed S1 rating and existing S2 rating (initial controller rating).
I encourage all community members to provide feedback, criticism and suggestions on the following thread, link here.