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Air traffic controller... regrets

Old 03-22-2019, 07:13 PM
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Default Air traffic controller... regrets

Left the regional airlines for a job as an air traffic controller. 3 years of grueling training and now fully certified I believed that I made the right decision. I thought I would never miss flying or ever what to return. Dont get me wrong it's a great career and I shouldn't complain. But every day I find myself wondering if I made the right choice and dreaming of getting on with a major. I think often what if I went back? Would it be different? There are a few pilots I work with as well and I'm told most pilots only make it 5 years and are right back to where they were thoughts?
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Old 03-23-2019, 04:12 AM
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Do your ATC career, plan for early retirement (20 years/age 50, or 25 years/any age) there will be plenty of time for you to fly after ATC, plus a pension in pocket. Stay current, rent/buy/join a flying club... Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard units are looking for pilots, network with brother/sister ATCS, some of them know pilots. Civil Air Patrol checks that “volunteer block” on some airline apps.
I know quite a few Controllers that are flying post FAA career.
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Old 03-26-2019, 01:02 PM
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“I know quite a few Controllers that are flying post FAA career.”

That’s me. If you enjoy it stick with ATC, get to the early retirement age, then if you want, go back. I stayed active flying my whole ATC carreer, banner tow, instruction, photowork and just having some fun. Now I don’t have to worry about my next paycheck and can afford to walk away on my own terms if I so desire. I’ve been at 2 different part 121 outfits and done some freelance stuff as well.
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Old 03-26-2019, 01:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Boxedfoods View Post
Left the regional airlines for a job as an air traffic controller. 3 years of grueling training and now fully certified I believed that I made the right decision. I thought I would never miss flying or ever what to return. Dont get me wrong it's a great career and I shouldn't complain. But every day I find myself wondering if I made the right choice and dreaming of getting on with a major. I think often what if I went back? Would it be different? There are a few pilots I work with as well and I'm told most pilots only make it 5 years and are right back to where they were thoughts?
Check out this thread too Boxedfoods

FAA hiring Airspace System Inspection Pilot
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Old 03-31-2019, 02:19 PM
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Originally Posted by USMCFLYR View Post
Check out this thread too Boxedfoods

FAA hiring Airspace System Inspection Pilot
I had a couple controller friends that missed the flying and bid over to FSDO and Flight Check jobs... After comparing pension checks in retirement, they wished that they stayed Air Traffic!
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Old 03-31-2019, 02:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Taco Cat View Post
I had a couple controller friends that missed the flying and bid over to FSDO and Flight Check jobs... After comparing pension checks in retirement, they wished that they stayed Air Traffic!
Is that because of greater GS possibillities?
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Old 03-31-2019, 03:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Taco Cat View Post
I had a couple controller friends that missed the flying and bid over to FSDO and Flight Check jobs... After comparing pension checks in retirement, they wished that they stayed Air Traffic!
If money is your #1 motivator, you will likely make more in ATC at a high level facility for sure; but looking at the number of former ATC’ers we have it must work out well for some.
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Old 04-01-2019, 08:37 AM
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Originally Posted by USMCFLYR View Post
If money is your #1 motivator, you will likely make more in ATC at a high level facility for sure; but looking at the number of former ATC’ers we have it must work out well for some.
Money is a motivator, not my #1 motivator, family and QOL are at the top of my food chain.
There are many more busy ATC facilities (ATC 10, 11, and 12) than FSDO’s, so many more opportunities to live in a part of the country by choice and not just the demands of the job.
Busy facilities are staffed 24/7, shift work offers days off in the middle of the week or ample opportunities to swap a shift to make PTA meetings or the kid’s sporting events...
Early retirement is available at 20 years and age 50, or 25 years and any age for ATC’rs, with mandatory retirement at age 56 it offers plenty of time for a 121 career and “vested” Airline retirement travel benefits... Not sure, but I thought for GS types, you had to be at least 57 and a half to be pension eligible?
The OP is in an enviable position, plan well now, retire well later
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Old 07-11-2019, 06:59 AM
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To post some information on ATC hiring:

"Track 1, no experience, announcement opened June 14-17 and we received a total of 9,245 applicants. Of those, 8,246 met basic qualifications, with 1,283 electing Pool 1 (CTI/Vet) and 6,963 electing Pool 2 (Gen Pub). AHR is working on the manual qualification review."

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Old 05-02-2022, 05:17 AM
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Hey Boxed - I took an ATC job back in the day when you needed knee pads to get a job towing banners. Never quit flying, bought an old Arrow and enjoyed it a few years (it did kinda break the bank, and the end result was I flew a few hundred hours at the same cost as renting without ever having to sked or adjust the seat). Did some instructing and 135 part-time. Part-time 135 came to me because I wasn't a transient kid and built a network. Of course with the current talent shortage it should be easy to find. Anyway, decided to retire at 49, flew floats seasonally 5 years in Alaska, been flying 4 years seasonally in the 1900. No regrets indeed, I take half the year off and fly my Libelle at contests. Stay healthy and have a second career in aviation! Too bad the FERS supplement gets earnings tested.
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