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TOPIC: Future ATC in YUL

Future ATC in YUL 5 years 1 month ago #20200

Hi everyone,

My name is Philippe and I am new to this forum. My story is quite complex but I am currently attending a ''CEGEP'' or college called École Nationale d'Aérotechnique.

Originally, I had planned and dreamed of becoming a commercial (airline) pilot. However, after a lot of research, I realised the job wasn’t quite for me, especially since pilots are often away from home. I did a lot of research on other aviation careers, and ended up here, learning aircraft maintenance. I have only been studying at this school since September 2011, but I already know maintenance isn’t quite for me. Although I enjoy the contents of the lessons, I do not see myself doing this for the rest of my life.

After visiting the Montreal ACC and the St-Hubert control tower, I can say that I really like the ambiance of air traffic control facilities. I find the profession very interesting and the lifestyle seems quite fun too. Air traffic control seems to combine my biggest passion, aviation, with modern technology, good benefits and the possibility to not always be away from home. I understand the shift work, and the possibility of relocating – I have read the entire Nav Canada (Take Charge) website, and have asked questions to many controllers. I have also read many threads on Aviation.ca.

Although I have visited the ACC and a tower, I was with a group and didn’t have much time to observe. Do you think it would be possible to go back and actually plug-in a headset with a particular controller? It would be interesting to see what a typical hour or so looks and feels like.

Another question I have is the following. I have talked about it to many people, but I am still unsure. Having researched on Aviation.ca, the entire selection (selection only, not training), seems to take around 12 months at YUL for most people. I already have a summer job planned and I might also be able to continue working there after summer, if I don’t return to college. However, I only have until April 16th to pay my tuition fees for the next semester at École Nationale d’Aérotechnique. Basically, I have about 3 weeks or so to decide whether I will continue at my present school, or work instead. I personally think I should work, because firstly, my job is in the aviation field. Secondly, I will be able to make money to eventually pay my Nav Canada training fees and hopefully finish my recreational pilot permit. Third, I know I don’t want to become an aircraft maintenance technician, so why should I waste my time and money learning how to? Shouldn’t I concentrate on studying and preparing for my Nav Canada tests? However, some people are still telling me to continue, just in case I don’t get accepted into Nav Canada’s training program, etc.
What do you think, should I stay at my maintenance school, or simply work until I get invited to a training session?

Since I am only 17 years old, I will only be able to apply at Nav Canada this summer.

Thank you very much for your time!

Philippe H.
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Re:Future ATC in YUL 5 years 1 month ago #20203

  • Roopstar
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You're 17 so I'm going to share this wisdom with you

Stay in school, but keep trying for ATC if you want to.

Here's the reasons why:

1. The process for ATC is VERY HARD, and that's just to get IN to the course. There are about 20000 applicants per year and only about 40 get chosen across the country per specialization, and that's IF they run courses.

2. When you are young, you have the luxury of believing that you may not be interested in the particular field you're training in. When you're older, you usually kiss the sky thanking Heaven that you stuck with whatever it was you were studying. What I'm trying to say is that you're already involved in the Aviation Industry, which is pretty cool. Giving up a career that gets you as close to the planes as you get, to do something that's about equal, makes no sense. Especially since you're doing something that is a critical part of getting and keeping the planes off the ground. It sounds pretty stellar, if you ask me. This is especially so since you can attend School and come out with a Degree or Certificate that qualifies you for employment, which is probably in demand, and if it isn't, has direct applications in other mechanical areas which will keep food on your plate. Becoming an ATC has nothing to do with school in the strict sense of the word.

3. No matter WHAT you do, eventually it becomes work. Sitting in a Tower may seem cool at first, but eventually, even that becomes work (fun work, but work nevertheless), so thinking that it will be \"rock star\" all the time isn't reality. Even rock stars get used to their jobs after a while.

4. If you still want to go for ATC, do it. Just finish your Schooling and get your certifications first (even if you make it past the initial ATC tests, it could be a year or two before you get picked for a course (if you actually do, and the odds aren't that good (.002% of all applicants make it onto course using the numbers above (40 students/20000 applicants = .002%/year) and even if the number was triple that made it, it would still be seriously crappy odds), so \"don't give up your day job just yet\" (as the saying goes). Go and make sure you're employable and since you're young, you've got time to do it AND go for a spot on ATC. That way, no matter what, you'll still be close to the planes you love to be around.

I'm not trying to discourage you, just giving you some things to think about.

Regardless, I wish you well.

:)
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Re:Future ATC in YUL 5 years 1 month ago #20204

  • Vincent
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+1 on Roopstar009 !

The process is really long, and you never know when you might get a call. I'm in process for a while, in YUL, passed all the selection process, been placed into the VFR pool, but waiting for a spot since last november.

So stick with what you're currently doing, even if it's not perfect, you're working with planes already !

Good luck for the application process !

Vincent
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Re:Future ATC in YUL 5 years 1 month ago #20205

Thank you for all your advice, I will seriously consider it when I make my decision next week.

Roopstar009 wrote:
There are about 20000 applicants per year
Where did you get that information? Some say 16000, others 20000... Are there any real numbers or are these just to scare people away? I understand the course is very difficult, but I find it surprising that Nav Canada seems to be trying to attract new people (Take charge website, facebook, etc) when they reject most of them. Are those candidates simply not fit for the job?

Thanks
Phil
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Re:Future ATC in YUL 5 years 1 month ago #20206

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I would recommend continuing with whatever you want to do, and apply for ATC at the same time. Likely it will take at least a year until you get a course offer from the time you apply (or longer - it took over 2 years from my first application until I was offered a spot). In that time, you could upgrade your education and have a fall back incase ATC does not work out for you. In my case, I went from a brand new CPL to a class 2 flight instructor as my application went through the motions. Even still, there is no guarantee I (or anyone else) make it through the training.

Now I'm not saying don't apply, in fact quite the opposite. I'm saying be realistic about it and be aware of how the process works.
Where did you get that information? Some say 16000, others 20000... Are there any real numbers or are these just to scare people away? I understand the course is very difficult, but I find it surprising that Nav Canada seems to be trying to attract new people (Take charge website, facebook, etc) when they reject most of them. Are those candidates simply not fit for the job?

I found that peculiar as well at first. I do not know how many applications they receive or spots they offer on average, but I do know that the chances of success are small.

My understanding is that Nav Canada attempts to attract as many applicants as possible, in hopes of finding those with a decent chance of success. It is extremely expensive to train ATC (the tuition you pay is a drop in the bucket), so they tend to run small courses filled with those they think have a good shot.
Last Edit: 5 years 1 month ago by TheJudge.
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Re:Future ATC in YUL 5 years 1 month ago #20209

Thank you very much. Here is the situation for now. I have 2 main possibilities and I must make a decision quite quickly:

1) Stay in maintenance school. If I get accepted into Nav Canada after applying, great, I can pretty much forget about the maintenance and become an ATC. If I do NOT get accepted into the training program, I can become a maintenance technician until I find something I really enjoy, unless I end up being a great maintenance technician.

As you have read, I still plan on becoming a pilot for leisure, hopefully this summer (I already have a few hours). However, I might still be interested in becoming a flight instructor (like TheJudge)

2) Work full-time in an aviation company until I get accepted into Nav Canada. If I do NOT get admitted, use the money for flight training and become an instructor. From there on, I can try Nav Canada again or attempt to become a higher level instructor.


Of course, the most ideal for me would be to get admitted into Nav Canada on my first try. This appears to be very hard. If I do not get accepted, I would PREFER flying, but that would be a very costly path.


To get back on topic, if I had the choice between either working full-time 1 or 2 years in an aviation business or spending that time in maintenance school, would you still recommend me to stay in school and why?

Thank you very much for your support and sorry for all the questions.

Phil
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Re:Future ATC in YUL 5 years 1 month ago #20211

  • TheJudge
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I would say no one can really tell you what to do except for yourself. However, asking yourself some questions might help clarify the situation for you.

- What do you really want to do? Let's say that ATC, for whatever reason, has no possibility of happening. Would you rather be a pilot (*note* starting out as a pilot is difficult), an AME, or something else? I would take steps towards whatever makes the most sense to you.

- Can you afford a year without pay, potentially away from home (depending where you live)? The first year (or so, depending on stream) of Nav Canada training is unpaid. If the answer is no, maybe you look at how you can save up some money (keeping in mind that ATC may not work out).

There's plenty of other questions you can ask yourself; but ultimately you need to decide what direction you'd like to go.

Education is never a bad thing in my books though.
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Re:Future ATC in YUL 5 years 1 month ago #20212

Thank you for your answer.
As I have always dreamed of becoming a pilot, I would prefer that option. However, I would stay an instructor (not go for the airlines, for the reasons explained in my first post); possibly eventually get the class 1 rating. If I become an AME, I know I will want to change for something else eventually, so I would say the safest option would be becoming a flight instructor.

As for the year without pay, I've already got that covered. All the money I made last summer and this year has been place aside for Nav Canada. Since I live near 4 control towers and 1 ACC, most controllers of the region have told me I probably won't have to move for now. I will continue saving, because we never know, but if I do not move, I already have the costs covered with a bit of extra.

I agree that only I can make my choice. I have talked about the possibilities with my counselor and other people, and ultimately I will have to make my own decision.

Thank you for your time

Philippe
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Re:Future ATC in YUL 5 years 1 month ago #20213

  • TheJudge
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Another consideration:

You'll make more money as an AME than as a flight instructor, for the most part (although rare - there are some very good paying FI jobs out there). At the same time, money isn't everything.

Good luck in whatever you decide to do!
Last Edit: 5 years 1 month ago by TheJudge.
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Future ATC in YUL 4 years 4 months ago #20528

Here's a quick update on my situation;

I applied at Nav Canada the moment I hit the minimum age. I did the written assessment, English oral test and 1st interview all during October. I was told they all went quite well (a part from the written assessment, I have no idea, but I got a green light). I've been waiting for the call for interview #2 for exactly 3 months.

Today, I decided to write to Nav Canada and ask for future training session dates, just for fun. I got told there's an FSS course starting in February (YUL) and also an IFR course starting in May (YUL).

I'm kind of sad because I don't think I will be able to get into that may course. It's only about 3.5 months away and I haven't even done my 2nd interview. Does this mean I'm no good and I'll just have to wait a year before trying again? Or do you think I still have a chance for the May course, or any other course this year? I have the feeling that since I won't make the first course during my selection process, I'm not going to get through any others, but maybe that's just me. I would be so excited and happy to get through. In any case, I will one day, I just have to try harder if I fail. I am not the kind that abandons easily.

What do you think? Many thanks in advance for any advice!


Phil
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Future ATC in YUL 4 years 3 months ago #20533

  • bzubes
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Stay patient, in the event your application expires I'd recommend applying again
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Future ATC in YUL 4 years 3 months ago #20535

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Philippe, while it is unlikely that you'll be called for the May course, it is not out of the question. They may not have filled it yet or some people might drop out. Just stay patient. If you don't get called for that course, you may for the next one. If not, re-apply.

Best advice is to put it out of your mind after you apply. The application process can be very long for some (as much as 2 years).
Last Edit: 4 years 3 months ago by Parth.
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Future ATC in YUL 1 year 1 month ago #20713

I never updated this thread. I ended up getting selected for the IFR course in 2013, went through the training and I've been licenced since the end of 2015. Hard work but definitely worth it! If anyone going through selection has questions feel free to ask.

Phil
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