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Home Agency News * COO Teri Bristol * Recurrent Training

            Hi everyone.  Our controllers are among the most highly-skilled professionals in the world.  The FAA-NATCA led Recurrent Training program is an essential way for them to reinforce their core skills while addressing national safety trends and local safety topics at their facilities. 

            The next release starts in July, and we’ll be covering the following topics in instructor-led training: Unmanned Aircraft Systems, Coordination (i.e. coordinating air traffic information between or within facilities), Radar Contact Identification Methods, and Professionalism.  The instructor-led training is a forum where controllers can share their experiences, talk about why they do things, and how human error might occur in certain situations.  Through these kinds of conversations at the facility level, controllers can strengthen bonds with their peers and managers and address real problems in real time.     

            In web-based instruction, we’ll cover the following topics: Tower Visual Scanning, Helicopter Operations, Reduced Vertical Separation Minima (RVSM) and Formation Flights (e.g. military), Arrival and Departures at Uncontrolled Airports, and the ICAO Template (i.e. data required for aircraft entering international oceanic and RVSM airspace). 

            The topics for each round are determined by the ATO’s Safety Roundtable, which includes members from labor and management.  They select topics based on an analysis of the collected safety data over the past six months.  This way, our training addresses the timeliest and most pressing risks in the system.  Feedback from controllers shows a clear preference for this evidence-based approach to determine topics.  Controllers want to know what the issues are and what they can do to help reduce the number of safety incidents.  In the trainings, we always try to get the pilot’s point of view as well. 

            For the January 2017 release, we’ll focus on how a facility’s safety culture impacts the operation.  This includes looking at how complacency or lack of vigilance can create potential hazards.  Examples would include controllers and pilots not following up in readback/hearback on clearances or if controllers have a lack of awareness regarding aircraft performance.  We’ll also discuss the impact of ineffective teamwork on a facility’s safety culture.

            We’re looking for controllers and supervisors that want to serve as trainers for the January 2017 round.  We want people from all areas of the operation – en route, TRACON and tower.  Controllers who want to volunteer, should contact their facility reps.   

            I want to thank everyone involved in conducting recurrent training including facility management and union reps, trainers, and program officials.  Because of your effort, we’re getting these trainings done on time and within budget!  I truly appreciate and call on all participants to engage fully in these trainings.  I also encourage you to continue submitting ATSAP reports, as they help to determine the topics for future releases.     

Thanks everyone!



Teri L. Bristol

ATO Chief Operating Officer