After doing an interview with two of the IFATC’s newest controllers, to get a better sense of what it’s like to train, test and join the Infinite Flight ATC (IFATC) today, I thought it would be a good idea to get some answers from the other side, the ones who administer tests. Here’s my interview with IFATC recruiters Tom Grollman and Brandon Sandstrom.
Q: When did you become a recruiter?
Tom: I believe it was September 2015.
Brandon: I’ve been a recruiter for about 3 years now.
Q: How big of an advantage does real world experience give you as a controller in Infinite Flight?
Tom and Brandon both have their PPL. Brandon is training for his instrument rating/commercial single engine land, and multi engine land.
Tom: Only real world experience I have is being a private pilot, not ATC. Have not flown in many years but communicating with real life ATC and knowing about flying was a huge advantage.
Brandon: It’s given me a greater understanding of proper procedures that I pass along to our younger controllers. As far as technique or anything of that sort it hasn’t really translated into that aspect. Flying on the other hand is a whole different story.
Q: What are the three things you look for in a recruit?
Tom: Honesty, determination and willing to learn and accept feedback.
Brandon: The biggest thing is a willing to learn and ask questions. Those people are the ones I enjoy recruiting and watching them grow in the group.
Patience is a great quality as well I’m extremely busy in my personal life so scheduling practicals can be rough at times.
Self accountability admitting when a mistake was made is far better then ignoring it or passing it off.
Q: What is your least favorite part of being a recruiter, other then telling someone they failed a test?
Tom: Trying to arrange testing time for the practical test due to big time differences around the world.
Brandon: My least favorite part is honestly my personal time constraints with it. I would love to be able to do more, but can’t due to life sometimes. By the way, I don’t not like telling people they failed, it gives them an opportunity to improve. I failed my first practical as well.
Q: What is covered in the theory and practical tests?
Tom: Tyler’s tutorials go in depth of what both tests cover, but I’d say proper pattern entry and sequencing are the biggest things.
Brandon: Both cover Ground awareness, Pattern entries, Transitions, Sequencing, Go arounds, Clearances ect.
Other then reading and watching the tutorials, what would be your advice for a recruit who is struggling to pass their theory test?
Tom: Having myself or other trainers work with them to fly patterns, we will try and get other pilots to fly and is very helpful to understand transitions, pattern entry, sequencing and clearing for the option.
Brandon: Ask questions lots of them screen shot the questions you missed and send them to your recruiter for explanation. Most people just fail then say see you in … when they can retest. One person stands out, he failed 4 times then finally said “What am I missing?” We went through every single question that he missed. I then explained why the answer he gave was incorrect and why the other was. He passed his next test by the way. I am always willing to help anyone as long as they show the initiative.
Q: What is your favorite part of being a recruiter and IFATC?
Tom: My favorite part being a recruiter and IFATC is being able to share my passion for aviation. Being part of IFATC from almost the beginning of when “Live” came out I’ve seen so many changes to both pilots and ATC.
Brandon: Watching people grow through the ranks of the IFATC. Tim Beckmann was my recruit from the start, and I trained him for radar he is now one of the best people we have and a former recruiter as well. There are many stories I have just like that.
Lots of knowledge to be gained from these two. If you’d like to start the IFATC testing process and become part of this amazing ATC effort, then join here!