Half of Air Traffic Controller Job Offers Go to People with No Aviation Experience

Jon Hilkevitch, Chicago Tribune, July 30, 2014

More than half of the latest batch of air-traffic controller job offers nationwide went to people with no aviation experience as part of a program designed to expand hiring among the general public, the Federal Aviation Administration said Wednesday.

About 22,500 people without an aviation background initially applied. Of those, 837 were offered jobs. The remainder of the roughly 1,600 new controller slots went to more traditional applicants, including military veterans with aviation experience and accredited aviation school graduates.

The hiring breakdown marks a major shift in FAA recruitment strategy, which is now geared toward trying to keep ahead of a wave of controller retirements while also attracting more minorities and women to the nation’s largely white and male controller work force in airport towers and radar facilities, officials have said.

FAA officials defended the switch Wednesday, saying the process that includes a personality test-like biographical assessment helped the agency “select from a larger pool of qualified applicants than under past vacancy announcements” and reduced testing and training costs.


Controller applicants who are hired go through 17 weeks of training at the FAA Academy in Oklahoma City and three years of on-the-job training to achieve full certification, the FAA said. The FAA is generally able to shave about five weeks off the training for graduates of the college program.

For almost the last 25 years, until the off-the-street hiring process was implemented in February, the FAA recruited controllers heavily from among military veterans possessing aviation experience and from the 36 FAA-approved college aviation programs across the U.S., the Tribune reported this spring.

Those two groups of candidates, who previously had the inside track to become air-traffic controllers, must now jump through the same hoops as candidates with no aviation background, and the first whittling of potential controller candidates centers on a controversial biographical assessment.

Under the revised program, the pass rate for the almost 6,000 aviation students and graduates was about 13 percent, the FAA said.

Critics of the FAA’s new controller recruitment process said that rate–while three times higher than that of other applicants–was significantly reduced because of the biographical assessment, which weeded out many applicants before they had an opportunity to take the traditional air-traffic control tests that assess knowledge and aptitude for working in the fast-paced, high-tension world of directing planes.

Some aviation experts said the FAA’s move to increase diversity in its controller work force by hiring candidates with no prior aviation experience could compromise flight safety and lead to a high wash-out rate among the new hires.



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  • I get the feeling that they’ll be listed as “air traffic controllers,” but they won’t be doing air traffic control duty; they will probably be shuffled off to the side in some HR or EEOC type bureaucracy.

    • Kenner

      No, in recordings of recent ‘near misses’, voices of the controllers sounded black, and the recordings were removed from the media shortly afterwards.

    • Chip Carver

      It’s amazing that people who couldn’t direct traffic at a KFC or Taco
      Bell parking lot are considered for any kind of job with the FAA. I doubt the hires were all blacks. Besides more blacks, what the Fedgov really wants is taco benders front and center.

      • archer

        I can envision it now “good morning I’m Shamika your biologically diverse transgender pilot, we’ll be taking off shortly when I can figure out how this here aeroplane works.”

  • D.B. Cooper

    Only half? You black activists need to strike while the castrated white sissy is busy contemplating the lint in his naval. Whitey will NOT do anything to stop you from achieving 100% diversity in hiring.

  • Truthseeker

    “That mid-air collision was horrific, but at least we have a staff we can be proud of!”

    • Tarczan

      Yeah, “While the loss of any aircraft is a tragedy, what would be even more tragic would be if we lost our diversity.”

      • 4321realist

        That sounds like the PC dreg, General Casey, talking about losing diversity in the military just because Muslims commit mass killings.

        Casey, incidentally, is the new PC face of military brass who have replaced those Obama fired, so he won’t have to worry about a military coup if he tries to take over the country.

        • Paleoconn

          I think that is precisely who Tarczan was paraphrasing. Good catch.

    • TruthBeTold

      This is one of those instances where they shift from White to black and at first see no difference because the system is still strong enough to handle the stress. This is when they claim success.

      But over time, things will become increasingly lax and bad things will happen.

  • MekongDelta69

    I’m afraid I have to repeat my comment from under the Pa. sued by the U.S article below on AmRen:

    Merit, schmerit. Let everybody pass every test for everything. Just show up… *

    * Does NOT apply to straight White male legal American citizens/Vets.

    • dd121

      They haven’t used the Federal Service Entrance Exam test since 1973 due to a supreme court ruling..

  • Jefferson

    Racial diversity trumps the safety of airline passengers.

  • The heated exchange between a white Delta pilot and a negro ATC in Atlanta last week was instructive. The press reported that the white pilot landed on the wrong runway, but actually the recording reveals it was a taxiway incident, with the pilot sent to the wrong taxiway for takeoff. I know the ATC was black because he “axed” the pilot a question. Maybe part of the test should be whether you can pronounce the word “asked.” If you can’t pronounce “ask” correctly, what other skills will you be lacking?

    • SentryattheGate

      I was just out of surgery, my first, when the black aide said she’d be back later to axe me”!

    • NotTooSwift

      “Land on runway two- fo, knowmasayin”

    • Paleoconn

      On this very site, there was a story on AA hires for the fire department of San Francisco. One incident involved a black fireman looking for a Cadillac in a parking lot after being told ‘we have a cardiac situation’.

      Fictional comedy/tragedy doesn’t get better than the reality our anti-racist elites have imposed on us.

  • JackKrak

    Well, we might have chaos in the skies and any number of accidents on the ground but, dammit, we can be proud of the wonderful rainbow of diversity that shines in control towers across this great nation!

    Take that, Russia and China!!!!

  • Lost

    Having race as a key factor in who becomes an air traffic controller seems very sensible. What could go wrong?

    • dukem1

      In the words of Edwin Starr:…”Uhhh!..absolutely nothin!!!”

  • Dave4088

    Next up will be more diversity in the cockpit. Yes, afro-mericans and radical egalitarians of all stripes really think you can pluck Equanimious, Dequarious, and Tyrone out of the ghetto, put them in front of the controls of a 747 and they would fly it as if they were Top Gun graduates.

    Only “arbitrary” standards and “culturally biased” tests created by racist white people prevent them from reaching their true potential as commercial pilots.

    • 4321realist

      Although you probably meant that in jest, that’s EXACTLY what they DO think.

  • Einsatzgrenadier

    There is absolutely no positive empirical evidence that diversity is beneficial, yet the government continues to present diversity as an unalloyed good. In fact, what evidence we do have indicates that diversity is extremely bad. Increasing diversity will endanger more lives, destroy more futures and eventually lead to the total collapse of civilization in the west.

    • Paleoconn

      A college student somewhere in the liberal northeast, during one of his school’s Diversity Weeks, posted a challenge for students to list specific benefits of diversity, besides food and music. He was threatened with violence and even summoned to speak to the Dean and possibly suspended, although I can’t recall for sure. To my recollection, nobody offered anything in response to his challenge.

      • model1911


      • Erasmus

        Creating a market for teachers of remedial English and math?

        (Remedial calculus, anyone? Remedial quantum mechanics? How about remedial molecular biology?)

        • Paleoconn

          The late Joe Sobran once said that we went from teaching Latin and Greek in high schools 50 years ago to remedial English in college.

    • Erasmus

      Watchoo’ be usin’ dem big words fo’ dere, white boy? What be dat ’empirical’ an’ dat ‘unalloyed’ sheeeet?

      When I speak to most blacks I have found that in order to make myself comprehensible, I have to gear my speech to the same level I’d use talking to your average 10 year old white child. This country has neither the wealth nor the time to undo the damage wrought by tens of thousands of years of black evolution and the legacy of Africa.

      We know it now, but others eventually and subsequent generations will discover how damaging to this country’s well-being will be the legacy of Obama and Holder.

      • Diana Moon Glampers

        All of my children are under 10, and all have larger vocabularies and much wider general academic comprehension than 90% of the adult blacks I’ve met.

  • Anglo

    I’m never going to fly again; it’s already dangerous as is.

    • Alexandra1973

      I imagine there are daredevils who like living on the edge who wouldn’t mind flying….

    • Who Me?

      Just another in the long list of reasons to keep my white @$$ OFF all airplanes!

    • MooTieFighter

      so is medicine, so is politics, so is education etc… Affirmative Action means getting blacks a job no matter the qualifications. Scary, sad, and what is going on all around us.

  • planes will be failing from the sky like in the movie Knowing.

    • ShermanTMcCoy

      And “Idiocracy.”

  • Erasmus

    Sad? Pathetic? What can be said?

    I’ve had Africans from Africa even tell me that blacks can’t do the jobs whites can. Yet clowns like Obama and Holder insist this isn’t the case, but all evidence says, otherwise.

    More blacks in the CT? As dey says in da’ ‘hood, “Sh-e-e-e-e-et!”

  • David Ashton

    And now for the pilots….”Fakes on a Plane”.

    • 4321realist

      There was a news story about Zimbabwe, I believe it was, a few years ago where one of their pilots didn’t lower his wheels and did an inadvertent belly-landing.

      Another one had some trouble so he hit the ejection button on his plane, but didn’t pull the canopy release and ended up plastered to the ceiling of the cockpit.

      And they blamed it on racism.

      • David Ashton

        How is the Nigerian Space Rocket Center getting on, anyone?

      • Erasmus

        Is it Zimbabwe whose aviation administration has set flight limits for witches? It was some country in Africa, but I can’t remember which. They didn’t want anyone on a broomstick colliding with aircraft.

  • 4321realist

    “Some aviation experts said the FAA’s move to increase diversity in its controller work force by hiring candidates with no prior aviation experience could compromise flight safety and lead to a high wash-out rate among the new hires.”

    There won’t be a high wash out rate, because blacks will be given the same preferential treatment they get in college, which is AA in grades and certification.

    This goes right along with the Obamacare bill that mandates that X number of blacks are to be admitted in med school even though they’re not qualified. And in pharmacy school. And other positions they can’t qualify for that are related to the medical field.

    FCC Czar Mark Loyd said whites need to step aside and allow non-whites (Meaning blacks of course) to take over their jobs in communications, which is why we are seeing LARGE numbers of black teleprompter readers at t.v. stations who are obviously unqualified as professional journalists.

    On and on it goes. This black community instigator is dangerously injecting blacks into every facet of society knowing full well they aren’t qualified.

    And he has almost two and a half more years to work his evil intent.

  • LHathaway

    ‘Move to increase diversity’? They’ve been doing this since Reagan fired the air traffic controllers. No doubt they since even before that.

  • ckmariner

    In the recording of “captain happy” a few days ago, the controller he was arguing with was definitely black by his voice. I’m worried about flying now.

  • This makes me feel all kinds of good about flying.

  • Bon, From the Land of Babble

    FAA is moving to an ‘off the street’ standard for potential trainees…under the new rules, ‘any candidate who happens to be a U.S. citizen can apply. A high school diploma is not a requirement to become an air traffic controller.’

    ‘We’ve engineered the biographical questionnaire in a way that we think will promote diversity.’ The initial hurdle for all applicants was based solely on a new, online biographical questionnaire that gave test takers instant results.

    ’It didn’t ask me anything about my college experience, my grades, my scores, (and) my ability for the actual job. It asked me what sports I played in high school. What was my least favorite subject in high school. Nothing related to aviation,’ remembered Meryhew.

    Except for the US citizenship part, those are the same requirements for President of the United States.

    IOW, we don’t hire White people. Extremist Muslims get first preference.

    But…I feel safer already!!

    File this story under: What could possibly go wrong?

  • JDInSanD

    Air Traffic Control is a very high stress job where even cool, competent people burn out quickly. Now in addition to the normal stress they’re all going to have to look over the shoulders of minorities while they’re trying to do their own job.

    The government has to keep pushing to figure out the maximum capacity of unqualified minorities it can promote before the public blames deadly accidents on quotas. It’s like stating that contaminated water is safe for most people as long as the E. Coli content is below a certain parts per billion.

  • Rhialto

    Perhaps FedGov believes that with levels of automation that are or soon will be available, air traffic control will require little human intelligence. The air traffic computer system will communicate directly with the aircraft’s computer system. This will allow great expansion of aviational Diversity with only a small increase in aircraft incidents.

  • Dave4088

    Sometimes another plane can be as little as 2000-3000 ft above or below the one you’re in flying in the opposite direction or bisecting your flight path. If air traffic controllers Lajames, Latoya or Jorge aren’t on the ball they could easily set the planes on a collision course.

    If this happens it will undoubtedly be blamed on poor training or pilot error and never incompetence of the diverse air traffic control crew. Racial diversity will be protected at all costs.

  • Paleoconn

    You win the internet today

  • dd121

    It’s not that big a deal when blacks get elaborate titles and rule little bureaucratic fiefdoms, but if they’re going to be directing airplanes, then it starts getting real.

  • antiquesunlight

    This is terrifying and insane. I will never ride in a plane if there is any alternative.

  • Brian

    Even the most well trained Bantu probably still wouldn’t make much of an ATC.

    It’s a job that requires constant, quick thinking, a good memory, pattern recognition, good judgement… exactly the kind of things low IQ Negroes are not very good at.

  • MooTieFighter

    Diversity = less whites, less qualified personnel

  • Peter Connor


  • jfly

    I used to take lessons at PNE(northeast philly) in the late 90’s. They had an AA tower controller that nobody, teachers, other students, and other pilots could understand. Complete mush mouthed, unintelligible blabber over the airwaves. I don’t know what happened to him but there were a lot of complaints. He didn’t last long, hopefully somebody canned him before anybody wrecked

  • paul marchand

    This is practice for Aff Action in ObamaCare.
    The one where you don’t pick you doctor.
    And the doctor and nurses you get might well be affirmative action bureaucrats.
    Good luck, America, with your medical and traveling travails. The US fed govt has already screwed up your public schools and your cities. Now, yet another step into the Abyss of The Left (recipients and traitors).

  • Lee_CPA

    My prediction? In a few years, the race baiters will point to the high percentage of blacks washing out of the program and claim the progam is “biased against blacks”. Well, duh. Of course it is. It is biased against anyone with a low IQ.
    Then, they will start the push to get the cut scores raised for blacks in order to keep the incompetents in the system.

  • none of your business

    There was something on Drudge today. Obama is firing more than 500 army majors. Maybe he is really downsizing the military, maybe he will replace them with black woman and anti American muslim men.

  • TruthfulTexan

    If 6000 aviation students and graduates applied for the approximately 10,000 soon to be needed jobs to be filled, the government didn’t need to look off the street. The next wave of graduates would be soon to follow. Granted, not all aviation graduates will make the final cut at FAA school in Oklahoma, but they have a far better chance than off the street hires. Also keep in mind that some schools only teach ATC theory and other schools have millions of dollars in simulators for learning and practicing skills AND some schools have simulators identical to those at the FAA facility in Oklahoma. )My son attends ATC school at the latter.) In a time of budget issues, why not bring in the best and the brightest. Those students skip the first five weeks at Oklahoma saving the FAA millions of dollars.
    And if diversity is the issue…. why not address diversity with the NBA and tell them they need to hire more whites, hispanics and asians.