I have a question, so tower class is 7 weeks and if you passed the PV, they send you to RTF for another 2 1/2 weeks. How come some are going to their facilities first but you are going straight to RTF school?1) How come some are going to their facilities first but you are going straight to RTF school?
And do they tell you this the first day you report to OKC? I would imagine it'll mess up ppl's return plane ticket if they don't tell you ahead of time.
I'm the odd-man-out. Usually people report to their facilities first, then come back for RTF. I'll go into how that happened in a minute.
With regards to when you report for RTF training, every facility is different. Usually the priority is based on how useful you will be to your facility without RTF.
- Stand-alone TRACONs: If you're going to a stand-alone TRACON, such as Potomac TRACON, Southern California TRACON, Pensacola TRACON, Atlanta Large TRACON, or New York TRACON, you're pretty much a doorstop until you have RTF since it's all radar and no tower. If that's the kind of facility you're going to, your turnaround time is going to be pretty short compared to other facilities. To even begin your training (outside of CBIs, maps, monitoring, and other self-study stuff) you need radar familiarity, and they will want to get you in and out of OKC's RTF program as fast as possible so they can start OJT.
Everyone I've spoken who is going to a stand-alone TRACON measured their turnaround time in weeks, usually around one or two. For my facility, there were a couple of guys who got to hang out at the facility for about a month. There were a few more new hires coming in after them staggered a couple weeks apart, and they wanted to send them all off to RTF together in one bunch.
- Up/Downs: If you're going to an up/down combined tower/TRACON like Miami, West Palm Beach, or Fort Myers you will probably get some OJT in the tower cab . As an example, there's one guy in my RTF class who went to Kansas City Int'l two months ago and is already checked out on their tower. Other people in my class going to up/downs are also in different stages of tower training. Like I said, every facility is different, and every trainee is different.
Nope... and yes it sure does.
To sum up how RTF scheduling works (as it was explained to me), each region is allotted a certain number of seats in each RTF class. Three regions * 6 slots each = RTF Class of 18 people. This seems to be what makes it complicated for RTF students to swap classes, in particular if they come from different regions. It apparently takes a lot of paperwork and legwork because it involves a balance of both the region's slots and your facility's needs. If you're going to an East Coast facility but want to swap dates with your friend who's going to the West Coast, be prepared for an interesting ride.
Something else to note is that, upon passing your PVs, you become your facility's "property". Anything that has to do with things like your pay, your per-diem, your travel, your RTF date, etc. is handled specifically by your facility. While HR and the RTF department may have some information and say in the matter, your facility is the last word. If you are uncertain about when or if you need RTF, drop a line to your manager and see where you stand.
Anyways, you asked how I ended up back-to-back with my Tower class? Well.... My RTF situation was pretty screwed up. To sum it up, my class date ended up changing three times. And no, that was not fun. Let me lay it out in a timeline in the comments...