Wednesday, October 29, 2008

ATC Hours

Apologies for the lack of posts. I've had a bunch of projects going on simultaneously that are eating away at my time (in a good way).

The biggest one is a web site I launched recently. It's called ATCHours.com and is designed to help ATC trainees keep track of their OJT training forms. It's loaded with features that make it simple to calculate your position hours and view the status of your OJT reports.

I hope some of the folks reading this blog will be interested. Here's a little "textual infomercial" for it. :)

  • Overview
    Where I work, we train on a number of positions with a multitude of different instructors, and we're responsible for the accuracy and completion of all reports. Before ATCHours, many of the trainees here used Excel, text files, and even paper note pads to track their time, all of which brought their own problems to the table. I've seen Excel files get deleted by computer updates and note pads have near mid-table collisions with spilled cups of coffee. Missing a record or two from three weeks ago might force you to manually recalculate every total for every report during those three weeks. Then there was the question of finding out which reports had already been turned in and which were still outstanding.

    By creating a single feature-filled universal tracking tool, I felt it would make life easier for a lot of people around the country. That's where ATCHours comes in.
  • Features
    1. Access from any computer or web-enabled cell phones.
    2. Works with any type of ATC facility (tower, TRACON, ARTCC) and any number of positions and instructors.
    3. Log up to four records simultaneously, easily, and quickly using a simple web form.
    4. Run reports by position, date, and other criteria.
    5. See who you trained with on what day and on what position.
    6. Display position totals and daily totals.
    7. Log comments made by your instructors.
    8. Export your logs in MS Excel and PDF format for easy backup.
    9. Check off which reports you've filed with your supervisor and which you still need to get back from your instructors.
    10. If you transfer to a new facility, it's easy to separate your old facility's training hours from your new ones.
    11. Customize your settings to your facility.
    12. Server hosted on a trusted web host with frequent back-ups.
    13. Tested and used by existing ATC trainees.

  • How it Works and Looks
    When you first log in, you'll be greeted by your Overview page. This is your entire training record at a glance, showing your time on each position, your most recent 20 records, and your instructors.

    Clicking on the View All Hours link on the left takes you to the more detailed viewer page. On this page, you can filter your records by position, instructor, and date.

    Time to add new records. Just click the Add Hours menu item and you'll be taken to a page with four identical forms. Whenever you add a new record or change an existing one, all of your hours are instantly recalculated to reflect the update.


  • Extras and Widgets
    There are also several extras on the site that you can use on your blog or forum signatures to display your progress to the world.

    Time Tracker: A widget that you can install on your blog or web site that displays all of your positions and hours. You can see mine fully operational on the top right of my blog.


    Dynamic Banner: You can use this as your forum signature, on your MySpace page, and just about anywhere else you can display an image. Every time you update your hours, this image automatically updates, showing up to twelve of your positions.


  • Frequently Asked Questions

    How much does it cost?
    Normally it costs a one-time fee of $15. This small fee helps cover our hosting costs, past and future development time, and maintenance.

    However, for readers of this blog, I'm offering a coupon that knocks $3 off that price, giving you a lifetime membership for only $12. Even if we change the rates later on, you'll never be affected and never have to pay again.

    When you're signing up, you'll see a box labelled Coupon Code. Just enter in the following code to get your discount: PENGUIN.

    How many positions/instructors/records/facilities can I add?
    Unlimited. The site is designed to work with all facilities, from the smallest VFR tower to the largest ARTCC. There are no limits.

    Will new features be added?
    Of course. We're always looking for feedback from our users. Several of our newest updates were suggested by site users.

  • In Closing
    If anyone has a question about the site, please feel free to comment here or drop me an e-mail. There is also a support form available on the web site here.

    If you like what you see, just click here to sign up! And remember, the Flying Penguin coupon code is PENGUIN.

2 comments:

Toby.Bucsescu@gmail.com said...

Seems awesome! Can't wait till I am actually in training so I can use it! Just out of curiosity, how many people are already using it?

Wicked Penguin said...

I haven't done any real advertising for it yet, so the user count is at 15 people. They come from a variety of facilities, including:

* DAL - Love Tower
* D10 - Dallas/Fort Worth TRACON
* PHL - Philadelphia Tower/TRACON
* CHS - Charleston App/Tower
* ZID - Indianapolis Center
* IAH - Houston Intercontinental
* SRQ - Sarasota
* SAT - San Antonio Tower/TRACON
* FLL - Ft. Lauderdale Tower
* P31 - Pensacola TRACON

The feedback has been excellent. I also listen very carefully to suggestions, adding new features as people request them.

If you have any questions, let me know.