Yesterday was a good day. I'm feeling much more confident about things.
I had three training sessions in a row yesterday. The first, I worked both the East and West sectors combined. Basically, the entire northern 2/3 of our airspace was under my control, and I actually had a lot of fun with it. The ceiling was dropping steadily all day, so I got some IFR and marginal VFR experience in the mix. I handled everything pretty well, I think. I kept very good control over my traffic and my coordination. I didn't fall behind, even when I was seeing things that I had never seen before. I'm pleased.
The second session was just the West side, and the third had me working the P/AR sector - the final sector. It's a small area of airspace that extends 15 miles along the Pensacola Regional final and owns up to 3000 feet. Normally, the P/AR is combined up into the East and West sectors, but for a change of pace our supervisor had it split off on its own. It forces the rest of the room to think differently when feeding any aircraft to the Pensacola airport. It was actually a pretty cool exercise.
I also spoke with my supervisor a bit concerning the skill check he gave me last week (which ultimately led to my "Frustrated" post). A lot of what we discussed revolved around what I mentioned in that post: my speed and scan need improvement. Once I let those slide, I start getting behind and getting into trouble. I placed a lot of emphasis on those yesterday and it paid off well. I stayed ahead of the game.
One of the things he also mentioned was that the level of traffic I was working during that skill check could have been handled by a CPC, but that CPC would have been on the very edge of needing an assist position. It made me feel better knowing that even a CPC would have had a difficult time with that workload and complexity. It wasn't just busy for me, but plain old busy for anyone who would have been working it.
After the training sessions, I worked the Whiting NAS sectors a couple of times on my own. It was more of the usual squirrelly IFR stuff: lots of IFR pickups, aircraft deviating all over the place, a stack of holding aircraft the full height of my airspace, and VFR On Top departures needing to climb to 10,000 feet to cancel IFR. In addition, one of my neighboring sectors gave me several bad feeds that had me reworking my plan several times. That particular controller - a CPC - seems to make a habit of passing on problems to other sectors with the attitude, "let 'em figure it out." They're a cool person outside of the radar room, but not exactly someone who I want to emulate very much at a radar scope. Regardless, I just made it work and everyone got where they needed to be.
Good things continued after I got off work. My wife found out her work schedule change request went through. She and I only have one car between us, and the public transportation system in this city is very limited. I have access to buses at the airport, but she works out in the boonies. So, the car situation is constantly being juggled.
Her new schedule gives us a lot more time together since she'll be getting home much earlier now. Mon and Tues, I still have to hang out at the airport terminal cafe for a couple of hours before I go into work, but not nearly as long as I used. They've got free Wi-Fi and it gives me some time to catch up on writing, phone calls, and e-mails. On Thursday I can ride my bike home. I don't mind the latter at all - it's 4.5 miles and good exercise. It helps combat the effects of a very sedentary job.
Besides, we don't have a gym at our place like Miami Tower does. :)
The only downside to yesterday was my laptop dying on me. It seems either the power adapter or the power plug on the laptop itself went kaput. I have most of my writing and music projects on an external drive, so those aren't affected. I really don't want to have to buy a new laptop at this time, but if it's dead I will definitely do that. While I've got a kick-ass machine at home, I use my laptop everywhere - at work (no, I'm not responsible for the data breach...), the airport, on the back patio, at restaurants, and pretty much anywhere else that has a power plug. Everything depends on how much it will cost to replace it versus repair it. If it comes to replacement, I'll likely get a Toshiba for about $700.
4 days ago