CHAT Have the airline controllers gone DEI?


On TB every waking moment
This sudden spate of close calls on the airstrips might lead one to wonder. Anybody here seen anything about how the controllers are recruited?

Knoxville's Joker

Veteran Member
Part of it is a lot of folks are quitting that can. The newbies are too young and they are not raised with the instilled requirement of excellence in everything. (think severe indoctrination thinking just being there entitles them to no work and a paycheck.) What we will start seeing is an employer check that will exclude the indoctrinated in high risk jobs as independent thinking is required, let alone quick thinking.

The other aspect is the old folks know the tech inside and out, the younger group uses google with no fundamental understanding.

And the running off of folks that know the system that can actually fix issues on the fly is the other aspect...

The free thinkers that call out malarkey when they see it are quitting in droves and start their own businesses if they can...


Disaster Cat
Many people who are or were controllers until recently are my peers. Several people I knew took the training and the jobs after the controller's strike. We were all young, and in places like Mississippi or Louisiana, there were not that many good-paying jobs in 1980. All of them were a bit conflicted as they knew the main reasons for the strike were not money but working conditions which they soon found themselves under, but it was a deep recession in the early Reagan years, and some people were age sleeping under bridges. My housemate today does believe I was an all-night waitress moonlight as a cocktail waitress and country-western singer at a bar, but it astonishes her. That was highly unusual for a college graduate, even in Germany during her parent's generation (of which I am the same).

But I am 66 now, and those peers would be between 64 and 70 now (I don't recall exactly, but they were all around my age at the time). So even if they worked until they were forced to retire at 60 or 65 (I'm not sure what it is for air traffic control), they are gone now, and so are their decades of expertise. So there are, working conditions that were never changed much, some of which go against modern science regarding exhaustion and sleep patterns. Not to mention some regional airports that only have one controller at a time, instead of the two that used to be mandated (or so I have heard, I hope it isn't the case).

Finally, and probably most important of all, the airlines long ago made as much money as they could, cutting fares and undercutting each other. Now they are stuck with saving money by limiting crews to the lowest possible standards and delaying maintenance and extra training as long as possible. My understanding (someone in the industry, please chime in as I could be wrong) but my understanding, is that the pilot's pay, especially starting, is now reasonably low for the job and that for flight attendants, it is worse.

In the old days, it was enough to promise young women (and it was always young women) an exciting chance to see the world and maybe catch the eye of a rich man. Now few young or even middle-aged men and women want to have horrible schedules, work extremely hard with an often difficult public, and be away from home for days when they can make more money doing jobs with more regular hours. Or, they go into things that pay better, like working in a busy hospital. Being an air steward or stewardess was never that much fun, and today people have alternatives.

Old Gray Mare

TB Fanatic
The ATC have my sympathies. The unbearable amount of stress they're subjected to can't be explained in a relatable manner to those not versed in the industry.

To get the barest hint of what they face in any given shift, check out the flights within a twenty mile radius of a major US airport hub. Try thinking of it as three dimensional model where the individual pieces are moving, some at hundreds of miles an hour, others at highway speeds or less and in different directions and altitudes. Now try keeping that model in your head while being updated constantly. All the time knowing lives can and do depend on your decisions and directions.

Now toss in an emergency or maybe two happening at the same time. Maybe a aircraft's electrical, engines or communications die. That can get real on final approach. Landing gear or other mechanical malfunction and don't forget pilot error. Then there are medical emergencies, high jackings terrorist attacks and bomb threats.
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Faithful Steed
The unbearable amount of stress they're subjected to can't be explained in a relatable manner to those not versed in the industry.
"Breaking Bad" comes to mind.




ACME Bomb Tester
I went thru the ATC academy back in 1990 and they were playing the "diversity game" back then too. I didn't know it when I was in the academy but there was a big push to get more women and blacks hired... or at least thru school to their first assignment then wash out. There was almost no blacks that could get past the civil service exam so there were very few in school. Several women, most were not qualified to pass but somehow they did. And it all came down to the graded scores in the simulated lab runs.

You were evaluated on the actual simulated run by the mistakes that you committed and then there was the 'controller evaluation score' which was purely the instructor's opinion of your test and that's where they pumped up the targeted ones and devalued scores of white men that had strong enough scores to graduate... and I did. On 2 of my graded runs, I had a lower eval score than actual which wasn't supposed to be possible, including one near perfect minor mistake and the instructor rated me in the low 80s. He sandbagged me to my face and yes, I filed a compliant that went no where. Then there was the final written written exam that you never got to see what you got wrong, you only your score without proof.

So yeah, you can get unqualified controllers into towers and centers but most if not all wash out in the first year but the race and sex quotas had already been met and then they became as expendable as everyone they sandbagged.

Given that, I'd say the clot shot may have caused shortages in the controllers' ranks.

Old Greek

Veteran Member
I am glad I never need to fly - sad thing is I enjoy it. Plan on visiting my sister in Colorado this summer. Lives near Rocky Mountain Nat. Park. Will drive again. Made the round trip driving now over 20 times. I live just north of Pgh, Pa.