Poll: Should ATC College Grads Skip The FAA Academy?


Last week the FAA announced that graduates of the Air Traffic-Collegiate Training Initiative (AT-CTI) program at various universities will no longer attend the ATC Academy in Oklahoma City. It could free up space in the Academy to train more controllers but is it a good idea?

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.


  1. Until the FAA hires people strictly because they are the best candidates it will not matter if they go through Oke city or not. The FAA changed the aptitude test to become a controller during the Obama administration. They began using tests that no longer focused on merit based selection. DEI threatens many safety sensitive industries by attacking the meritocracy. Until every shred of DEI is ripped from our society we all are less safe.

    • Absolutely! Do not expect your controller (or any FAA certification engineers… personal experience) to make better decisions than those currently residing in the highest levels of government, and their appointees. When both are selected by DEI mandates, everyone loses, especially those best qualified by their own merit, yet pushed aside in the name of “equity”.

  2. All controllers should attend the ATC Academy in Oklahoma. In my class of 30 at the ATC Academy, 15 were washed out, including two military controllers and two pilots. I doubt that students in college feel the same pressure as with the intense training at the academy. They told us the first day that 50 percent would wash out, and they did. They taught us to think on our feet and adapt quickly to constant changes. The added pressure of knowing that you would lose your job if you failed just adds to the intensity. The OJT at the facility afterward was tame in comparison. Without this intense training, the FAA could very well find that they’ve invested much time and money in such trainees only to find that they have a higher rate of washing out later in their OJT training.