Hauke, a fellow trainee from a newer course, presented his readers with an overview of a day at the Academy during the early stages of training. It can be found here (in German).
I guess I could use this chance to give you some insight into how my day works, less than four months from the end of Academy training. While we also have late shifts, I will be describing an early shift, since these occur much more often.
The day starts like every self-respecting Linux-geek’s day should start.
Precisely at 06:04 (all times local), the computer wakes up from its deep sleep, preparing to serve its master.
Between 06:08 and 06:10, it gets the latest news and e-mails, and starts my favourite play-list. It then continues to make coffee, get the toast ready, close the window, increase the heating….okay, perhaps it doesn’t, but eventually…;)
After the usual abbreviated routine (indeed, no toast actually. cornflakes need to be sufficient. the difference of 5 minutes of sleep is important!), I head to the simulator, aiming to arrive at 7am – 20 minutes before the first run starts.
This should give us enough time to prepare the flight strips, set up the radar, make our radio-checks with the pilots and get a quick look at the first 20 minutes of the run.
That first run usually lasts one hour, followed by a mix of further one-hour runs and one two-hour run until we have filled five hours of simulation a day.
Two long breaks interrupt that flow, one shortly after 9am lasting about half an hour, one during lunch time lasting almost an hour – sufficient for enjoying (sometimes “enjoying”) the canteen food and relaxing for a few minutes. In my case, to loud music, but that’s obviously different for everyone.
The last run ends approximately at 14:30, followed by quite a lot of spare time.
Err…quite a lot of learning of course, having regular looks into the manual of operations, sector charts, acronym lists, procedures etc. pp.
Reality is something inbetween these extremes. It can be said though that with the end of the theoretical part of training, most of what you look up in the afternoon hours is completely up to you, there is no new learning matter from daily lessons as before – as long as you do not screw up in the simulator due to a lack of knowledge that is.
Most people will still spend some time over the books occasionally, partly to just stay current (you DO forget those frequencies of sectors you rarely send traffic to, and the one time you need it WILL be at the moment where you have no chance at all to look it up), partly because you really never can know enough.
Be it another 100 airline acronyms (like DLH, which stands for “Lufthansa”, or UAL for “United”), the locations and characteristics of various smaller airfields in your region, routings and important waypoints beyond your sector (it comes in handy to know “SPY” -or Spijkerborg – when a direct there can help you (or you just want to provide some service))…the list is endless.
So, if you fancy doing some learning, there is plenty of opportunity to do so – and it should be used at least every few days.
If you don’t fancy learning, there is usually enough room for some spare-time activity as well, like sports (mostly cycling and jogging for me), computers (one day it will make coffee for me!), games with course-mates (Werewolf, anyone?), watching movies (with about 300 people at the Academy, someone just has to have a good movie at hand) or whatever else floats your boat. It may get boring at times, but that’s usually one’s own fault. :)
So that’s a normal day for me. If you wonder about those aforementioned late shifts – start sim at 15:30, end at 10-11pm, arrange the rest of the day around that.