>10 on Planning

In 1994 I was a budding air traffic control student – or DRIFT* – at the Transport Canada Training Institute in Cornwall, Ontario. In 6 weeks, you were brought from a person who could name only three manufacturers of aircraft, in my case Boeing, Airbus and Cessna, to a person who could “control” a bunch of simulated aircraft at the surprisingly busy fictitious “March” Airport which was always cloudy and needing IFR control. To separate the wheat from the chaff, a series of 4 evaluations or “E-vals” were used. To pass an eval, you had to make sure you didn’t have too many “sep losses” or losses of a minimum measure of separation (altitude, distance, time). But you could also lose a lot of points by simply not planning for an expeditious and orderly flow of traffic. If this wasn’t included, a student could conceivably restrict all airplanes from entering the airspace and refuse departure clearance from flights wanting to depart the airport; safe, yes but you can already hear the phone ringing with irate dispatchers. You got -10 points for a sep loss and up to -10 points for each instance of lack of planning. At the time, whenever we goofed outside of class due to a failure to predict some consequence, we would say “10 on planning”.

And so it is that I have given myself a 10 on planning. I am waiting for 10′ steel T-posts which I will use to construct a deer fence and tomato trellis. I had planned to use 10′ lengths of electrical metal tubing in an electric fence setup but the plastic insulators I bought were too small to fit on the tubes. Bigger insulators were a lot more expensive and would have to be ordered in from the US. As well, everybody I talked to figured T-post and plastic mesh would be better than electric. The local guys, Slegg Lumber, are great because their prices are the same as their Vancouver Island locations and their T-posts were a lot cheaper than anyone else on Salt Spring or Saanich. But they only had 7 in stock. The rest were supposed to come Wednesday but they didn’t and now I’m looking at Monday at the earliest. There wouldn’t be any huge rush to put in the fence except that we’ve got a bunch of tomato and squash plants in 3″ pots that are beginning to set fruit. It’s time to let them spread their roots. Had I prototyped the electric fence option a little earlier, I would have come to Plan B earlier and I wouldn’t be fretting about this.

Lesson learned?


* Dirty Rotten Insignificant F*&king Trainee, used by licensed controllers in referring to future colleagues … or to future disgruntled wash-outs


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