When you are high up in the air, there are no traffic lights or police, it is very important to coordinate the movement of air traffic to make airplanes stay a safe distance apart in order to avoid mishaps. This important task is performed by the vast air traffic control system; this huge network of skilled individuals and advanced equipment ensures safe operation of airplanes in the air, both private and commercial. Not only does the air traffic control system guarantee your safety, it also helps you to get to your destination fast, without any delays. They effectively organize the flow of airplanes within the airport and closely monitor air traffic and make sure that there is safe distance between all aircrafts. In this article we shall discuss the various tasks carried out by air traffic controllers and their important role in keeping the passengers safe. Air traffic controllers direct planes effectively so that they do not come across any obstacles on the way so that all the passengers aboard can reach their destinations on time.
WHO IS AN AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLER? Air traffic controllers, often referred to by the media as air controller or flight controllers are people who operate the air traffic control system to guide the planes safely to their destinations without any risk of mid-air collisions. In their area of responsibility, they apply separation rules to make sure all the aircrafts in the air maintain a safe distance from each other. WHAT DOES AN AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLER DO? In addition to guiding the pilots, these controllers also keep the pilots informed about changes in the weather conditions to give the pilot time to effectively prepare for rough weather. Even during arrival and departure, controllers effectively direct each plane. Once a plane approaches the airport, the pilot informs the terminal of the aircraft’s presence. When the path is clear, the controller directs the pilot to a runway. After the plane lands safely, it’s a ground controller’s job to effectively direct the plane to its assigned gate. In the case of a departure, the ground controller will direct the plane to its assigned runway. The local controller informs the pilot about conditions in the airport. Once the plane takes off, the plane is guided by the departure controller. After departure, the airport tower controller notifies the en route controllers who shall take charge. There are radar controllers as well; they warn pilots about bad weather, potential obstacles and other nearby planes. There are many teams of air traffic controllers that help guide the plane and help reach its destinations without any mishaps. The FAA has also implemented an automated air traffic control system named the National Airspace System Architecture. This is a plan that helps controllers effectively coordinate and manage the rising demands of air traffic. QUALIFICATIONS REQUIRED TO BECOME AN AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLER There are certain basic requirements that should be met in order for an individual to be a part of the air traffic control system. They are: • Potential candidate must complete an FAA approved education program • Must pass a pre-employment test • Has to meet all the basic requirements in accordance with Federal law • Has to receive a school recommendation. • Hopeful candidates must also pass a medical exam • Must undergo a drug screening • Before applicant can be given the post, they must obtain a security clearance. When candidates get selected, they need to attend the FAA Academy where 12 weeks of training is given. They learn all the necessary fundamentals of the airway system, controller equipment, FAA regulations and aircraft performance along with many more specialized tasks. After graduation, the individuals are designated as ‘developmental controllers’ till the time they complete all requirements after which they hold air traffic controller posts. ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS An air traffic controller must be sharp and have a good memory. They must be articulate in order to effectively guide pilots and offer proper directions. Intelligence is a must as these controllers must have the ability to comprehend information and grasp details fast. Air traffic controllers also need to be quick decision makers as they need to be on high alert at all times to avoid any kind of mistakes. In conclusion, now that you have a brief idea about air traffic controllers, you must realize that becoming an air traffic controller is no piece of cake. These are highly skilled people with years of training and experience and they know their job better than anyone else, so you can be sure that they will provide you with a safe and relaxing flight.