How Air Traffic Control Systems Work

We’ve seen air traffic controller towers every time we pass an airport. These large towers are usually isolated from the main ground, but how much do you really know about the control systems? How do air traffic control systems work, and what are they designed for? Here at Sheffield School of Aeronautics, we take a closer look and provide an in-depth explanation of those towers in the sky and the people inside of them.

What Does an Air Traffic Control System Do?

The role of an air traffic controller is actually quite complex. They’re the person who works from the control tower, giving clearance for aircrafts to take off and land safely in the airport. The air traffic controller works within a system, coordinating patterns to ensure aircrafts keep a safe distance in the air and on ground. The main goal of an air traffic controller is to ensure the safety of aircrafts, pilots, flight attendants, and of course, the airline passengers.

An air traffic controller will communicate with pilots throughout their entire flight, relaying information back and forth of incoming and outgoing flights. They use a large system of computers, radars, and visual references during this communication. They must provide an in-depth explanation to pilots of weather, as well as be ready and prepared for any necessary flight path changes.

What’s the Importance of An Air Traffic Controller?

The role on an air traffic controller is very important. Pilots cannot fly an airplane without the safety of an air traffic control system. In an event of an emergency, an air traffic controller will notify authority and calmly handle the situation, thinking while under pressure and multitasking throughout the events.

To be an air traffic controller there are certain skills you must possess. You must be great under pressure, have the time and concentration to sit long hours while reading graphs and visuals, and you must also be skilled in math.

What Qualifications Do You Need to Be an Air Traffic Controller?

To become an air traffic controller, you will need the proper certifications to start. You will need three years of schooling in a National Air Traffic Services (NATS). To begin, you must be at least 18 years of age or older. Knowing English is a requirement, as well as the completion and passing of a medical examination. You must also pass a security clearance.

Upon obtaining the proper qualifications, you will then be placed upon your tasks into any of the three different types of air traffic controllers; area controller, approach controller, and aerodrome controller.

There is a lot of skill and requirements to becoming an air traffic controller. Although this is a great job, it is not meant for everyone. However, there are other jobs similar to being an air traffic controller that may suit you better if you are interested in a career in aviation.

An aircraft dispatcher is one of the other great professions to look into. Being an aircraft dispatcher requires patience and training. Here at Sheffield School of Aeronautics, we have excellent professors and offer aircraft dispatcher courses for those interested in an airline career. Contact us if you have any other questions and information regarding our certifications.


Additional Reading

Aircraft Dispatcher Courses

Choosing the Right Career in Aviation


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