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Air Traffic Controller Career
How to become Air Traffic Controller ?


 How to become Air Traffic Controller ?


If you would like a challenging job that demands excellent concentration, working as an air traffic controller could suit you.


As a guardian of the sky, an air traffic controller has many duties and responsibilities. If you want to know how to become an ATC (Air Traffic Controller), we will simply guide you in your goal to become one.


You would use highly sophisticated radar and radio communication equipment to communicate advice, information and instructions to pilots.


As an air traffic controller you would manage aircraft through all aspects of their flight. You would take responsibility for the aircraft's safety and ensure that it lands and takes off on time. Basically you can think of Air Traffic Controllers as "traffic cops".


Air Traffic Controllers are a group of professions that manages all phases of the flights they carry out from one point to another where they want to reach, and in other words, a safe, regular, fast flow of traffic in air and airports.


Sometimes, you might be working alone, but most of the times, you will be working with 2 or more ATCs. All of you must be working together to achieve the common goal of ensuring that any aircraft flies in the smoothest and safest possible manner.


For example; when he wants an airplane to fly from Istanbul to Paris he cannot get up and fly as he wants. It is necessary to fly through designated air corridors and comply with the instructions issued by air traffic controllers. That's why the pilot has to get permission and instructions from the air traffic controllers up to the parking lot from the engine start-up to the take-off, from the flight in the air corridor to the flight level to climb, from the speed to keep it, from the landing at the airport to go. An air traffic controller can also be responsible for 8-10 to sometimes 30-35 flights at the same time.


Air traffic controllers are well known for working in control towers at airports, but the majority actually work in area control centres.  They are responsible for the en-route stage of the aircraft, using radar to track its exact position, keeping it safe in the airspace and providing the most efficient route.


Approach controllers deal with instrument landing systems, which allow some planes to make automatic landings, and ensure that planes are placed in holding patterns when airports are busy. They take over from the area controllers as the aircraft is approaching the airport. They give initial clearance for the aircraft to approach the airport and put all approaching aircraft into a sequence to create the most efficient order for landing.


Air traffic controllers typically do the following;


  • Issue landing and takeoff instructions to pilots.
  • Monitor and direct the movement of aircraft on the ground and in the air, using radar, computers, visual references and advanced electronic systems.
  • Control all ground traffic at airports, including baggage vehicles and airport workers.
  • Manage communications by transferring control of departing flights to other traffic control centres and accepting control of arriving flights
  • Provide information to pilots, such as weather updates, runway closures, and other critical information
  • Alert airport response staff, in the event of an aircraft emergency


Air traffic controllers’ primary concern is safety, but they also must direct aircraft efficiently to minimize delays. They manage the flow of aircraft into and out of the airport airspace, guide pilots during takeoff and landing, and monitor aircraft as they travel through the skies.


Controllers usually manage multiple aircraft at the same time and must make quick decisions to ensure the safety of the aircraft. For example, a controller might direct one aircraft on its landing approach while providing another aircraft with weather information.


The following are examples of types of air traffic controllers:


Tower controllers direct the movement of vehicles on runways and taxiways. They check flight plans, give pilots clearance for takeoff or landing, and direct the movement of aircraft and other traffic on the runways and in other parts of the airport. Most work from control towers, watching the traffic they control.


Approach and departure controllers ensure that aircraft traveling within an airport’s airspace maintain minimum separation for safety. They give clearances to enter controlled airspace and hand off control of aircraft to en route controllers. They use radar equipment to monitor flight paths and work in buildings known as Terminal Radar Approach Control Centres (TRACONs). They also provide information to pilots, such as weather conditions and other critical notices.


En route controllers monitor aircraft once they leave an airport’s airspace. They work at air route traffic control centres located throughout the country, which typically are not located at airports.


Each centre is assigned an airspace based on the geography and altitude of the area in which it is located. As an airplane approaches and flies through a center’s airspace, en route controllers guide the airplane along its route. They may adjust the flight path of aircraft to avoid collisions and for safety in general.


As an airplane goes along its route, en route controllers hand the plane off to the next centre, approach control, or tower along the path, as needed. En route controllers pay special attention to aircraft as they descend and get closer to the busier airspace around an airport. They turn the aircraft over to the airport’s approach controllers when the aircraft is about 20 to 50 miles from the airport.


Some air traffic controllers work at the Air Traffic Control Systems Command Centre. These controllers monitor traffic patterns within the entire national airspace. When they find a bottleneck, they provide instructions to other controllers, helping to prevent traffic jams. Their objective is to keep traffic levels manageable for the airport and for en route controllers.


Air traffic controllers work in control towers, approach control facilities, or en route centres. Many tower and approach/departure controllers work near large airports. En route controllers work in secure office buildings located across the country, which typically are not located at airports.


The worldwide air traffic controller salary ranges from approximately $ 38,000 to $ 149,000 per year. The average annual salary is about $ 83,000.Highest salaries are provided in Spain, Germany, USA, Australia, Sweden, U.K.


Around the world, leading employers of ATCs are mostly government organizations which are responsible for operation and management of airports in those countries. There are also private airports employers of ATCs.


You must have an air traffic controller license to work as an air traffic controller. This licence will be issued by civil aviation authority of your country once you have completed requirements and passed exams. Being an ATC requires a higher responsibility and professionalism levels that can only be achieved with the right air traffic controller training and skills.


General Air traffic controller requirements (This requirements may vary from one country to other) are:


-       Excellent command of the English language

-       A school-leaving certified

-       Not over 24 years old

-       Ability to make informed, accurate decisions

-       Capability to concentrate and to retain information

-       Can work independently under pressure and stress resistant

-       Willingness to undergo a security check

-       Pass the aviation medical examination. You must have 100% visual acuity, perfect color vision and perfect hearing.


You need pass some tests to be able to demonstrate that you are capable to become an Air Traffic Controller. These tests may vary from country to country and also requirement for getting licence and working an Air Traffic Controller may change from one country to other so you need to visit web site of your country’s civil aviation authority web site for getting more information.


You may check following links or visit website of civil aviation authority of your country for having more idea about how to become an Air Traffic Controller;