Whenever you travel by plane, how many times have you thought that your safety lies in the hands of the pilot and controller team alone and nobody else’s?
Although it’s common knowledge that plane passengers depend on the pilot to keep the flight safe, in reality, however, we have air traffic controllers (ATCs) to thank for preventing any apocalyptic-like catastrophes from occurring.
How Air Traffic Controllers Work
In the United States, there are about 500,000 planes in the sky every hour during peak season. This means that every day, about 50,000 airplanes operate in the sky. How then, do these planes manage to avoid colliding against one another?
An air traffic controller’s main job is to ensure the safe operations of both commercial and private planes. They organize the movement of aircraft, all thousands of them, making sure that they are at safe distances from one another. They provide directions for takeoff and landing, direct them around inclement weather, and make sure that traffic into and out of an airport flows without any delays.
Companies like My Flight Solutions can help them keep track of their work with flight scheduling systems, but primarily, you need quick wits and a keen attention to detail to succeed at this job.
A Huge Responsibility
Mistakes are inevitable, and according to ATCs, many of these errors stem from language barriers and misunderstandings. Air traffic controllers, however, need to be extra careful as mistakes come at a high price.
According to the American National Safety Council, errors cause about 7% of plane crashes, some of them caused inadvertently by air traffic controllers. Mistakes by ATCs caused planes to land on unoccupied runways, crash on mountains, or even collide midair.
While ATCs find it rewarding to be able to help bring passengers to their destination safely, they also find that perk the most terrifying aspect of their job.