An Air Traffic Controllers Job

The profession of ATCO is very interesting. It carries a high, level of responsibility and so it requires a high level of professionalism.

An ATCO is responsible for safety of flights and this is the main objective of ATC service. A controller is a master of the sky, a conductor of airways and routes. He controls all air traffic. A plane cannot take-off or make any manoeuvre without prior permission of ATC. A controller knows about his plane everything - its position now and in 5 minutes, the number of passengers on board, its endurance, the meteorological conditions of flight. A controller hears the plane and observes it on the radar screen. He is ready to help the crew at any time - from start up moment up to landing.

In order to be a good controller he has have to possess some special qualities such as: to understand and to analyze the situation at once, he must be calm, quick thinking and make a decision in any difficult situation, be ready to give the instructions what to do to a pilot. He must have a very good efficient memory. He has to remember and transmit a lot of information - aircraft call signs, runway heading, meteorological reports and forecasts and so on. A controller has to have good eyesight and hearing because it is necessary to pick out necessary and important information on the background of noises, to be able to work hard in difficult and nonstandard situations.

An air traffic controller needs English for his job. If he does not know English he has nothing to do at his work and without knowing English he cannot find a job. English is an ICAO language, and he must have a good command of it. All the ICAO documents are in English.

It is necessary to know not only English phraseology, but general English as well. An ATCO should speak English fluently to feel confident while controlling international flights.

So, we can say that the main characteristics of being an ATCO are:

a) extremely good memory;

b) ability to make quick decisions (to be a Quick thinker);

c) begin able to multi-task and prioritize things;

d) ability to handle stress.

On the one hand, controllers enjoy pleasant working conditions, an attractive salary and excellent social benefits.

On the other hand, their work is very stressful. A controller must try not to let the pressure affect him and stay calm and focused in any stressful situation. Stress is a physiological syndrome. It is inappropriate to solve the problems with which a controller is faced in work. Stress is a cause of a heart attack, one of the most common diseases among controllers.


  1. Air Traffic Service
  2. How Air Traffic Controllers Operate
  3. Unified Air Traffic Management

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