Why should you care about air traffic controller secrets? Well, because they are as important as pilots and other airline staff to facilitate safe air travel. Although from behind-the-scenes, air traffic controllers play a pivotal role in ensuring air travel safety. The unsung heroes of air travel, they can cause flights to be canceled simply by not being there. Be mindful that this is not an easy job and air traffic controller stress is a very real thing. A slight mistake on the part of an air traffic controller can lead to a serious mishap. Thereby, as interesting as the profession is, it’s also a challenging one. Would you like to some of the best-kept air traffic controller secrets around?
Fascinating Secrets of Air Traffic Controller Job:
There are several intriguing air traffic controller secrets that most people remain unaware of. Whether you’re going on a planned holiday or making a work trip on last minute flights, air traffic controllers play a massive role in your air travel. Read about some of the most fascinating things about the job of an air traffic controller you never know before.
1. It’s not easy to get an air traffic controller job
The job of an air traffic controller is not easy and, thereby, you can expect the application and entire recruitment process to be a tough one that can take up to months or even years. About once a year, a very small window for the application of air traffic controller jobs remains open for barely a week.
2. They aren’t the folks waving their arms about on the ground
The ones waving about wildly and directing aircraft on the runway are actually called Aircraft Marshallers. Air traffic controllers have different duties such as guiding airplanes away from bad weather and ensuring that aircraft on the runway are at a safe distance from one another.
3. Age plays a major role in air traffic controller jobs
If you’re looking for this kind of job, this is among the top air traffic controller secrets you should know. To get this job in the US, you must be 30 years old or younger when the job application window is open. You will need to clear medical exams and a criminal background check. 56 is the mandatory retirement age.
4. A lot of them don’t work at the airport
The air traffic controller lifestyle is much different than that of a pilot. They need not be in the cockpit to ensure safe air travel. While most of them do work at the air traffic control towers, some of them work from very dark and windowless rooms watching airspace via radar. This can sometimes be hundreds of miles away from the air traffic they’re controlling.
5. They use a special language
This is among the most fascinating of all air traffic controller secrets. Have you ever heard of radiotelephony? It’s a unique language that air traffic controllers and pilots use to converse. Although based on English, the quirky language contains a whole lot of jargon that will fly right over the heads of normal folks like us.
6. Airport Tower workers have to heavily rely on their eyes
Air traffic controllers who work at the airport tower have to rely heavily on the use of their eyes. They spend as much time staring out the tower windows as they do staring at their radar screens. In fact, some of them claim they find it easier to work when they see air traffic directly rather than on the screen.
7. Accented pilots can cause them frustration
Among the most fascinating of air traffic controller secrets is the fact that pilots with an accent can frustrate them. When dealing with accented pilots who speak limited English, the air traffic controllers will speak very slowly and avoid changing routes as far as possible.
8. How bad is the air traffic controller stress?
Air traffic controller stress ranked quite high when stressful jobs were studied. However, the skilled people who do this job don’t really mind the stress and have found effective ways to deal with it. With so many lives at stake, they cannot risk performing under tremendous, uncontrollable pressure.
9. Many of them have reported UFO sightings
Have you ever looked out the window when traveling on business class flights and wondered what it’d be like to spot a UFO? Well, most air traffic controllers have seen it. At least, they claim so. UFO sightings are among the best air traffic controller secrets ever. However, they assure us that these UFOs may not actually be alien aircraft.
10. Swearing is a big no
Although it’s not something you’d expect to be among air traffic controller secrets, swearing is a massive no-no in this job. With stress levels already high at the job, air traffic controllers don’t want to make things worse by getting agitated. Being calm under stress is part of their job and they do it well.
11. Pay is very generous, to say the least
While we cannot zero in on the amount, our air traffic controller friends assure us their pay is quite amazing. Federal employees will have better benefits than those in the private sector. We’re talking bonuses besides salary, flexible spending, insurance, leaves, and solid retirement plans among other things. Not one of the air traffic controller secrets you know about, was it?
12. They are not responsible for your flight delays
This is among the top air traffic controller secrets all travelers should know. Regardless of where you’re traveling to on cheap flight tickets, remember that flight delays are not the fault of air traffic controllers. Even if your pilot says the delay is owing to an air traffic control issue, there could be many possible reasons for the delay. In many cases, bad weather is the culprit and air traffic controllers have no control over this.