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26TH IFATCA AFM Regional Meeting, 28 - 30 October 2015

Working as a Controller

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What does it take to work as an air traffic controller? Air Traffic controllers have to memorize the positions of aircraft on runways, taxiways and in the air. What's more?

Controllers should be able to visualize aircraft moving in a three dimensional airspace. This skill is often referred to as thinking in 4D - visualizing aircraft in 3 Dimensions with the fourth dimension being time.

Air traffic control requires intense concentration and a good ability to gather information heard or read to make decisions quickly. A controller must have a good knowledge of the geography of their own airspace as well as others.

Skills and Ability

Among the numerous skills required in air traffic control are active listening, good judgement and decision making skills, complex problem solving, monitoring, speaking, critical thinking, active learning and coordination.

Air Traffic controllers must have the ability listen to and understand information, present ideas through spoken words and also know how to communicate information and ideas effectively and concisely. Application of general rules to specific problems is something controllers do almost every minute.

Controllers must possess the ability to quickly combine pieces of data obtained from several sources, make sense of and organize the data into meaningful information. Air traffic controllers are responsible and can endure long hours of working even at unfavorable periods such as working night shifts without losing concentration.