Could someone describe a day in the life of an air traffic controller?

I have recently applied for the public Air Traffic Controller Trainee program, and although not selected for Oklahoma City yet, I was just curious what a day is like.

Also, how the busier months like December go.

2 Answers

  • Kevin
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    It varies so much depending on if you are working in an en route center, tower / tracon or vfr tower and what your staffing is like. You could very well work 6 day weeks with 10 hour days manditory with 2 hours on position broken up by 20 minute breaks, or you might be able to schedule basically any shift you want and work an hour on and then take an hour break. It really all depends. Also, December is a painfully slow air travel month.

    For me anyway its like this. Today I got in a few minutes after my crew so the positions were assigned and I took the first hour on break. I came in the second hour and worked one and a half on position before being relieved. I took another hour break, worked an hour then had roughly an hour and a half break due to training and slow ops due to de icing then worked an hour and a half. This is also the last of my 3 evening shifts I start the week with this month, so tomorrow I rotate over to dawn shifts. Having 8 hours between shifts isn't fun, but at least it'll be a weekend (which means slow traffic).

    Just keep in mind you'll work plenty of holidays, weekends and late nights (and in most places mid shifts). The last Saturday I had off was 2 months ago and the last holiday I had off was Columbus Day. I'm sure you already knew that was the type of schedule required though. The breaks, yes at most places a controller would spend more time on break (officially) than the average office worker. The thing though is at a 9-5 you can get up and use the restroom, get a cup of coffee or BS with your friend a few cubes down. In this job you pay 100% attention at all times and you will feel a mental drain that most people will never experience. Having said that, it is the most exciting thing you can get paid to do.

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  • 1 decade ago

    US Air your cleared for take off..... OH SH**.....

    That was yesterday at LaGuiardia.

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