Anonymous asked in Cars & TransportationAircraft · 10 years ago

Why do air traffic controllers make bank?

I naturally assume that a pilot would be under just as much duress and liability, if not more, as an air traffic controller. What am I missing?

6 Answers

  • 10 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Why do we make bank? Well, that is one hell of a loaded question. This is the kind of question that is more likely to ignite a flame war on here then it is to provide information you are looking for. However, what you naturally assume to be true is probably inaccurate. In fact, after being an air traffic controller for 8 years, I have yet to meet someone else that really knows what my job is like outside of work. People either "naturally assume" that I work in a tower ( which i don't). That i'm near suicidal ( which i'm not), or they think I'm the guy that waves a flashlight around on the parking ramps.

    I generally try to avoid sparking up angst against the pilot community, but often pilots' are chief contributors of bullsh*t in regards to assumptions, rumors and opinions about controllers. In fairness, controllers are also just as bad at making judgements about pilots. Just because our two jobs work in tandem, doesn't mean we are qualified in broadcasting our assumptions and opinions about the other guy.

    My position is that you should not assume you got it all figured out. Do you realize that in the United States there are only around 15,000 controllers? What job do you do? How many people in the United States are qualified to do your job? I would say that only 15,000 people means we have a pretty specific skill set.

    It's difficult to properly answer this question. If you don't know what a controller is actually responsible for and what their job entails, how do you argue with someone what your value is? I earn over 100k a year, but so do the middle school teachers that work in Washington DC. Does that mean we have the same level of service and responsibility? No. But how can someone argue how much either profession is worth unless you are aware of why you need them?

    I won't argue with Warbird that my decisions and my focus can be the difference between life and death for the people I serve. That doesn't mean it has no impact on a controller though when things go wrong. People WILL die in a controllers career through no fault of ours. It's very rare for a fatality to occur because of a poor decision by a controller. When that does happen, I can understand Warbird's attitude. At least the controller still has his life right? Most fatalities though are not caused by controllers. Most fatal accidents are general aviation pilots that either disregard warnings by controllers or pilots that make poor decisions. When this happens, I now live with the sounds of their scream of terror before impact for the rest of my life. I get to live with doubts and what-ifs and whys because of the stupid decisions a pilot made and I could do nothing about.

    Air traffic control is a brutal game. There have been a lot of nights where I have come home being pretty sure my actions kept a pilot alive. Nights when I saved a lost pilot, re-routed traffic for medical emergencies, even helped a student pilot run through his emergency check lists. Those nights I can only be "pretty sure" i saved that persons life. The night you come home when someone died...there is no pretty sure about it.

    To summarize, what is the big deal after all? People are only herding into aluminum cans with jets bolted to them. Defying gravity and dancing with mother nature all while running at each other at speeds faster then the speed of sound. Why would the person responsible for keeping this safe get paid much?

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  • 10 years ago

    1) air traffic control directs the path in which the pilots navigate on

    2) air traffic control prevents collisions in mid air

    3) air traffic control allows pilots to take off,land, and station

    4) air traffic control tells pilots what to do during flight

    5) records messages from the pilot

    6)also like in movies helps in emergency situations

    basically the pilot just flys the plane

    but i think pilots make more money then air traffic control

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  • 10 years ago

    A pilot just decides where his/her plane goes. They just have to land which just changes slightly each time. Plus they have automated systems for the three hour cruising on most flights. They only have to communicate with one tower. Air traffic controllers are one tower communicating with hundreds of planes. They have to decide who takes of, when and who lands and when. It must be a hell of a job, they have to make sure that no one crashes or even touches mid air. If one plane got near another it could be affected by the slipstream and crash easily. They don't just take care of the two hundred or so people in one plane, they take care of thousands of planes with up to 500 people in them. If you screw up you get a huge disaster with hundreds of people dying, choking and burning in a plane crash. Sounds grim but to avoid that they deserve millions.

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  • 10 years ago

    Pilots get paid a lot more than air traffic controllers. Now don't get me wrong they do make a lot of money becuase they have to tell the pilots where to go when they can't see. So they momentarily control the plain and induing that they make a lot of money. But other than buisnees owners, athlets, governmet jobs, pilots are the highest paid job you can get.

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  • 10 years ago

    ATC screws up pilot dies, pilot screws up pilot dies, mechanic screws up pilot dies.

    Yeah, must be terrible to talk to all those people all day long and no matter WHAT happens go home at the end of your shift.

  • Stacey
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    join the air force, they have a bonus for atc meaning a lot of money in you pocket. google it youll see that this isnt a joke.

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