The Life of the Air Traffic Controller / Viața controlorului de trafic aerian

Uploaded by ericu65 on 08.07.2011

Approach, the Olympic is lining up runway 08 left
Takeoff left to DENAK
In our area of responsibility planes come from all directions
and leave at the same time toward those points.
Something quite complex.
I don't know if in a controller's lifetime you get to control twice
a President of the United States of America
and truthfully I don't think it will happen again.
It was Air Force One.
I felt a bit nervous but he was treated like any other aircraft.
Of course it was given priority because it gets priority over other aircraft.
A flight is controlled from the time it starts taxiing toward the runway
until, after taking off from the runway and flying along its route,
it reaches the landing phase and until the plane reaches its destination gate
it is always monitored by an air traffic controller
A challenging situation can be when you have a lot of aircraft inbound
with only one runway available. That is a difficult situation
because you have to manage a situation in which many aircraft want to land
and you can only offer them a very limited space.
If you start thinking that in those airplanes are people you lose focus.
Then you start thinking of each plane as a person.
You don't think that in each of them there are "100 souls"
Then you concentrate on planes like on people
and, like a traffic agent, you choose who is the closest, who's the fastest,
who has the best chance to clear your space quickly.
In other words, you take them in order of priority.
True, weather can be pilots' and controllers' biggest enemy.
Conducting flights safely depends upon outside visibility and weather conditions.
Weather conditions can negatively impact flights.
When you have clouds that are dangerous to aviation
is when chaos occurs. Controlled chaos, but chaos nonetheless.
Chaos because you never know the next turn of the aircraft,
the next heading that you need to approve, the next direction he needs to fly.
That's when there's chaos because everything is done on the fly. Everything.
The unexpected.
Every pilot has a license which allows him to
land and takeoff within specific visibility minimums.
During winter the runways can be covered with ice
and aircraft have more difficulty braking then in good weather.
Aircraft movement on the ground can too pose a great danger
because we have no way of knowing their exact position while they taxi.
And these are situations which tax you. And you go home
and you think about it, maybe you don't even sleep.
And we discovered that the consequences of this are shown past the age of 40.
But after all you become addicted to the adrenaline rush in a way, I think.
In our profession we are used to saying: everything is approved.
So we talk, we give instructions, and no one ever says no.
That can't happen. And we expect to get approved.
When my boss tells me that I have to change my vacation, that's a stressful situation.
To me everyone replies "yes". "Roger." "No" doesn't exist.
I expect the same thing from my kids, moms, wives at home. "What do you mean no?"
"Roger". That's the answer. Husbands too. Yes.
I'm transferring the Austrian for you to pass.
It's an irony. We are not friends off work but we are colleagues.
And being colleagues in this profession is more important than being friends.
The important thing is that the guy on EXE position who talks to the pilots,
has all the conditions that he ends his shift fine so that we can each return to our families.
Is anything taking off at Otopeni?
Is there anything lining up?
Yes. 415 is lining up on left now.
Alright. See?
Where is it going? To POLUN as well.
Because we are at work most of the time, even our lives are spent a lot together.
We share stories, we even feel together with the other person's problems more or less,
we get involved emotionally because his problem might affect his focus at his job.
To 41 we give BUDOP and climb to 26?
28 also. Roger.
In difficult situations you find out what is expected of you. In emergencies
and other difficult situations in which aircraft can be placed.
Eventually in our profession of air traffic controllers the unexpected occurs.
This stresses the importance of our job and concentration.
Just 20 minutes ago we had a traffic situation.
An enroute flight was overflying the sea.
A small aircraft announced that he had technical problems
about ten minutes after departure.
He refused to land at Constanta and requested Bucharest.
A runway was occupied with snowploughing equipment.
With a medical emergency on board.
We commenced a standard procedure.
And in that case it is brought in as the first plane.
Interestingly he came opposite of the other traffic.
The traffic was using 08 direction and he came on 26 because it was the closest.
firefighters, commander of the airport, even ambulance.
The other aircraft were put in holding patterns.
And he came and landed safely.
Truly emergency situations tax you rather more emotionally.
It exhausts you mentally. This profession wastes you more than any other occupation.
Once you get out the door you don't finish with what happened during that day.
You get home and you think if you did good, if the traffic situation
was solved according to standards. This is the harsh reverse of this job.
We have a saying: we come to work so that we can all go home.
After you get off shift and know that you did a good job and a traffic sequence
was completed successfully and everyone reached their destination safely
you have an immense satisfaction.
This is how we air traffic controllers are built.