What Does an Air Traffic Controller Do?
Air traffic controllers issue instructions and provide advice and information to aircraft pilots by radio in order to maintain air travel safe, effective and fast. In the broad terms these are instructions to pilots on the need of raising, lowering, turning and accelerating the aircraft. Air traffic controllers monitor the progress of the pilots on the airspace routes using the latest radar and software technology.
Although aircrafts typically fly by predetermined schedule, their flights are not the same every time. Air traffic controllers are required in need of rapid changes in flight plans, caused by unexpected events such as aggravated weather conditions, unscheduled traffic or different kinds of emergency situations. Their task is to, by applying prescribed regulations, allow planes to constantly fly at a safe distance from other aircraft and obstacles.
There are three broad categories of air traffic controllers: area, approach and terminal controllers located in the towers of airports.
Is there a maximum age restriction to become an Air Traffic Controller?
BHANSA does not set an age limit for candidates for air traffic controllers. We welcome applications from all the candidates who think they have necessary competencies and skills for the job and meet the minimum eligibility criteria.
How much will it cost me to do the Air Traffic Control training?
Successful candidates will become BHANSA’s employees after successful completion of air traffic controllers training. Information on currently available competitions and trainings can be found in this link.
Is it really stressful being a controller?
Controllers are chosen for a number of qualities. The most important qualities are:
• the ability to stay calm under pressure,
• the ability to make decisions while processing different types of information
• excellent spatial awareness.
These attributes are tested, developed and strengthened over three years of intensive and tailored training. Part of that training is to remove stress and its impacts from the role. There are times when it is a high-pressure job but this is managed carefully. One method for doing so is time-management. In order to optimize performance and focus, controllers are on duty for 90-minute periods followed by a break of 30 minutes. Their shift patterns are also organized to ensure best practice.
How long does it take to become an air traffic controller?
The training of air traffic controllers is standardized and unified, determined by the rules of international and European regulations. It consists of several stages.
The first phase of the primary or institutional training is conducted in the authorized training centers outside BiH, and takes at least six months.
After that, successful candidates start training in the air traffic control units. During this type of training in the beginning, the candidates work on high technology computer simulators, which create real situations in the air traffic for the purposes of practical training.
When they pass theoretical and practical tests, candidates start training in the workplace, where, under the supervision of experienced instructors, they gain valuable hands-on training and important experience, before they become certified air traffic controllers.
Training in air traffic control unit takes at least one year.
Do controllers work shifts?
Yes. This is a 365-day, 24-hour business. Controllers work in shifts (each called a Watch). So do engineers and support staff crucial to the smooth function of the operation.
Are all controllers based in airport control towers?
Most controllers work at area control center. They take care of the en-route stage of the flight, using radar to keep aircraft safely separated and giving them the most efficient route to their destination. Area controllers are in constant radio contact with pilots, directing flights through their particular airspace sector and tracking the aircraft’s exact position using radar and the latest computer technology.
Approach controllers take over contact with the pilots as their flights approach the destination airport. They guide and sequence aircraft into the most efficient order for landing, and provide information to aircraft so they can link up with the ILS–a ground-based radio-signal guidance system for aircraft to make automatic landings, even in very poor visibility.
As aircraft make their final approach to the runway, contact is then passed to the aerodrome controllers in the airport’s control tower who guide them to a safe landing. At very busy airports, they also man ground control positions to guide the aircraft safely to its stand once it has landed and taxied off the runway. Departing aircraft also receive this same service.