Air traffic control is one of, if not, the most stressful job in the world. Air traffic control officers (ATCOs) have to be constantly on the alert, even when pilots make a mistake. We as passengers never hear of their deeds, only of their mis-deeds. In a tribute to ATCOs around the world, I present a collection of videos and audios.
We begin with a happy ATCO at JFK airport in New York.
Humour is always a good stress buster, and mothers-in-law appear to be a globally common source of pain, as this conversation between a JFK ATCO and a Virgin Atlantic flight demonstrates.
About a year ago, there was extreme commotion in the Indian skies with ATCOs bitterly complaining about the expatriate pilots, and their lack of English language skills, the universally accepted language of the skies. This audio exchange between Air China 981 and JFK ATC demonstrates the language problem.
Sometimes it is the accent or idioms of the ATCO that pilots do not understand. Given the busy conditions at most airports, it leads to confusion, then irritation, and anger, as we hear in this conversation between Etihad 503 (UAE), Asiana 222 (Korea) and a JFK ATCO.
And then there are times, where pilots really screw up and need to be rescued, as this re-creation of a scary incident at Providence, Rhode Island.
And as a closing, I am sure you too will feel sorry for this JFK ATCO, who is having a really bad day in the office.
So please take some time, and send a thank you letter to the ATCOs at your local airport.