Air Traffic Control

One Man's Experiences

Separating Airplanes in Four Decades

This Site Is About Air Traffic Control

Perhaps the first question many people ask is, “what's ATC like?” (right after they say, “that must be stressful.”) Click on the “What's ATC Like?” tab in the menu at the left to read my version of an explanation.

I have some good news and some bad news—the bad news is that location identifiers (such as familiar airport codes) are the lingua franca of ATC. To make stories concise and readable, I’ve used them throughout. I almost can’t help myself. The good news is that unless I’ve missed a few here and there, all of them can be decoded by rolling your mouse over the identifier.

At your leisure, you can choose other links to follow to read short tales of people and events I experienced, a longer series detailing my ATC life in controlling traffic in four decades, and why I named this site what I did.


Material at this site is based principally on my experience from April 1968 (when I was hired) until December 1997 (when I retired). I often refer to antecedant facts and events from before I hired and anecdotal knowledge from after I retired. Those references are not fictional, but can only be considered secondary or tertiary sources.

I worked at three facilities. I had a thorough working knowledge of those facilities. Things which did or did not happen at other facilities aren’t generally part of my working knowledge. This is not a resource site except as it reflects my memory (while usually pretty good, sometimes can be skewed) of what I saw first hand. I found out as recently as late March, 2009, that my perspective of an issue I experienced in 1968 and which I perceived as national in scope, was in fact, local.

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Last updated: 13 November 2016