October 2007 Issue

Someone To Watch Over You

Observations from air traffic controllers on what GA pilots do right, and wrong, in the ATC system.

From their perches in the towers, approach controls and center work stations, air traffic controllers track us and guide us and provide valuable help when requested—and sometimes even when it’s not. Far from a separate society, controllers are an active part of the aviation safety team. From their unique vantage points, controllers have a pretty good idea of what works and what doesn’t in aircraft movement. They know what pilots do right and what they might do better to fit into the system and get safely from departure to destination. I polled air traffic controllers to discover what we can be doing better to improve safety, fit into the flow of traffic, get the best possible information while en route, and perhaps expedite our handling and requests. Hear, then, the advice of aviation’s Watchers.

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