Air traffic controllers have one of the most intense jobs on the planet: making sure that planes full of people make it in and out of airports safely and efficiently. Plenty of films have depicted air traffic controllers "talking down" pilots in peril and just barely managing to save planeloads of sobbing passengers. But there are some facts about air traffic control that Hollywood gets wrong (yes, even Pushing Tin).One of the biggest misconceptions about ATCs (besides confusing them for the people with the paddles and the flags on the runways) is the level of responsibility they actually have for the safety of passengers. It's true that they are a vital cog in the machine, but ATCs are not actually totally responsible for making sure that planes arrive and depart safely (pilots bear most of that burden). ATCs also aren't the most stressed-out people on the planet, even though they do suffer from fatigue and stress-related illnesses (just not that much more than many other professions). Read on for more interesting things you might not know about the high-stakes world of air traffic control.
Air Traffic Control Can't Track Planes Via GPS
US Air Traffic Controllers Use 40-Year-Old Technology
Air Traffic Control Systems Can Be Hacked With a $450 Portable Transmitter
Future Air Traffic Controllers May Be Hundreds of Miles from the Airport