Air Control System

The Control systems

Air Control System


The Elements of ATC

Air Traffic Control Tower

Terminal Radar Control Station

Air Route Traffic Control Center

Operation of an Air Traffic Control System

The air control system is a system design to control the airport’s traffic since airports have become busy with planes landing every minute in the world’s busiest airports. The need to control the traffic to avoid delays and accidents becomes crucial. During pre-flight, weather information is retrieved and immediately, the crew designs the flight plan. The air traffic control at the air traffic tower provides the planes with a route after ensuring that the route is safe and free from other traffic. The tower controller informs the pilot about the taxiways that he or she will use for takeoff preparation (William). During takeoff, the local tower controller at the airport of departure gives the pilot clearance allowing him or her to take off.

During the departure, when the plane is about five miles away from the control tower, it is transferred to a TRACON. William says that the TRACON is the Terminal Radar Approach Station located in different parts of the world that aid air traffic. In the United States, there are over 185 such stations that control air traffic in the busy skies of the US. During this stage, the plane is routed off the airport through an assigned altitude and route.

While in the air, the plan’s oversight is handed over to another center, the Air Route Traffic Control Center. It is a radar that oversees flights passing over its zone. For instance, the ARTC Center in Chicago oversees air traffic in seven states in the US. The controllers at the centers monitor the flights and provide instructions to the pilots when the aircraft pass over the station’s airspace from one point to the other (William). When the plan reaches the decent stage, normally approximately 50 miles from the airport of destination, the plane is handed over to the TRACON at the airport of destination. When the plane approaches the station, the TRACON control personnel applies various streams in descending the plane into a single evenly spaced, smooth-flowing way, free from use by other planes.  During landing, the flight is again handed over to the local control tower of the destination airport. The tower controller provides clearance for landing. After landing, the plane is handed over to the controller on the ground who, in turn, provides directions to the pilot on the taxiways until it reaches the destination gate.

All these components of the Air Traffic Control system should coordinate to allow smooth takeoff, overseeing the entire flight in the air and offer safe landing. Computer data links interconnect the stations. The data links allow the controllers at the local control towers in the airport of departure and the airport of destination, and the TRACON stations to communicate issues concerning the aircraft. If any of these components fail, the plane traffic and control is lost, and disaster might strike.


Jessica Wang



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