How is traffic handled in space? Meet the air traffic controllers!

They're at every airport in the UK.

When we’re in a car, there are rules and signs to keep us safe. Now, whilst there aren’t traffic lights up in the sky, there are rules that pilots must follow and it’s the Air Traffic Controllers job to help.

They track all the aircraft in the sky and manage take offs and landings so everyone gets their turn.

Air traffic controllers use the very latest technology like radar and satellites to track the positions of all the planes flying in the UK airspace. Controllers also talk to pilots on the radio.

It’s a far cry from the earliest days of flight when pilots were pretty much on their own up there, with just flags and lights on the airfields to help them stay out of each other’s way.

As more planes were built and the skies became busier, better systems were needed.

That’s where the National Air Traffic Service comes in, training air controllers and overseeing the 2.4 million flights each year over the UK from its bases at Fareham and Prestwick in Scotland – although you’ll find air traffic controllers at every airport across the UK.

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Amy's Aviation: Kids Guide to Airplanes & Airports

The podcast that discovers how airplanes fly and what goes on behind-the-scenes at airports

 

Amy Aviation’s British Aeronautics, with support from the Royal Aeronautical Society!

 

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