Behind the Scenes at the Airport

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Inside the Control Tower

Find out what goes on behind the scenes at the airport!

Birmingham-Airport-FrontWelcome to Behind the Scenes at the Airport where we show you all the amazing things that happen from arriving at the airport to flying in the plane.

On this page we’ll be telling you all about the people you can see at the Airport..

Look around the airport and you’ll see lots of people working. At large airports, there might be over 80,000 of them – that’s as many as can sit down at Wembley Stadium!

Click here to find out more about some of the people you might see

However, there’s one group of people you probably won’t see, but they’re very important indeed! That’s the people in the Control Tower, working hard to make sure all those planes land and take off safely.

As you can imagine, it’s hard work flying something as big as a plane, and so Air Traffic Controllers help the pilot out by using cool gadgets to give advice on height, speed and route. They also help with the vital bit of taking off and landing!

The Controller’s job is in three parts – separation, direction and information.

Separation –

Simply put, this is stopping planes from bumping into each other! Air Traffic Controllers tell the aircraft when they are too close to other planes or when they need to change direction to avoid getting in the way.


No, this isn’t if the pilot gets lost! There’s lots of planes and only a few runways so the Air Traffic Controllers tell each aircraft when it is their turn to land or take off. When a plane is waiting to take off, we say they are taxi-ing.


This can be anything from the weather to conditions on the ground. Basically it’s anything that’ll help the planes take off and land safely.

If you ever want to see where these important people work, simply look for the a tall, thin building with glass windows at the top. It often has moving radar dishes on the roof and lots of aerials. You can trust that the Air Traffic Controllers are hard at work inside!

Want to explore more Behind the Scenes at the Airport? Click here!



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Behind the Scenes at the Airport

Check out this Fun Kids series!

More From Behind the Scenes at the Airport