Air traffic control (ATC) is a service provided by ground-based controllers who direct aircraft on the ground and through controlled airspace. The primary purpose of ATC systems worldwide is to separate aircraft to prevent collisions, to organize and expedite the flow of traffic, and to provide information and other support for pilots when able. In some countries, ATC may also play a security or defense role, or be run entirely by the military.
Preventing collisions is referred to as separation, which is a term used to prevent aircraft from coming too close to each other by use of lateral, vertical and longitudinal separation minima. Many aircraft now have collision avoidance systems installed to act as a backup to ATC observation and instructions. In addition to its primary function, the ATC can provide additional services such as providing information to pilots, weather and navigation information and NOTAMs (Notices To AirMen).
In many countries, ATC services are provided throughout the majority of airspace, and its services are available to all users (private, military, and commercial). When controllers are responsible for separating some or all aircraft, such airspace is called "controlled airspace" in contrast to "uncontrolled airspace" where aircraft may fly without the use of the air traffic control system. Depending on the type of flight and the class of airspace, ATC may issue instructions that pilots are required to follow, or merely flight information (in some countries known as advisories) to assist pilots operating in the airspace. In all cases, however, the pilot in command has final responsibility for the safety of the flight, and may deviate from ATC instructions in an emergency.
Read more about Air Traffic Control: Language, History, Airport Control, En-route, Center, or Area Control, Call Signs, Technology, Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs) and Traffic Service Providers (ATSPs), Proposed Changes, ATC Regulations in The United States
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... The Air Traffic Organization is composed of 35,000 employees ... Many of these employees, including more than 14,000 air traffic controllers,5,000 air traffic supervisors and air traffic managers,1,100 engineers and 6,100 maintenance technicians, directly serve customers ... These employees research, plan and build air traffic control equipment and programs manage payroll and benefits programs provide procurement service for both the ATO and the FAA at large maintain ...
... connected to the headquarters of German Air Traffic Control ... Likewise represented here are the Office for Bundeswehr Air Traffic Control (Amt für Flugsicherung der Bundeswehr) and the Air Traffic Control ... Also housed in the Air Traffic Control Academy’s building is the Wetterdienstschule (“Weather Service School”), which was formerly in Neustadt an der Weinstraße ...
... Air Force became a separate service in 1947, Air Force pathfinders were assigned to a provisional Pathfinder Squadron ... The Air Force looked for ways to get rid of pathfinders, believing that electronic navigation aids could replace them and the pathfinders role became increasingly neglected by the Air Force ... the Air Force and Army leadership were at odds about which service would have ownership of the pathfinder mission ...
... FAA Control Tower Operators (CTO)/Air Traffic Controllers use FAA Order 7110.65 as the authority for all procedures regarding air traffic ... For more information regarding Air Traffic Control rules and regulations, refer to the FAA's website ...
... The next target for the CAAC's Air Traffic Management Bureau is to improve facilities in the east and mid-west of the country ... comprehensive data network, new center-automation systems, ground-air voice/data communications and new en route radars will be required over the next 10 years ... China plans to introduce ground-air communications and automatic dependent surveillance services for international and polar routes in the west ...
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