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When I was appearing for the Civil ATC exam conducted by Airport Authority of India (AAI) to be an ATC, I was not excited. I was 25 years old and a qualified graduate Engineer in Electronics and Communication.I was looking for a good and secure job.
But after I was selected in Airports Authority of India as Air Traffic Controller, after crossing through the barriers of voice test, written examination and viva voce interview, I was very happy for my future and also very nervous. “Will I able to do it????” was the only burning question that arose in my mindscape. When I got to know the profile of an ATCO. I was sure that it is a responsible and exciting job.
What do you do as Air Traffic Controller?
But after I got trained from Civil Aviation Training College in Allahabad, and was ready to step into the shoes of an ATCO,I realized with much pride that I was stepping into a very responsible and exciting career. Air Traffic Control requires a very tough and steely nerve because whatever and however you may feel in your personal life, when you are there in ATC units and doing ATC, you need to be focussed because your words and actions can MAKE or BREAK not one but so many lives on board aircraft. YOU ARE TRULY A DISCIPLINED SOLDIER OF SAFETY.
Where was your first posting after training?
After completion of training ,I got my first posting in Ahmedabad in Nov 2010 and am still at this beautiful International Airport. Air traffic controllers are the team of people who expedite and maintain a safe and orderly flow of air traffic in the air traffic control system. This profession is regarded as the most challenging, toughest and the most stressful job in the world after the job of a neurosurgeon.
What are the key skills to be an ATC?
In the Air Traffic Controller’s job, communication also plays a very important role. It basically connects the controllers to the pilot. We are trained in phraseology which precisely focus on the exact words required to be spoken to be understood and to communicate effectively with the pilots. Because a single misunderstanding about a level, altitude, position of the aircraft, runway number can lead to a tragic consequence.
Team work also plays a very important role in the controller’s job. It not only connects the other brother or sister controllers who are on duty with you but also so many more other controllers who are in contact through land lines for communicating the flight movements. Then as a controller you are constantly coordinating with other services and units like ground safety,fire safety etc.
What are the benefits and challenges of being an ATC?
This job has changed my life immensely in terms of professionalism and personal organization. Today I am very well organized, quick with calculation and have developed a firm and good decision making skill. I have also learnt to possess “Short term memory skills”. As the taxying pilot says “Marshaller in sight” we forget about the “ handed over aircraft”.(but when some important or unusual event happens , I immediately pen down so not to forget). This is a real 7*24*365 job, and my life now swings between the morning afternoon and night shifts. These rotating shifts make it difficult to have a social life outside the air traffic community. Anyway, when I have finished a duty round, I feel so satisfied that I am able to provide SAFE,EXPEDITIOUS AND ORDRLY services to so many aircraft. I love the job and ATC has entered now into my blood.I feel proud to be an Air Traffic Controller.
The sky has opened for me a new horizon to soar high and reach the top. So, GOD BLESS ME! !!!