Air Traffic Control: Nice and Easy or Nice and Rough?

By Robert Mark on May 20th, 2008

turner As Tina Turner said when she and Ike produced their own version of the Credence Clearwater Revival classic, Proud Mary, “We never do nothing nice and easy. We always do it nice … and rough.”

So here’s your chance to take a look at two videos that will teach you a bit more about the nation’s air traffic controllers and their contentious interactions with their bosses at FAA.

The first version comes from the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) and offers the air traveler a pretty straight forward view of what might well happen as the number of experienced air traffic controllers continues its downward spiral.

The other version came to us through the ATC News site and offers a Big Brother version of life inside of the agency from a controller’s perspective. Having spent 10 years of my life with the agency, I’d say the NATCA folks are being pretty nice at this point in their dance with the FAA.

This post comes with a warning. Those of you employed by the agency are not going to like the second version one bit I fear.


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4 Responses to “Air Traffic Control: Nice and Easy or Nice and Rough?”

  1. ATCS Says:

    Liked them both. We need more of this type of public exposure.

  2. Mal Gormley Says:

    Thanks, Rob. Great videos. One problem: Watching videos on YouTube is habit forming. There’s a weath of great material there on the real world of ATC frustration–like the nine-minute audio of the JFK ground controller who manages to hang in there without totally losing it when one too many jets line up on the taxiways. It’s hilarious but sad at the same time. My hats are off to all the great controllers I’ve worked with over the years.

  3. John White (JetAviator7) Says:

    As a user of the system I appreciate the professionalism of the air traffic controllers, and without them the National Airspace System will not work.

    We need to help keep experienced and quality controllers on the job!


  4. ATCS Says:

    John and Mal, thanks for the kind words. I appreciate your kind words about controllers. Part of our frustration with the FAA tactics is the ridiculous delays you will suffer. Believe it or not it does bother me(us) to hold an aircraft on the ground for any reason. Very frustrating. Because we will get counseled for being chatty on the frequency, you never hear us relay these sentiments. We do care!

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