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Careers: Flying & Aviation/Project Questions on Air Safety


Hi, I am doing a project on how aeroplane safety has progressed over the years for my final year at high school.  I would appreciate if you would take the time to answer the following questions.
1)  Why did you want to become an air traffic controller?
2)  How long does it take to become an air traffic controller?
3)  Have you ever witnessed or been involved in an air emergency or technical problems?
4)  If Yes, can you describe?
5)  In your years of service, have you experienced major safety upgrades?  Can you name some?
6)  In the current climate, what would you most like to see implemented to further ensure the safety of air/ground crew and passengers?

Thanks again for taking the time to answer these questions.  I really do appreciate it.  Would you be able to sign your name, qualification and the exact years of your experience in the industry.  Any information you give me is soley for my project and will not be used for any other purpose.  
Regards, Matthew (Australia)

Hi Mathew, Sorry about the delay.  No excuses
1.  I never really thought about it until a friend talked me and 3 others into taking the ATC test.  I was the only one to pass and I got hired.
2.  Generally about 3 years.  It can happen faster or slower depending on a lot of different circumstances, staffing, trainers available, skill of the trainee, etc.
3.  Yes, too many to count.  Couple of interesting one.  I had an A-6 lose his canopy while climbing through 18,000 ft.  I had an F-16 who could not get gas from the tanker and had to divert.  He landed with less than 15 worth of fuel.  I have had numerous aircraft over the years report loss of engines and also numerous bird and lightning strikes.  I had a B-757 report his windshield cracked at 35,000 ft.
4.  see above
5.  Yes, TCAS, New and modern computer systems, GPS approaches, RNAV eguipment becoming almost standard.  I am retired now, but I understand Mode S is coming, data link between pilot and controller. Reduced vertical separation.  Visual Separation.  
6.  Visual separation above 18,000.  Reduced vertical and lateral separation by upgrading and improving radar coverage.  

Dacus T. Grant
Front Line Manager Atlanta ARTCC (Retired)
25 years of ATC experience.  4 years as a manager.  

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Dacus T. Grant


Air Traffic Controller careers. I am an Air Traffic Controller at Atlanta ARTCC. I will be able to answer questions concerning Air Traffic Controller qualifications, Job satisfaction, Job Requirements, En Route Job locations, Training requirements, working conditions, etc. 21 years as an Air Traffic Controller at Memphis and Atlanta Air Route Traffic Control Centers (ARTCC)

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