John's Jobs: Air Traffic Controller - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

John's Jobs: Air Traffic Controller

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It's often referred to as one of the most stressful jobs, has recently made headlines, and keeps millions of people safe everyday. It's the job of an air traffic controller and it's at the University of North Dakota where they train some of the best controllers, even seeing if our John Trierweiler has what it takes.

UND is one of 33 schools in the county that trains controllers and just one of two to have a 360 tower simulator. Simulating real life tower scenarios and giving students hands on experience.

Paul Drechsel, Assistant Chair of the ATC program at UND, reminds that work in the tower is critical in the aviation world. "Most of the accidents in air traffic control happen around an airport, normally it's during takeoff or during landing so these tower controllers they're the eyes." Ensuring other aircraft remain a safe distance from each other.

Learning approach control is also a critical part of the process says Colt Iseminger, ATC instructor at UND. "This phase is really critical especially at the really busy airports, because there is so much traffic coming in and out of those busy airports they really have to work hard to keep the traffic separated."

Students at UND even train on the FAA's designed fictional airport, a mock up of an airport based in Tulsa Oklahoma air space called "Academy," Iseminger says this allows students to become familiar with the operation before they head to the FAA academy for their certification. "So when our students leave here and they go to the academy, for the short time that they're down there they already pretty much know everything that's going on."     

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