Meeting an Air Traffic Controller

I imagine if you combined the movies “Top Gun” with the movie “Pushing Tin” you’d get something similar to today’s comic. It’s pilots versus controllers and I can see how controllers aren’t big fans of pilots not following the rules. In reality we all know that we need each other but sometimes these relationships can get a little strained when everyone looks at things, quite literally, from a different perspective.

I was a huge fan of Top Gun when it first came out and can’t wait for the sequel, but after now having worked in aviation my whole adult life, it has become obvious to me that “Maverick” basically is the embodiment of pretty much every “hazardous attitude” in aviation. We all have learned about “Macho (I can do it)” or “Anti-authority (Don’t tell me)” and that sort of thing in flight school. The iconic fly-by in the movie will pretty much get you fired in real life. I bet there were quite a few disappointed navy pilot recruits out there in the 80’s after they found out real navy flying doesn’t quite match the movie.

I am actually not quite sure where I was going with this. I think it was the thought that Chuck is probably a “Maverick” in his own mind, but in reality, mostly just angering air traffic controllers with his antics. From what he has put them through over the last 15+ years, it is no wonder they want to kick his butt after a few drinks …

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4 comments on “Meeting an Air Traffic Controller
  1. ThisGuy says:

    Out of the 3 planes Chuck flies regularly (Cessna, Twin Otter and Hughes 500) why would he ever choose to go with the Cessna? That’s hardly going to impress an ATC. Guess Chuck really isn’t he brightest chicken in the roost.

  2. ken says:

    I’d rather impress a controller with a Piper Cub then disappoint them when in my Gulfstream G550.

    Hats off to all the great controllers that take that little extra effort.

  3. Bernd says:

    I’m a pilot and I work for a company making systems to support air navigation service providers (ATC and all sorts of related occupations). Looking at all the stuff that needs to be done in the background to make air traffic as we know it possible has given me a new appreciation of both the complexity importance of their jobs and the challenges they face.

    So a big thank you to everyone involved in the ground-based part of aviation, too many professions to mention them all.

  4. SEPAM says:

    Then again, there are times when ATC invites a flyby – over the ramp. Oh, and it was a Blackbird.

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