Traffic Signal Technician
Maintain, repair and reset traffic lights to keep the flow of drivers safe.
Once an airplane clears the tower, it enters the freeway of the sky. At high speeds, a Pilot wouldn’t have time to react if they suddenly saw another plane in their path. That’s why they rely on you—the TRACON Departure Controller—to watch the radar screen and guide them away from the airport.
In fact, Pilots rely on an entire team of Air Traffic Controllers. The Ground Controller gets them from the terminal to the runway. The Tower Local Controller gets them into the air. And once the plane is 30 to 50 miles from the airport, you turn it over to the En Route Controller.
From your TRACON Departure Controller seat in the Terminal Radar Approach Control room or building, you have radar vision—literally. You track every aircraft within a 50-mile range of the airport so that you can guide it as it departs. To avoid a mid-air game of bumper planes, you communicate with each Pilot and advise them to change elevation or direction in order to keep a safe buffer between all aircraft in the area. In addition, you relay information about weather conditions and other pertinent data.
Your position as a TRACON Departure Controller requires acute communication skills. You also need decisiveness and the ability to think quickly. Pilots and passengers alike benefit from your ability to stay focused, multitask, and stay calm under pressure.