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Air Traffic Control History

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Air Traffic Control History

Air Traffic Control

Throughout this paper I will discuss the history, current and future, and specific duties of Air Traffic Control. I will also discuss how Embry Riddle will allow me to reach my goal of one day becoming a controller. ATC is a fascinating career, and there is a lot to talk about when it comes to this profession, and in this paper you will discover just how important ATC actually is.

In 1919, the International Commission for Air Navigation (ICAN) was created to develop "General Rules for Air Traffic." These rules were applied in most countries. This was the earliest form of ATC. By the late 1920's it became apparent that general rules were not good to prevent collisions. So the airports began to provide a form of ATC based on visual signals. The early controllers actually stood on the field, waving flags to communicate with pilots. By 1930, more aircraft were becoming fitted with radio communication; so airport traffic control towers began to replace the flagmen. The first radio equipped control tower in the United States began operation at Cleveland Municipal Airport in 1930. By 1932, almost all airline aircraft were being equipped for radio-telephone communication, and about 20 towers were operational by 1935.

The need for ATC was no longer just at airports but en route controllers were now needed as well. In December 1935, the first Airway Traffic Control Center opened at Newark, New Jersey. In July 1936, en route ATC became a federal responsibility, and the first appropriation of $175,000 was made; although towers were still operated by local government authorities. In the postwar era, ATC towers were to become a permanent federal responsibility. In this postwar era, ATC broke into a revolutionary development with the introduction of radar. The system uses radio waves to detect distant objects. This technology allowed controllers to "see" the position of aircraft tracked on video display. In 1960, the FAA began testing on the transponder. This helped identify the aircraft and helped radar performances. Now in certain "positive control" areas transponders were required, this helped ATC reduce the separation between aircraft by as much as half the standard distance.

In September 1964, the FAA instituted two layers of airways, one from 1,000 to 18,000 feet above ground and the second from 18,000 to 45,000 feet. The FAA established a Central Flow Control Facility in April 1970, to prevent clusters of congestion from disrupting the nationwide air traffic flow. In January 1982, the FAA unveiled the National Airspace System (NAS) Plan. This called for modernized flight service stations, more advanced systems for ATC, and improvements in ground-to-air surveillance and communication. In 1988, the FAA selected IBM to develop the new multi-billion-dollar

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