How Air Traffic Control Works

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Animation by Josh Sherrington
Sound by Graham Haerther (
Thumbnail by Simon Buckmaster
Special thanks to Patreon supporters Adam Chelminski, Arkadiy Kulev, Charles Zilinski, Chris Allen, Connor J Smith, Daddy Donald, Etienne Dechamps, Eyal Matsliah, Hank Green, John & Becki Johnston, Kyle, MyNameIsKir, Plinio Correa, Qui Le, Remi_Scarlet, Tom Dooner, Tyler Hamm, and Vaughn Mudrick
Music by
Select footage courtesy the AP Archive




  • Hey all, so in case you didn't see the announcement video, we launched a new scripted podcast last Wednesday called Extremities. It's all about why and how people live in earth's most isolated and extreme settlements. In season one, we tell the story of Pitcairn Island--a small British territory in the South Pacific with just 50 people. It's 300 miles/500 kilometers away from the nearest other inhabited place, 3000 miles/5000 kilometers away from the nearest city, and 10,000 miles/16,000 kilometers away from its capital city in London. The twist and turns that Pitcairn takes through history and the explanation of why and how Pitcairn still exists today are fascinating, in my biased opinion. Episode 1 is out now, episode 2 comes out tomorrow, and I'd love it if you'd give it a listen. Extremities is available at the following places: Apple Podcasts: Anchor: Spotify: Google Podcasts: Stitcher: Breaker: Overcast: Pocket Casts: Podbean: RadioPublic: I hope you enjoy! -Sam

    Wendover ProductionsWendover ProductionsМісяць тому
    • Your name is not Wendover?? My whole life...

      Khalid Bin WalidKhalid Bin Walid8 днів тому
    • Wendover Productions wee

      Effah OseiEffah Osei19 днів тому
    • (◐∇◐*)

      Anmol DaniAnmol Dani19 днів тому
    • I guess its the new trend, but I'm surprised so many of these links don't have download options. After looking at the first 5 I just figured none of them let you download them - I figured it was by design. Thanks.

      advancekidadvancekidМісяць тому
  • They do it in the dark!

    J-Luc GenoudJ-Luc Genoud7 годин тому
  • French people be like duhhhhhhhhhhhhh we handle duhhhhhhhhhhhhh 1500 flights a day duhhhhhh

    John SmithJohn SmithДень тому
  • Well done guys. You managed to capture something rather complex in an easily understandable way. Brgds, Ken

    Kenneth ThomasKenneth Thomas2 дні тому
  • Shoutout to my dad at 9:00 !

    CiaTheVideoStalkerCiaTheVideoStalker2 дні тому
  • Notice the TV screen broadcasting, well, TV programs. Many control centers in airlines, ATC, or even government and electricity grid control centers make need to make immediate plans if there are breaking news on the TV which would otherwise change their system requirements.

    Yat Sum LeungYat Sum Leung2 дні тому
  • so this is how you BREXIT!

    ash kingash king3 дні тому
  • i now have a fear, like if the pilot forgets to report in to the controller and is travelling in the blind. How does that get solved? Do aircrafts auto report after a timeout?

    MrChaos2peaceMrChaos2peace3 дні тому
  • Yisus content quality his HIGH! Keep up the good job.

    Pablo SuarezPablo Suarez3 дні тому
  • 2:59 the controller is very busy taking boogers out of his nose.

    Diego GonzalezDiego Gonzalez3 дні тому
  • The "above" sign for the 24500 ft (and 7500m) is reversed, should be like this "> 24500 ft". "a > b" translates to "a greater than b", so, ">24500ft" = "greater than 24500ft"

    ASG_8ASG_84 дні тому
  • it seems that the next couple years will be more messy with loads of air planes packed in the sky .. it now time for hyperloop .. safe , fast and easy controllable .

    Mohammed jalalMohammed jalal4 дні тому
  • Your flight costs are so far out it isn't funny. You're looking at more like $1.80USD per mile for smaller jets ie 8 seats or less which is what wall art will use. And usually they would have up to 6 people on board!

    Kieran NicholsonKieran Nicholson4 дні тому
  • Now imagine, if the control room is hacked!

    Saiga LegacySaiga Legacy4 дні тому
  • Wow, so many planing and managing going on in the background. Hats off to these and others who make possible the uneventful flights.

    JDJD5 днів тому
  • Diplomatically avoids mention of the frequent French ATC strikes and its impact on flow control.

    SwaggerlotSwaggerlot5 днів тому
  • Thank you for information. Allahu Akbar!

  • Why does he sound like Half As Interesting

    Big PapiBig Papi5 днів тому
  • This is how Eurocontrol works. Similar to how the American system works but different on many aspects

    TC KocherTC Kocher5 днів тому
  • This is an Aviation Productions video made possible by Boeing, Get 10% off you’re 737MAX with the link in the description

    TheGeekGamingTheGeekGaming6 днів тому
  • The system that works the flight plans (FPL) is called IFPS (integrated flight plan system) and then the processed FPL goes to another system called ETFMS (enhanced tactical flow management system) and then goes to the ATC and AO (aircraft operator) and ARO (Air traffic services reporting office) I worked there and it was such a blast you made a video about it 😁😍😍

    Christopher sbarounisChristopher sbarounis6 днів тому
  • How do I apply this job and what is the requirements?

    Aliff FirdausAliff Firdaus6 днів тому
    • Step one: don’t ask on a UA-vision video comment Step two: anything else

      codycastcodycast4 дні тому
  • Boston would not have waypoint names- Cubbs and Bears, more like Chicago, Boston would b Patriots, Red Sox or Celtics

    Harry CatHarry Cat7 днів тому
  • Shouldn’t the signs be the other way around at 4:38?

    Eggy RabEggy Rab7 днів тому

    Kaan DemirkolKaan Demirkol8 днів тому
  • 3:25 is Gatwick.

    Stan VanilloStan Vanillo8 днів тому
  • What are the factors of ATC staff shortage?

    Tomáš PetržilkaTomáš Petržilka8 днів тому
  • Why can't he make videos about other things than planes???

    the prestiger kloptthe prestiger klopt9 днів тому
  • Will this industry be ripe for disruption by AI?

    Keon YungStunnaKeon YungStunna9 днів тому
  • 3:12 is this guy CGI?

    snowismassnowismas9 днів тому
  • Being an air traffic controller looks like a hellish job.

    Angry OxAngry Ox10 днів тому
  • What Spule Happen to a Pilot who just normaly flies throu France during the ATC strike?

    Kevo MoriderKevo Morider11 днів тому
  • Good to know at least this field has vacancies, now i will do ATC course lol

    Adnan MAdnan M11 днів тому
  • Hey Wendover! I live in Mexico and the current government just cancelled half-way into construction a massive international airport at Texcoco to replace it with other two distant airport upgrades including turning a military airbase into a civilian airport. It all has been for political reasons since it turned out to be even more expensive, besides all aviation authorities predicting this decision will be a huge favor. I think It would be interesting to see your take on this case, not only will it be very enriching, but your break-down of complex aviation problems on this would also help lots of people understand the scenario and voice a more informed opinion on the matter!

    Héctor MonroyHéctor Monroy12 днів тому
  • Another great video !!!

    Will WilsonWill Wilson12 днів тому
  • It’s so amazing.

    king pakking pak12 днів тому
  • In few years they will be assisted by AI, unless some urgency most of the normal flight will be handled by the machine.

    saf diposaf dipo12 днів тому
  • Congrats France for being highlighted as causing delays because of strikes !

    Théau RavierThéau Ravier13 днів тому
  • Hello, great video ! How did you get the shot at 11:22 I filmed it on a flight from Montpellier to Paris and sell on stock footage. Didn't found any sales on this one...

    SKYLX ProdSKYLX Prod14 днів тому
  • UA-vision : wendover productions Pornhub: Bend over productions Hotel !? Trivago

    Kevin SmithKevin Smith14 днів тому
  • Maastricht is in The Netherlands, not Belgium.

    RastislavRastislav15 днів тому
  • I'm still wondering: is Breaking Bad an accurate representation of air traffic control, where one controller who's having a bad day can crash a plane and kill hundreds?

    Abhishek RayAbhishek Ray16 днів тому
    • @Tarik arslan thanks! will check it out

      Abhishek RayAbhishek Ray5 днів тому
    • Not really.there are systems in airplanes as named tcas or acas.they warn the pilots about collusions and giving avoiding advisory.In that situation pilots are responsible what the tcas says and do not execute what the controller says.I advice u to watch Uberlingen is about that topic.

      Tarik arslanTarik arslan7 днів тому
  • At 1:54 a minion meme is at a desk in the top right

    Ethan ?Ethan ?16 днів тому
  • 1:53 do i see a fuckin minion meme

    Possum boiPossum boi16 днів тому
  • Why there is a shortage of air traffic controllers?

    TLCTLC16 днів тому
  • I'm really amazed how traffic control handle language barriers

    chris sondritachris sondrita17 днів тому
    • all air traffic controllers (and pilots for that case) everywhere in the world have to speak english

      classic waxkoclassic waxko14 днів тому
  • I can't even understand the people when they speak not american because it's hard to read those subtitles you have incorporated into your vidoe. America is a not talked about everty second in this video so it's unpatriotic because yuo don't fote for trump 2017

    videogamesroflcoptervideogamesroflcopter17 днів тому
  • This is exactly the amount of detail I like

    Tristan MöllerTristan Möller17 днів тому
  • Massive respect to the people that work behind the scenes. 👏👏👏👏👍👍👍

    RedLeader327RedLeader32718 днів тому
  • 1:57 minion meme. Cringe

    Adam GasiorekAdam Gasiorek18 днів тому
  • Why does Maastricht (NL) control the Belgium airspace?

    Bram van GelderBram van Gelder19 днів тому
    • @Dede Wx ja ik ben nederlands haha maar bedankt iig

      Bram van GelderBram van Gelder18 днів тому
    • Look on Google Maps, it's a very small area between Belgium and Germany. Because eurocontrol is intergouvernmental borders don 't really matter. Ik ben trouwens 90% zeker dat je Nederlands praat maar je weet maar nooit

      Dede WxDede Wx18 днів тому
  • Blockchain will replace 80% of you more half the operational cost...

    Google TrackingGoogle Tracking20 днів тому
  • This is a great video, but I wish you had covered other parts of the world and not just Europe. A simple "in other parts of the world, it's similar, but with less coordination between countries" would have been enough

    Daniel McDavidDaniel McDavid20 днів тому
  • You should do the Logistics of 2-day Prime Day

    VersusVersus21 день тому
  • Sam, your prounciation of Iacopo Prissinotti was really a total failure. Shame on you!

    SoloPerICommentiSoloPerICommenti21 день тому
  • Euro control has better chairs than the FAA gives us

    John LichtensteinJohn Lichtenstein22 дні тому
  • This was really informative

    Junior CampbellJunior Campbell22 дні тому
  • Just hire train and pay the proper number of ATC controllers. The price of flying will go up but this is the actual cost. Time is money. Less ATC controllers equals more delays and less safety. Ugh.

    David SasseDavid Sasse22 дні тому
  • 4:20 The french accent of this guy is the best I ever heard ! And I'm a French working in English. Straight to favorites !

    maxonzframaxonzfra23 дні тому
  • AI baby, it's time to "AI" this problem out. Planes should be able to communicate with air traffic control computers that know all planes in the air and in the ground all over the World.

    Mike SmithMike Smith23 дні тому
  • Can anyone help answer this I am curious about this- Who pays in case of delays? When a flight is delayed because of a different flight, Is it the causing flight pays for the extra expenses arising or the flight incurs on its own?

    Auto BotAuto Bot23 дні тому
  • You should make a video of. “What would happen if everyone let out the air pressure in there tires at once in the world”

    Wargy WirryWargy Wirry23 дні тому
  • A well presented and satisfying look at the entire overall picture related to Air Traffic Control,perhaps those who complain about Air Port Delays of departure/landings will understand the complexity of this amazing system/ As a fourteen Years experienced A T C Controller, I found this item to be perfectly explained and the best item altogether on what is a complex task. Thank you for the brilliant presentation.

    Terry OffordTerry Offord23 дні тому
  • Been listening to the new podcast, it’s really amazing, and gives many details in everything that has happened at Pitcairn and its amazing history, really exited for the next podcast to come out.

    The Chungus ArmyThe Chungus Army23 дні тому
  • I just found this channel and it's amazing! A lot of interesting content. Keep up the good work :)

    Daniel DąbrowskiDaniel Dąbrowski23 дні тому
  • Umm is this the same guy? Completely different voice but same speed pattern

    Billy BobBilly Bob24 дні тому
  • Just wanted to say that I thoroughly enjoy your videos and your new podcast. I never thought someone could make isolated islands interesting. Well done!

    Be. We.Be. We.24 дні тому
  • Great description, thanks.

    Noraphon KaedklungNoraphon Kaedklung24 дні тому
  • Hey, Wendover, can't you say congratulations to your friend Half As Interesting for hitting 1 million subscribers?

    Butter_Cupcake_2005Butter_Cupcake_200524 дні тому
  • I'd be very interested in how bags get from check-in to the destination

    max holperinmax holperin24 дні тому
How Air Traffic Control Works