How Air Traffic Control Works

  • Published on Jun 18, 2019
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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

Comments • 2 185

  • Wendover Productions
    Wendover Productions  7 months ago +1259

    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:
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    I hope you enjoy!

    • bootfan !!
      bootfan !! 6 months ago

      4:35 Your INCORRECT GRAPHIC does not match with the spoken words. The graphic shows "24,500 ft". Please correct your graphic.

    • Khalid Bin Walid
      Khalid Bin Walid 6 months ago

      Your name is not Wendover?? My whole life...

    • Effah Osei
      Effah Osei 6 months ago

      Wendover Productions wee

    • Anmol Dani
      Anmol Dani 6 months ago


  • Etek One
    Etek One Day ago

    I prefer to walk or drive my Donkey

  • Etek One
    Etek One Day ago

    It seems really crazy and scary.

  • Jamie Carter
    Jamie Carter 3 days ago

    REALLY?. so how did 911 happen?

  • Some body
    Some body 4 days ago

    So now I know why adults are very boring and uneventful.

    It keeps peace

  • Jean Eustache
    Jean Eustache 4 days ago

    Nice video, I spotted a minor error though, the limit between Lux-Low and Lux-High is actually FL335 and not 355 as stated

  • Billy You
    Billy You 6 days ago

    channels like this on youtube need more recognition. not some shitty vlogs

  • petterroea
    petterroea 6 days ago

    1:52 Minion meme spotted

  • Сергей Шилов

    havn't anyone seen the stars in the night sky? wow! just believe they are not such little little smally smally wow. but how greate are those stars and galaxies and whatever they are there? Just imagine while beeing smally smally i here and now.

  • Paul Imm
    Paul Imm 8 days ago

    Where did you get your info? It’s like 75% correct. You create terms when there are already agreed upon terminology and in many cases phraseology. One example is your use of “horizontal” instead of “lateral” and your inability to differentiate between ground control and ramp control. Also, “tower control” is actually “local Control” (FAA) or “Aerodrome control”. The telephony used to contact those controllers are the name of the facility followed by the position name such as “Heathrow Tower” or “Heathrow Ground”. Additionally there are many differences between ICAO and FAA procedures and terminology. Did you spend any time in the FAAO 7110.65Y or ICAO Doc 4444?

    • kempo 95
      kempo 95 6 days ago

      These is probably done to keep the video simpler for people that don't know anything about ATC.

  • Nexternity Gaming
    Nexternity Gaming 10 days ago

    I'm here to learn about ATC so I can be a ATC on any flight sim game, turn out I dont understand a single thing

  • Christopher Rod
    Christopher Rod 10 days ago

    I would imagine a computer manages airplanes in the sky much better than any human.

  • Justin Rein Borromeo Catabay

    10:45- Thomas cook who??

  • GG Aviation
    GG Aviation 16 days ago

    I apologised to ATC

  • Mark Twain
    Mark Twain 17 days ago

    Excellent tutorial in a comprehensible way about a most complex infrastructure. Thank you.

  • Soban Faiz
    Soban Faiz 19 days ago

    What's about when Brexit happens, this won't be the same and alot of more complexity will arise

  • Mad Mushroom
    Mad Mushroom 20 days ago

    12:30 Karlruuuhe :)

  • Sanjay Bhatia
    Sanjay Bhatia 20 days ago

    Superb. Thanks

  • Mark Hyder
    Mark Hyder 21 day ago

    RIP Thomas Cook

  • Kamala Krishnan
    Kamala Krishnan 22 days ago


  • Logan Francel
    Logan Francel 23 days ago

    Isnt this the half as interesting guy...

  • Lyrinium
    Lyrinium 23 days ago

    Wendover more like Bendover lol

  • Visionery1
    Visionery1 24 days ago

    Route does not rhyme with grout. :)

  • Albi
    Albi 24 days ago

    what happens if there is a fire in the ATC building of some sector ? Who handles the planes if they evacuate the building ? What in case of an Earthquake and also all nearby ATC buildings need evacuation ?

    • kempo 95
      kempo 95 6 days ago

      They probably have protocols for that.

  • Sydney Kiage
    Sydney Kiage 24 days ago

    Can you do a video on how exactly flights are dispatched? Thanks in advance 🤗

  • I am dogge
    I am dogge 24 days ago

    Okie sauce boss

  • Nicholas Abenroth
    Nicholas Abenroth Month ago

    Can we have a game where we control an air traffic sector? That sounds like an amazing concept.

  • Sven Bridstrup
    Sven Bridstrup Month ago

    It's an OK video. But traffic is much more complex in the USA.

  • RazorModz
    RazorModz Month ago

    That area of Eastern England is where I live and you're absolutely correct, pretty much the only planes we see are those that are taking off or landing at Norwich airport (EGSH) and they're generally fairly small aircraft.

  • Photosounder
    Photosounder Month ago +1

    How hard is it to make a computer system that can route planes on its own? Sounds like they're not even trying that.

    • kempo 95
      kempo 95 6 days ago

      They seem to have one. But when there are multiple options, the airlines can choose what they want.

  • Ggitko Network-Official

    In aviation there are two main types of clouds: “avoid ‘em boi” and “you can go thru it sucka”

  • Kiran FlyAir
    Kiran FlyAir Month ago

    I will become a PILOT

  • Cpr1234
    Cpr1234 Month ago

    In 7 days the top 3 most frequent routes out of heathrow are usually Dublin, Amsterdam and New York JFK. Combined they make up nearly 450 of the over 4,500 flights that will leave in this time

  • Steven stott
    Steven stott Month ago

    I wonder what Belgium will be like when it becomes a Islamic state.

  • John Bishop
    John Bishop Month ago

    Tfw your organization is an intergovernmental air traffic organization

  • Mark
    Mark 2 months ago

    Skip Hole. smh.

  • Bert Visscher
    Bert Visscher 2 months ago

    Do you know what the domain name leads to now? PornHub!

  • Matthew Slocombe
    Matthew Slocombe 2 months ago


  • lonelyPorterCH
    lonelyPorterCH 2 months ago

    Of cour'se it were the french, who were striking again... it's always the french^^

  • lonelyPorterCH
    lonelyPorterCH 2 months ago

    Don't the planes just use autopilot?^^

    Or does the autopilot data come fom the ground?

    • Keno Fuhrken
      Keno Fuhrken 2 months ago

      The autopilot can't avoid other airplanes. Plus, instructions are given by the controller to the pilot who then can dial in the appropriate heading, altitude or speed or enter the value into the flight computer, in both cases the action is then executed by the autopilot.

  • Markus O
    Markus O 2 months ago

    The worlds first airport with no air control on site, no tower, opens in December 2019, Scandinavia Mountains, which is a step towards going towards a system built on AI. SAAB and LFV (Luftfartsverket) are working on one. Airbus is also working on something similar.

  • imeuropa
    imeuropa 2 months ago

    Eurocontrol is an example of a box that can never have a power outage

  • Ege Bilgin
    Ege Bilgin 2 months ago

    London - Frankfurt uhm?
    Wonder how Eurocontrol want to control flights after Brexit !?

  • Gillian Cockroft
    Gillian Cockroft 2 months ago

    Ait traffic corruption more like.🛫🛬

  • Randy Mack
    Randy Mack 2 months ago +1

    10:37 RIP

  • Bald Guy Flies Planes
    Bald Guy Flies Planes 2 months ago

    All the thumbs down are those who didn’t get the domain they wanted. Great video, keep them coming!

  • You are breathing
    You are breathing 2 months ago

    Great. This is another thing I'll think about when I'm flying in an airplane. I hope I won't have anxiety over thinking this.

  • Dominic Johnson
    Dominic Johnson 2 months ago

    This is amazing

  • John Ramirez
    John Ramirez 2 months ago

    Thank you for answering the question i have in my mind.

  • Mathew Kurland
    Mathew Kurland 2 months ago

    Lol, flight level 245 in the US means your at 245,000 feet

  • Someonewhodoesntuploadanymore

    7:50 5 nanometers seems a bit close to me...

  • GaryNumeroUno
    GaryNumeroUno 3 months ago +1

    Short of controllers!!! Have they thought of advertising for new ones? At least they don't have to worry about the Thomas Cook flights anymore!

  • 4HEad
    4HEad 3 months ago

    belgian and dutch people when he says Maastricht: TRIGGERED

  • Ashok Naik
    Ashok Naik 3 months ago

    Hlo sir .ur explanation is good nd understanding I need some topics onair traffic control for a mini project.

  • Wai Ki Yuen
    Wai Ki Yuen 3 months ago

    Thank you for making our professor’s life easier. She literally just play this video in lecture. What the fuck.

  • joseph lemons
    joseph lemons 3 months ago


  • Kim Lau
    Kim Lau 3 months ago

    Did you just go to Brussel and did an interview???

  • Luke Thompson
    Luke Thompson 3 months ago

    *this is a Thomas Cook flight*


  • fobpower88
    fobpower88 3 months ago

    RIP Thomas Cook 10:37

  • Samuele
    Samuele 3 months ago

    Prissinotti orgoglio italiano porcoddio!