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 • 2 125

  • Wendover Productions
    Wendover Productions  4 months ago +1237

    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:
    Google Podcasts:
    Pocket Casts:
    I hope you enjoy!

    • bootfan !!
      bootfan !! 3 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 3 months ago

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

    • Effah Osei
      Effah Osei 3 months ago

      Wendover Productions wee

    • Anmol Dani
      Anmol Dani 3 months ago


  • Ashok Naik
    Ashok Naik 2 days 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 5 days 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 7 days ago


  • Kim Lau
    Kim Lau 8 days ago

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

  • Luke Thompson
    Luke Thompson 8 days ago

    *this is a Thomas Cook flight*


  • yakikadafi
    yakikadafi 8 days ago

    I'm an air traffic controller in Australia and here the minimum horizontal separation is 2000 feet!

  • fobpower88
    fobpower88 10 days ago

    RIP Thomas Cook 10:37

  • Samuele
    Samuele 10 days ago

    Prissinotti orgoglio italiano porcoddio!

    JOHN RICHARDSON 10 days ago

    At times the planes are spaced in such a way that their airstreams eventually widen and merge with the one next to it resulting in a thin but
    total cloud cover. One can imagine that the area trees hate those days.

  • Alina Vinnytsia
    Alina Vinnytsia 10 days ago

    *EU control comfortable
    Holidays: I'm gonna end this man's whole career

  • Brian Beard
    Brian Beard 13 days ago

    So where is the US ATC video? Its different over here.

  • Ehab Mheibes
    Ehab Mheibes 14 days ago +1

    somebody answer the phone! :p

  • Frat Peker
    Frat Peker 17 days ago +1

    Poor Thomas Cook flight

  • Chuk Wow
    Chuk Wow 19 days ago

    Sorry, this robovoice didn’t make it for me😕

  • Benjamin Lahr
    Benjamin Lahr 20 days ago +1

    Maybe they shouldn't have delayed the Thomas Cook flight...

  • PASSUR Aerospace
    PASSUR Aerospace 23 days ago

    Great educational video!

  • Den Topseje Gummiand
    Den Topseje Gummiand 23 days ago +1

    Rip Thomas Cook

  • Lex
    Lex 25 days ago

    taking the FEAST tests at Eurocontrol in about a month wish me luck

  • McKayla Medina
    McKayla Medina 25 days ago +1

    There goes our ozone layer

  • sjakebaas
    sjakebaas Month ago

    What happens , if your system has a failure ,with planes in the air?

  • Mark Moire
    Mark Moire Month ago

    At 1:54 is that a Facebook mom minion meme above the persons desk?

  • Major Kong
    Major Kong Month ago

    Ahh, the French strike again!

  • 47ambrose42jpm
    47ambrose42jpm Month ago

    How does one become an ATC person?

  • Tom Donnelly
    Tom Donnelly Month ago

    This would have been a lot more interesting if it had been about US airspace rather than European airspace.

  • unknown unknown
    unknown unknown Month ago

    Today schedule 1615 to 2115

  • Jeff Ray
    Jeff Ray Month ago

    Nose to tail aircraft noise morning noon and night over Calderdale, has someone blown their top ? 😂🔥

  • Ibirdball
    Ibirdball Month ago +3

    2:42 Funny you show that area with EGSH, that's my local airport! However sometimes flights to the Middle East out of Manchester or from America do come over that area.

  • Andrew
    Andrew Month ago

    Wonder if I could get a Visa to go work at eurocontrol

  • John Daltrocanto
    John Daltrocanto Month ago

    You really butchered that Italian name

  • DaRobo
    DaRobo Month ago

    I regret checking if checklistmas{ was actually taken.

  • Neurofied Yamato
    Neurofied Yamato Month ago

    Wow cool, you actually went to eurocontrol.

  • badlandskid
    badlandskid Month ago +1

    Twenty flights daily equals more than one an hour? Must be on metric time in Europe.

  • UConnhuskyandrewnduati

    This is probably my favorite video ever, like Wendover Productions, Half as Interesting, TVclip, Netflix, Hulu, any*fucking*thing ever.

  • Shadowwolf TD5000
    Shadowwolf TD5000 Month ago

    2:38 There's also an RAF base there

  • Incorrigible Panda
    Incorrigible Panda Month ago +1

    Step 1: raise ATC wages.
    Seriously, how much could it cost to pay that small group of highly talented individuals enough to not strike.

    • Geometrical Gamer
      Geometrical Gamer Month ago

      It really depends on where the ATCs are working. In my area they get paid 100,000+

  • NadChel1
    NadChel1 Month ago

    The seventh reference is just a search result

  • Scooty789
    Scooty789 2 months ago +1

    seems like a nice job worth pursuing

  • Oliver Gray
    Oliver Gray 2 months ago

    I work for a European airline as cabin crew and pretty much everyday we get ATC slots causing us delays! Especially over summer as norther Europe airspace is mad!

  • Shanghao Zhong
    Shanghao Zhong 2 months ago

    ATC would be one of the most complicated work in the world

    • Alex
      Alex 2 months ago

      Good pay though

  • cluck
    cluck 2 months ago

    Thought this was Captian Joe.

  • Nathan Gehman
    Nathan Gehman 2 months ago

    1: 37 Man, they have NICE chairs!

  • JP Labs
    JP Labs 2 months ago

    I like how a Dutch control centre controls Belgian airspace......

  • funkyleah
    funkyleah 2 months ago

    Fake! It’s like ATC in Microsoft flight simulator steam edition

    • Michael Hall
      Michael Hall 2 months ago

      Looks like a Traffic Management facility.

  • GopzU
    GopzU 2 months ago

    12:30 my dream place to work

  • Amaral Monteiro
    Amaral Monteiro 2 months ago

    Ágora tou na Madeira. Muito giro.❤

  • A Throbbing Peanuts
    A Throbbing Peanuts 2 months ago +1

    Can't wait for the moment all these human "controllers" are replaced by AI

    • Michael Hall
      Michael Hall 2 months ago +1

      Spoken like someone who doesn't understand the job. When you can put 135 (I had about 95 of those) airplanes on 4 runways in an hour then maybe you can voice an intelligent opinion. There is no IA that could have kept up with that hour! BTW, using EuroControl is probably not a good example of volume. Try the busier FAA ATC facilities. We rarely limited flights based on staffing. Volume goes up and we just work harder/smarter.

  • Aaron Seet
    Aaron Seet 2 months ago

    In this day and generation, I'd have expected ATC software be able to render flights (with their projected vectors) and terrain in 3D perspective to give them better visualisation of separation or impending danger.

  • Theron Kolokwe
    Theron Kolokwe 2 months ago +1

    Hey Wendover Production. Just out of curiosity; is it your own crew that conducted the interview with that directors? If yes, you have made it in life.

  • ชุติกาญจน์ ศรีประไหม

    Love the videos. Hate the B.S. Falun Gong "Epoch Times" fascist propaganda advertising you apparently accept.

  • the hunter
    the hunter 2 months ago

    I don't need sleep
    I need answers

  • 习近平和毛泽东都是怪物

    you guys really do a kick ass job. the interviews were really great, worth your extra effort

  • Anna Orzechowicz
    Anna Orzechowicz 2 months ago

    Can you explain the logistics of how they know what fire trucks go to each incident? I never know what station they're all coming from, and i figured that'd be a Wendover type of video!

  • christian legaspi
    christian legaspi 2 months ago

    If a baby is born on an airplane what citizenship does the baby have

  • Glimpse Pedroza
    Glimpse Pedroza 2 months ago

    I understand. But sigh! Its complicated

  • Marc Pagan
    Marc Pagan 2 months ago +1

    Not fun fact:
    Obama was quota hiring Air Traffic Controllers. Putting me, my student pilots, and the public at risk.
    When Trump was told...he immediately ended this racist and dangerous practice.

    The Leftist media...which even slammed Trump for "misfeeding goldfish" in Japan....said not a word.
    Try defending "How not White or not Asian are you?" as a job qualifier.
    Especially for a job where lives are at risk.

    • Michael Hall
      Michael Hall 2 months ago +1

      As an ATC I had to train these hires. They had NO idea what real ATC entailed. It is very difficult to teach someone to think 3-dimensionally. Instead of having a limited amount of hours to certify (check-out), the FAA instituted "train to succeed." We called it train to suck!

  • Kami Kami
    Kami Kami 2 months ago

    Thank you so much for such a amazing , excellent & useful information

  • Karen Kramer
    Karen Kramer 2 months ago

    Seems so complicated. Can't believe there aren't more crashes.

  • Cedar W
    Cedar W 2 months ago

    1:10 looks like mission control in houston!!

  • T Bjornsson
    T Bjornsson 2 months ago

    I think the video should be titled 'How Air Traffic Control Works in Europe'