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 • 1 976

  • Wendover Productions
    Wendover Productions  27 days ago +1156

    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!

    • Khalid Bin Walid
      Khalid Bin Walid 3 days ago

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

    • Effah Osei
      Effah Osei 14 days ago

      Wendover Productions wee

    • Anmol Dani
      Anmol Dani 14 days ago


    • advancekid
      advancekid 24 days ago

      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.

  • Swaggerlot
    Swaggerlot 3 hours ago

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

    THE GOOD CONTENT 3 hours ago

    Thank you for information. Allahu Akbar!

  • Big Papi
    Big Papi 7 hours ago

    Why does he sound like Half As Interesting

  • TC Kocher
    TC Kocher 11 hours ago

    This is how Eurocontrol works. Similar to how the American system works but different on many aspects

  • TheGeekGaming
    TheGeekGaming 23 hours ago

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

  • Christopher sbarounis

    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 😁😍😍

  • Aliff Firdaus
    Aliff Firdaus Day ago

    How do I apply this job and what is the requirements?

  • Harry Cat
    Harry Cat Day ago

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

  • Eggy Rab
    Eggy Rab Day ago

    Shouldn’t the signs be the other way around at 4:38?

  • Kaan Demirkol
    Kaan Demirkol 2 days ago


  • Stan Vanillo
    Stan Vanillo 2 days ago

    3:25 is Gatwick.

  • Tomáš Petržilka
    Tomáš Petržilka 3 days ago

    What are the factors of ATC staff shortage?

  • the prestiger klopt
    the prestiger klopt 3 days ago

    Why can't he make videos about other things than planes???

  • Keon YungStunna
    Keon YungStunna 4 days ago

    Will this industry be ripe for disruption by AI?

  • snowismas
    snowismas 4 days ago

    3:12 is this guy CGI?

  • Angry Ox
    Angry Ox 5 days ago

    Being an air traffic controller looks like a hellish job.

  • Kevo Morider
    Kevo Morider 6 days ago

    What Spule Happen to a Pilot who just normaly flies throu France during the ATC strike?

  • Adnan M
    Adnan M 6 days ago

    Good to know at least this field has vacancies, now i will do ATC course lol

  • Héctor Monroy
    Héctor Monroy 6 days ago

    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!

  • Will Wilson
    Will Wilson 6 days ago

    Another great video !!!

  • king pak
    king pak 7 days ago

    It’s so amazing.

  • saf dipo
    saf dipo 7 days ago

    In few years they will be assisted by AI, unless some urgency most of the normal flight will be handled by the machine.

  • Théau Ravier
    Théau Ravier 8 days ago

    Congrats France for being highlighted as causing delays because of strikes !

  • SKYLX Prod
    SKYLX Prod 8 days ago +1

    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...

  • Kevin Hernandez
    Kevin Hernandez 8 days ago

    TheXvid : wendover productions
    Pornhub: Bend over productions
    Hotel !? Trivago

  • Rastislav
    Rastislav 10 days ago +1

    Maastricht is in The Netherlands, not Belgium.

  • Abhishek Ray
    Abhishek Ray 11 days ago +2

    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 Ray
      Abhishek Ray 15 hours ago

      @Tarik arslan thanks! will check it out

    • Tarik arslan
      Tarik arslan Day ago +1

      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.

  • Ethan ?
    Ethan ? 11 days ago +1

    At 1:54 a minion meme is at a desk in the top right

  • Possum boi
    Possum boi 11 days ago

    1:53 do i see a fuckin minion meme

  • TLC
    TLC 11 days ago

    Why there is a shortage of air traffic controllers?

  • chris sondrita
    chris sondrita 11 days ago

    I'm really amazed how traffic control handle language barriers

    • FabDino
      FabDino 8 days ago

      all air traffic controllers (and pilots for that case) everywhere in the world have to speak english

  • videogamesroflcopter
    videogamesroflcopter 12 days ago

    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

  • Tristan Möller
    Tristan Möller 12 days ago +1

    This is exactly the amount of detail I like

  • RedLeader327
    RedLeader327 13 days ago

    Massive respect to the people that work behind the scenes. 👏👏👏👏👍👍👍

  • Adam Gasiorek
    Adam Gasiorek 13 days ago

    1:57 minion meme. Cringe

  • Bram van Gelder
    Bram van Gelder 13 days ago

    Why does Maastricht (NL) control the Belgium airspace?

    • Bram van Gelder
      Bram van Gelder 12 days ago

      @Dede Wx ja ik ben nederlands haha maar bedankt iig

    • Dede Wx
      Dede Wx 12 days ago

      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

  • Google Tracking
    Google Tracking 15 days ago

    Blockchain will replace 80% of you more half the operational cost...

  • Daniel McDavid
    Daniel McDavid 15 days ago

    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

  • Versus
    Versus 15 days ago

    You should do the Logistics of 2-day Prime Day

  • SoloPerICommenti
    SoloPerICommenti 15 days ago

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

  • John Lichtenstein
    John Lichtenstein 16 days ago

    Euro control has better chairs than the FAA gives us

  • Junior Campbell
    Junior Campbell 16 days ago

    This was really informative

  • David Sasse
    David Sasse 17 days ago

    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.

  • maxonzfra
    maxonzfra 17 days ago

    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 !

  • Mike Smith
    Mike Smith 18 days ago

    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.

  • Auto Bot
    Auto Bot 18 days ago +3

    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?

  • Wargy Wirry
    Wargy Wirry 18 days ago

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

  • Terry Offord
    Terry Offord 18 days ago

    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.

  • The Chungus Army
    The Chungus Army 18 days ago

    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.

  • Daniel Dąbrowski
    Daniel Dąbrowski 18 days ago

    I just found this channel and it's amazing! A lot of interesting content. Keep up the good work :)

  • Billy Bob
    Billy Bob 18 days ago

    Umm is this the same guy? Completely different voice but same speed pattern

  • Be. We.
    Be. We. 18 days ago

    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!

  • Noraphon Kaedklung
    Noraphon Kaedklung 19 days ago

    Great description, thanks.

  • Butter_Cupcake_2005
    Butter_Cupcake_2005 19 days ago

    Hey, Wendover, can't you say congratulations to your friend Half As Interesting for hitting 1 million subscribers?

  • max holperin
    max holperin 19 days ago

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

  • ron1n1 Travis
    ron1n1 Travis 19 days ago

    Dear Wendover Productions
    I must point out that you broke the rules in the Maastricht Control Centre... you are not allowed to bring cameras in there! Hahah. Did they show you the break room also? The one with the curling table?

  • Harry Cooper Reid
    Harry Cooper Reid 19 days ago

    why did you remove the everst logistics episode?

  • Pedro Rafael
    Pedro Rafael 19 days ago

    I knew it was complicated and complex, but didn't imagine it was as complex as this. Thank you for the details!

  • Milán Nagy
    Milán Nagy 20 days ago

    Dude I watched like 30 videos in a fucking row and im soaking in the information I love it don't stop! Jesus hold my grades!

  • Andrew
    Andrew 20 days ago

    Awesome video as always. Been a subscriber since the beginning. Sure do miss TWL! Also, your voice has gotten quite a bit lower. lol check out your first few vids compared to this one.

  • Johann
    Johann 20 days ago

    Your production value just skyrocketed! thank you for providing this for free to us.

  • Ansset0
    Ansset0 20 days ago

    Very good documentary. Explains a lot, but do Your homework please. IE UK-Central EU route planes are permitted to have ~330m (1000ft) gap betwenn them, not ~1km (3000ft)

  • Otto Von Bismarck
    Otto Von Bismarck 20 days ago

    Why would someone travel on those expenisve metal airships when you can just sail/ride a horse to your destination?

  • Abigail Hansen
    Abigail Hansen 21 day ago

    Is it strange that I'm here being an air traffic controller.

  • Daniele Del Frate
    Daniele Del Frate 21 day ago

    1:43 "Iacopo" is pronounced yakopo (both the o with the same accent it has in "or")

  • Yura I
    Yura I 21 day ago +2

    I was never afraid of flying until I watched this video...

  • J Gamerz
    J Gamerz 21 day ago

    Come on 1 more video tell you reach 100 videos good luck

  • Leon Heess
    Leon Heess 21 day ago

    Great video but please don't pan around with such a low fps camera it makes me nauseous (5:22)

  • Gojohnny gp1
    Gojohnny gp1 21 day ago

    I would not do this job if someone offered me a $million, its very stressful and I would lose half my life to stress and tension. Kudos to those who do, I was a private pilot once, and know what they go thru