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 • 2 134

  • Wendover Productions
    Wendover Productions  4 months ago +1238

    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 !! 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 4 months ago

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

    • Effah Osei
      Effah Osei 4 months ago

      Wendover Productions wee

    • Anmol Dani
      Anmol Dani 4 months ago


  • Randy Mack
    Randy Mack 12 hours ago

    10:37 RIP

  • Bald Guy Flies Planes

    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 5 days 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 13 days ago

    This is amazing

  • John Ramirez
    John Ramirez 14 days ago

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

  • Mathew Kurland
    Mathew Kurland 15 days 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 17 days ago

    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!

  • flx51
    flx51 20 days ago

    10:35 Never mind no more :c

  • 4HEad
    4HEad 21 day ago

    belgian and dutch people when he says Maastricht: TRIGGERED

  • Ashok Naik
    Ashok Naik 25 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 27 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 Month ago


  • Kim Lau
    Kim Lau Month ago

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

  • Luke Thompson
    Luke Thompson Month ago

    *this is a Thomas Cook flight*


  • yakikadafi
    yakikadafi Month ago

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

  • fobpower88
    fobpower88 Month ago

    RIP Thomas Cook 10:37

  • Samuele
    Samuele Month ago

    Prissinotti orgoglio italiano porcoddio!


    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 Month ago +1

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

  • Brian Beard
    Brian Beard Month ago

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

  • Ehab Mheibes
    Ehab Mheibes Month ago +1

    somebody answer the phone! :p

  • Frat Peker
    Frat Peker Month ago +1

    Poor Thomas Cook flight

  • Chuk Wow
    Chuk Wow Month ago

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

  • Benjamin Lahr
    Benjamin Lahr Month ago +1

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

  • PASSUR Aerospace
    PASSUR Aerospace Month ago

    Great educational video!

  • Den Topseje Gummiand
    Den Topseje Gummiand Month ago +1

    Rip Thomas Cook

  • Lex
    Lex Month ago

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

  • McKayla Medina
    McKayla Medina Month 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 2 months ago

    How does one become an ATC person?

  • Tom Donnelly
    Tom Donnelly 2 months ago

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

  • unknown unknown
    unknown unknown 2 months ago

    Today schedule 1615 to 2115

  • Jeff Ray
    Jeff Ray 2 months ago

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

  • Ibirdball
    Ibirdball 2 months 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 2 months ago

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

  • John Daltrocanto
    John Daltrocanto 2 months ago

    You really butchered that Italian name

  • DaRobo
    DaRobo 2 months ago

    I regret checking if checklistmas{ was actually taken.

  • Neurofied Yamato
    Neurofied Yamato 2 months ago

    Wow cool, you actually went to eurocontrol.

  • badlandskid
    badlandskid 2 months ago +1

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

  • UConnhuskyandrewnduati
    UConnhuskyandrewnduati 2 months ago

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

  • Shadowwolf TD5000
    Shadowwolf TD5000 2 months ago

    2:38 There's also an RAF base there

  • Incorrigible Panda
    Incorrigible Panda 2 months 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 2 months ago

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

  • NadChel1
    NadChel1 2 months 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 3 months ago

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

  • funkyleah
    funkyleah 3 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 3 months ago

    12:30 my dream place to work

  • Amaral Monteiro
    Amaral Monteiro 3 months ago

    Ágora tou na Madeira. Muito giro.❤

  • A Throbbing Peanuts
    A Throbbing Peanuts 3 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 3 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 3 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.