We spend a lot of time talking about what air traffic control (ATC) is and explaining how it works, but what about the many myths that are out there about ATC?

Films such as Pushing Tin do nothing to help separate fact from fiction so we’ve attempted to do just that right here and tackle eight of the most common misconceptions about ATC, airspace and controllers. Let us know if you believed any of these falsities or have any others that aren’t included here.



The average passenger on board any one of the 5000 plus flights through UK airspace every day is likely to be aware of Air Traffic Controllers (ATCOs) sat in the control tower at their airport, ensuring a safe and efficient arrival or departure.

However, many people simply aren’t aware of the controllers who make sure that aircraft get to their destination through the airspace in-between airports – either just in the UK or connecting a flight between different countries airspace – that’s the job of the area controller.