Air Traffic Controller

I’m an Air Traffic Controller and have been working at NATS for 25 years. Currently I split my time between the Operations Room, where I control aircraft, and the Development Department where I work on projects delivering new En-Route systems.

I kind of fell into the job and in fact before applying to NATS, I had no aviation background at all. I’d heard that NATS was a good Company to work for, so I looked into the opportunities there. I applied to train as an Air Traffic Controller and quickly caught the aviation bug!

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To be completely honest, I didn’t really know this job existed until I came across it. I was teaching English in Japan for a few years, and then when I moved back to the UK I got involved with film directing. But I wanted a change of career, something that offered stability but was interesting […]

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I’ve worked at NATS for 22 years now and have been an Air Traffic Controller for 19 of them! I trained for the first 3 years. I think in essence I’m still the same person that started all those years ago, and I still have the same passion for the job today as I did when I first “plugged in”.

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Frequency Monitor Codes (FMCs) have now been in use in the UK for over 10 years and they’ve collected a range of names during that time such as Listening Squawks and Monitor Codes but they are all actually referring to the same thing.

Pilots are encouraged to use a FMC when they are flying outside controlled airspace, but close to controlled airspace boundaries, in order to increase situational awareness and help to combat infringements.

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As the flying season is now well underway, we thought we’d provide a deeper look over the coming weeks, at some of the services that are available to pilots. Today we’re starting with the Lower Airspace Radar Service (LARS).

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To become an air traffic controller requires a specific set of skills and attitude, things that can’t necessarily be taught or learned. For every successful controller validated, many thousand wash out during the process. But as you may suspect, for those that have what it takes it’s rewarding in every sense.

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Stuart Tabberer has gone from entertaining holidaymakers in Cyprus to managing aircraft at Bristol, proving that air traffic controllers can come from all walks of life.

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Controlling the complex and busy airspace in the UK safely is a huge task. Only the best will make it as fully validated Air Traffic Controllers.

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After passing the online assessments, to become an air traffic controller, you will receive an email inviting you to attend Stage 2 of the process and so may be wondering how to prepare for this stage. We have some games which may be of interest as well as some other tips to help.

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Top 5 blog post of 2015

We thought we’d share our favourite aviation blogs from 2015 with you. Is there something you would like us to cover in 2016? Which was your personal favourite blog we posted from 2015?

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    4000 Parkway
    Whiteley
    Fareham
    Hants
    PO15 7FL

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