BEREA, Ohio - A new air traffic control simulation room was on display Tuesday for local media outlets to see how controllers are trained to work in a live tower.
The operation has been in use for about a year but is now at running speed and is being used for both new and experienced air traffic controllers.
“This puts you in the seat like you’re actually in the tower,” said air traffic control specialist, Bob Kerr. “You’re looking out in to traffic. You’re working on your scan. You’re looking at your airplanes on final. You’re making sure your runways are clear. You’re doing all of these things that you’ll need to do once you’re up in a tower working live traffic.”
Air traffic controllers do just what their title indicates, they control the flow of air traffic. They make sure planes fly at safe distances from each other and in their assigned sector of airspace.
Different scenarios can be played out in real time. Instead of tower windows, the simulation room uses large screens and places trainees in situations to better understand airport operations.
Controllers learn how to handle light or heavy ground and air traffic; day, dusk and night settings; a multitude of weather conditions including rain, snow, fog and lightning; and various additional operation conditions.
“It’s real. There are airplanes that are moving out there,” Kerr said. “They’re responding to commands. The pilots that are working with us do what we tell them to do. If we tell them something wrong, they’re going to do it and then we’re going to learn from our mistakes.”
Training at the Hopkins facility is done for controllers from Hopkins, Akron-Canton, Toledo and Detroit Metropolitan.
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