Ask Air Traffic Control: How many controllers handle each cross-country flight?

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Travel' started by sobore, Jan 3, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. sobore
    Original Member

    sobore Gold Member

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    Question: How many controllers does a pilot talk to on a cross-country trip, say from Los Angeles International Airport to New York-JFK?

    Answer: This depends on the routing, but on a typical flight a pilot would communicate with a minimum of 31 controllers. Here is the breakdown:

    • Los Angeles Airport Tower (LAX) - At LAX, a pilot would speak to three controllers between pushing off from the gate and departing the runway. Soon after takeoff, the third controller would tell the pilot to contact departure (a radar facility called Southern California Terminal Radar Approach Control - TRACON - located near San Diego).
    • Southern California TRACON (SCT) â?? A pilot would speak with two different controllers while ascending to cruising altitude in SCT airspace. At approximately 15,000 feet, the second controller would tell the pilot to contact Los Angeles ARTCC ZLA (Air Route Traffic Control Center, with ZLA being the abbreviation for this region), located in Palmdale, Calif.

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  2. uggboy
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    uggboy Gold Member

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    Thanks for the insights. Interesting indeed.
    autolycus likes this.
  3. boondr

    boondr Gold Member

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    Depends on who you ask, in the highly competitive ATC world it is said center(ARTCC) controllers are just people for the pilots to talk to between real controllers. :p

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