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a) Priority for landing.

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If an aircraft enters an aerodrome traffic circuit without proper authorization, it shall be permitted to land if its actions indicate that it so desires. If circumstances warrant, aircraft which are in contact with the controller may be instructed by the controller to give way so as to remove as soon as possible the hazard introduced by such unauthorized operation. Permission to land shall not be withheld in any case.

In cases of necessary it may be necessary, in the interest of safety, for an aircraft to enter a traffic circuit and effect a landing without proper authorization. Controllers shall recognize the possibilities of emergency action and provide all necessary assistance.

The other aircraft may be instructed to give it way to remove the hazard.

Priority shall be given to:

1) an aircraft in cases of engine failure, shortage of fuel and others affecting the safe operation of the aircraft;

2) hospital aircraft and aircraft carrying any sick or seriously injured persons requiring urgent medical assistance;

3) aircraft engaged in search and rescue operations;

4) other aircraft determined by the appropriate authorities.

b) What is the role of stress in a controller`s job? Stress as a crucial factor in a controller’s job?

Air traffic controllers (ATCs) are generally considered one of the working groups having to deal with a highly demanding job.

I In fact, it entails a complex set of tasks requiring very high levels of knowledge and

expertise, as well as the practical application of specific skills pertaining to cognitive domains(e.g. spatial perception, information processing, logic reasoning, decision making), communicative aspects and human relations.

To have an idea of its complexity, it is sufficient to mention that, according to a job

analysis of en-route controllers carried out by a group of American researchers,1 six main activities can be identified (i.e. situation monitoring, resolving aircraft conflicts, managing air traffic sequences, routing or planning flights, assessing weather impact, managing sector/position resources), which include 46 sub-activities and 348 distinct tasks. For example, the relevant cognitive/sensory attributes required for high performance levels at radar workstations are spatial scanning, movement detection, image and pattern recognition, prioritizing, visual and verbal filtering, coding and decoding, inductive and deductive reasoning, short- and long-term memory, and mathematic and probabilistic reasoning.

Three common stresses as an air traffic controller are: the complexity of traffic, working long shifts with no break, and dealing with complex traffic during adverse weather.

Many things can affect the complexity of the traffic a controller has to deal with. One or two aircraft inbound or outbound to the same location is usually not a problem. Controllers really earn their money when multiple aircraft are conducting approaches on intersecting runways simultaneously while other aircraft are departing the same runways. For instance, there are times air traffic controllers will be communicating with ten or more aircraft all within five miles of each other, and many on converging courses. Some of the busier airports handle over one hundred operations an hour. To illustrate, that is almost two takeoffs or landings every minute. The density of traffic can continue uninterrupted for hours. This can be very stressful for controllers that work by themselves, which is common in Federal Contract Towers. In some instances, air traffic controllers are handling a variety of tasks at the same time such as: combining all positions in the tower, talking with aircraft in the sky, on the ground, and coordinating with up to three facilities at once.

Most Federal Contract Towers provide for only one air traffic controller to be working at a time. This can cause extra strains on the individual controller over an eight hour shift. There have been times where the air traffic has been so busy for extended periods of time that the controller could not take bathroom breaks. This added stress can initiate errors that could be prevented if adequate breaks were available. In addition, statistics have also shown that the level of awareness among air traffic controllers decreases sufficiently after two continuous hours on position. Eating can be another problem for controllers that work alone. Specifically, some facilities do not even provide refrigerators or other places to store food during a shift. This can make the selection of food available very limited and cause performance to decrease in controller duties.

A busy day at an air traffic control facility is one thing. When weather moves into the area it creates even bigger problems. In fact, a significant weather system is similar to a giant wall as far as pilots and controllers are concerned. For this reason, the effects of an aircraft flying into a storm system can be catastrophic and controllers monitor and re-route traffic so hazardous weather is avoided at all costs. Also, storm systems can appear on radar with very short notice and controllers must make quick decisions to avoid having the aircraft fly into the weather or into the airspace of another plane. Sometimes air traffic controllers receive radio calls from pilots that have encountered hazardous weather without notice. The pilot is relying on the controller to find the quickest and safest way out of the storm.

It takes a certain kind of individual to deal with the amount of stress an air traffic controller has to endure during a routine shift. As a result, the Federal Aviation Administration requires air traffic controllers to retire by the age of 56. A stressful day for an average person is just another day on the job for a controller. Air traffic controllers have been around for sixty years and with every day that passes more and more passengers rely on the valuable service they provide. In conclusion, the United States air traffic control system is and will continue to be the most complex yet safe and efficient air traffic control system in the world.


Main sources of stress for ATCs


_ number of aircraft under control

_ peak traffic hours

_ extraneous traffic

_ unforeseeable events

Operating procedures:

_ time pressure

_ having to bend the rules

_ feeling of loss of control

_ fear of consequences of errors

Working times:

_ unbroken duty periods

_ shift and night work

Working tools:

_ limitations and reliability of equipment

_ VDT, R/T and telephone quality

_ equipment layout

Work environment:

lighting, optical reflections

_ noise/distracters

_ microclimate

_ bad posture

_ rest and canteen facilities

Work organization:

_ role ambiguity

_ relations with supervisors and colleagues

_ lack of control over work process

_ salary

_ public opinion

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