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Ground Control Approach Technician

Oversee aircraft landings and notify Pilots about ground conditions.

What does a Ground Control Approach Technician do?

A Ground Control Approach Technician is a type of Air Traffic Controller whose job is to help aircraft land safely on the runway. When plane passengers hear the Pilot say, “Flight Attendants, prepare for landing,” that’s their cue to tighten their seatbelt and brace for the turbulent transition between sky and solid ground. What they can’t see, however, is the flurry of activity on the ground below them, where the Ground Control Approach Technicians are preparing for the plane’s arrival.

As a Ground Control Approach Technician, you man a position in the control tower, where you use a ground control approach (GCA) radar system to track aircraft and monitor landing conditions on the ground. When an aircraft approaches for landing, its Pilot relies on you to notify him or her of potentially hazardous conditions, such as inclement weather, nearby planes, runway obstructions, or reduced visibility. Based on those and other factors, it’s your job to choose the spacing, separation, and sequencing of aircraft, telling Pilots via headset and radio when to land, where to land, and in what order. You may also direct ground traffic, like taxiing aircraft, baggage vehicles, or airport workers.

Typically employed by either the military or the federal government, you might work at an Air Force base or a commercial airport. However, you always earn your salary by using radar to ensure the safety of incoming aircraft.