It was a very interesting day which had the main objective of introducing Air Traffic Control to the public. The day was divided into different parts ranging from presentations about air traffic control, to demonstrations about controllong aircraft in a simulator to finally a hands on for those who wanted to try ATC. The presentations and the demonstration were given by air traffic controllers but the event was organised by a non profit organisation made up of non professionals who are enthusiastic and passionate about air traffic control. This event led me essentially to two thoughts; the first being, how beneficial it is to organise similar open days or awareness days for the public of a profession which otherwise stays in the shadows most of the time (and one normally hears about it negatively: either because of an incident, a delay (the pilot saying it is due to air traffic control) or because of a strike. The second thought was: had it to be a group of non professionals to have this great idea and organise this day? Where are the professionals? Should we not do more of this in every corner of the world? Perhaps finally there will be more who will understand what the work is about, a few more who wish to become air traffic controllers, a few more who move away from the cliche of "oh it must be a stressful job" and closer to understanding a bit more what this stress is about, what safety is about, what controllers worry about... I think it would very much benefit the profession, who needs to keep in contact with the public. So if you are part of a professional guild of Air Traffic Controllers, I encourage you to organise a similar yearly event in your community to preach about your profession. Also coincidentally last week the IFATCA general conference took place. (I hope it was a great success!) I suggest to IFATCA to consider to run an ATC open day to the public in parallel with the general conference and with the regional conferences. When the conference goes to a place, apart from lobbying the local authorities, we could reach the public there and educate them about our profession. Finally, if you are in Spain and are enthousiastic about air traffic control I suggest you join the non profit organisation who organised this. They are called OECAV (www.oecav.org). (not linked to IVAO) They are very proactive and doing a good job in our name. Supporting them is the least we can do!
A few weeks ago I attended an ATC open day.