As airspace continues to become more crowded, so does the air traffic controller’s responsibility to keep aircraft moving in an efficient and safe manner. This is not the kind of skill a controller can learn in a classroom. The state-of-the-art Air Traffic Control (ATC) Laboratory at the Embry-Riddle Prescott Campus is a real-world environment where Air Traffic Management majors can learn and practice critical communications and aircraft-handling skills required during the approach, landing, departure, and en route phases of air traffic control. Featuring a control tower simulator, terminal radar approach control (TRACON), and Enroute Radar laboratory, the Air Traffic Control Lab provides a realistic scenario-based training environment.
The advanced control tower simulator enables our ATC students to practice handling traffic at any airport in the U.S. In addition, Air Traffic Management majors get to work “actual” aircraft operating in all phases of flight. The lab simulates control tower operations found at Prescott (Arizona) Municipal Airport and Wichita (Kansas) Mid-Continent Airport. Students also get to experience simulated approach and departure control through Denver (Colorado) Approach Control and advanced approach control operations in Wichita (Kansas) Approach Control airspace. And they learn basic Enroute Radar procedures in both low-altitude and high-altitude environments using airspace and procedures from Albuquerque (New Mexico) Center. Students in the ATC Lab also perform functions as a pseudo-pilot. This type of training has proven to be much more effective in producing real-world simulations than only using computerized pilots and aircraft. Operated by the Air Traffic Management Department, the ATC Laboratory is open to Air Traffic Management students for use during normal classroom hours.