Question for all the IFATCs out there

I was flying into Auckland today and it was sooo busy, holding pattern was 30 mins and takeoff line was basically half the entire taxiway length, and I was wondering, especially for tower/approach controllers, when it’s extremely busy like it was today, do you get stressed, or do you enjoy it? Is an extremely crowded airspace and busy frequency fun or hell for you guys? 😂

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Both. It depends on if people are listening. If not, then it’s frustrating.

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Yeah, I understand that, must be really frustrating with people not following instructions when it’s really busy

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We enjoy and get stressed at same time, cant with people exiting so slow with an aircraft prepares to takeoff when the traffic on final is at 500ft callout

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Yeah I always see a go around because of some exiting the rwy too slowly, I’ve had to go around because of that before 😅

Would you rather have your frequency busy or calm with about 3 or 4 aircraft?

I usually open and then 10 minutes into my session I get stressed and I want to close lol

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That can depends, sometimes we want to control busy traffic and no.

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Ahaha it must be really stressful at times, constantly sending out messages and at the same time receiving new ones multiple times a second

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I enjoy controlling busy traffic, but it can get very stressful sometimes! I typically have more fun with more interesting runway and taxiway layouts rather than basic ones such as Heathrow or LAX

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Yeah Auckland was really busy, my device glitched and although I was tuned into frequency and cleared to land, on my controllers end I tuned out as some point, and I got a level 3 violation… luckily got it repealed

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Still stuck in Auckland after over probably 30 minutes haha so I feel this

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Hey, @Captain_Emergency

I personally find it really enjoyable controlling heavily trafficked tower and ground frequency’s simoatainisly. It can get stressful at times but if you have a well thought out plan on how you will manage the traffic, it really becomes a breeze. Most of my stress comes from inexperienced pilots that do not follow ATC issued instructions, but we do have the necessary tools in order to deal with these types of situations. If you aren’t part of IFATC already, I would really recommend you doing so if interested in ATC, you would be a great addition to the team!💛

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Depends on the day and the level of “spam” as a controller we get. NZAA can be a stressful position if you aren’t prepared for it. Very tough place to control from an approach perspective, especially when alone.

Places like DFW, EGLL, LAX, ATL and so on when busy are a ton of fun. While maybe stressful, it’s also oddly very relaxing - you get a bit of a “high” while controlling.

The more pilots understand that we’re crazy busy, and dont constantly ask for something when either being told to hold or what not, makes a difference and can make or break a session.

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It’s definitely challenging. But, I would say that controlling busy airspace’s is part of the fun and/or stress of it! As long as you have a plan for what to do and how to execute it, you will be fine. Although when doing events when a large amount of people are requesting at the same time it’s definitely stressful. That’s when having people to help you is nice. I would say though during busy times it’s pretty fun. (As long as people follow instructions) ;)

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Yeah i 100% agree with this. If the airport is built for it and nobody’s messing you up you get into like a flow state and like 20 minutes just goes by in a blur.

But yeah the first couple minutes while everybody’s spamming you, and you’re still warming up to the airport it’s stressful

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As a controller who has been doing this for years, it still can get stressful sometimes. However, once I am in the zone, jobs not finished until it’s finished. Focus on you, and let us worry about the traffic.


@patrick will recall that one FNF at Istanbul about a year ago with aircraft on the ground totaling at a glance what seemed to reach the triple digits while we had constant arrival flows. As the acting G controller things were chaotic, but with communication as your best ally, we were able to effectively manage the airspace and ground efficiently thanks to our radar as well.

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I controlled Auckland Approach twice today. The first time I had about 30-40 aircraft on my frequency to put on one runway. I utilized holds for a few of them, and others had extended downwind just because of the pattern the previous controller had going. The downwind became lengthy and not even gonna lie, I was very stressed out from all of the requests coming in. I definitely enjoy the fun of a busy frequency, but sometimes it can be a little too much. You posted this 5 hours ago, so maybe you were one the pilots I was in control of.

I can tell you that the airspace does become the opposite of fun whenever you are dealing with inexperienced pilots who don’t understand ILS approaches. Had quite a number of those today. Other than that, if everybody is on top of their stuff and follows the commands that I give immediately then all is well on my end. I attached a photo of when I opened earlier.

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You might have controlled me, my callsign was New Zealand 80 Heavy. But yeah I was thinking when you have that amount of aircraft on your frequency all to put on 23L, then add some inexperienced pilots, it must get pretty tiring after a while 😅😅

Hey @Captain_Emergency

IFATC is very fun, and the community within IFATC is also great. Personally, I quite enjoy it when it’s busy. If I’m controlling radar and it’s busy, I love organising the aircraft (sometimes can be known as putting the aircraft into a pattern), but I also love to provide excellent ATC service to all pilots.

However, sometimes it can be to busy for just 1 controller, so we utilize a tag which is known as “split” and it notifies controllers (who have that tag/notification enabled) that the airspace is busy and that they would like some help controlling, and that’s when there are then 2 frequencies in use. When there’s 2 controllers controlling radar, it can also be very fun as long as you communicate effectively with the other controller, and work as a team. Communication is important with all controllers when controlling.

Anyways, I love controlling when it’s busy or not busy! IFATC is fun no matter what!

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