How to you explain to people that you work at an ARTCC?

darli328

Well-Known Member
How do you explain to people that you work at an ARTCC?

Long story short I'll be headed to Seattle ARTCC next year and I'm having a really hard time explaining to my friends and family (that are without an aviation background) what I'll be doing there. They keep thinking that I'm going to be working at an airport... I tried telling them I'll be in a building nowhere near an airport. I tried mentioning I'll be controlling traffic in the enroute phase of flight most likely in the flight levels. I guess the best way to describe what I'm going through is the part in Pushing Tin where all the controllers are eating breakfast at the diner and that one girl said "so you work in a tower somewhere." Get my drift? Haha, sometimes I think I should just say I'll be working in a tower...
 

navyac

New Member
tell them to mind their own biness and do work, and then after you tell them that, start break dancing
 

GnW

New Member
tell them it takes about 3-4 years to learn how to wave the orange cones.

you're liable to get more oohs and aaahs that way
 

darli328

Well-Known Member
tell them it takes about 3-4 years to learn how to wave the orange cones.

you're liable to get more oohs and aaahs that way
I literally cracked up when I read that, thanks... If it got to that point I would just tell people I still flight instruct.
 

homeslice702

New Member
I usually just tell peeps that the centers deal with the flights when they are in between airports...because sometimes "en route" is still too fancy of a term for some folks.
 

mkeflyer

New Member
Re: How do you explain to people that you work at an ARTCC?

As others have stated...keep it simple. Tell them that you will be responsible for keeping an eye on airplanes while they are flying between airports and make sure airplanes do not get to close to each other.
 

Bigey

Well-Known Member
I like the orange wand answer better.

I've started going along with people when they ask me what i'm going to be doing.

The looks on their faces when i tell them i stopped flying to wave wands around....
 

darli328

Well-Known Member
I like the orange wand answer better.

I've started going along with people when they ask me what i'm going to be doing.

The looks on their faces when i tell them i stopped flying to wave wands around....
I know exactly what you mean... People think I'm nuts when I tell them I quite flight instructing for air traffic...
 

esw2005

Well-Known Member
To keep it as simple as possible.....Controlling planes from point A to point B at higher altitudes....that is your responsibility.
 

GnW

New Member
To keep it as simple as possible.....Controlling planes from point A to point B at higher altitudes....that is your responsibility.
not really true. a lot of centers provide quite a bit of service to the ground ;)

some even take over for 1 or 2 TRACONs at night :panic:
 

BoomerSooner77

New Member
At some point you will have to explain your pasty white skin... explain to them that you are forced to work in a cave with no overhead lighting. That you basically work in a 'dark room' like you'd process photographs in. This will also help you explain your squinty eyes from the light (which are more hungover induced than work induced, but that's none of their damn b'niz).
 

BoomerSooner77

New Member
Just say you work at NORAD.
OOOH OOOH... tell them that you're the one that punches the button to change the DEFCON levels and that you also change the National Security color levels based on your fancy decoder ring you got from the NSA (it's a mood ring).
 

FM_Weasel

Well-Known Member
Explaining a Center to the unfamiliar is probably about as difficult as explaning where we're at in the hiring process.

Mom: "So how was your interview?"
Me: "It went really well, everything checked out"
Mom: "Oh so when do you start?"
Me: "Uhhh, a few months..."
Mom: "A few months?! But you have the job, right?!"
Me: "Kinda?"
 

Barty

Well-Known Member
Explaining a Center to the unfamiliar is probably about as difficult as explaning where we're at in the hiring process.

Mom: "So how was your interview?"
Me: "It went really well, everything checked out"
Mom: "Oh so when do you start?"
Me: "Uhhh, a few months..."
Mom: "A few months?! But you have the job, right?!"
Me: "Kinda?"
Yeah, I've been having the same problem. Fortunately I have some family in the aviation business so they understand what's going on, but it takes a few minutes to explain this process to everyone else. I don't think my wife has her head wrapped completely around this process yet. I guess that just goes to show how convoluted the whole process is.

As far as explaining what a center is, I just tell 'em its a big dark room with a bunch of radar scopes in it. At least it gets rid of the, "does this mean you're going to be in a tower?" questions. I gotta give credit where credit is due though, my mom's parents actually know what a center is, largely because their church is literally right next door to ZTL.
 
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