Question about the Math involved with ATC.

Teek

New Member
Hello everyone! I'm new to this forum and had a question that maybe someone with ATC experience could help me with. I'm very excited about pursuing this career and have been reading about it for some time now. So far everything looks great! The ONLY thing that concerns me is the math that is involved with being a ATC. I've always struggled with math and it's definitely one of my weaknesses! After reading the greenbook and looking over the math portion of the AD-SAT practice section, I'll admit I struggled doing it in my head. It wasn't impossible for me but it definitely was not easy either. I guess my question is how much math do you use on a daily basis? Should someone like myself who struggles with math maybe look elsewhere for another career? Any information or insight on this matter is greatly appreciated. Thanks!
 

LawnGnome

Well-Known Member
you don't need math...it may help a little...i'm horrible at complex math...you just need the basics...but you have so much equipment at your disposal that breaks all that stuff down...you've got equipment to estimate where a/c will be in 5, 10, 20, 100 miles depending on their airspeed, altitude, and heading....just rely on your equipment and you will be fine...not much math to it.
 

esw2005

Well-Known Member
Don't feel bad it or be ashamed.....not being able to do math in your head is a result of the public shcool system demanding every kid to use a calculator. I hated using calculators....Although when I took calculus I & II, a calculator was my best friend....I learned how to program the formulas in the calculator...
 

BoomerSooner77

New Member
Don't feel bad it or be ashamed.....not being able to do math in your head is a result of the public shcool system demanding every kid to use a calculator. I hated using calculators....Although when I took calculus I & II, a calculator was my best friend....I learned how to program the formulas in the calculator...
:yup: :yup: :yup: :yup: :yup: :yup:

 

Flaflaflofly

Well-Known Member
you don't need math...it may help a little...i'm horrible at complex math...you just need the basics...but you have so much equipment at your disposal that breaks all that stuff down...you've got equipment to estimate where a/c will be in 5, 10, 20, 100 miles depending on their airspeed, altitude, and heading....just rely on your equipment and you will be fine...not much math to it.
This is good to hear. I am awful at math and have been dreading the math involved with ATC.
 

pm577

New Member
Math on the green book CD is too hard.
You are NOT asked to make conversions between weird units like MPH and Knots.

All you need to be able to do is make simple time, distance calculations. (although the ones with altitude get more tricky)

may i suggest:
I bought this book before my ATSAT and it helped a bit. A lot of the book doesn't apply, but it will help you sharpen basic math skills as it pertains to aviation.
*if you can't see the image, it is: Mental Math for Pilots, by Ronald McElroy*

 

pm577

New Member
Try and remember some basics

In your car, 60mph is 1 mile a minute.
In an airplane, 600mph is 10 miles a minute (you go 10x as fast, so 10x the distance)
or 300mph is 5 miles a minute (half the speed of 600 mph, so half the distance)

Q: an airplane flies at 300 mph for 5 minutes, how far does it go?
A: 5 miles a minute, and you have 5 minutes, so 5x5=25 miles

Q: an airplane flies at 300 mph and climbs at 1000 fpm (feet per minute) from 5,000 feet to 11,000 feet. How many miles will the plane traverse?
A: first figure how long, so 5,000 to 11,000 is a change of 6000 feet. Since the climb takes 1 minute per 1000 feet, the climb takes 6 minutes. At 300 mph you go 5 miles a minute, so 5*6=30 miles
 

LawnGnome

Well-Known Member
aircraft can be traveling at the same speed but at different altitudes and one will be traveling faster than the other...you will see why you will learn when you have to climb/descend two aircraft, the proper order to do it in...if you do it in the wrong order, the planes will actually get closer together. there are also many different speeds..ground speed, airspeed, indicated speed...controllers commonly use airspeed
 

wve_iii

New Member
aircraft can be traveling at the same speed but at different altitudes and one will be traveling faster than the other...you will see why you will learn when you have to climb/descend two aircraft, the proper order to do it in...if you do it in the wrong order, the planes will actually get closer together. there are also many different speeds..ground speed, airspeed, indicated speed...controllers commonly use airspeed
Actually not true. If the air speed of the two planes is the same then they are going the same speed, Only the higher plane has more distance to travel over the same angle of travel.
 

ATLTRACON

MODERATOR
Hello everyone! I'm new to this forum and had a question that maybe someone with ATC experience could help me with. I'm very excited about pursuing this career and have been reading about it for some time now. So far everything looks great! The ONLY thing that concerns me is the math that is involved with being a ATC. I've always struggled with math and it's definitely one of my weaknesses! After reading the greenbook and looking over the math portion of the AD-SAT practice section, I'll admit I struggled doing it in my head. It wasn't impossible for me but it definitely was not easy either. I guess my question is how much math do you use on a daily basis? Should someone like myself who struggles with math maybe look elsewhere for another career? Any information or insight on this matter is greatly appreciated. Thanks!
Didn't you and I already have this conversation?
 

Prino

Well-Known Member
Actually not true. If the air speed of the two planes is the same then they are going the same speed, Only the higher plane has more distance to travel over the same angle of travel.
please elaborate on your theory. i think you might not realize that winds can be from different directions at different altitudes, therefore an aircrafts GROUNDSPEED (you shouldnt care what any of their other speeds are, though you will assign speeds as indicated) can be different for 2 aircraft at different altitudes, but indicating the same speed on their ASI
 

wve_iii

New Member
please elaborate on your theory. i think you might not realize that winds can be from different directions at different altitudes, therefore an aircrafts GROUNDSPEED (you shouldnt care what any of their other speeds are, though you will assign speeds as indicated) can be different for 2 aircraft at different altitudes, but indicating the same speed on their ASI
I was under the impression that he was assuming that wind speeds were the same. all im saying is that thier "speed" is the magnitude of thier velocity and if thier speed referenced to a common point is the same then it is impossible that one plane is traveling faster than another. However I really think he means thier angular velocity would be different so the lower plane would have a higher angular velocity if thier "speed" were the same. And I would relate groundspeed to angular velocity. However in his post he simply said speed.
 

Teek

New Member
Didn't you and I already have this conversation?
This is my 2nd post on this forum, but please feel free to share your thoughts about our conversation.:D

Thanks everyone for the responses! I'm confident that I'll make a great ATC, the math is the only thing giving me worries:panic:
 

Barty

Well-Known Member
Actually not true. If the air speed of the two planes is the same then they are going the same speed, Only the higher plane has more distance to travel over the same angle of travel.
Spoken like someone who has never been behind the controls of an airplane :)

In any event, the speed indicated to the controller is ground speed, so he/she is making their decisions based on that and the category of aircraft they're controlling. It would be impractical for a controller to attempt converting every aircraft's true airspeed due to differences in winds aloft, temperature, etc. If you've ever listened to ATC before, you'll hear controllers ask a pilot his airspeed often (usually when they're close to a particular fix) to get an idea of what the winds are like there.
 

ATLTRACON

MODERATOR
This is my 2nd post on this forum, but please feel free to share your thoughts about our conversation.:D

Thanks everyone for the responses! I'm confident that I'll make a great ATC, the math is the only thing giving me worries:panic:
NVM...someone else PM'd me about the same thing...good luck.

CJ
 

Towerboss

New Member
I stuck at math too (courtesy of the south Texas public eduction system). Don't worry about the math stuff.
 

ATC RET 2003

No More Vectors
The highest form of math I used was to decide if an altitude I planned to assign was a thousand (or two thousand) feet higher or lower than anyone else nearby. Otherwise, I used a little math to figure out if my pay was correct and to see how much annual or sick leave I needed to take each pay period to retire at zero/zero.


Towerboss... you also stuck at spelling. :D
 
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