How Air Traffic Control Works

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Animation by Josh Sherrington
Sound by Graham Haerther (
Thumbnail by Simon Buckmaster

Special thanks to Patreon constituents Adam Chelminski, Arkadiy Kulev, Charles Zilinski, Chris Allen, Connor J Smith, Daddy Donald, Etienne Dechamps, Eyal Matsliah, Hank Green, John & Becki Johnston, Kyle, MyNameIsKir, Plinio Correa, Qui Le, Remi_Scarlet, Tom Dooner, Tyler Hamm, and Vaughn Mudrick

Music by
Select footage courtesy the AP Archive



  1. Wendover Productions

    Hey all, so in case you didn’t see the announcement video, we launched a new scripted podcast last Wednesday called Extremities. It’s all about why and how people live in earth’s most isolated and extreme settlements.

    In season one, we tell the story of Pitcairn Island–a small British territory in the South Pacific with just 50 people. It’s 300 miles/500 kilometers away from the nearest other inhabited place, 3000 miles/5000 kilometers away from the nearest city, and 10,000 miles/16,000 kilometers away from its capital city in London. The twist and turns that Pitcairn takes through history and the explanation of why and how Pitcairn still exists today are fascinating, in my biased opinion.

    Episode 1 is out now, episode 2 comes out tomorrow, and I’d love it if you’d give it a listen. Extremities is available at the following places:

    Apple Podcasts:
    Google Podcasts:
    Pocket Casts:

    I hope you enjoy!

    • Great podcast

    • ashlinmario sequeira

      Why no uploads on youtube though?

    • Excellent. Are you going to do Jan Mayen one day? That place has fascinated me ever since I bought the north Atlantic ONC charts and saw a tiny speck in the middle of one. I’m hoping to get a glimpse of it when I fly LAX-HEL in November, the flight often goes within 100 miles of ENJA.

    • Mistake at 4:35
      Wendover, you used the “less than” symbols, not the “greater than” symbols.

    • Hey not trying to be irritating or anything but Belgocontrol doesn’t exist anymore. They changed their name to Skeyes.

  2. On the other hand, if you are a private pilot you can get into your own airplane and fly anywhere without any help. Hmmmm.

  3. 10:46 last year I was on a flight that took the exact same diversion. We departed over hull and I just thought ‘wait wtf’

  4. Aaron Peavler/Geomodelrailroader Railroad Photography

    the radio call sign for ATC is Tower these are the guys you call before you put a plane in the air.

  5. 4:35 Your graphic displays LESS than 24,500ft and LESS than 7,500m instead of GREATER than.

  6. Every Wendover Productions Video ever: This video was brought to you by…

  7. Michael J. Vollmer

    This sounds like something perfect for AI to take over.

  8. Wow, should’ve become an ATC

  9. I am a future pilot trainee and this gives me headaches

  10. Fl 660 Who flies that high? Can you fly that high?

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