While browsing MetaFilter I ran into a really nice Air Traffic Control simulator called ATC-SIM. This is a web-based simulator that requires no download to use. It captures the basics of ATC work. The amateur controller must maintain 3 mile horizontal and 1000 ft vertical separation at all times as well as coordinate the timely arrival and departure of aircraft thorugh the terminal airspace.  The controller must coordinate inbound traffic onto an intercept of the ILS glideslope beacon for the active runway in order for the landing clearance to result in a landing.

The default airport is O’Hare. It doesn’t take long to get a glimpse of the challenges associated with that airspace.  Traffic piles in and out rapidly and every aircraft is in motion.

Another ATC related website is ATC Monitor. This is apparently a feed from Atlanta. It is possible to view Atlanta Center radar as well as TRACON.  It is well worth visiting.

Th’ Gaussling’s home town is ~ 8,000 ft beneath an airway leading to Denver Int’l Airport. While driving home at night I frequently see bright cones of airliner landing lights stabbing through the clouds aloft. These light projections have a faintly cometary appearance.