ELI5: Explain Like I'm 5

air traffic control

Air Traffic Control (ATC) is like a big game of tag. Just like when a bunch of kids play tag, ATC is all about seeing who is going where and making sure everyone follows the rules.

In air traffic control, airplanes are like the kids. Just like the kids need to make sure that they don't run into one another when playing tag, airplanes need to make sure that they don't get too close either. Air traffic controllers make sure planes are flying safely, however, unlike playing tag, planes can't always see each other. So the air traffic controllers take over and give the pilots instructions on how to get where they need to go without any accidents.

ATC also helps the pilots know when it's time to take off, which heading they should be headed in and when they can land. They'll tell the flying pilot when they can do things like turn, go up or down, speed up or slow down. The controllers will also make sure to watch out for any storms or bad weather that might make flying difficult.

Air Traffic Control helps us get to where we need to go safely while also making sure that everybody is following the rules.