LAX air traffic controllers train on new simulators

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Aviation safety officials unveiled a new air traffic control tower simulator Wednesday for trainees who plan to work in the tower at Los Angeles International Airport. KPCC’s Brian Watt reports.

Brian Watt: So far, 20 air traffic controllers-in-training have used the new simulator. It uses screens to provide a very realistic replica of the air field and creates scenarios for at least 200 possible circumstances. Tony DiBernardo, who manages tower control support at the airport, says the simulator addresses two important needs.

Tony DiBernardo: One, to speed up those that already are air traffic controllers to familiarize themselves with LAX so they can certify quickly, and two, to take a new hire off the street without any knowledge and teach them to be an air traffic controller using this tool.

Watt: DiBernardo says that in the past, controllers without at least four years experience at a mid-level airport couldn’t work at LAX. But recently, the tower there has begun to accept new controllers.

The Federal Aviation Administration wants to hire 15,000 new air traffic controllers across the country. The new simulators can significantly cut the time it takes to train them.