Off Limits Triangle: Air traffic control at RDU

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

MORRISVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- ABC11 is giving you a rare, inside look to a place that's critical to your journey every time you fly into and out of RDU airport.

It's a tower those who fly from and to Raleigh-Durham International Airport see frequently.

But, the air traffic control tower brings more than meets the eye.

The tower comes with multiple layers, including a layer that is in the dark.

The room has no windows or lights in order to keep the glare from overtaking radar screens.

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Controllers here work mostly from radars. Only the glare of the screens and light up buttons bring light to the room.

The controllers focus on vital information for pilots and passengers, including altitude, the direction of flight, and routes.

The highest layer of the tower is more of what people expect: a giant window overlooking the runways.

Workers here keep a physical eye on the sky.

John Green, the air traffic manager, points out each position controllers work.

The first is the local control person, in charge of all runways.

"He's responsible for clearing aircraft to land as well as clearing them for takeoff," Green said of the employee. "When the plane lands, he's done. He transfers them to the ground controller."

All layers work together to make sure those who take off - and land - make it to where they're going safely.