New York City's Vaughn College is the country's preeminent training facility for student air traffic controllers. Pilots are taking off and landing on busy runways, trusting the eyes and ears of young controllers learning on the job. It's as real as it gets — that is, for a simulation.
Vaughn College is a school with one of the country's top-rated programs churning out trainee air traffic controllers.
A training backlog has left many of those would-be controllers out of official jobs, and left control facilities woefully understaffed.
In New York, the FAA warned airlines and travelers that this summer would be challenging. At the facility that controls planes coming in and out of New York's airports, the FAA has just 54% of the controllers it needs.
A massive disruption in late June that canceled thousands of flights nationwide started because New York area controllers were too short-staffed to handle an onslaught of severe summer weather.
Now these young cadets could join the force. Across the more than 300 facilities under the FAA's purview, the agency plans to hire 15,000 more controllers over the next decade.
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