If you are a big AvGeek, then the chances are you have listed in on air traffic control (ATC) somehow. Be it onboard a United flight using their famous Channel 9, listening online using LiveATC, or through a scanner while plane spotting, it’s a familiar sound. But have you ever wondered what life is like from the other side of the microphone? Wouldn’t it be great to see what an airport looks like from the top of the tower, or what it is like to work inside an area control center? Recently Nav Canada gave me that exact opportunity at Vancouver International Airport (YVR) and I wanted to share.
Nav Canada, a not-for-profit private company, controls the airspace above Canada similar to the FAA in the United States. Vancouver Tower stands tall above the airport at around 140m tall (460ft) and has 360-degree views of the entire area. Although the day I visited the tower did not have the best weather (the cloud deck was really low, unfortunately) the view of the airport was still impressive. On a clear day, you can see all the way to the mountains north of the city (towards Grouse) or down to Victoria in the south. But I was more there for the view inside than the clouds and mountains outside.