Students graduate air traffic control school - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Students graduate air traffic control school

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VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) -

Students at the air traffic control school at Wiregrass Georgia Technical College graduated just in time to apply for jobs with the Federal Aviation Administration.

Every couple of months, the FAA evaluates students.

From emergencies to bad weather to uncooperative pilots, instructors can dish out just about any kind of situation on this simulator at the Advanced Air Traffic Control School.

"You name it I can make it happen here," said Paul Nesbitt, an instructor. "They can be exposed to just about anything I can dream up."

They also get training inside the control tower at Valdosta regional airport.

Paul Nesbitt is an instructor and was an air traffic controller himself for more than 37 years. He remembers carrying his son, Kevin, to work with him. Kevin Nesbitt was just evaluated by the FAA Wednesday.

"He used to work midnight shifts with me, diaper bag, carrying him up in the control tower so he's been in the control tower as an infant," said Nesbitt.

Instructors can make this simulator as busy as they want to, even as busy as 90 aircrafts taking off and landing in 45 minutes.

Thursday I even got a chance to land planes at the simulator.

Molly Griffis is from Wisconsin. She's seven months into the program in Valdosta.

"Just having control over the airplanes and stuff like that it's pretty awesome," said Griffis.

"You start out at 60-80,000 dollars a year depending on what facility you go to," said Al Nagy, the training and aviation director.

To Paul Nesbitt it's a career that's always challenging but yet enjoyable and he's happy to get students ready for this rewarding career.

All five students evaluated this week by the FAA passed.

They received a certified operator certificate which gives them a chance to be hired by the FAA.


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