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31 Air Traffic Control Towers With Surprising Charm

The air traffic control tower is the most important part of any airport, yet it's also the most unacknowledged. Fliers seldom stop to admire their ethereal beauty and futuristic silhouettes. We're missing out: These towers are fascinating architectural specimens. ( More...

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The tower in the comments section that looks like Darth Vader is money.
josh homer 5
Have two ATC friends. One at DFW and one at Fort Worth Center. Got a brief tour of both back in 1999. I commend the men and women that do that job. Not an easy task.
Zuri Smith 2
I have worked the same job for almost two decades. It might seem a difficult job but it's really not. You just have to be focused and ALWAYS have a plan B, and a plan C, and a plan D....
Zany4God 2
But other than that, it's not difficult. lol. You made me smile. You don't give yourself enuf credit for a job well done. Didn't we learn that a house that looks beautiful and clean didn't get that way by accident. There was a lot of labor, focused attention and learning from mistakes. Thank you for your service. I had the pleasure of working with ATC students at Keesler AFB. They were great young men and women, and we learned that not everyone is cut out for the job. Thanks again.
Interesting to note that they didn't mention which tower at KDFW, as there are three separate functioning towers there.
Concur. You might enjoy a tour of the American Airlines Ground Ops Center tower as they have tours.
BC Hadley 3
Don't miss the Comments - readers have added more.
James Hodges 2
Controllers are what makes a Tower. Ours here at KFLO are tops!!!
Rob Lowe 2
The DFW Tower shown is the original (then only) tower. Pic is from late 70s. Later East and West Towers were added and the original (now called the center tower) is used as a backup for contigency ops if needed. The outlying towers greatly enhanced visibility on a vast airport and mitigated obstructions caused by the terminal buildings. All three have similar appearance but the outlying towers are much taller.

The ORD tower shown is the original tower connected to the temrinal. They now have a new North tower and plans are underway for a third South tower.
Don Loughran 2
With the subject title thought it was about personnel in the vote there goes to Steph @ ADS!
So that's her name. She is always personable and informative.
gdpballin 1
thought the same thing when i saw this.
Andrew Cullen 1
I agree! I thought this was about ATC staff. I vote for Rachael C at Toronto Centre (if she's still there)
I have to put in my vote for Stephanie at ADS as well. Whether it is her cheery voice giving out recorded ATIS reports or live on 126.0 guiding us out and back home, she is always a pleasure and comfort to hear, especially for us new pilots. Such a sweetheart!!
Ken Fenwick 1
Officially the airport in Sydney Australia is Sydney Airport (at Mascot) or Sydney (Kingsford Smith) Airport at Mascot. The control tower had geo-technical issues and is a "lightweight construction" details the issues and construction techniques.
The external spiral escape stairs are an interesting visual feature
Michael Best 1
I believe the tower for Vancouver Harbour Water Airport, CYHC, is the tallest in the work at 142 meters in height. (granted it is located atop an office building, probably makes it very unique for that).
Enrico Parini 1
I don't know about Vancouver's but KLIA 2 control tower is actually 141.2 meters tall and it has been awarded a guinness world record for it...
James Hodges 1
The controllers in Tower and A&D here at KFLO are great!! No near misses and they go out of their way to be helpful. FAA, not a contract tower.
WithnailANDi 1
My favorite's the Abu Dhabi... swoopy!
dodger4 1
That was a cool piece! You should also do one on charming ATCs - a lot goes unmentioned when they handle us courteously on the other side of the fence, with the stresses they face in daily life.

Not just in towers, but centers as well.
Kevin Ford 1
I've worked in a few as a controller...but must say where I am now takes the cake for uniqueness. Bartow Tower in FL is mostly the same one used when Bartow was an AFB back in the 40's to train its pilots.
Kevin Ford 1
Uniqueness=oldness, lol...
Kenneth Zamzow 1
Great pics! I'm retired ATC, 2.5 years at KCYS, 22.5 years at KCID. Loved the work, but hated the hours, especially the older I got!
hardworker7 1
Todays ATC towers are spectacular! I've had the pleasure to visit the towers at DCA, MSP and ORD back in the early 80s. The old radar room at the base of old ORD tower was like a dark, secret bunker. Also toured centers at ZMP, ZAU and ZDC. The controllers and supervisors at all the above were very gracious and I appreciated the time they afforded me!

[This poster has been suspended.]

James Hodges 1
Chris Low 0
It a shame the Wellington NZ tower is not there the only tower that is on private property and maybe up for sale if it is replaced
Zuri Smith 0
Even though I would never vouch for ATC standards in the Middle East (or Asia and Africa, for that matter), I think Cairo Tower is a stunning creation.


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