Air Traffic Control Definition
As the air above us becomes more and more congested, the job of guiding the aircraft safe through it becomes even more demanding than it already is. Air traffic control is defined as guiding aircraft both on the ground as in the air by separating them safely by means of giving instructions, and if necessary or possible provide information regarding for example weather or NOTAMs. An air traffic controller's primary task is therefore to separate certain aircraft within its sector or region in order to prevent them from colliding by making use of lateral, vertical and longitudinal separation. A secondary task of a controller is to ensure a safe, orderly and expeditious flow of traffic, and, as already pointed out earlier, providing pilots with information regarding weather, navigation services and Notices to Airmen (NOTAMs), depending on airspace classification and controller workload. Since ATC procedures may vary between countries, this article concentrates on the Amsterdam FIR and will explain the system and procedures that are applicable to this particular region. As for being a pilot, it is important to understand the ATC system and thoroughly know the procedures that should be followed within a particular sector. Although ATC has strict requirements with regard to the separation of IFR aircraft, keep in mind there are certain pilot responsibilities as well. Pilots should know the requirements for IFR flight and know when to call for certain clearances. These subjects will be described in detail later.

Air Traffic Control (ATC) tower at EHAM

In most countries, ATC is provided to all traffic that is crossing, landing or taking-off and includes private, military and commercial traffic. In case air traffic controllers are responsible for separating traffic, such airspace is called "controlled airspace" while "uncontrolled airspace" is available during specific parts of the day (flying at night would require IFR flight instead of VFR) and pilots themselves make sure there is enough separation maintained between their aircraft. In all airspace classes, air traffic controllers either provide pilots with certain instructions that should be followed, or merely provide flight information to assist pilots operating in these particular airspaces. Although pilots should adhere to instructions given by ATC, they may deviate from this in case of an emergency as the pilot always has final responsibility for the safety of the flight. Overall, the language spoken is English although in some countries other languages may be used as well untill a certain extent.

Defined as private traffic in the ATC system
Defined as commercial traffic in the ATC system
Defined as military traffic in the ATC system
Traffic flying within each FIR may vary from small private aircraft flying under VFR conditions to high performance commercial or military traffic operating strictly in controlled airspace.

Within the Netherlands , LVNL or Air Traffic Control the Netherlands is responsible for providing the previously mentioned services particularly within the Amsterdam Flight Information Region (FIR). The Amsterdam FIR stretches over Dutch territory and a large part of the North Sea from where it is taken over by other ATC centres.