What Was 9/11 Like for US Air Traffic Controllers?


The weather in the northeastern United States on the morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001, was what air traffic controllers describe as “severe clear.” A high-pressure system had blown the previous day’s storms out to sea; skies were an intense cobalt blue. “A severe clear day means that you’re going to have a great day in air traffic control,” says Michael McCormick, who oversaw all air traffic in the northeastern United States that day out of the Federal Aviation Administration’s New York Center in Ronkonkoma.


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