A generation of kids is growing up who, one day, are individually going to have to answer that question for the sake of their own mental health, marriages etc.
But that's not the subject of this blog story.
German air traffic services provider DFS has come up with a Virtual Tower, but for controlling real aeroplanes at a real aerodrome from somewhere else.
They call it the Distant Aerodrome Control Solution.
Am I just paranoid, or do I see all visual control rooms (VCR) being moved to the nation of the lowest bidder for controllers' salaries and terms and conditions of service?
If that were true, relocating TMA control, and en-route first would make more sense.
To be scrupulously honest, I haven't seen the DFS DACS in action yet, so I'll withhold my judgement at this point, but at next week's ATC Global show in Amsterdam I will see it.
Anyway, this is what the DFS press release says (abbreviated):
"The [DACS] provides the controller with a combination of visual data on the one hand, as well as instrument and sensor data on the other. This combination allows the controller to readily review the air and ground traffic situation at the airport and in its vicinity. High-resolution pictures from video cameras installed at the aerodrome deliver an artificial real-time view. By means of a monitor wall attached above the regular console screens, the controller can track aircraft on the apron and runway as well as zoom in as necessary. The real external view is replicated as precisely as possible."
So Frankfurt's VCR can be located in Chennai, India, perhaps?
Meanwhile, for your information, a couple of years ago a rather more conservative plan for remote aerodrome control for London Heathrow was put into action for a rather more basic reason.
UK's biggest ATS provider NATS, which performs Heathrow's aerodrome control, has set up a remote aerodrome control tower, but without the simulated visual. This remote tower - not in a tower, and with no windows at all - is a standby workplace in case of disaster or terrorism.
Its existence means that Heathrow could, following disaster affecting the visual control room, continue to operate.
Unfortunately it could only operate according to very low visibility procedures. But at least a fair proportion of flights could arrive and depart, rather than none.
And where is this LHR remote tower?
Sorry, I can't tell you. After they'd shown it to me, NATS had to kill me.
This is a virtual blog from beyond the grave.
What the hell! Reality is redundant anyway.
But watch this space. After ATC Global I'll report back to you about the DFS plans.