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control tower (plural control towers)

  1. (aviation) An airport building from which the air traffic control unit monitors and directs the movement of aircraft on and around the airport.
    • 1947 June 9, "National Affairs: Holocaust at LaGuardia," Time:
      As he taxied out to the far side of the field, 38-year-old Captain Benton R. ("Lucky") Baldwin was cleared for takeoff. The control tower gave him his choice of two runways—No. 13 or No. 18.
  2. An enclosed, raised structure occupied by one or more persons who operate or exercise control over railway traffic, ship movement, a racetrack, machinery, etc.
    • 1918, Victor Appleton, chapter 12, in Tom Swift And His War Tank:
      Ned Newton stood beside Tom in the control tower of the great tank as she started on her homeward way.
    • 1941 Nov 17, "Catastrophe: Crash at Dunkirk," Time:
      In a railway control tower at Dunkirk, Ohio, Operator Cliff Schwartzkopf waited for the Pennsylvania's Pennsylvanian, eastbound from Chicago to New York.
    • 2006 Jan. 29, Thomas Fuller, "China trade unbalances shipping," New York Times (retrieved 18 Jan 2012):
      From the control tower high above the sprawling container port here, Danny Law helps manage the relentless loading and unloading of cargo, day and night.

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