When it comes to the greatest technological or engineering revolutions in the history of air traffic control, it’s easy to think of the obvious examples.
Air traffic control emerged alongside the rapid development of radio in the 1920s, while radar helped save the country during the Battle of Britain and remains the backbone of the industry to this day.
Both are worthy contenders that will have their cases made over the next few weeks, but there have been other less obvious, but arguably just as worthy innovations over the past 100 years that deserve attention. Flight Data Processing, real-time satellite surveillance and digital towers have all transformed air traffic control in different ways.
Over the next five weeks we’ll be profiling each of these technologies, with experts from across NATS or beyond making the case for why their chosen innovation deserves to be crowned the greatest. But it’s you that will decide the ultimate winner when you get to vote for the greatest air traffic control innovation of the past 100 years.
Hopes will be crushed, and egos bruised, but there can be only one winner.
We start later this week with the origins of radio and how what now feels like a very everyday commodity was utterly transformative to 1920s aviation.
And if you think we’ve missed something or got it wrong, let us know in the comments.
Its true that 2020 isn’t quite the anniversary year we’d hoped for, but you can find out more about the origins of Air Traffic Control 100 years ago and the people who made it all possible at nats.aero/atc100.
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