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Ady Dolan






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Earlier this morning, we celebrated the reopening of the US to UK travellers with a spectacular synchronised, parallel take-off from Heathrow, something that’s extremely rare. But why exactly is it so uncommon, and what does it take operationally to pull it off?

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It’s not every day even the President of the United States gets to have tea with The Queen, but getting him in and out of what is the UK’s busiest airport – albeit with far less traffic than normal right now – is not entirely straightforward.

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Armistice Day on 11 November provides a powerful focus for national remembrance, but for me it’s a particular day of reflection.

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As thousands are set to celebrate Her Majesty The Queen’s 90th birthday this weekend, we’ve been busy behind the scenes preparing for a very special part of the celebrations – the flypast.

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A while back NATS tweeted an image of the electronic flight strip and a follower asked if we’d explain the information the strip contains.

In simple terms, an electronic flight strip is a way for an air traffic controller to see all the relevant information about a specific aircraft; what it’s doing and where it’s going. There are actually different types of strip and as a tower controller I’m going to walk you through what I use: Electronic Flight Progress System (EFPS).

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With the world’s busiest two runways, the Heathrow Airport control tower is a busy place, with the NATS controllers responsible for safely guiding 1,350 aircraft movements every day.

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There was a time when Heathrow would come to a standstill on a daily basis to watch and listen to a very special aircraft, almost as if someone had pressed the pause button on the frantic pace of life at the airport.

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