Understanding ATC

Leaders in the aviation industry headed to Madrid for the sixth annual World ATM Congress last week to catch up on the latest technologies and conversations in ATC. NATS had a large presence at the event, focusing on three core themes…

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I served in the Royal Air Force for around 7 years prior to joining NATS.  Although Air Traffic Control was a career that I always wanted to get into, I assumed that I’d need to be super qualified, so I never explored it any further. 

When I finally decided that I needed a new challenge in life, my attention drew back to ATC, and luckily by now the internet was readily available so I was able to carry-out some research.  Realising the career was accessible I submitted my application and my first round of assessments were booked without hesitation.  

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Ever since I can remember I’ve been interested in aviation. I originally had plans to become a pilot, but after studying Aeronautical Engineering, I looked into Air Traffic Control and was instantly interested.

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Ten years ago  flight BA038 crashed landed short of the runway at Heathrow Airport. What would then ensue would be among the most memorable, pressurised and emotionally charged few minutes of air traffic controller Greg Kemp’s life. This is the first time he’s spoken publically about what happened.  

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Fortunately, with a temperate climate, much of our weather in the UK tends to be fairly benign (this week’s snow a possible exception!) but one of the most common and disruptive forms is strong winds. Find out how exactly it affects air traffic control >>

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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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Last month my colleague Chris Edwards talked about the transition that’s under way in our London Terminal Control room, where we’re introducing a new digital tool called EXCDS to replace the paper strips currently used by Controllers.

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Over the past few weeks we have highlighted the issues associated with airspace infringements including the significant impact they can have on controller workload, the necessary avoiding action, delays and cost that can result to other pilots following an incident.

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It’s been four months since we launched Airspace Explorer, our flight tracking and airspace education app that’s available for free on iPad, and our first major update has just gone live.

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Following a study by the Institution of Engineering and Technology, which reports that only 9% of the UK’s engineering and technology workforce are women, we wanted to act. Last week we welcomed almost 60 teenage girls to NATS as part of our first Bring Your Daughter to Work Day.

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