This week I spoke at The Journey Towards Autonomy in Civil Aerospace event organised by the Aerospace Technology Institute, addressing the challenges of fully automating ATM. We tend to think of autonomous things as being about self-driving cars or machines doing things without any human input, but automation is something we are now becoming used to in our everyday lives. From our phones making suggestions for us, to our TVs automatically recording […]
Over the past five weeks, we’ve heard about the best and most brilliant innovations in air traffic control history. From radio in the 1920’s, radar and flight data processing right up to real-time satellite surveillance and digital towers, which are revolutionising ATC today, which one do you think has been the most transformative and the […]
Since the days of the first control tower 100 years ago – complete with its flags and lamps – airport air traffic control has followed one very simple principle – see aircraft, control aircraft. But as airports have grown in size over the century, it’s become more and more difficult to give the air traffic controllers the best possible view of […]
Seventy years ago, there was a revolution in air travel. Radio Detection and Ranging – or ‘radar’ – gave air traffic controllers their eyes on the skies. They could see aircraft, in real time, anywhere. Well, almost anywhere. The truth is radar has always had one inescapable limitation – you need something solid to build one on…
Collaboration has always been a key part of the way we work at NATS and even during these socially distanced times, we have continued to work closely, even if remotely, with our partners. This has been demonstrated most recently by our work with LVNL, the Dutch air traffic navigation services provider, running Intelligent Approach simulations while maintaining social distancing and engaging virtually across national borders.
Another heatwave is on the way and with rising temperatures and clear skies comes an increase in General Aviation traffic. Every summer, we see many light aircraft taking to the skies and enjoying for the most part, an uneventful flight in UK airspace. However, this does coincide with an increase in the number of infringements of controlled airspace and this has not been helped by the changing operating hours of some areas during the Covid-19 pandemic, as airports and airlines try to match operating hours and flying schedules with changing levels of demand.
For my money the advent of flight data processing and the revolution in capacity and safety it has brought about absolutely deserves its moment in the spotlight in the history of air traffic control. Modern aviation simply wouldn’t exist without it.
Without an accurate and dependable picture of what’s going on in the skies above us, managing the 2.6 million flights a year we typically see in the UK would be impossible.
As the number of flights across the UK has dropped dramatically, many NATS employees have been put on extended periods of furlough. During this time, many have been volunteering, serving and supporting their communities in a variety of ways…
The Covid19 crisis represents a once in a generation opportunity to ‘build back better’, so how successful was DHL’s ‘perfect flight’ what lessons can we learn?