Air Traffic Control

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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It’s usually the first question that leaves people’s lips whenever we show them the new digital tower facility at Swanwick – is it really safe?

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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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The Government recently published its response to the consultation it ran on the safe use of drones in the UK. The headline announcement is the plan to introduce mandatory registration for drones over 250 grams in weight, as well as mandatory competency testing to support it.

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Frequency Monitor Codes (FMCs) have now been in use in the UK for over 10 years and they’ve collected a range of names during that time such as Listening Squawks and Monitor Codes but they are all actually referring to the same thing.

Pilots are encouraged to use a FMC when they are flying outside controlled airspace, but close to controlled airspace boundaries, in order to increase situational awareness and help to combat infringements.

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I was delighted last week to see Eamonn Brennan elected to run Eurocontrol, the Europe-wide coordinating body for air traffic control. He takes over in 2018 and is no doubt already working out what his priorities will need to be – because there are a lot.

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Both London and Scottish Flight Information Services (FIS) provide assistance to General Aviation (GA), Military and Commercial Aircraft within the Class G airspace, outside of controlled airspace, covering the whole of the UK. Pilots don’t have to call and use the service, but here’s some information on why we think you should consider it….

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At NATS we believe increasing diversity in engineering is vital for several reasons, not least because we need to expand the pool of engineering talent (both male and female) as our needs evolve, but also because we have some truly ground-breaking developments on the horizon.

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As the flying season is now well underway, we thought we’d provide a deeper look over the coming weeks, at some of the services that are available to pilots. Today we’re starting with the Lower Airspace Radar Service (LARS).

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NATS manages UK airspace from our two centres – one in Swanwick and the other in Prestwick, Ayrshire – and the air traffic controllers who work there use radar to safely guide aircraft that might be hundreds of miles away.

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    NATS
    4000 Parkway
    Whiteley
    Fareham
    Hants
    PO15 7FL

    Tel: 01489 616001

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