Air Traffic Control

A decade ago we launched Acting Responsibly –   a unique programme among air navigation service providers globally – and we’ve achieved a huge amount. The sheer enthusiasm and passion of NATS employees has seen the programme grow into a rich range of activities. I’d like to share a few of highlights from the past […]

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With the volume of air traffic set to increase across Europe in the coming years; it is vital we have the communications infrastructure in place to suppose the exchange of data between Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs), Airports and the Military, as well as the Pan-European Network Manager (PENS). PENS is the common network service used primarily by ANSPs and Eurocontrol to share air traffic management data.

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I’ve worked at NATS for 22 years now and have been an Air Traffic Controller for 19 of them! I trained for the first 3 years. I think in essence I’m still the same person that started all those years ago, and I still have the same passion for the job today as I did when I first “plugged in”.

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Digital towers are one of the hottest topics around the industry at the moment, so last week we asked our LinkedIn followers to fire their burning questions at us for us to answer. So here they are.

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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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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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