The airspace above London and the South East is some of the busiest and most complex in the world, so it might come as a surprise to know that a core part of the way air traffic is managed in this airspace currently still relies on pen and paper…

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Earlier this year, in a meeting with aviation industry executives at the White House, President Donald Trump called the U.S air traffic arrangements “obsolete”. Perhaps surprising to his many critics, he’s actually not alone in his thinking as the majority of airlines agree with his plans to liberalise and even privatise the country’s air traffic control organisation.

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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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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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To become an air traffic controller requires a specific set of skills and attitude, things that can’t necessarily be taught or learned. For every successful controller validated, many thousand wash out during the process. But as you may suspect, for those that have what it takes it’s rewarding in every sense.

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With a month to go until Farnborough International Airshow, we want to remind airspace users of the temporary airspace restrictions that will be in place during the event.

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At Prestwick the FISOs record a fair amount of information on our handwritten FIR strips. We try to note down on the flight strip all the relevant information on the first call with an aircraft.

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Last weekend saw the Royal International Air Tattoo, or ‘RIAT’, celebrate air power from around the world and the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, with a stunning three day airshow.

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An ‘invisible infrastructure’, with ‘huge motorways in the sky’. When NATS released its UK 24 video, it showed just how many flights are up in that invisible infrastructure on a daily basis.

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    NATS
    4000 Parkway
    Whiteley
    Fareham
    Hants
    PO15 7FL

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