Every day at Heathrow is an incredible feat of logistical and operational planning and delivery. Nowhere is that clearer than in the air traffic control team, but at Heathrow we do have one added secret ingredient: HOEC, the Heathrow Operational Efficiency Cell.
You may be wondering, what does professional football have to do with air traffic control? It might not be obvious at first, but there are a lot of similarities – not least that both are high performing, high pressure careers which require certain levels of aptitude and mentality.
You might have spotted the Heathrow air traffic control tower on TV recently in the BBC’s new show – ‘The Airport: Back in the Skies’. Presented by the original 90’s ‘Airport’ series star Jeremy Spake, the five-part documentary series looks at how the aviation industry at Britain’s busiest airport managed through the most challenging time in its history.
There were nine go-arounds in a row at one point at Heathrow, and 40 in total between 07:00 and 14:00, when usually we might see one a day. Add in similar problems at other airports and you’re suddenly dealing with a very complex, dynamic and challenging environment.
Earlier this year we started a project looking at whether we could apply a combination of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and ultra-HD camera technology to help cut weather- related delays at Heathrow. Here’s an update on what we’re doing next.
The idea that a digital tower can mean only that you look to replicate exactly what a controller can already see – the application we see most of around the world – is forcing constraints on the technology that don’t need to exist. This technology is revolutionary, so why strive to only recreate what we already have?
For the next 11 Mondays we’ll be asking a new airspace related question – bowl us over with the right answer and you could be one of two lucky winners walking away with £250 each. This week’s question has been inspired by the upcoming test match…
Starting tomorrow, the sectors that control Heathrow, Gatwick and the airspace to the South and South-East of these airports will switch over to EXCDS. This is obviously a particularly busy area of airspace, covering the approach function for the UK’s two busiest airports.
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.