As we’ve all been avidly following in the news, Virgin Orbit has just attempted the first orbital space launch from the UK, an important milestone for the country’s space industry, despite the anomaly that occurred after the rocket had left the Earth’s atmosphere. While public attention has largely been on the development of the rocket and its payload, we have been working hard in the background for over a year, along with partners across multiple countries, to ensure that the necessary airspace was clear for the launch.
When we were asked by our colleagues at RAF 78 Squadron, based in our Swanwick centre, to support a flypast over London to help mark The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, how could we possibly refuse? So just how do we plan a flypast in some of the UK’s busiest airspace?
The 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) came to a close earlier this month and as the UK prepared to host the event in Glasgow, months of logistical planning from our side was coming together as our air traffic controllers geared up for what was a busy few weeks, especially in Scottish airspace and at Scottish airports.
Our latest data visualisation is a really stark illustration of how hard the industry has been hit by the pandemic and with the Government still considering its “traffic lights” system, the much-needed summer on which the industry has been pinning its hopes is starting to look more uncertain and ever further away. We are ready if and when we get the green light for international travel, but we desperately need clarity if the summer is to be saved.
Hosting major international sporting events presents both challenges and opportunities, with the invisible infrastructure above our heads playing an integral role in the planning process.
We’ll be featuring ACM on our NATS Stand and I will be giving technical demonstrations on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. If you’re attending the Congress and are interested in ACM, please do come along and I’d be very happy to tell you more.
Regeneration should not be a one off process, after all The Doctor has done it more than eleven times and Salamanders are capable of regenerating multiple limbs. We recognise this within NATS and our strategies look as far into the future as possible so that we implement a capability for this future today.
Ongoing global events and most recently, activity at the Bardarbunga volcano in Iceland, have brought the word ‘NOTAM’, or ‘Notice to Airmen’ into the public domain as it is discussed on news broadcasts and online. But what is a NOTAM, who is in charge of them and how do they affect where aircraft fly?
Conditional routes typically go through areas of airspace which are used by the military for their operations. When the military are not using these areas of airspace, they are available (together with the CDRs that go through them) for non-military aircraft. By their nature, CDRs are not available all of the time.
When people hear that my role in NATS is to lead the Survey and Drawing Services (S&DS) team they often think I sit at a desk drawing things every day. But in truth, what the team and I do is much more varied and exciting.