Without an accurate and dependable picture of what’s going on in the skies above us, managing the 2.6 million flights a year we typically see in the UK would be impossible.
If you’re reading this at your desk in a warm office, spare a thought for the NATS engineers who are exposed to the elements, all year round working to keep the skies safe.
Last week you might have seen the story about our project looking at whether TV transmissions could one day be used as a replacement for radar. I’m delighted with the interest the project has generated, but thought there was scope to give a deeper explanation of the technology behind the headlines.
The display at the National Museum of Computing has a controller workstation from the 1980’s alongside a state of the art simulation of systems from the Swanwick Centre and a busy airport tower. We’ve added some historical artefacts and a timeline of NATS linkages with Bletchley Park to celebrate our joint heritage. If you are interested in computers or air traffic control, the museum is an excellent day out and if you visit I hope you enjoy what we’ve put together.
Our trials of a new X Band radar to mitigate the effects of wind turbines at airports have understandably excited the airport community. A debate has sparked up between different members of the industry, including a few questions that I want to take this opportunity to answer.