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.

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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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Last month we welcomed representatives from the Department for Transport (DfT) and the European Commission’s Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA) to our Swanwick Centre to see some of the work we’re doing to modernise our ATM systems as part of the SESAR (Single European Sky ATM Research) programme.

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With traffic forecast to grow significantly over the next decade and ongoing pressures to improve environmental performance and reduce costs whilst maintaining safety, we need to change the way we manage air traffic in the UK.

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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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Both London and Scottish Flight Information Services (FIS) provide assistance to General Aviation (GA), Military and Commercial Aircraft within the Class G airspace, outside of controlled airspace, covering the whole of the UK. Pilots don’t have to call and use the service, but here’s some information on why we think you should consider it….

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NATS manages UK airspace from our two centres – one in Swanwick and the other in Prestwick, Ayrshire – and the air traffic controllers who work there use radar to safely guide aircraft that might be hundreds of miles away.

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We’ve created two 360 videos that put you at the very heart of the action in Heathrow control tower and London Terminal Control.

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The air traffic control centre at Swanwick is the stage for most of the NATS-related drama in the upcoming Skies Above Britain TV series, which starts on Wednesday at 9pm on BBC Two.

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Distress and Diversion

You could be lost, facing a medical emergency, suffering from engine failure or have a fuel leak – the list of reasons why a pilot may declare a PAN or a MAYDAY is endless and a frightening prospect for even the most experienced pilots.

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    Head Office

    NATS
    4000 Parkway
    Whiteley
    Fareham
    Hants
    PO15 7FL

    Tel: 01489 616001

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