ATC IssuesA place where pilots may enter the 'lions den' that is Air Traffic Control in complete safety and find out the answers to all those obscure topics which you always wanted to know the answer to but were afraid to ask.
As did the type 80 at Sopley, but when that went off for mx the 264 blip was wider than the Airway at range! Nearly as good as the noddy height finders which gave you a height +/- 5,000ft.
Part of the famil for the T80 was to go into the cabin that went round with the head, without turning it off, to be shown "stuff" - can't imaging H&S allowing that nowadays.
"Just mind your step as you get out"
Come on NATS, get a proper dress code for your staff: Double-breasted suit, tie, pencil moustache, National Health glasses, briar pipe and a bucket-load of Brylcreem. Controllers were MEN in those days! (Well, apart from the girl with the mike on steroids).
Just love all the civil titles: "Pilot Meredith", "Chief Controller Cusworth". Just imagine: "Assistant Sector Controller Smith please be so kind as to coordinate Viking George Able How Oboe Uncle with Birdlip sub-centre at Flight Level Four Zero"..." Certainly Crew Chief Cholmondly-Warner, I shall delegate the task to Woman-Sector Assistant Daphne whilst Cleaner Doris empties my ashtray and I sharpen my HMSO pencil"
Ah the 424, those were the days, 22 years old, all the hosties that I could handle (or could handle me), 52 1/2 mile SRAs in a 13 hour "day radar" duty, trying to keep the thing in tune to avoid loosing radar contact, variable polarisation to try and beat the weather, not forgetting the aerial tilt, and down the pub for a quick lunch, who ever invented SRATCOH and spoilt it all?
I was responsible for installing the LBA ACR430, which replaced the 424. The 424 was sold to Brough, purchase negotiated between the then LBA Airport Commandant, Geoffrey Sellers and Derek Whithead of Brough. Derek used to fly across in a non-radio Blackburn B2 tail-dragger. After landing on the runway, he would get out, put his arm round the tail and walk across to the apron pulling the aircraft ! Derek was a great character, who had undertaken a vast amount of military fast jet test flying. He later joined CAA as an Aerodrome Inspector based at the then CAA HQ at Kingsway London.
When the ACR 430 was purchased, I was checked out by Plessey and then rated by CAA. I was then responsible for checking out the remaining ATCOs before the CAA Inspector came across to do their ratings.
Although the ACR 430 had several technical advantages over the 424, the latter produced a much sharper return and the narrow beam width enabled proficient operators to ( roughly ) monitor aircraft height. The 424 was much preferred for superior precision during radar talk-downs. There was, of course, no ILS at LBA at the time.
The 424 was not the first aerodrame radar at LBA. It was preceded by one that I cannot unfortunately remember the name of. It was a very imprecise piece of equipment, but was used for talk-downs. In those days, Air Traffic Control was located in a sort of diy glasshouse on top of the old ex-RAF Officers Mess. The radar was mounted on the roof with a sort of periscope suspended from the ceiling in the centre of the visual control room. Luckily, I did not need to validate on the equipment as it was withdrawn by CAA.