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ATC History

Old 3rd Apr 2009, 21:28
  #21 (permalink)  
 
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Has anyone got any UK Aerad/Jeppesen type charts from the 1960s or earlier that they could scan on to the internet? Or does anyone know of any sites where old aeronautical charts are available?
Does anyone know anything about a proposed book by John S Platt called "Heavy Weather" A history of the UK ATC System?
Where does the term 'bandbox' originate?
Looking at the article from the 1950s Flight International cited above, Can anyone remember the 2 Phonetic Alphabets prior to the one currently in use?
How did the JATCRUs work alongside the civil ATC centres?
What services were provided from locations such as Antrobus, Sopley, Lindholme and Hack Green etc?
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Old 3rd Apr 2009, 21:34
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I see ADS-B transmissions daily and it does concern me the inaccuracies which can occur compared to ground-based radar systems.

If you watch a "radar" picture of ADS-B equipped aircraft flying into Heathrow, for example, you'll see that the odd one "lands" in Windsor Great Park, or Wimbledon High Street. If the accuracy needed by ATC is to be determined by crews setting up their ADS-B equipment correctly I think the integrity is in doubt. If someone squawks the wrong code it can easily be picked up... but how does one know that an ADS-B location is true?

Hopefully someone can put me right.
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Old 3rd Apr 2009, 21:35
  #23 (permalink)  
 
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I wonder how many of the current breed of ATCOs view multi-lateration and ADS-B as black magic and would prefer it not to be there?
I think many feel that way still about mode S
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Old 3rd Apr 2009, 22:21
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And another thing,
Why were Aeronautical Light Beacons called 'Pundits'?
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Old 3rd Apr 2009, 22:29
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I started at the old London ATCC on the Northside of EGLL in May 61 as an ATCA. I well remember the old metal strip holders as I soon got caught by one Gerry Took, an ATCO who called out 'Here's a hot one' as he tossed me a stripholder, which of course had been sitting on the top of the old style cast iron Central heating radiator for 10 minutes. [ he wore a glove for the throw!] Oh happy days. En-route controlling was all done procedurally by the 'D' men. Us ATCA's wrote all the strips by hand and distributed them to the various sectors. I moved to Sopley JATCRU in 63 and spent 3 happy years monitoring the R/T and recording the flight data on 'edge lit display boards' with Chinagraph pencils. The radar was the long range RAF 'Type 80' with a pinhead size blip and the SSR was up to four short horizontal 'slashes' behind the primary blip. If I remember correctly the width and number of 'slashes' gave you the code. The Controllers soon learned to recognise their particular allocated SSR codes. No height read-out or callsign conversion or anything else in those days.
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Old 3rd Apr 2009, 23:05
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Coming back to "D" men. My recollection is that on the area side the "D"man was the director and the "A" man his assistant. Titles borrowed from the US where the procedural airways system was originally developed. Of course here in UK the assistant was not a controller grade, although some of us did towards the end of the non radar environment become "A" men. Director has as far as I know always meant an approach radar controller this side of the pond. Incidentally some very good "A" men were actually female, in those far off days gender discrimination was an alien concept.
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Old 4th Apr 2009, 06:04
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I was a 'D'-Man once. I think I was the youngest for a while, most of 'em were 'rather older'. Eventually the sectors became too busy for procedural control with radar 'intervention' and the 'radar' tail started wagging the 'procedural' dog, hence 'Mediator'. It was quite a challenge when the radar was out and we had to revert to the old 'T1 + T2' formulae' (can anyone remind me of them?) In 'Stage Half' the 'A'-Side was (wo)manned by ATCA IIs but there was always at least one ATCO III on each bank to make executive decisions on behalf of the D-Men. In 'Stage One Mediator' each Sector had an ATCO III ASC in addition to an ATCA II SA. The ATCA did the strip-bashing and the ATCO III did the cruising level allocation and the coord. If one had a good ATCA who was maybe cadet material one could leave them to it on a 'long lead' and have a bit of fun. I have a nice collection of photographs of the North Side in action fifty years ago. The other job of the ATCO III was to do the FIR hence the anachronism 'FIR Controller'. It meant they could get a good grounding on using the wireless. Heady days....fond memories.
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Old 4th Apr 2009, 10:03
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Heady days indeed Talkdownman. I was one of the ATCA IIs on the A side at Preston. We of course did not have the "benefit"of the mediator but I seem to recall a couple of hours a week (was it Wednesday afternoons?) when LATCC reverted to manual whilst the confuser underwent routine maintenance. We always reckoned the estimates got better during that period. Incidentally I was one of the cadet material. Three happy vagrant years, followed by thirty five doing what for me was an ideal job.
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Old 4th Apr 2009, 10:34
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I was there with him!
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Old 4th Apr 2009, 16:19
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And elsewhere methinks!
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Old 4th Apr 2009, 16:33
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Was I right in thinking that original D men were IIs and the Radar men were IIIs??
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Old 4th Apr 2009, 17:12
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Zooker asked " Where does the term bandbox originate? "

This is how it was explained to me when I joined ATC 41 years ago.

A bandbox is a 17th century word given to a light cylindrical box used by military officers, clergymen and the aristocracy for storing their ruffs (then known as bands), collars, caps etc.

Over the years it has also come to mean to tidy things away i.e. put them in a bandbox.

In the early days of ATC many of the senior controllers were ex-RAF officers and the term "bandbox" was coined to indicate collapsing sectors onto one position or tidying up as you might say. The fact that radar consoles at that time were circular made it seem as though all the sectors had been put into a bandbox.

This explanation had the ring of truth about it so I've always believed it.
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Old 4th Apr 2009, 19:10
  #33 (permalink)  
 
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Thanks vapourer.
The Phonetic Alphabets are in fact, on Wikipedia.
Now, where were the UK's radar installations prior to what we have today, and what type of radar was at each site? When were they in use (to, from), etc.
e.g.
EGNX, DECCA 424 then PLESSEY AR1 then MARCONI S511.
St ANNES, MARCONI 264A.
Gailes, North Luffenham, Staxton Wold?
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Old 5th Apr 2009, 02:07
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HD, yep, Ds were IIs, Radar (wo)men were IIIs.
Hyper, yep I think it was Wed when the 9020 went off and we went manual, threes, fives and eights.
Atcham, I was with you, but prob not at PATCC. Was there early '68.
And, yep, I'm still using a 424.
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Old 5th Apr 2009, 09:56
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I was at PATCC from Jan 67 to Apr 69 so we obviously overlapped Talkdownman. In 68 I was an A Man.
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Old 5th Apr 2009, 18:01
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Yup, me too. I think about the time Tom Hod was CS or DCS.
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Old 5th Apr 2009, 20:51
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That's right. In fact if I remember correctly Tom was a watch supervisor when I got there but was promoted fairly soon afterwards. Not that I would have dared to call him Tom in those days
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Old 5th Apr 2009, 21:05
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That's a big ask Zooker. Area radars moved from place to place to start with. Hack Green/ Antrobus to Patcru for instance. In my day Patcru had 264 at both Manch and St Annes. Border had types 84? and 85, Northern at Lindholme had type 82, Gailes type 14 and 7, Sopley type 80. That's just the area units I recall, don't know the types for Highland at Buchan for instance. Airfields become mind boggling. ACR6 at Manch , 424 at Hawarden, Blackpool, Liverpool ( replaced by a 430), AR1 subsequently upgraded at IOM. Then there were the 232s which preceded the 264 there were also oddities like the DSAR1 at Llanbedr and the funny periscope thing at Lasham. I even, very briefly, worked traffic on an AA4 mk.7; an anti aircraft gun laying radar. Add in the PARs and you are looking at a long list. Best of luck with the research.
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Old 5th Apr 2009, 21:52
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Buchan had a Type 80 with 64 code SSR. It was mounted on a hill pointing downwards, and provided very good cover at low level on the North Sea. There was also a Marconi S259, the forerunner of the S264. This was circa 1975.
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Old 6th Apr 2009, 16:24
  #40 (permalink)  
 
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Zooker...
I was at Eastern radar, on the civil side for a short time in 1974. Eastern civil provided the radar coverage for Preston ( Barton Hall) for the sector roughly E of Otteringham out to Bluebell (UB1). North from Gabbard to South Fisher (UA37). and the route Dogger-Newcastle (UR14)? The D man sat at Preston and was on the same frequency using the old 'push to talk intercom. (132.7 I think). The ATCA 2's (as was) manned the 'edge lit board', and the 'store dot display'. The edge lit board was exactly that, a board lit from the edge with a background format geographically arranged to represent the passage of aircraft through the sector. The ATCA task was to take flight plan details from the 'electro-writer' and transfer it to the edge-lit board. The ATCA would then do all the strip marking type tasks for the Radar ATCO using a chinagraph. Meanwhile, the ATCA manning the store-dot display would have a proper radar console. The way the thing worked was for the ATCO to inject a bright dot alongside the primary return which the ATCA would 'rate' so that it would fly with the radar return along the airway. The point of this was that the store dot would carry a code (A1 etc), this could be co-related to the 'tote board' display at the front of the ops room, think of it as a very rudimentary form of SSR label, and boy was it rudimentary. The pacing computer would gently let the store dot fall away from the primary return requiring endless fine tuning by the ATCA to get it to remain 'on target'. How the RAF coped with it on manouvering targets I just don't know!
Eastern mainly used the type 82 at this time but had access to the 84 & 85. The latter two radars had very slow time bases and thus had dead sectors. I think I'm right in saying that the 82 was designed as part of the old Bloodhound missile system and was a 10cm radar operating out to about 140nm. The power required to do this required sterile areas around the radar heads as the radiation would microwave anything that got too close.
I certainly enjoyed my short time at Eastern working with Des Adams and Winston Boardman, among others, who certainly helped the time pass quickly on a quiet duty. As it was a damn long time ago I apologise in advance for any unintended errors!
Oh. By the way, I do realise the reporting points probably mean nothing to you so think of it as a sort of combo of the MACC East and London North sea sectors, (very roughly). Me being an airports person I know little of such skullduggery!
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