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ATC History

Old 6th Apr 2009, 20:19
  #41 (permalink)  
 
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I was a D25/25E in '74. Eastern and Northern at Lindholme had access to 82/84/85 Staxton/Neatishead/Bawdsey/Patrington/all sorts. ISTR that the old Eastern radar freq was 134.25. My current SATCO was Senior Civil ATCO at Eastern Radar, Watton, in late seventies.
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Old 6th Apr 2009, 20:45
  #42 (permalink)  
 
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I was also a A man at Preston and I remember an awful bit of kit that was installed at the end of sector 25 to send info to the radar units it was called an electro-writer and I remember getting calls from Lindholme etc saying they could not read the data.
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Old 6th Apr 2009, 21:01
  #43 (permalink)  
 
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Was that the device that you wrote on with a stylus that then reproduced the handwriting at the other end with a moving pen?
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Old 6th Apr 2009, 21:24
  #44 (permalink)  
 
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2 sheds

If so, there was one at Border Radar when I was there in the mid 70s...awful is an understatement.
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Old 6th Apr 2009, 21:58
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Some of us never seem to throw things away!







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Old 7th Apr 2009, 01:35
  #46 (permalink)  
 
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I still remember being at Border in the mid 70's regularly haveing 10 on the tote board (full up for the civil allocation) and hearing the military guys calling for backup because they had 2 on frequency and a third was about to be handed off to them.

Also remember the type 84, 85 and various other antennas all nicely camouflaged to hide the site from prying eyes in the sky, yet the entrance to the place was a small cottage/farmhouse with a parking lot outside for a 100 or so cars

Last edited by ex-EGLL; 24th May 2013 at 16:25.
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Old 7th Apr 2009, 06:44
  #47 (permalink)  
 
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Oh what joy those charts brought... When I was a kid my chums had pics of football teams, or Muriel Young on their bedroom walls. Me, being quite normal, had charts of the UK Airways System. Epsom, Watford and Dunsfold Radio Ranges..... Red One, Green One all bring back memories. London Airport is there, but no mention of that landing strip near Crawley..?

The USAF KB-50Js going from Norfolk to Chatteroux (sp?) used to read-back "Brookmans Park, Kilburn, Epsom, DunsFORD". Never did understand why they often got it wrong.
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Old 7th Apr 2009, 07:36
  #48 (permalink)  
 
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The Electro-writer...Writing in = like an Ionian monk illuminating a manuscript. Writing out= Like a pi**ed spider. Dreadful. I think the old Board of Trade had bought a job lot because they cropped up at a lot of units. There was also one at Liverpool in 1970 for the Met Observer to send the actuals to the tower.
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Old 7th Apr 2009, 11:02
  #49 (permalink)  
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I was just wondering, was the Heathrow or Gatwick Approach Controller on the same frequency as the Number 1 Director? Also, now we have the support controller sometimes on the same frequency as the Number 1 Director, is the support controller always there to do the coordination (even if not speaking on frequency) or does the Director have to handle coordination at the same time as controlling? Finally, does each TMA sector still have a planner/coordinator?
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Old 7th Apr 2009, 15:35
  #50 (permalink)  
 
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So much to jump in with. Fairly early charts. Green 2 became Blue 1 and the amberway was moved to align Pole Hill-Dean Cross; Burtonwood went to Barton amongst other change some time before Jan 67 because they were old hat when I started. Type 82 was part of the bloodhound setup, it had a stacked beam antenna which gave inbuilt height finding capablity, not very accurate as i recall. Sectorisation at PATCC was sector1 Lichfield to the Manch TMA, 2 TMA north to Dean cross, 3 TM west to Liffey and Belfast, 5 was above and part of the TMA and 25 was all of FL250 and above. Radar units were PATCRU at Manch airport and the JATCRUs at Border (Boulmer), Northern (Lindholme), and Ulster (Bishop's Court). I think Eastern came in after my time. After my 2 years at PATCC I got my cadetship and was sent to do ATCA famil at Lindholme before the aerodrome course. I subsequently did my area at ScATCC with my radar at Boulmer.
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Old 7th Apr 2009, 19:18
  #51 (permalink)  
 
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Hi all - a rich thread, this one. I was ATSA at JATCRU Bishops Court (Ulster Rad) for 18 months - '68 to '69. We used chinagraph on clear perspex strips which were moved across a large vertical, edge-lit board, between 2 pairs of consoles. Our 'D' men were in Prestwick. We ATSAs were on RTF and updated the strips using red and yellow chinagraph - IIRC red was for eastbounds. A busy day yielded sticky orange hands which were a bu..er to clean; we had to wipe the perspex clean and reuse them. I believe we too had an Electrowriter and phones for data from ScACC Redbrae. We used big Type 80 radar to cover some of the Irish Sea and oceanic stuff up to around Benbecula, all upper air tfc. I've been around a bit since then - am just about to finish at ScACC !
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Old 7th Apr 2009, 19:27
  #52 (permalink)  
 
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Slight tangent to the topic, but for those of you interested in the radar equipment and early use in civil ATC, 'Watching The Skies: The History of Ground Radar in the Air Defence of the United Kingdom" by Jack Gough is an interesting (if heavy!) read. The book (obviously) concentrates on Air Defence, but many of the radar sites and control centres were used for civil ATC purposes as well and there is considerable information on them - even my father-in-law spent some time doing civil ATC out of Sopley bunker!

It's not current (pub. 1993) but then it doesn't need to be


RS
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Old 7th Apr 2009, 19:55
  #53 (permalink)  
 
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<<I was just wondering, was the Heathrow or Gatwick Approach Controller on the same frequency as the Number 1 Director? Also, now we have the support controller sometimes on the same frequency as the Number 1 Director, is the support controller always there to do the coordination (even if not speaking on frequency) or does the Director have to handle coordination at the same time as controlling? Finally, does each TMA sector still have a planner/coordinator

Callum91..... The approach controllers were/are on the same frequency as their respective Directors, i.e. No 1 North Director was on same frequency as North Approach at Heathrow. They handled BNN and LAM traffic with their counterparts on the south side handling BIG and OCK. Gatwick Approach and No.1 Director were on the same frequency too but I don't know what the current situation is.

The "support" controller does the same as the old approach controller except he/she has radar. If things are quiet, the No. 1 Director will do everything himself - talking to aircraft, answering phone calls, writing strips, etc. When it's busy the support, or approach, controller usually does the phones and some strip marking.

Can't answer TMA questions - that's a different ball game!!
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Old 7th Apr 2009, 19:59
  #54 (permalink)  
 
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Used to clean the SATCC edge-lits with trichloryethylene. Very inflammable. Great trick was to soak a muslin rag and put it in a metal waste paper bin under Outbound Two's seat and light it.
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Old 7th Apr 2009, 20:40
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Can`t believe nobody has mentioned Gailes yet....type 7 was it?
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Old 7th Apr 2009, 21:18
  #56 (permalink)  
 
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Zooker, I hope he doesn't mind my stating this, but I had the pleasure of 'proof' reading his work, last year; at least the first section up to 1939. He is still working on it, for WWII and up to today. I haven't seen him for a couple of months, so cannot say anymore than that.

For someone such as myself who knows nothing of this world; it was a very enlightening read. I hope I can 'proof' read the rest!!
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Old 7th Apr 2009, 21:27
  #57 (permalink)  
 
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Southern Centre

Never worked there but was told the radar controllers played cricket outside when the 'd' side didn't actually need them (on VMC days). Things were much more professional at Barton Hall.
Wasn't SATCC nearer to the Peggy Bedford than the Magpies?
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Old 7th Apr 2009, 21:33
  #58 (permalink)  

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Loki, Gailes was mentioned earlier

IIRC there was also a 264 at Sopley?

and just for Zooker

A for 'Orses .................. ('ay for 'orses)
B for Mutton .................. (Beef or Mutton)
C for Miles ................... (See for Miles)
D for Ential .................. (Differential)
E for Brick ................... ('eave a Brick)
F for Vescence ................ (Effervescence)
G for Get It .................. (Gee, forget it!)
H for Bless You ............... (Aitsshfa! A Sneeze)
I for The Engine .............. (Ivor the Engine)
J for Oranges ................. (Jaffa Oranges)
K for Restaurant .............. (Cafe or Restaurant)
L for Leather ................. ('ell for Leather)
M for Sis' .................... (Emphasis)
N for Lope .................... (Envelope)
O for The Wings Of A Dove ..... (O! for the Wings of a Dove!)
P for Relief .................. (?!?!)
Q for A Bus ................... (Queue for a Bus)
R for Mo' ..................... ('alf a Mo')
S for Rantzen ................. (Esther Rantzen)
T for Two ..................... (Tea for Two)
U for Me ...................... (You for Me)
V for La France ............... (Vive la France)
W for The Winnings ............ (Double you for the Winnings)
X for Breakfast ............... (Eggs for Breakfast)
Y for Husband ................. (Wife or Husband)
Z for Wind .................... (Zephyr Wind)
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Old 8th Apr 2009, 06:57
  #59 (permalink)  
 
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<<Wasn't SATCC nearer to the Peggy Bedford than the Magpies>>

The Southern Centre, as it was called in those days, was well along the north side of Heathrow, possibly half way between the two pubs, if not marginally closer to the Peggy Bedford.

One of the stories I heard years ago was that during an outside paint job the workmen took down the letters "Southern Air Traffic Control Centre" and left them nearby. The Centre Superintendent was Len Winter and some ATCO wags got a ladder and put up the letters "Lens Cafe". Next morning the incoming watch were amazed to find the car park full of HGVs!!

I fell about at Talkdownman's story of fires under the radar controllers, but such things happened then and it was that sort of raving lunacy which helped to attract me to ATC and which is sadly missing nowadays.
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Old 8th Apr 2009, 08:18
  #60 (permalink)  
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I reckon SATCC was nearer the Peggy Bedford than the Maggies and Black and Decker was further on towards Slough from the PB.

On the radar subject, the landing strip in Surrey had a Marconi 232 and an Plessey? ACR6, which were replaced with a 264 and a T4008 which was (I think) an AR1 with and ACR6 head on it. Gatters got SSR in about 1980 which got rid of the special ident method used by many (guess when it's through the overhead, ask for a heading, if the DF trace was south east then it was clear of the outbounds so descend and wait for the blip to reappear before confirming ident by a turn onto base. If you didn't do this, by the time the blip had reappeared near East Grinstead, you didn't have a scooby of getting it down from MSL in the RVA!!

On the North Sea helicopter point, the story I heard was that back in the early 70's a Highland Radar controller was chatting to a heli pilot in the pub and said "we can see you tracking out to the to rigs (they all used Decca tracks based on the ADN VOR then), so why not give us a call". He did and that was the start of the service. The service from Aberdeen was much later (as was the one from Sumburgh). My memory is that we could see tracks 80 miles from the head at 500 feet but that could well be rubbish. I believe that the type 80 was actually tilted down to give the air defenders sight of attacking aircraft. Canberras on Taceval were quite sporty - they followed the Decca Tracks into the overhead and could fly almost as slow as the helos!!

A I

Last edited by A I; 8th Apr 2009 at 08:28.
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