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ATC History

Old 10th Apr 2009, 09:33
  #81 (permalink)  
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I was watching a European airline B737 "landing" on Ascot Racecourse a day or two ago; in 30+ years of using ground-based radar I never saw a similar occurrence.
If that B737 was Ryanair it probably was landing at Ascot!!
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Old 10th Apr 2009, 09:53
  #82 (permalink)  
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Heathrow Director, You are of course right if ALL flights (GA, MIL, etc) are included - I am sorry I should have said airline operations. If you want more information go to the Final seminar Report (para 5.9) and the Work Package 3 contain more information. There is a European ADS-B programme, an FAA ADS-B programme, a Canadian ADS-B programme, an Australian ADS-B programme and others too. The main initial benfits will come ADS-B-NRA to provide 'radar like' data in non radar environments (e.g. Australia, Canada and the FAA) but ADS-B-RAD which will integrate ADS-B data with radar data will follow along soon afterwards (see the first version of WP3 for definitions). Mandates are coming in all the above mentioned areas of the world (I forget dates), and once ADS-B is fully certified and used I am sure it will be of great benefit to all users of ATM on the ground and in the air, whether they be controllers, pilots, ANSPs, airports or airlines. Hope this helps!
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Old 10th Apr 2009, 12:59
  #83 (permalink)  
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A certain Crew Chief with the initials FF used to run around with a dustbin-lid, stick it on a flat-top and shout 'radar failure'........

.........and we used to bait a certain Welshman by informing him that Gatwick were on 'single-runway' 'cos he once fell for it and made a general broadcast.

And when EP used to shout 'All q****s can't tap-dance' it was a sight to behold as the entire North Bank leapt to its feet and tap-danced whilst transmitting.....

if only the punters knew.
Or the pilots, for that matter......
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Old 10th Apr 2009, 16:22
  #84 (permalink)  
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And the Laughing Policeman in London Approach.............
Old 10th Apr 2009, 20:35
  #85 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2007
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Cor blimey, some good old memories coming out here!
For my pennorth, ATCA at Barton Hall when the NOTAM was issued as the beer lorry couldn't deliver to the famous Club as the little bridge over the stream up the drive collapsed.
Sopley did have both a type 80 and 264 plus noddies (height finders) which were accurate plus or minus 5,000ft when I was there in the early 70's as a Cadet.
There was an S650 on the old BA car park but they could never get a good enough picture so it was never really used. The old original ASMI went to the science museum but Tels had to send a raiding party for bits to make it's replacement work.
JK worked? Never, he provided the entertainment.
There used to be a visitors gallery (with full length glass panels) above the Controllers at Heathrow Approach. Was there the day when there was a tight landing gap and the call "window job" went up this was fairly regular and everyone who could, dashed to the window (you could see 28L or R depending on which side of the room you went to) At this time the visitors arrived, looked in and could see no-radar controllers at all as we were all underneath them watching the fun and were mortified.
Happy days, but memories now that I've retired.
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Old 10th Apr 2009, 21:19
  #86 (permalink)  
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Ah, the visitor`s gallery!

Used to get used occasionally on night duties as accommodation for an ATCA to get his head down for an hour or two. Said ATCA would be woken when needed by some sadist opening the door and switching on the taped guide to Heathrow ATC as recorded by Basil Turner (in my day). It was amazing how quickly the assistant could get out of there ready for duty!
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Old 11th Apr 2009, 00:58
  #87 (permalink)  
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Best window-job was the traffic coming down the M4 Spur which turned out to be a Lingus Viscount on a 'Kevin bet' that he couldn't turn visual inside the MM for 28R. Kevin lost a fiver.....
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Old 11th Apr 2009, 07:03
  #88 (permalink)  
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Ahhh Kevin.. He was at the recent nostalgia evening I hear. I'd loved to have met him again but, sadly, couldn't be there! He had the habit of saying "Right?" at the end of a sentence, so on GMC you'd hear:
"Bealing 123 turning off 28L"
"Beal;ine 123 it's Bravo 6, turn left on the inner, right"
"PC.. sorry, was that left or right on the inner?"
"Left, right?" etc, etc.......

There was a great story of Kevin alone in approach one night in the days when they flew all night. The weather clamped so he was doing everything on 119.2 AND PAR monitoring over his shoulder on 119.5. They don't make them like that nowadays...

Ahh.. the visitors gallery. One ATCO came to work on his motorbike in torrential rain... came into Approach and stripped down to his knickers so he could dry his clothes. He was somewhat surprised to look up and see that he had an audience.

Another ATCO, seeing there was a crowd in the gallery, when he was relieved went to the middle of the floor, did a perfect handstand, bowed to the gallery and walked out.

Another day... a certain ATCA on the Sup's desk was reading Playgirl mag. She opened the centre fold showing some naked ponce, pushed it to the Sup and, pointing at a certain item, said "wish your's was like that, eh". The Hounslow WVS ladies in the gallery nearly had seizures!!!
Old 11th Apr 2009, 11:18
  #89 (permalink)  
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Isle of Man
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A fascinating thread, particularly as I'm trying to research the history of ATC in the Isle of Man, which really started on 8th July 1937 with the establishment of W/T DF on MF 363Khz c/s GJE and a 10nm Control Zone. Ronaldsway also administered the Isle of Man & Manchester Communications area in combination with Barton, which was one of only 4 at the time (Heston, London-Continent & Portsmouth were the others).

The 'Flight' archives are a super source of information on early ATC and well worth a look by anyone interested.

I would dearly love to buy/see a copy of John Platt's book. Parts of it were serialised in Transmit, but stopped at 1928, just when it was starting to get really interesting!

With regard to JK at Heathrow, I still have a vivid recollection of him having two Tridents rolling at the same time on 10R, one from the full length an one from block 101 (have I got that right - it's been a long time!)

Also a plea to everyone not to throw anything historical away, if you don't want it I'll certainly take it off you hands and pay the postage!

If anyone's interested I have a small section of pictures on my website of Ronaldsway ATC in the 1960s, before radar was installed (AR1), also some more recent ones:
Air Traffic Control in the Isle of Man

If anyone has any old ATC photos they would be prepared to scan I would love to have them - I could always do a 'Historic ATC' photo gallery on my site.

Cheers to all
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Old 11th Apr 2009, 12:00
  #90 (permalink)  
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Stage ½

When I first visited West Drayton in 1970, radar control was still being carried out from the North Side but procedural control was in the Mediator Stage ½ Ops Room (later used for TC?). Flight strips were being produced by MINICAP (can anyone remember what that stood for?). When did this peculiar arrangement start?

It had been planned that the Marconi FPPS would provide the FDP service in the CASOR when it opened. The Marconi system turned out not to be big enough to do more than the military service, so MINICAP was extended into the CASOR at the end of 1970 and retitled FPPS Hermes. The failure of Marconi to deliver their share of the Mediator project triggered the purchase of the 9020 which entered service 3 years later.
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Old 11th Apr 2009, 13:02
  #91 (permalink)  
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More JK on 28L single

Ahhh the sweet nostalgia of it all......I was showing a controller from Shannon Tower round the Heathrow VCR one afternoon in the mid 70s and it was 28L SRO - JK on air deps, string of departures at the holding point. One Trident on the roll, one Trident lining up for an immediate, one Trident at outer marker (can you guess what it's going to be yet?) Unusually JK waited for the departing Trident to lift off before giving second Trident take off clearance but at least he told the first one to make an early right turn. "Bealine 457 expect very late landing clearance, company traffic just rolling" "errr roger, 457" came the muted reply. The departing Trident had just made it past Rwy 23L intersection as the landing Trident came over the lights, who said "457 overshooting" , JK said "roger, break left" and the overshooting Trident was on take off power over the new cargo area construction site abeam the now rotating Trident - yes - who was on a Dover SID. (still with me?) JK told the overshooting Trident to make an early turn to Epsom, climb to 3000ft and gave the now airborne Trident traffic info and told him to keep him in sight before turning left, I think they got vertical by Chertsey. I turned to my visitor, whose jaw had just rested on the lighting panel and nervously giggled "bit busier than Shannon I guess". Just as the outside phones started to ring with noise complaints......
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Old 11th Apr 2009, 14:14
  #92 (permalink)  
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You are Lobby Ludd and I claim my £5.
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Old 11th Apr 2009, 14:24
  #93 (permalink)  
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Pelton, the North-Side procedural moved across the A4 in September was it Sept 66......Alzheimers.....
The radar followed on 31 Jan 1971 as Mediator Stage 1A. An interesting nightshift....
Hurrah for Merrick Powell, Mr Mediator.
Yup, Stage half became TC, DO/AO Assistant geographically became Thames Radar 37 years later, full circle for me on Planet Earth.
Have they demolished LATCC yet?
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Old 11th Apr 2009, 14:45
  #94 (permalink)  
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<<Hurrah for Merrick Powell, Mr Mediator.>>

Met him at a Nostalgia Evening - good friend of PB but no longer with us.
Old 11th Apr 2009, 15:41
  #95 (permalink)  

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One night duty, summer of 68, it was too hot to sleep up in the ATCAs' penthouse suite at Drayton so a couple of us went walkabout. We found a door, unlocked in the cellar so wandered through for a look, . We came out into a theatre sized room, dimly lit. Unfortunately our explorations were terminated by a Rock Ape and we were taken back to a very unhappy freshly awoken, Barney Jobe (sp?) to be identified.

There was a particular D Man, John ?? (he came to work on a moped and everybody had fun trying to knock him off) who was almost universally hated who caused me a lot of grief on DO. Luton was phoning details through on a dep routing via DVR at the same time as requesting clearance on the flight. There were about 10 strips to write, in pencil, he insisted ATCA 3's only used that, and had only just started on them when he started complaining about my incompetence. This was followed shortly after by the strips all being thrown back at me as being totally unusable. He was screaming at me over the top of the DO Suite, which he had climbed on top of, so I "hung one on him". Visit to Mr. Field this time and shortly after a posting to Sopley, after spending 3 months on NMU at Gatwick (didn't mind that, plenty of overtime)

I remember Mediator used to be switched off at nights for Maintenance, and also to calculate the salaries it was rumoured. The first anybody at an adjacent centre knew about it was when several aircraft would call and we had received no ACT data. This was almost always followed by a complaint from LATCC that they had no details on a couple. It took a helluva long time to get them to re-program their system to send back a warning to us if the ACT was not accepted.
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Old 11th Apr 2009, 16:28
  #96 (permalink)  
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Ah! the day the bridge at Barton Hall fell down. The night shift ATCAs were sent out at intervals to monitor the damage, in case the morning shift fell into the hole. After a couple of days a bailey bridge was erected and a squad of labourers arrived to rebuild the original bridge which not only carried the road but also the water and sewage pipes. One of my colleagues was stopped by the Irish foreman whilst he was on his way in to work one day and asked,"What do they do up there?" "It's an air traffic control centre." he responded. The foreman then said' "I know that, but what do they do?" "Why?" asked my colleague. "Because we've just cracked open this sewer and I've never seen so many used contraceptives in my b!**^% life." Says Paddy.
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Old 11th Apr 2009, 16:50
  #97 (permalink)  
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Moped Man was 'Jolly Jack' John Reynolds, 'D' Watch....usually....
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Old 11th Apr 2009, 17:32
  #98 (permalink)  
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Jolly Jack.

John Reynolds was a strange sort of character, a very intense, serious man. He never smiled and was as a result was known as ‘Jolly Jack’ Reynolds. He was impossible to work with. I used to hate working on his sector. He would question every action the assistant did. There was always an unpleasant atmosphere on the sector when he was around. How he was allowed to get away with it I don’t know. His fellow Chiefs would just laugh and say, ‘Oh that’s just Jack being Jack. You’ll never change him’ I would have done if I wasn’t a lowly ATSA 3. Although he was valid on the radar, fortunately for the travelling public he rarely exercised the privileges of his radar validation. If it was quiet on a night shift he would have a go.

One night duty about two in the morning most of us were sat around reading, chatting or trying to doze. Jolly Jack was having a go at the radar. He had only two aircraft on frequency. Both low and slow freighters. One was flying from Bristol to Amsterdam the other coming down from Birmingham to Paris. They were both at Flight Level 90. Unfortunately they estimated to be overhead Woodley at the same time. We pointed out this potential problem to Jolly Jack and he said he would keep an eye on it. The easy answer was to climb or descend one of the aircraft a thousand feet. Problem solved. Now the radar displays were horizontal and were ideal for sitting your coffee cup on. Jolly Jack had bought in a flask of coffee and poured himself a cup and sat the cup on the radar right over Woodley. Suddenly a shout went up, ‘John don’t forget the two nines at Woodley !!’ we all looked at the radar and the two aircraft were just disappearing under the cup both at the same height. It was too late to do anything. Nobody dare move the cup. We all sat speechless for thirty seconds then both aircraft reappeared from under the cup having passed each other. The pilots said nothing.

On another occasion he placed his Tupperware sandwich box on the radar screen. An aeroplane called him. Its route would take it under the box. Having learnt a lesson from his airmiss at Woodley he was more cautious. This time he vectored the aircraft around the Tupperware box giving the pilot a series of headings to fly. The pilot never queried the headings probably thinking he was being kept clear of other aircraft. It never occurred to Jolly Jack to simply move the box.


Last edited by Mr_Grubby; 11th Apr 2009 at 17:48.
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Old 11th Apr 2009, 21:18
  #99 (permalink)  

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Reynolds - yes that was the guy.

I later worked at Maastricht, with Gerry Wigglesworth -ex Preston. On nights I normally took a thermos of tea along for myself but gerry normally had most of it. One night he complained that the tea was not up to the usual standard. "I know" I told him. "Adrie (my wife) made it. She doesn't P in the pot to warm it like I do." Got to drink my tea in peace after that.

Another Brit, Brian Easy, always had an excuse for needing an early go, usually to go to his French lessons or for a massage. Eventually we started to only talk french around him. After 100s of hours of lessons he could surely speak the language?

Some years later an ex LATCC controler came over, however, shortly after validating, he decided Maastricht was not for him and returned to the UK. Severl months later, in accordance to the LOA, an inbound EGKK, instructed to cross KOK at fl280, called London FL282 descending and was advised he was refused, instructed to take up the hold, and QSYed back to Maastricht together with a EGLL dep climbing through his level (one blip!!!!!in addition there was another RGKK inbound at FL280 approaching KOK. An interesting 10 minutes followed. He was immediately suspended and later fired for that.

Then there was the Creeganator .....
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Old 11th Apr 2009, 22:17
  #100 (permalink)  
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is the Creeganator still around or have the MoD finally caught him?
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