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BHX ATC Down

Old 24th Dec 2018, 21:47
  #21 (permalink)  
 
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In most situations I would agree with you, and ATC do a very good job. But in this situation I have to disagree with you. Ok, you can’t let aircraft get airborne in those circumstances, but diverting aircraft already on their way in is a step too far.

Aircraft don’t need ATC to fly, they don’t need ATC flight data, they don’t need their electronic strips. Last night, in those circumstances the only people that needed any of that were ATC. What they failed to realise was that those aircraft didn’t need ATC.

You imply that by losing their electronic strips the ATCOs suddenly lose all situational awareness, what happened to looking out of the window?

If if a pilot can’t navigate from the GROVE hold to the start of the 15 ILS without instantly crashing into another aircraft or falling out of the sky then one wonders what aviation has come to.

You say say that they called stop for a very good reason, I’m sure they did. However, those reasons had everything to do with ATC and nothing to do with safely flying an aircraft.
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Old 24th Dec 2018, 23:01
  #22 (permalink)  
 
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Jonty, you're getting way out of your depth now. If there are no written procedures for such eventualities, controllers cannot just go ahead and basically make them up as they go. Just imagine the legal implications, not to mention the public outcry, if something went pear shape which resulted in a mid air right over the city of Birmingham (seeing as 15 was in use apparently)! If the system is out and no procedural back-up exists, diversion is the only safe and legal option.
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Old 24th Dec 2018, 23:50
  #23 (permalink)  

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Originally Posted by Hotel Tango View Post
Until they saw what it would do to the price of their tickets!!! Who do you think would pay for it, Father Christmas!
At least the passengers would have the choice.
It seems that you are saying that once an ATC unit transfers to electronic strips there is no going back and no back up.
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Old 25th Dec 2018, 07:40
  #24 (permalink)  
 
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@Jonty, you are wrong, commercial aircraft require a properly licenced airfield for insurance reasons and that will include the provision of ATC and fire cover.

@ShyTorque, where I worked, there was a manual backup, failures required a "stop" at first and a gradual recovery as we reverted to pen and paper.

Merry Christmas to you all.
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Old 25th Dec 2018, 09:35
  #25 (permalink)  
 
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Electronic strips allowed most support staff to be laid off. Reversion to manual with nobody available to manually recieve and process the the data would be a bit tricky.
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Old 25th Dec 2018, 11:12
  #26 (permalink)  
 
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Old 25th Dec 2018, 11:12
  #27 (permalink)  

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Strange times we live and fly in.
Aircraft are mandated to have duplicated / standby systems or manual reversion.
As pilots we have to be able to fly manually if the autopilot fails.
We also have to be able to revert to other means of getting from A to B and landing if our primary navigation aids fail, even stop watch and compass dead reckoning.
Any failure in an aircraft (and like anything mechanical, electrical or electronic things do fail) is likely to affect just that one aircraft.
Yet a critical ATC main system, which if it does fail, affects all aircraft under its supervision, doesn't have any manual backup?
Crazy.
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Old 25th Dec 2018, 12:49
  #28 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Hotel Tango View Post
Jonty, you're getting way out of your depth now. If there are no written procedures for such eventualities, controllers cannot just go ahead and basically make them up as they go. Just imagine the legal implications, not to mention the public outcry, if something went pear shape which resulted in a mid air right over the city of Birmingham (seeing as 15 was in use apparently)! If the system is out and no procedural back-up exists, diversion is the only safe and legal option.
HT you have identified the problem. The reason for all the delays and diversions is that BHX has had nobody develop contingency procedures for what should be an extremely simple exigency to handle. Yes, previous posters are correct there has been deskilling in ATC that matches the deskilling in the cockpit. But it has got to a level that beggars belief that you can have aircraft all in a neat stack with R/T and you have all the airport details and capability yet cannot allow them to make approaches to land?

This is an airport and possibly a NATS UK Ltd failure to be able to cope with a relatively trivial non-nominal occurrence.
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Old 25th Dec 2018, 12:54
  #29 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Hotel Tango View Post
Jonty, you're getting way out of your depth now. If there are no written procedures for such eventualities, controllers cannot just go ahead and basically make them up as they go. Just imagine the legal implications, not to mention the public outcry, if something went pear shape which resulted in a mid air right over the city of Birmingham (seeing as 15 was in use apparently)! If the system is out and no procedural back-up exists, diversion is the only safe and legal option.
Why would there be a midair over Birmingham? The radar hadn’t failed. Or are you suggesting the Birmingham controllers are unable to adequately provide separation?

Ian W has got it spot on, and it’s a disgrace. Birmingham ATC should be sent the bill.



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Old 25th Dec 2018, 13:20
  #30 (permalink)  
 
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Iím afraid Iím with Jonty on this one. There was radar, aircraft were easily identifiable and separable - who gives a **** about a flight plan or not? Supposing the systems in the whole UK went down; what are we supposed to do, stay in the air indefinitely until itís sorted?

You get better service in darkest Africa...
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Old 25th Dec 2018, 13:24
  #31 (permalink)  
 
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I wish to complain about the inaccurate cartoon posted above.

That would never be allowed. I'm talking of course about the cleaning lady being able to smoke in the VCR.
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Old 25th Dec 2018, 14:11
  #32 (permalink)  
 
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EGBB ATC is NOT provided by NATS.

Nobody who works at EGBB has confirmed whether the code/callsign database for the radar was still available, they could easily have lost ALL flight data, we just do not know.

The safest option is to handle what you already have and not accept any more traffic until the contingency is in place.
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Old 25th Dec 2018, 14:48
  #33 (permalink)  
 
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Nobody who works at EGBB has confirmed whether the code/callsign database for the radar was still available, they could easily have lost ALL flight data, we just do not know.
Exactly! Too many posters are jumping to (possibly) the wrong conclusions about the exact status of the radar at the time. All I'm saying is that the controllers were not to blame.

Why would there be a midair over Birmingham? The radar hadn’t failed.
If the software which feeds all the flight data to the radar fails, there might well be no altitude information available. It only takes one aircraft to mishear a clearance and bust a cleared altitude.

where I worked, there was a manual backup, failures required a "stop" at first and a gradual recovery as we reverted to pen and paper.
Too true. Where I worked we had a very sophisticated back-up (costing $$$$$) but, depending on the type of failure with the main software, it still required an initial zero rate to be immediately imposed until such a time it was safe enough to accept traffic again, albeit at a reduced rate with the stand-by system.

Really. Well, their already getting screwed by all other sorts of climate gubbins, I guess actually getting to their destination for another fiver would be seen as a BONUS!
Fully agree. However, you and I may be the only ones who think that way!!! The vast majority of today's passengers only want CHEAP CHEAP CHEAP and then moan like hell when thinks go t*ts up.
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Old 25th Dec 2018, 16:36
  #34 (permalink)  
 
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Interesting how the guys in Anchorage were able to provide ATC services from a pickup truck parked at the edge of a runway after their control tower had to be abandoned due to the earthquake.........
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Old 26th Dec 2018, 01:26
  #35 (permalink)  
 
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A few years ago BHX tower had such an exercise:
"Birmingham tower is evacuated, all stations monitor tower frequency, procedural arrivals and departures in place."

Was great fun that night, but only a practice...
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Old 26th Dec 2018, 02:01
  #36 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by ShyTorque View Post
Yet a critical ATC main system, which if it does fail, affects all aircraft under its supervision, doesn't have any manual backup?
Crazy.
Aircraft could fly to a different FIR though.
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Old 26th Dec 2018, 11:35
  #37 (permalink)  
 
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Fat Controller.
You are ever so wrong .
There is no ATC required for Commercial operation into an airfield.
How do you operate into half or more of the no radar, no control zone fields allover the world?
Its called AFIS units ,Unicom, Company Fq etc.
Yes they have to have basic Fire and rescue services.
What is required in the UK now that could be much different, indeed.
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Old 26th Dec 2018, 11:47
  #38 (permalink)  
 
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Hotel Tango
Sir
Can You google TCAS for me!
And then stop posting such rubbish. MidAir over the city, come on Dude!!
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Old 26th Dec 2018, 12:04
  #39 (permalink)  
 
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Even if the BHX radar was down I don't get what the big issue is. I arrive via a IFR radar service through a NATS high level controller and get cleared to the hold. Contact the BHX controller with who I am and the latest ATIS, aircraft type etc and then we shuttle down in the hold until we reach the bottom and shoot an approach. Call fully established and get given a DME to position report so the next one can do the same behind me. Tower can look out the window and see me coming and clear me to land. They can increase the separation to allow for a departure inbetween and the climbing traffic will pick up their radar service once airborne on the SID.
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Old 26th Dec 2018, 12:07
  #40 (permalink)  
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For some reason two airports have been shut at short notice on grounds which seem questionable. Has somebody lost a Stinger?

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