Showing posts with label Air Traffic Control. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Air Traffic Control. Show all posts

Monday 9 October 2023

The real art of blue sky thinking...... air traffic control

Picture the worst possible day on the biggest and busiest road and then imagine that chaos transferred to the clouds worldwide. Artemis Aerospace looks at the crucial work of air traffic controllers and how they keep aircraft moving and skies safe.

If you’ve downloaded a flight radar app, you may have been astonished at the sheer number of aircraft criss-crossing the country. Zooming in to Heathrow or JFK, all you can see is a vast pile of teeny planes all seemingly jostling to get on or off the runway. It appears to be completely chaotic, but every single aircraft is on a precisely dictated flight path, and it’s the work of air traffic controllers which will result in an untroubled journey and a safe landing.

The aim of air traffic control is to move aircraft safely and efficiently through the airspace system, to maintain communication with the pilot and ensure compliance with aviation protocol. In the UK, 7,000 aircraft traverse the skies every day, and air traffic control services handle 2.5 million flights and 250 million passengers per year on commercial, leisure, cargo and military flights.

It's arguably one of the most responsible jobs anyone can undertake, with passenger safety depending on each decision. To become an air traffic controller (ATCo) you need to have good concentration, excellent verbal communication, problem-solving and decision-making skills and the ability to pay attention to detail and work well under pressure.

The route to becoming an ATCo involves rigorous study; to begin with, trainees spend a year at a specialist college learning about the theories and practicalities of the job. Modules include air navigation law, air safety management and weather studies as well as the complex rules and regulations of air traffic control. Having completed this, trainees can then specialise as one of three types of ATCo:

Area controllers are based at a regional control centre and track and guide aircraft flying at high altitudes through their specific area.

Approach controllers give instructions to aircraft which have just taken off and manage them on their approach to an airport.

Aerodrome controllers work from an airport control tower, guiding pilots to their allocated stand and runway and giving take-off and landing clearance.

There are two types of airspace, controlled and uncontrolled. Surprisingly, the majority is uncontrolled and is used by recreational pilots and also some military flights; it’s up to the pilots to avoid collisions. Air traffic control services are provided in controlled airspace using radar and other surveillance systems to minimise delays and keep aircraft at a safe distance from each other.

Thursday 29 September 2022

NATO Air Base Geilenkirchen goes live with Digital Tower from Saab

Photo Saab
The first digital air traffic control tower is now live and in operation at NATO Air Base Geilenkirchen in Germany. The base is equipped with a state-of-the-art Saab r-TWR system.

Saab’s r-TWR is the first military digital tower solution fully operational in NATO and is certified by the the German Military Aviation Authority (LufABw).

NATO’s main operating base for its Boeing E-3A airborne early warning and control system fleet in Geilenkirchen, Germany will be using the Saab r-TWR in all weather conditions. The solution will service a complex military airbase with aircraft types ranging from fighter jets to helicopters.

“This is an important milestone for Saab going operational with the digital air traffic solution within the military domain. The digital tower provides a flexible and scalable solution that is proven to be suitable for military airbases as well as civilian airports of all sizes,“ says Per Ahl, CEO of Saab Digital Air Traffic Solutions (SDATS).

The digital tower technology allows the airbase to be flexible and take advantage of the latest air traffic control technologies. The solution consists of a well-proven system operated from a control room at the airbase. This includes sound reproduction, high-definition cameras mounted on the mast to capture a 360-degree view of the airfield and pan-tilt-zoom cameras.

State-of-the-art Saab r-TWR system.
Photo Saab

Tuesday 27 September 2022

Life as Aircraft Control Position Operator.......

Photo NATS
Photo NATS
The UK's air traffic control operator NATS is looking for more staff to become Aircraft Control Position Operators.  In a normal year (pre-Covid) NATS staff handle 2.5 million flights and 250 million passengers travelling in UK airspace.

It is a demanding job, but rewarding, but what does it actually involve?

Lauren Dixon explains all about it and exactly why you should apply....

"Hi, I’m Lauren Dixon and I’m an Aircraft Control Position Operator (ACPO) at NATS.

Normally, when I tell people what my role is, they look at me and say ‘what?!’. In simple terms, the best way to describe what I do is that I am effectively a ‘pseudo pilot’. This means that I sit on a desk with an interactive touchscreen and a radar screen in front of me and act as if I were a pilot, in an aircraft, talking to a controller. This helps controllers to train for the airspace that they will eventually be responsible for."

Find out about careers at NATSs here

NATS have around 4,500 employees dedicated to advancing aviation and keeping the skies safe. That includes 1,700 Air Traffic Controllers, 650 Air Traffic Service Assistants, 1,000 engineers, and 1,000 other specialists.