At the meeting of Ellon Probus Club on 12 July members were entertained to a fascinating talk on the workings of air traffic control within the UK. Speaker was Mike Simon, controller and trainer with the National Air Traffic Services at Aberdeen.
Mike explained the control systems that function to keep planes apart, both at airports and in the air.
To exemplify the NATS control procedure, Mike took members on a hypothetical flight from Aberdeen to Glasgow during which the plane was ‘controlled’ by no less than nine air traffic controllers. Probus members, acting as the first officer, performed dismally in following the standard NATS communication systems and if left to them, the flight would never have left Aberdeen airport.
NATS base at Aberdeen is responsible for a huge area, stretching southwards from Shetland and eastwards into the North Sea oilfields.
In 2010 NATS at Aberdeen safely handled 102,000 flights using complex radio and radar monitoring and communication systems. A vote of thanks was given by Brian Smith, a former employee at Aberdeen airport, who expressed his great appreciation of the work carried out by NATS.
The next meeting is on 26 July when the speaker will be Mike Stephen. A keen photographer for many years, Mike will give a talk on changes in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire over the past half-century.