British Air Traffic Control 1963-73
Five unique archive films exploring the work of Britain’s National Air Traffic Control Service.
THE CONTROLLERS (1963, directed by Peter Watkins, Colour, 26 mins)
Filmed at the Southern and Scottish Airways Centres, air traffic control operations are explained to four trainees. A BOAC flight from Prestwick to Rome is diverted to London where priority descent is accorded due to a sick passenger on board. The principles of the holding stack and radio beacons are explained.
WHY AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL (1970, directed by Bill Mason, Colour, 13 mins)
The operations of the National Air Traffic Control Service within the context of an increasing density of commercial, military and private air traffic. The film explains their division of airspace into lower, middle and upper, and the designation of directed flight corridors for commerical airlines. It also demonstrates ‘Approach Control’, the localised area of control that is specific to a single airfield. Illustrated throughout by aircraft including the Vickers Viscount, the Concorde prototype, the Vulcan and Harrier.
AIR TRAFFIC UNDER CONTROL (1970, directed by Bill Mason, Colour, 15 mins)
The air traffic control system described in detail, covering airspace layers and zones, local and approach control, and the network of airways. Controllers, receiving the pilot’s flight plan and regular radio reports of his position, check the flight on their sector radar display. The film stresses the value of civil and military co-operation in the control of fl ights over the Channel and the North Atlantic.
COMMUNICATION IN AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL (1970, directed by Bill Mason, Colour, 19 mins)
Visits to the London Control Centre, the Prestwick Oceanic Control Centre, the UK Civil Aviation Centre and the RAF Airmove Network reveal the intricacies and complexities of the then range of communications – ground to air, air to ground and ground to ground – at the disposal of air traffic controllers including VHF and UHF radio signals, radar – both primary location and secondary surveillance variants, Flight Plan Processing Computers and Radar Aerodrome Surface Movement Indicators. The film includes footage of the Trident and the prototype Concorde aircraft.
RADAR FOR AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL (1973, directed by Nic Ralph, Colour, 22 mins)
The sophisticated radar equipment safeguarding all aircraft over Britain is the major component of the air traffic control system. Explaining how radar is used, in relation to the network of airways and control sectors, the film shows in detail the stages by which two airliners are guided by air traffic control.
SPECIAL FEATURE: VOLMET (1980, Colour, 5 mins)
A brief insight into the work of London Volmet North (Heathrow) as one of a worldwide network of radio stations that transmit meteorological information for aircraft in flight.
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