Air Traffic Control
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The Air Traffic Control Gallery is a highly dynamic, interactive display which highlights the past, present and future of air traffic control.
The gallery is sponsored by National Air Traffic Services (NATS), the UK’s leading air traffic management company, which has such a long history with Bletchley as it was home to the company’s engineering training college.
The gallery gives extraordinary insights into everyday air travel that will astonish you.
Features of the exhibition include:
- a large panoramic three-screen 3D airport tower simulator, actually used by NATS to train their tower air traffic controllers.
- an Alpha workstation as used in the London Area Control Centre (LACC) in Swanwick, which can show approach control and area control simulations.
- a vintage green-screen round IRIS radar display that helped keep the skies over Britain safe for over 25 years, plus the working PDP-11 hardware that powers the system -- as restored by TNMOC volunteers.
- NATS history with video footage.
- historic artefacts such as the first National Airspace System (NAS) logbook and the final flight strip for Concorde.
The simulator can be run in two modes:
In replay mode the tower simulator and Alpha workstation can show pre-recorded simulations of aircraft movements in the air, landings, take-offs and movements on the ground. You can also listen to radio communication between the controllers and pilots.
In interactive mode (currently still under development), you will be able to experience what it is like to be an approach or area controller managing aircraft flights on the Alpha workstation, and a tower controller managing aircraft landings, take-offs and ground movements.