LATCC engineering, SADO, 9020 and many other activities


photos from Les Tranter 


TTT0  System Control was the focal point for overall technical control and monitoring of Mediator Complex, LATCC, West Drayton photo dated 9th Feb 1971.

Nearest is Jock Kirkbride (system controller), furthest is Eddie Dapré

Scan_20160501 (2)


Scan_20160501 (3)



Scan_20150916 TTT1

A very new new system control in1982

Scan_20150916 (3)  TTT2 1982

Scan_20150916 (2)  TTT3 1985

IBM 9020D room LATCC

9020_1 TTT4

Scan_20150916 (2) TTT5 1980

Scan_20150916 (3) TTT6

9020_1 TTT7


Scan_20150911 (2) TTT8

9020 room TTT9

Scan_20150916 (4) TTT10

IBM 9020 goodbye

TTT10A  IBM 9020 goodbye







SADO (1) TTT15

SADO (2) TTT16

SADO (3) TTT17

LATCC External Comms

Scan_20150916 (6) TTT18 1985

Scan_20150916 (4) TTT19 1985

Scan_20150916 (8) TTT20 1983

Scan_20150916 (7) TTT21 1983

Scan_20150916 (4) TTT22 1983


TTT22a  RI VAN 1



Radar Control and Monitoring System LATCC 1985




NATS SIRS system

Support Information Retrieval System – an improved information access and display system.

NATS SIRS system (1) TTT26

above and below David Carlill, project manager (standing) discusses the SIRS system with project officer Peter Matthews.

NATS SIRS system (3) TTT27

NATS SIRS system (2) TTT28

an air traffic control console on which the SIRS system is undergoing trials.

latcc sirs


Photos date from June 1985

Routine Air Traffic Engineering activity

essential monitoring, testing and maintaining

Scan_20150913 TTT29

Scan_20150913 (3) TTT30

Scan_20150913 (2) TTT31

New TELS workshop and stores at LATCC

Scan_20150913 (4) TTT32

Ergonomic testing of a new chair design May 1983

Scan_20150913 (5) TTT33

The old London Volmet studio at LATCC

Scan_20150913 (6) TTT34

Scan_20150913 (7) TTT35


TTT35a Volmet recorder before commissioning

Scan_20150913 (8) TTT36

In the same envelope as the Volmet photo was the equipment bay photo above. Helpfully the legend just says old LATCC equipment !!!!!! and isn’t dated. It shows two three bay units. Each unit contains 16 tape decks and the far unit is labelled studio one. Maybe is it related to the Volmet picture, can you help? If so please use the comments link at the top of the post.

R/T (or Radar) recorder

Scan_20150913 (9) TTT37

TTT37a Racal Thermionics recorder cabinets


TTT38  LATCC cable void

Marconi Myriad FPPS System – photos from Les Tranter

Myriad FPPS (1)

TTT39 LATCC FPPS System Control being installed (28 Oct 1970)

Myriad FPPS (2)

TTT40 LATCC FPPS installation 26 September 1969

Myriad FPPS (3)

TTT41 FPPS: Marconi Myriad computer system being commissioned. Only ever used by the RAF MAS Controllers. 26th August 1970

Myriad FPPS (4)

TTT42 FPPS System Control LATCC  26 August 1970

Myriad FPPS (5)

TTT43 LATCC FPPS final Log entry in 1991

Myriad FPPS (6)

TTT44 LATCC FPPS final shutdown in 1991 (Frank Spriggs in background).


TTT45 LATCC Power management simulator  LATCC POWER SIM

39 thoughts on “LATCC engineering, SADO, 9020 and many other activities”

  1. TTT1 – Seated: Colin Raper, Derek Russell (in middle) – not Barry Hamer and Robin Dale (my wife confirms this). Taken in the new Systems Control.
    TTT7a – looks like Mike Baker.
    TTT7b – Des Williams seated.
    TTT30 – Andy Cook standing, Mike Limani seated.
    The Volmet tapes had several minutes of recording capacity. The replay head moved one track width across the tape each for loop revolution then reset to the edge at the end of the recording. The tape oxide on the first minute or two of tape would wear off and a quick fix was to just reverse the tapes so the unworn bit was used (blimey – the rubbish you remember!).
    Parts of old LATCC site (green link tunnel and equipment rooms) also used in BBC4’s 2009 documentary drama about Clive Sinclair – ‘Micro Men’ with Martin Freeman and Alexander Armstrong.


    1. TTT7 – could be Alice Brown.
      The monitor and printer on left of pic was a 360 Compaq PC and OKI dot matrix printer which replaced the truly awful MSP (medium speed printer) because the printed back roll was barely readable due to the plastic/fabric character band it used. The spare PC was kept in the ready room and was never used to play MS Flight Simulator or Pro Golf – honest.
      The structure suspended from the ceiling above the operator consoles was a huge aluminium and perspex canopy to keep the aircon drafts off the operators. It was beautifully made and when 9020 finally dismantled someone took it home to make into a conservatory! Ah, engineers – waste not want not.
      TTT28 – Cyril Thompson
      TTT29 – Robin Day


    1. Eric Peel was long gone to CAA House by then. Kieran Wiseley is on the roof and Tim Doncaster, EIEIO, sitting inside. Taken at Hillingdon receiver site


  2. With reference to TTT5 1980. Sitting down at the System Control Console 1052’s is, left to right, Ray Hughes, Bob Sharp and John Linford (standing up). To the right of them sitting down and partly hidden by the 1403 high speed printer is Graham Piggott and standing beside him is myself, Dave Neill. Barry is correct in saying that Bob and I coincidently ended up on the same Computer Science and Cybernetics degree course at Reading University. Sadly I no longer have the flowing locks of dark hair and what remains is both rather shorter and white as is the beard.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Funny that, my hair went white as well and it’s much shorter too. Could it be something to do with endless hours spent in the 9020 computer room in our youth? I am now certain that the picture is from the mid 1970s, as I left CAA/NATS in 1979 and was working on the PRDS for a few years before that.


    1. TTT18 , Colin Louch Its true, it was me and Phil Yarnall, studiously looking technical for the photo ! This was the RCMS dual DEC PDP 11/70 system equipment room at LATCC.


      1. TTT24, Colin Louch Its true, it was me again, looking like I knew what I was doing at the RCMS terminals in System Control at LATCC.


    1. Nope, Jules works for NATS as part of Aquila at CTC now. And has anybody mentioned that the old LATCC building was used as a filming location for the Jason Statham film Blitz?


  3. TTT2 1982 Mike Ledger at the TDCE Jackfield. Lots of cords in so I guess this is a transition of D&D or ADNC


    1. Yes. I have been racking my brains trying to remember the name of the guy seated to the right of Ray – a Scottish ex Apprentice who was on the same 9020 course as Ray and me in 1973. Similarly can’t quite place the guy on the right talking to Graham.I am about 90% sure the guy standing over the two of them (and messing around with tapes in TTT8 & TTT10 is me. I think TTT5 is probably around 1974/5 vintage.

      Where are they all now, I wonder!


      1. I think that the long dark hair belongs to Bob Sharp, who went with Dave Neill (the fifth guy in the picture) to Reading University the following year.


      2. @ Barry Jones: Thank you! It’s been a long time and I had quite forgotten their names. I would be great to catch up with each others’ news – a lot will have happened since we used to organise SADO trips to the Lake District with Stan et al back in the 70s. JohnL [at] if you’d like to chat.


  4. Ttt21 Tim Doncaster….external interference investigator..self titled EIEIO External interference engineering investigation officer!


  5. TTT37…ICR32 speech recorder…32 tracks of rt recording….tracks 2 and 32? carried pilot tone for fault detection. Ttt29 Robin Day. Ttt30 Andy Cook standing. Ttt31Julie McCormick


  6. TTT37…ICR32 speech recorder…32 tracks of rt recording….tracks 2 and 32? carried pilot tone for fault detection


  7. Volmet equipment tape loops…I cant remember how many seconds of speech they had…I think there were three studios….also Heathrow met data was on one recorder I think…..


    1. TTT35 each loop was an airfield and it would skip through each one Took about 5 mins to go round The operators would update every 20 mins One at a time, Had a couple of spare banks and decks Itwas always breaking, crews nicknamed it Karachi volmet as english was usually very poor Divided into North & South info regions 2 studios in service one spare


      1. Each tape took 2 minutes to go round which could be difficult in the winter with long weather reports. There were 15 airfields on Volmet South and 14 on Volmet North. Some of us got were regularly praised for our dulcet tones!
        The equipment came originally from Austria and was an early Dictaphone system.


  8. I worked as an ATE on 9020D and PRDS during the 1970s, including a spell in up on the sixth floor in SADO. I have a worrying feeling that I appear in some of the 9020 equipment room pics! Great to see these pictures, thank you for collating and publishing them.


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