The Aeroplane Spotter 1948 announces the start of air traffic control in the UK

Our thanks to Alan Rosser for providing a scan of The Aeroplane Spotter of 10 Jan 1948 announcing, apparently, the inception of this new-fangled ATC entity. I’ve transferred the relevant text into this post below. (how about a Highways of the Air (see below) 2017 exhibition somewhere).


Taking effect from January 15th 1948, a ground organization known as Air Traffic Control comes into force in the United Kingdom. This service has as its tasks the marshalling of aircraft over Great Britain, enabling them to operate in safety and with regularity.

Information will be provided by Air Traffic Control on the state of the weather, position and serviceability of aerodromes, and radio navigational aids. Search and rescue operations will be initiated for aircraft known to be in distress.

The control of air traffic is divided into five phases; ground movement and take-off, en-route safety, approach to destination aerodrome, and landing and taxi-ing. To facilitate en-route control. the U.K. is divided into five flight information regions, with a control centre in each. Radio communication must be maintained between aircraft flying through such a region in bad weather conditions (visibility less than three miles), and the centre. This procedure is not required in good weather.

In addition to this broad control, control zones are created round busy aerodromes, usually of eight miles’ radius and extending from ground level to any required height. Under normal conditions, only aircraft intending to land at the aerodrome are allowed to fly in these control zones. Contact is maintained between all aircraft within a control zone and the approach control by which name the controlling authority in each zone is known. Improvements in the present system of control within the zone, are expected to result from the introduction of radar and G.C.A. equipment.


On December 22nd, 1947, the Minister of Civil Aviation, Lord Nathan, opened the annual Winter exhibition of the Royal Geographical Society the foremost geographical institution of its kind in this country, at its Head- quarters in Kensington. The exhibition this year deals with Civil Aviation in geographical terms, and is divided into seven sections.

The first section deals with the more geographical side of Civil Aviation and by means of maps and explanatory models demonstrates the different map projections in use. Adjacent to these are a representative selection of excellent models showing the development of the airliner from the converted D.H.4A to the latest projects. The third section presents maps of the World air routes and illustrations of the Corporations’ routes by means of excellent photographs. Some more models appear here, amongst which stands out one of the Solent (Flying Boat?) interior which is up to the highest standard of modelling.

A wall display comprises the next section, showing how an airline is brought into being from its conception to its regular operation. Airport models are to the fore here showing the modern trend, and an ingenious model of the ” Gouge” Docking scheme runs continuously. A model (Vickers?) Viking is there, for visitors to operate, which, under its own power, makes rapid circuits of its parent pole. For the more technically minded, Gee Mk. Il and Consol navigational aids are shown in operation and explained to those interested. Finally, the last two sections comprise future models. including a large working Fairey Gyrodyne which causes the taller visitors to duck smartly, and photographs showing other uses for aircraft.

The Ministry of Civil Aviation and the Corporation have co-operated to present an exhibition worth a visit from all interested in Civil Aviation. Admittance is free, and ” Highways of the Air” will remain open daily. from 11.00 hours to 17.00 hours, until January I5. 1948


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