RAF Shawbury ATC and the Central School of Air Traffic Control

In the beginning….      from John Douglas, a lovely historical perspective from 1952 “introducing” the modern concept of ATC to Military pilots.

Central Navigation and Control School article.   CN and CS 1952_JD

 Air Traffic Control Training in the Royal Air Force

Barry Davidson has just sent in a brochure about Air Traffic Control Training in the Royal Air Force at the Central School of Air Traffic Control that also includes the tower and its interior. Anyone like to estimate the date of publication and indeed contribute more stuff on Shawbury activities generally?

and a second brochure about the station as  a whole

EGOS Shawbury Brochure

and a third item, a CATCS brochure


and a fourth item, a 1970s (?) information handout

RAF Shawbury brochure 1970s

Barry is also scanning in some notes from the ARTS Course 1980-82 that we’ll produce in sections and also to follow a 400 page set of the Joint Air Traffic Control Course circa late 60s-70s.

CATCS Shawbury ARTS Course Notes 1980-82

Section 1

ARTS intro       ARTS Notes 1 and 2         ARTS Notes 3 and 4        ARTS Notes 6

ARTS Notes 7   ARTS notes 8 9 10          ARTS Notes 11                  ARTS Notes 12 13 14

ARTS Notes 15 16 17 18                 ARTS Notes 20             ARTS Notes 21

ARTS Notes 32                                 ARTS Notes 33-36

Section 2

ARTS 2 Notes 1-10

Section 3

ARTS 3 Notes 1-9

Section 5

ARTS 5 Notes 1-6

Section 6

ARTS 6 Notes 1-9

Section 7

ARTS 7 Notes 1-3

Section 8

ARTS 8 Notes 1-10

Section 9

ARTS 9 Notes 1-9

Section 10

ARTS 10 Notes 1-6

Section 12

ARTS 12 Notes 1-5

Section 13

ARTS 13 Notes 1-8

Final Section 14

ARTS 14 Notes 1-4

Also from Barry Davidson

Shawbury 1

Dutch C-130 G-781

Shawbury 3


also from Barry, a first day cover and postcard

RAF Shawbury 4RAF Shawbury 5

RAF Shawbury



and a photo of one of the Vampires (XH274) used to help train controllers. Some of these were converted night fighters.

Bruce Williamson has now added to the above with a history of the Central Air Traffic Control School that he wrote a few years ago for the Shawbury station magazine. Bruce says that “It’s a bit out of date now, but gives a flavour of the general history of the place.”

from Bob Pearson, a photo of his GCA/PAR Course
shawbury-gca-courseBob tells me that Flt Lt Howells later gained a civil licence and worked at Boscombe Down. This photo was taken sometime in the winter of 1970/71…
Rhys Davies has sent in photos of his grandfather at Shawbury.

SAC Francis VINER RAF Shawbury.jpeg

SAC F Viner ATC Course Shawbury

“First group picture my Grandad, SAC Frank Viner is sat 4 from right front row next to the Sgt.

2 SAC F Viner ATC Course Shawbury 2

The second group picture, he is front row sat far left. I believe these pictures are 1959. He left Bawtry as a steward in 1958 sometime and was posted to St Mawgan after the transfer to ATC in 1960 ish.”


10 thoughts on “RAF Shawbury ATC and the Central School of Air Traffic Control”

  1. My grandfather Frank Viner was at CATCS in 1959 as an SAC having transferred from Steward. What course would he have been on and what qualification/trade would that be? I have what I believe to be his course photo from Shawbury if you would like a copy for the website. I also have a few photos that appear to be of training being conducted at Shawbury.


  2. Found your site tonight thankfully. I’m eldest son of WO NB Maden who served 1958-1979 ATC Singapore, Shawbury, Scampton, Tern Hill, Maastricht and Brize. Dad completed CATCS Shawbury Aug 1967 TT&at Sqn. He died in 2006 just before his 70th birthday. I’d love to get dads service records if possible and leads appreciated. Thanks.


  3. I did my AATC course here in 78. Theres a couple of things wrong in what they say about the AATC course. To the best of my knowledge no trainee AATC ever spent any time in the tower at Shawbury or in the runway caravan. In a six week course there just wasnt the time available.


    1. I did my course in 1966. No time was spent in the Tower or caravan then either. Having said that no time was spent on Upper Air Radar Control either and my first posting was to Northern Radar. It was a complete culture shock!


  4. I still find it ironic that the RAF has an area radar course, when the civilian ATC world will not allow the RAF to control in the airways structure. Unless that has changed?


    1. Area Radar is confined to Upper Airspace. In my time it was above FL250. Airways are clearly defined on Radar screens and one purpose of Area Radar is to keep Military Air traffic under control of Area Radar clear of Airways.


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