These photos from 1945-47 from Brian Davidson
LL0b “After WW2 the airfield was operated by the RAF for a few months., but Donald Bennett of Pathfinder fame had by this time founded British South American Airways (BSAA) and wanted to use Heathrow for international services. He got permission to land the first civil aircraft: G-AGWG Starlight, a Lancastrian-at the proposed airport on 6th December 1945. Heathrow was officially handed over to the Air Ministry on 01 Jan 1946, and BSAA claimed another first when the same Lancastrian took off for Lisbon on the same day on a proving flight to Buenos Aires. The photo shows the aircraft preparing for the inaugural flight from Heathrow.” – photo legend!
(before the aviation history police fall on me, I checked G-AGWG and every reference I found said it was called Star Dust not Starlight, so I played with the photo in Photoplus and yes the name on the nose in photo LL0a is Star Dust. Sadly Star Dust was lost on 2nd August 1947 when it crashed in the Andes. It was 1998 before any wreckage was found.- atchistory)
LL0c Avro Tudor of presumably British South American Airways showing the original tower in the background. the original photo was dated 1949
Below, the original tower on the North side. photos dates from 1948 and is courtesy Malcolm Hemming
Barry Davidson has sent us several more picture of early Heathrow. Here are two more showing the original tower.
LL1a Hawker P1081 VX279
I know Heathrow had a very early Federal GCA, one of about 18 that the ministry obtained from the USAAF. it may be at one of the other units though, more info would be welcome. Via Malcolm Hemming are these photos of the inside of a GCA/PAR truck
is this the tracker position in the Federal GCA?
Malcolm also sent me a link to a BBC archive about post 1945 ATC radar at London which also has some footage of the original tower. I’ll also put in the link on the SATCC post.
Barry Davidson sent in some photos below showing the second tower under construction and newly complete.
LL3b DAKOTA G-AGNG (no its not an aircraft carrier in the distance – its Heathrow Central under construction)
LL3d This is not what it seems! It is a mock up of the VCR for the movie Out of the Clouds but the personnel are real EGLL ATC staff.
Les Tranter has sent in a large collection of photos of Heathrow ATC from the early 1950s onwards. Some we also have below, others are new. I’ve combined all of Les’ collection into a nostalgic slide show….enjoy.
LL3f Celebrating the first first jet prop service in 1953. The original tower just visible on the left.
LL3g some early users.
and some more from Barry Davidson from 1959-61
LL3h Barry say the number of police bottom right suggests a Royal Flight
LL3i and some 1959-61 users
below: Heathrow VCR circa 1955
Heathrow ATC July 1963
Air controller runway 28 position and GMC controller, looking East. Barry Davidson thinks on the right is Margot Trickett later ATSA 4 at LATCC.
Air controller position Runway 10 position, looking West, John Toseland on right
ATCA’s desks with Strip Holder delivery on left. Barry Davidson and others confirmed this is being Margot Trickett later ATSA 4 at LATCC.
Detailed view of new airfield lighting control panel and ticker tape/control panel desk on right
Precision Approach Radar position (PAR or GCA)
Detailed view of ACR 6 console, No 2 director, position
Nos 1 and 2 Directors Radar position and low level ACR 6 display
General view of ATCA and Approach controller Mk III standard control desk units with part of supervisors desk on right
General view of complete approach radar room layout
below two later views dated June 1968
Jean Sturrock ATSA 4 EGLL AIS Pinner & AIS Heathrow (Barry Davidson)
Heathrow Tower, Bill McColl
Lighting Operator facing right is Mike Davies
photograph by Mike Bloodworth of concrete hatch covers that had once been installed on the main runway (s) at Heathrow, seen stacked around the SATCC building
Mike suggested that many years ago they were unable to withstand the rolling loads imposed by the big aircraft. The edges crumbled so they filled the pits with timber to support them. The result was that instead of sinking they compressed the wood and sprung out of their holes some landing on the runway. They took the covers away and filled the pits with concrete to keep the airfield open. Later they rebuilt the runways.
Further research by Mike suggests the problem dated from about 1955 when after each departure a runway inspection was carried out, and that problems with these hatch covers were at least part of the reason for the inspection
GROUND MOVEMENT RADAR
approach director radar console
LL28 a The picture in EGLL App is from the Careers Brochure – Alastair C Campbell
Kathy Barsh on South Director, Malcolm Hemming on South Approach
the following 4 photos were a bit of a mystery until published in Readability 5. My thanks to Richard Dawson, Chris Huggett, Malcolm Hemming, Brendan McCartney, Dave West and Howard Thomas for the info below
two photos above are and below are the old approach/approach radar room at Heathrow.
the positions right to left are. Names in bold everyone seem to agree on, option are in italics
South Approach Al Carter
South Director Tony Watkins or Nick Crawford, majority for Tony Watkins
SVFR Alistair McClean
No 2 Director Pat Flynn or Tony Paitin- the majority view is Pat Flynn
N Director George Dyer
North Approach Pete Bish.
(thanks to Pete Bish for clearing up some of the names, can anyone else solve the last two?)
More clarification is hoped for.
The Assistant’s position with Sharon Louden.
Heathrow Approach Radar simulator 1st Floor
Heathrow Approach radar simulator ACP positions. Dave West is nearest the camera then Eric Percival then Kay Lawrence. Eric Percival was involved in the training section and was also a very good airport lighting operator.
Air controller console
Heathrow geography over the years as shown by maps, SMR screen shots and aerial photographs
LL SMR with BAW1 – John Faulkner (BAW1 along with Speedbird (BAW) 2, 3 and 4 then used by Concorde)
Before UK controllers had to attend approved courses it was possible to obtain the ATCO licence and it ratings by home study it was difficult to practice for the approach and approach ratings. This approach to study was confined to those non NATCS/NATS controllers around the UK. Initially there had been series of Field Training Units established in NATCS control towers to augment the simulation facility at the civil School of Air Traffic Control at Hurn and any spare capacity at the FTUs could be hired by other controllers or their employers to assist with their studies. As NATS units gained their own simulators and the now College of Air Traffic Control expanded its simulation capacity the FTUs became redundant to NATS and they closed. To provide simulation facilities for practice by non-NATS controllers and for their examination (?) a simulator was provided in the Heathrow Control Tower Building in rooms 108,109,110. The six colour photos below feature this simulator.
approach procedural simulator
ACP (Pseudo pilot) radar simulator input
Bob Neville on the desk, Paddy Treacy (identified by Dave Richards) on the lights, Chris Huggett on easterly Air Arrivals and Nick Wright on Air Deps. Chris added extra info “E watch duty with Nick doing a day shift from A Watch. Date Circa 1985”
Mike Male tells us that the picture above is of Sue Clifford on GMP, Brian Piket on Air and Mike Davies on the lights
Mike Male on right. Mike thinks it is Rob Spooner in the picture with him.
the next four VCR photos are from Malcolm Hemming
LL VCR GMC2 facing south – John Siddell GMC2, Mike Turner with U/T GMC1, Al Haines (WM)
LL VCR GMC2 handover – Ian Montgomerie/John Siddell
LL VCR GMC split – two lighting Ops – Andy Marsh, Malcolm Judge, Monty, and Angus McCormack distracted on Air Deps
VCR one Xmas day – Ray Hutchings, Rachel X, Amy Hutchings (youth opportunity…), Angus McCormack, Chris Wilson, Mike Baggaley (up from SVFR for some daylight), Mick Dyer, Craig Greenfield, Kevin Day doing the work.
Howard Thomas sent in the next two photos of the VCR
Celia Kunert, Richard Dawson, Tony Paintin, Howard Thomas with, in the background, Geoff Bullock and Roger Kunert
Roger Kunert talking to Bob ??, Howard Thomas, Tony Paintin and Richard Dawson, and ?? in far background
The legend says Thames Radar 1995. Its the Thames/Special suite but probably staged as ‘Thames Radar’. Shows City Radar position manned but radar is set to Thames long-range search.
Heathrow radar tower
Marconi 264 radar, possibly at Heathrow
ACR 6 radar
some more photos from John Douglas
LL80 Standard Instrument Departures
LL82 EGLL ASPR display, on the right the SVFR position showing the Heli-Routes
LL83 EGLL RADARS
LL84 Below the Approach lighting at EGLL
And now a selection of photos from Mike Inglis
Phil Layton and Tony Croft – North Approach and No1 Radar Director, EGLL APP, 1984/5
R to L – Gerry Nicholas, No1 South Director, Kevin Day, SVFR, John Siddell, No2 Director, Tony Croft, No1 Director, unidentified ATSA – he/she was moving too fast!
Paul Louden – Approach Supervisor
Gerry Nicholas – No1 South Director
Radar Console – No1 South Director
LL90 This is a serious looking me doing 09L Arrivals at Heathrow being watched by Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, Lord King (British Airways) and Keith Williams.
LL91 its been suggested that on GMC this is Ian MacKay. Pete Bish tells us that the assistant is definitely long serving Robina Wallace and my money for the GMC controller is on Geoff Nash. Possibly George Ennis standing at the back…?
LL92 ……and that this Heathrow north approach controller is Chris Swann.