Whats New

For the New Year, 2020 I’ve reposted the Centre, sub ACC and JATCRU posts and will also repost the major airports postings during January, plus the Civil School/College of ATC, the course ATCO photos and the ATCEU. Glad to accept nominations for other reposts(civil and military) that have slid down the order

Any posts containing video or audio material have the post name prefixed either video or audio so its easier to list them using the search facility. We’ve just posted (Nov 4th 2019) a series of six audio recordings from Eric Mathews which contain several hours of his personal reminiscences of aviation and both wartime military and later civil ATC from the 30s to the 70s. They are not yet listed in chronological order.

We’re planning a new series of personal memories entitled Reminiscences, some of which will be in text some in an audio format – January 2019.

From Phil Holt

“I’m preparing a presentation on the making of the 1969 film “Battle of Britain” which was filmed over the summer of 1968 – exactly 50 years ago. I know that Arnold Field worked closely with MATO to reserve airspace for the filming. I’ve got a couple of priceless stories (one came from Pete “Pedro” Rose when we worked together at the College). I’m after stories, photo’s, little know facts etc – can anyone help? First “airing” for the Brooklands Members on 2nd December!
Please email me at phil@highflyingtalks.co.uk.”

We haven’t had any major updates to report recently though there are lots small updates taking place each week. When a post is updated I repost it with a new date so it appears in the upper levels of the post listing on the right hand side of each page.

August September 2018 – one of our most prolific contributors, Barry Davidson has scanned in  notes from the ARTS Course 1980-82  They are published under the RAF Shawbury post.

late May 2018 – A milestone for us is our first video posting, of a time lapse film of the radar picture at JATCRU Eastern one day on 7th June 1986 between 01:19 and 21:24hrs

We’ve now  (31st May 2018) added a second video showing operational views of the ATC operation on the Cormorant Alpha oil rig.

The International Federation of Air Traffic Controllers’ Associations has a new project (January 2018) to establish the sources of the Air Traffic Control Service in order to celebrate the Centenary of ATC. It seems that the period of 1919-21 is one candidate period. Following the proceedings of the Paris Convention of 1919 relating to the Regulation of Aerial Navigation and the growth of the London-Paris commercial air route both the UK and France developed national procedures and techniques through the 1919-21 period to support that growth of commercial air services between their two countries. Those procedures and techniques, though different in each country, contain many of the building blocks of an air traffic control service – making this a strong candidate for the first ATC service. Croydon was central to this work in the UK and IFATCA, GATCO and atchistory are fortunate that Ian Walker, the Chair of Trustees of the Historic Croydon Airport Trust has enthusiastically embraced this project. We will report progress on this study under the Croydon post.

Allied to this is a post on the origins of  Flight Progress Strips and we welcome input from outside the UK on this subject, and indeed on any other.

9th April 2018

Barry Davidson has produced a scan of a MATO magazine from 1963 which is stuffed with traffic statistics, radar coverage and radar unit traffic workload plus a look at how the JATCRU concept was developing.

22 November 2017

We’ve received two great links from John Pluquet of Air Traffic Strategy (www.airtrafficstrategy.com)

They are firstly the earlier NATS History of ATC – the version produced by NATS around the turn of the millennium. The text  (posted on the Air Traffic Strategy website) is reproduced there by kind permission of NATS.  Secondly John has given a link to the NATS website that has a feature (that John contributed to) on the need for modernisation of UK airspace, which contains a video illustrating the growth of UK airspace since the 1950s:

I’ve posted the two items on the Links page

7 thoughts on “Whats New”

  1. Hi- first time I have viewed this site – must be because I am in nostalgia mode and also saw John Faulkner mentioned … I was on 41 course in fact one of the photos Ted S had in his collection was taken by me (I had lost track of mine) – I was SATCO at EGBE when we inaugurated the new ATC tower in 1995. I have a number of photos that may be of interest so e-mail me for best method of transfer- this is a great record!


  2. Hi John,

    Just been catching up with latest posts, but I can’t see all the images?
    In particular one from Steve Balfour referring to a GATCO 40th anniversary event near Manchester, think I may have been there. Please can you send me a copy of the photo, I may be able to fill in some gaps?


    Rob Marshall


  3. As a member of ATCO cadet course 9 I was interested to come across this remarkable site. I had to leave the course on medical grounds during the second year and eventually lost touch with all course members although I did attend the end of course bash. Is there any way of finding out what happened to some of them?


    1. Hello Tony

      if you have a look at the post called ATCO course photos you’ll find No 9 right at the top, not least because as I run the site and was also 9 Course it seemed only right and proper. You’ll find the flying course photos there. John Faulkner is a regular contributor to this site, and Richard Dawson has made a comment or two as well. You can search the sites for names, and you should find Paul Jennings and John Newman there in the pictures of London Terminal Control. Hopefully other Niner’s will be in touch.

      John Levesley


      1. Thanks for responding John. I’m impressed you are still working! To be equally brief I enjoyed a varied and successful career in IT (I had much more aptitude for that than ATC) and was able to retire aged 54 to my various pastimes.


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An archive of 20th century air traffic control photographs and other media sponsored by the Guild of Air Traffic Control Officers http://gatco.org/

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