Archive for the air traffic control Category

Air Traffic Slots (Journalists Guide to Aviation Part 1)

Posted in 911, air traffic control, air traffic slot, atc, aviation, ba038, baa, bbc, computer, disruption, Humour, internet shopping, journalist, life, media, September 11, simon calder, travel, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 22, 2012 by norvenmunky

A journalist collects and distributes news and other information

Unfortunately in NM’s experience far too many of them fall into the following genre

writing that reflects superficial thought and research, a popular slant, and hurried composition, conceived of as exemplifying topical newspaper or popular magazine writing

So not so long ago a piece appeared in a local rag bemoaning the fact that a reader posted a message on a local airport story, saying an airline could not get the ATC slots for summer flights because it does not have enough staff available to man the planes having made lots of cuts over the winter.

An ATC slot is produced via the CFMU, (thats a big building in Belgium, but thats not important at the moment,) as a function of airspace capacity. Naff all to do with airline staffing. So heres how it works …

Idiots guide to ATC slots.
Its very simple, if you have a room that holds ten idiots, you can’t put eleven idiots in the room. (much as you might like to)
Idiot number eleven has to wait until one or more idiots come out, or the room is made bigger, so the idiot (No11), gets a slot time. This is the time the idiot has to present itself to commence their journey to the room. If there’s only seven idiots in the room, then you can get three further idiots in there without restricting their progress at all, but the fourth idiot and any subsequent idiots will have to wait their turn. If that room is in fact a corridor joining two rooms, then you can only get so many idiots down that corridor at any one time, even if the room at either end has a limitless supply of idiot capacity. Therefore any idiot wishing to pass through the corridor may get a slot time for the corridor, depending on how many idiots wish to use the corridor at any given time. If there is another different corridor, joining the rooms you can send the idiots down those corridors, which may mean that the idiots will not be restricted at all.

So you can see using the above idiots guide, you should be able to see that ATC SLOTS, do not get secured by an airlines schedule, or their staffing levels, they are a tactical daily/hourly response to airspace capacity. But please don’t let inconvenient substance like facts get in the way



Posted in 911, air traffic control, canon, life, London, media, photography, September 11 on September 11, 2011 by norvenmunky

Grosvenor Square, London, September 15, 2001

Do the Maths …

Posted in air traffic control, atc, baa, bbc, Darwin Awards, disruption, entertainment, environment, Humour, life, media, simon calder, snow, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on May 13, 2011 by norvenmunky

It’s been an interesting couple of weeks, apparently the UK’s MP’s have come to the conclusion that the UK now needs a ‘Snow Supremo’ because its mid May and someone in accounts has just knocked the calender over, it falling open at ‘December’. This group of MP’s examined the impact of heavy snow last December which shut Heathrow, Gatwick and major train lines, and left roads impassable. There’s an inevitability here that a load of people have sat around a table listening to people who don’t have a simple grasp of maths, talking to people who don’t have a grasp of maths. You rapidly come to the conclusion that we’d learn more factual and useful information if we’d paid them to sit around lighting and analysing their own farts. Don’t get me wrong re mathematical ability, despite my current employ, I was labelled early on as ‘Suitable for Parks and Gardens’. In retrospect it may have been an extremely astute careers teacher who thought, ‘this ones trouble’ keep him outside in the shit, rather than inside creating it, alternatively, they may have been as thick as pig muck. I know where my vote is.
We all know there are known knowns as Mr Rumsfeld would have us believe. For simplicity there are various impirical measures that we use, and we all understand what they mean as we can all relate to the sizes quoted. They are in no particular order, london bus, Wales, jumbo jet. These are helpfully rolled out by our ‘meejah mates’ so we, as simple folk can understand whats going on. Unfortunately our ‘meejah mates’ don’t stop to think about how to use the cumulative drivel they are seeping into the nations subconcious to provide a more ballanced outlook on life.

So lets look at out ‘stressed passenger’ at the airport that has just closed in heavy snow. Apparently airlines must give accurate information about delays out to the passenger and provide acommodation etc etc. So assume we’re on RyanJet, a low cost airline flying 150 seat airliners. Today we’re lucky all the aircraft are only 2/3rds full with 100 punters per flight. We are however at a busy single runway airport with 30 movements per hour. That means every two minutes an aeroplane departs. We won’t bother with arrivals it’ll get too messy, we’ll assume its the first wave banzai charge of the morning thats been culled. Unfortunately we are at the back of the queue of those wanting info. So in front of us we have 30 x 100 passengers all wanting information they can bellow into their crackberries that they’re ‘at the airport’. Thats 3,000 people/6 x jumbo jets/53.57 x london busses of people all in front of us. We have ten check in desks available to help answer our questions. Thats 300 people/5.3 london busses, per redcap per desk. Fortunately all the redcaps are as fast/helpful as the legendary Jane Boulton and either answer the query or shoot the passenger dead within one minute of them arriving at the front of the queue. So at the back of the queue we will be waiting ‘a while’ before we get seen or shot individually.

So one aggrieved passenger suggests …
Major airports and stations should have accommodation reserved for when people are stranded, and food in place.

Ok, Mrs Thickass-Hite at the back of the queue, lets look at the Abiss Hotel in Luton. 162 rooms, (we’ll assume they’re all doubles). That means one hotel can accomodate one queue each (for cash). So the airport/airline has to book for Mrs TS (in case it snows), ten entire hotels in the vicinity of the airport, just for one hours worth of departures at two thirds airframe capacity. For the benefit of Mrs TS that assumes they are fortuitously empty on that particular day, and that as if by magic, when it pisses down with snow, not one other non-airline traveller in the vicinity of the airport is going to consider booking into a hotel overnight because the weathers bad. Also no doubt she’ll want a personal taxi to the pre-booked hotel, or a coach, and she’ll insist on being at the front of the queue. Course with the snow falling and the roads a bit ‘busy’ you’ll be at any of the ‘pre-booked just in case and cost not passed on to you in increased ticket price hotels’, in a matter of minutes inside the taxi or coach that would have been doing nothing at that time of the morning anyway.

An ’empty’ hotel car park

Then there’s clearing the snow at airports. The most important thing is to get the runway clear, then you can land an aeroplane. And thats it, thats all you can do, because you haven’t cleared the taxiway or parking stand. Until you do that you’re cattled. Lets look at those times. The runway is 2,000 metres long x 50 metres wide. Your snow plough is 10 metres wide and can plough at 10kmh. So if the snow has stopped falling enough to allow the runway to remain clear after each pass, that’s an hour just to do the runway before you start on the parking stand and taxiways. Oh and the service roads because you’ll need to put fuel in the plane and food water etc etc, and no, you can’t use salt. One thing missing is the shamen whom are able to tell us exactly how much snow will fall, and where, and when it will stop, not terribly surprising the comittee didn’t find one either. So if you’re a punter at the end of the second hours worth of booking in/flights … well do the maths, and ask Simon Calder to do them too while you’re at it, then he can talk a little less drivel than normal …

Clingons on the starboard bow…

Posted in air traffic control, atc, belton, canon, canon g10, doncaster, entertainment, horse trial, Humour, life, media, photography, spitfire, Uncategorized, vulcan, xh558 on April 2, 2011 by norvenmunky

Vulcan at Doncaster

Well it’s been an interesting week. This week NM has managed to get a newspaper front cover, always a crowd pleaser that one, and has been to a horse trial. Most were found guilty even the sheepish looking ones, hence the long faces. Also this week the aviation foamers have been whipped into a froth by the arrival at Doncaster of the Vulcan, arguably biggest financial sponge in aviation since Neil Robertson. Ex Navs of course didn’t bat an eyelid, an arrival of a Vulcan at Doncaster even now meant nothing to them, most of them had pulled at least one during their time at the Eagle and Child in Aukley, “For one night only your dads are back in town. If you don’t understand then ask your mum!”
Our intrepid reporter snapped the above exclusive, before being sent back to do the job properly due to an unfortunate misunderstanding of the ‘brief’. Getting into his time machine he turned up a couple of reasonable snaps of the arrival.

Vulcan, Doncaster

Vulcan, Doncaster

Later a proper aeroplane went up for a bit


Choleryk (Spitfire, in Polish, BNP take note ... )

Taking the above shots was a bit of a game, the camera battery seem to have a shorter life than a Bernard Matthews turkey, probably due to lack of use, so NM will ensure they now get a caning to try and revive them. This meant that within a week they had fully discharged leaving NM with the unenviable task of trying to get some decent neddy action shots with a G10. Fortunately its a brilliant little camera and came up with the goods again and again. NM was getting some very odd looks from people who were giving the old ‘he doesn’t stand a chance with that’ look. I was quite pleased with the results, looking at the buy it now photo booth at the event, there were clearly some snappers whose cutting room exploits would have been better employed in a french butchers rather than a photographic studio …

Horse at Belton

Horse thingy

Another horse

Long Walk Home

Posted in air traffic control, canon, canon g10, Humour, life, photography, sheep, Uncategorized on December 7, 2010 by norvenmunky

It’ll be a long walk home for these three, dropped in yesterday, presumably to avoid another night out in Kings Lynn, so they got the delights of Doncaster instead.

NM’s been a bit busy this back end of the year, it must be nearly christmas, theres snow on the blog and we’re redecorating a room. And NM is being supervised to make sure nothing inappropriate is scratched into the new plaster.

Back with the sheep soon …

Leap of Faith

Posted in air traffic control, atc, life, media, Ryanair FR4102, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on November 16, 2008 by norvenmunky
Ryanair FR4102 at Rome Ciampino

Ryanair FR4102 at Rome Ciampino

I imagine thats what the crew of Ryanairs FR4102 flight had on the 10th November, when they ‘arrived’ at Romes Ciampino airport. Reading various comments on the interweb I think of all the Microsoft  Bird Control Unit officers, (you know on the add on Microsoft FS98 that no-one buys),  who must be now polishing their Purdy Over and Under 410’s and their ‘Scarecrows’,  I can see em lining up at the threshold pointing their Scarecrow at a flock of Lapwings and drawling those immortal Bird scaring lines …

‘This is a ten second recording of a Lapwing in distress’ “Did I play six seconds or only five? I’ve forgotten in all this excitement but this is a 98 Scarecrow Bioacoustics Premier 1500, the most powerful birdscarer in the world, it will blow your ears clean off and you have to ask yourself one question, do I feel lucky?”

The Lapwings, dense and arrogant bastards that they are, will pay cock all attention to the sound, acoustics experts and Spinal Tap fans will note this system is so powerful that they can’t even be @rsed to number it, see sound level below …


Cut to highly technical interview on the shitepump …
BBC Bint: So this is what you use? Is it very loud? As loud as a small child?
BCU: Well, it’s louder, isn’t it? It’s not ten. You see, most BCU’s, you know, will be playing at ten. You’re on max here, all the way up, all the way up, all the way up, you’re on max on your scarer. Where can you go from there? Where?
BBC Bint: I don’t know.
BCU: Nowhere. Exactly. What we do is, if we need that extra push over the cliff, you know what we do?
BBC Bint: Put it up to max.
BCU: Max. Exactly. One louder.
BBC Bint: Why don’t you just make ten louder and make max be the top number and make that a little louder?
BCU: [pause] These go to max.


One of our wisest keyboard BCU officers declared of Roman starlings that:

‘I was surprised to see enormous flocks of Starlings winging about above the city in a completely unpredictable fashion.’ 

No doubt raising eyebrows amongst twitchers worldwide that Starlings, by inference, will fly in a predictable fashion, presumably if you pay em enough and offer a prime time slot with Bill oddie or Kate Humble on Autumn watch. ( My guess is Kates slot would get the thumbs up every time …).

Another commented

‘I am no expert in the dynamics of bird flattening, but those splats seem rather big for starlings !’ 

It’s a cracking opener though, warning the reader that they’re likely to be exposed to an uninformed opinion on a technical subject. Perhaps if he’d spent some time throwing Starlings at 150mph at solid objects, or hammering them to a table top, he’d be better placed to advise us on the structural strength of the Sturnus Vulgaris, or of the fluid dynamics of their contents when applied with ‘force’ to one of Mr Boeings finest. Obviously he’s never dropped a bottle of milk … (NB. Readers, please don’t try ‘Starling nailing’ at home, I’m in enough shite for the Free Bird post).

Then another eager poster suggests:

Does Italy have a bird control policy in place, around the airports? If they did, perhaps this incident may have been averted. Just a thought…’

The first thought that occurs is that the bloke is seriously trying to suggest you can control a bird, he almost certainly spends too much time at the PC, alone. Even Berg knows that you need more than Trill and Ouzo. Well if he’d read some of the preceeding 16 pages, it appears that in Rome Starlings are allowed to fly in an unpredictable fashion in the city, (just like their drivers really), so can you imagine trying to teach or encourage Starlings, least of all Italian  Starlings to conform to anything? even with Kates slot on offer …


Reading such informed ramblings leaves me with a very definite reminder of one of the finest pieces of political drivel ever heard since I was on holiday at the time:

As we know,
There are known knowns.
There are things we know we know.
Yes, a Boeing 737 had a bird strike on landing.

We also know
There are known unknowns.

That is to say
We know there are some things
We do not know.
Yes, what actually happened.

But there are also unknown unknowns,
The ones we don’t know
We don’t know.
That’ll be a good reason for an investigation then.

For the record I don’t think that Ciampino’s BCU will be found wanting, having actually spent time with them. Some Italian regional and national Government policy departments may well need to hide the Swiss cheese though…

And I do hope that nice Mr O’leary takes the crew fer a pint at the very least, they dun good!

Pretty vacant

Posted in air traffic control, atc, food, Humour, life, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on September 26, 2008 by norvenmunky

This morning was one of those ‘Operating to a negative schedule’ days. Mickeys big hand was still upstairs cleening teeth, as we should have been schedulewise, expediting, through the door. We were also operating with a negative surplus in the sandwich filling section, who’s on time delivery schedule had slipped yesterday afternoon, in the chaos that was yesterday, the afternoon. This meant that we went to the sandwich shop in the village, the only sandwich filler in the village, there’s nice for you.

Realising the potential to regain previous losses on mickeys boat race, and make rapid advances towards regaining the programme, both smaller Nm’s made their sandwich filling choice, in advance of landing on Planet Sandwich. Its a lovely little place mind, good quality sarnies and popular in the village. Taking our place in the line of aircrew style at the slant hard hats, hi vis vests and bum cracks, a young lady enquired as to what we would like. Ooh fast efficient service I thought, Nm Mk1 says ‘Tuna and mayo please’, to which the lady gives me one of those penetrating looks of bovine docility, and says in a monotone automaton styley ‘That’ll be £1.95’. Fine I says, and ever so slowly movement occured, after it sunk in that she, A) Makes roll, B) hands it over, and then C) the punter pays for it …

Now Mk1 is normal ‘medium child’ size, and lady gets hold of a roll that JC may have picked up too, thinking along the lines of, ‘That’ll come in handy, where’s the fish? The Guvner of the shop looks at Mk1, roll, and suggests ‘smaller rolls are available’ to which lady now looks at food prep bench to see ‘Rolls, Lardy Arsed builders, Not for the use of’ sitting not 6 inches or indeed 15cm from her workstation. Having completed the initial tasking of sourceing from stores the components for the roll, she had now assembled them, then packaged it, and in effect shipped it. Well, placed it on the glass counter anyway.

Nm Mk2 now steps up to the plate, as the spams say I believe, and declares she wants a ham and chive roll. The eyes now changed from those deep brown bovine type orbs to more of a lychee dipped in beetroot juice look. Clearly this request was a step too far, ham appeared to be available, either in centimetre chunks or waffer thin slices, but these ‘chives’ that the devil child spoke of, perhaps they were diced hoody wearing muppets, clearly however, ‘we’ were out of stock.
‘Oh, we’ll just have egg then please’
‘No, crushed please, they release the flavour slower that way’ …

Having paid and looking at mickeys big hand which was clearly in a period of regression again we QFO’ed to the car. Normally Mk1 gets dropped off at a mates house, but this time the release point would be closer to the day pens. Squeals of ‘ohh its not down here’ as NM took a route not associated with the DZ. Mk1 had forgotten that NM has a Analogue Navigation And Location memory facility, commonly know as ‘remembering shit’, and once shown a back passage rarely forgets it.

Once the drop at the DZ was complete it was off to the next village to drop Mk2 and her egg sandwiches, crushed, (yes I did keep a straight face as they were prepared), on an unsupecting primary school in middle England. Roll on lunchtime …

Oh and if you’re wondering about yesterday afternoon, it wasn’t me, I never touched nuffink.