Archive for atc

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


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!