Monday, January 30, 2017

Rivers in the Sky

Many people are unaware, except in an off-hand way, that the sky has many people in it at any one time. In any day there are a million people up there. A modest sized city, spread out acrosss the globe. Thousands of aircraft of all sizes going from there to there. We do not give it much thought unless we are about to join them.

And someone - well many someones - have to manage it all.

The modern Control Centre at Shanwick.

I can see from the mouth of my cave, planes coming into and out of my local airport, and I can see the flight details, height and speed, aircraft type, destination etc on my computer.
 It will show me everywhere in the world in almost real time. Other programs allow me to listen to the controllers. There are even cameras one can access at airports around the world.

Just waiting and watching at an airport shows the steady flow, but slowly.  Real time takes patience. Speed it up a bit and one sees this......
That is at Heathrow in London. A very busy place. And just one of four airports serving that one city (and its surrounds). We do not get to see the work of the controllers, sequencing the planes, stacking them for arrival spacing, keeping them seperate but on time. But we can know they are there, busy. 

Planes come over from all over and go out to all over. Rivers are formed with electronic banks. They can run deep, upward. The controllers paddle like the hounds of Hell are on their heels.

Just getting London's traffic in and out safely is a major exercise. But most folk never give it a thought.

Just as  our modern technology enables us to see all, back in the day when I did it, the radar bounced signals off the planes. Then they rolled-out 'secondary' radar which 'interrogated' the plane for information that was transmitted back.  I found that a boon. That's how the Flightradar24 works and how the modern tool of the trade is now a mosaic that has information displayed on demand.
Tools of the Trade.

And down they come. Again, you wait. Watch. Patience is rewards after a minute or two. but speeded up a bit.....

'Tis better than trainspotting.

Then, there is the traffic on the ground. Planes taxi out, take off, land somewhere and taxi in again. The nightmare continues.

Take this. It is an actual voice recording overlaid with a simulated visual.  Mayhem.

Be kind now, because when controllers die as bad lads they have to do this for eternity. It is Hell.



  1. And at one time many moons ago... You were one of those managers :-)

    1. I was indeed. A sound Knight can turn his hand to many matters :)


Ne meias in stragulo aut pueros circummittam.

Our Bouncer is a gentleman of muscle and guile. His patience has limits. He will check you at the door.

The Tavern gets rowdy visitors from time to time. Some are brain dead and some soul dead. They attack customers and the bar staff and piss on the carpets. Those people will not be allowed in anymore. So... Be Nice..