Probably nothing here that is going to set your world on fire or that you didn’t already know or guess. However it is always interesting to see what it looks like on the other end of the headset.
The unit manager gave a long winded ‘politicians’ answer to the question about whether they prioritise their own traffic. Draw your own conclusions!
The reporter got a traffic service! I have had one from Farnborough once for a descent through cloud in Class G south of Reading, the rest of the time when the talk is so continuous it might be Radio 4, it’s basic service only and as the video makes clear they act not as a service but as a police force. Now that is clearly all very necessary for the safety of CAT but can they please stop pretending. The pretence spreads across people like the Airprox board and the CAA who constantly tell us we should get traffic services from LARS units which for large chunks of the country are Monday to Friday office hours only and this year are additionally constantly NOTAMed not available because of lack of staff. All that kit and not enough people also appears to be a strong message from the video (individuals working several tasks are mentioned). Also, they think they are controlling in Class G (the Assistant ATCO says so). They think their private jets are not GA (statement by the manager in her interview).
I don’t want or like this them and us attitude but the impetus for it seems to come from the Farnborough side, I want to be a helpful and cooperative private pilot but I would also like a useful safety service and equal treatment with other GA.
What I find noteworthy wrt Franborough LARS is that it is there not primarily as a service to pilots (weather, traffic, etc.), but as the “gatekeeper” to the London controlled airspace. Pilots even accept, and even seem to appreciate that (as John says, the main benefit for him is that it will one day save you from blundering into controlled airspace). I find that a bit pathetic.
The frequency of Langen Radar 119.15 (around Frankfurt) has largely been created with the same gatekeeper function in mind, but in practice, they give a lot more valuable services to pilots than that, including coordinating transits and lots of traffic information. It’s a hundred times better than what Farnborough does (“traffic service not possible due to [whatever]…”)
A few months ago, one sunny Saturday, the Farnborough LARS North controller was so busy he actually gave up completely and broadcast that he was no longer offering any service (I asked for Traffic but was offered Basic), but we should all keep a good lookout because it was very busy. I have never seen so many other aircraft in the sky – they were like flies under the London TMA.
Ha ha – TV magic. Asking for and getting a traffic service!
What I found very disappointing is that there was no mention of the TMC “Listening Squawk”. It solves all my problems with Farnborough. I don’t have to try and get a word in edgeways, but if they want me they can have me.
I flew Biggin to Hawarden and back on Saturday, via FIMLI, which is SW of OCK and SE of Bagshot Mast. As I approached the area outbound, Farnborough called me and asked if I would mind hugging the Heathrow Zone and routing via Bagshot, which was no problem, and on the way back they asked if I would route through their overhead and then to Guildford, also no problem.
So we were able to work co-operatively without my needing to join the melée. Best of all worlds.
It is only useful in the West area, but if there, squawk 4572 and listen to 125.25. Get with it! It’s the best of all worlds.
Thank you for sharing this video !
The first thing that surprised me is that ATCOs are alone in front of their screen (and working multiple screens actually). Clearly the resources put for LARS are inadequate to the needs.
We have the same story for Paris Info : completely empty on weekdays, absolutely useless on any sunny saturday or sundayTimothy wrote:
no mention of the TMC “Listening Squawk”
How does it work ? There are discussions to implement this procedure in busy VFR airspace around Paris (below the Class A, you know the stuff ).
Does it requires Mode S ? Otherwise, how are you called by ATC ?
ATC – “Hey, the guy flying north at 2000 feet, turn left !”
If you have Mode-S they use your callsign. If not, then by position and if Mode-C, by altitude also. Confusion arises when pilots are, um, temporarily uncertain of position.