Live Radiotelephony Air Traffic from Rhein Control 1962

May 19, 2019

Considering the unwise decision of the German Ministry of Transport and the German Federal Administration for Air Navigation Services (BFS) to abandon the concept of providing air traffic control service (ATC) to all flights above 20.000 feet MSL, whether civil or military, and to reduce the upper limit of controlled airspace to 25.000 feet MSL as of 1 January 1960 caused many negative effects to both pilots and controllers and reduced flying safety considerably.

With the RHEIN (formerly Frankfurt) upper flight information region (UIR) covering all airspace above 19.500 feet with the lateral limits of the underlying Frankfurt and Munich FIRs, a distinct difference existed. Whereas in the lower airspace, the FIRs, general air traffic (GAT) on instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plans was restricted to airway (AWY) and advisory route (ADR) corridors of generally 10 NM width together with the civil and military terminal control areas (TMAs) constituting the Control Area (CTA); the upper control area (UTA) however, an area of about 100.000 sq/km, encompassed all of the airspace within the lateral limits of the UIR. This allowed controllers to clear flights along published routes and also from any one point within the UTA direct to any other point off published routes within the UTA above 19.500 up to and including 25.000 feet. Civil and military GAT in accordance with ICAO rules was obliged to file flight plans along the published predetermined routes (PDRs). Operational air traffic (OAT), not having to follow ICAO rules, could file flight plans along and off published routes.

With conventional, procedural non-radar air traffic control service being provided only by RHEIN UAC until 1964 and some 20 high altitude initial approach fixes (IAF) and associated holding pattern airspace areas (HPAA) situated in the UIR at 20.000 feet (FL 200) and above, many of them covering an airspace area of at least 14 x 24 NM at FL 250, controllers all to often had to take overflying traffic off the filed route and to reroute flights around these holding patterns. And with one VHF and one UHF radio channel each per sector, being operated simultaneously, however without a VHF/UHF frequency link, many critical situations arose for pilots and controllers. With military and civil aircraft transmitting at the same time, controllers had a hard time to distinguish between messages from civil and military aircraft, because both came out of one and the same loudspeaker or headset. And military pilots could not hear the civil pilots transmissions and vice versa, despite both traffic categories operating in close proximity within one and the same portion of the airspace.

The 60-minute live traffic radiotelephony example of RHEIN CONTROL's North Sector of 1962 on these mp3 files will give a good impression of the then prevailing daily working conditions for pilots and controllers. But, not enough, the situation above flight level 250 in the uncontrolled airspace above the UTA was even more complicated and considered dangerous, proven by hundreds of near-misses between flights over the years, as far as flying safety was concerned. ACAS / TCAS did not exist as yet. Here, almost everyone could do what he wanted to do, no matter if visual (VMC) or instrument (IMC) weather conditions prevailed. Conditions to be met by aircraft operators were minimal. GAT flights had to file ICAO type flight plans along the published PDRs, establish radio contact and maintain listening watch on RHEIN INFORMATION's frequencies. The same applied to OAT flights wishing to fly under IFR. All of them and some additional VFR flights were dependent on traffic information provided by RHEIN UIC.













During IMC, when clouds often reached up to 30.000 or 35.000 feet and sometimes even higher with thunderstorms embedded and turbulence adding to the pilot's problems, this situation reached intolerable levels of unsafe operations. In extraordinary cases up to eight flights passed one and the same navigation aid location in clouds at almost the same time (within one minute) and at almost the same altitude in level, descending and/or climbing flight, i.e. for instance six civil airliners and two military fighter aircraft. As a controller working the flight information service (FIS) working position one was only allowed to provide traffic, weather, navigation aid status and airport information or navigation warnings. All other pilot intentions were left to the participating pilots discretion with the controller desperately waiting to receive their decision so that he could comment to them on the resulting consequences. For the pilots to reach a meaningful decision was difficult, because VHF aircraft could not listen to UHF aircraft and vice versa. Under extraordinary situations, such as IMC prevailing and Air Defence unit breakdown, RHEIN INFORMATION hat up to 70 flights on the two frequencies at the same time, with such situations sometimes lasting for up to one hour. This situation was tolerated by the German air navigation authorities from 1 January 1960 until 1 June 1967! But despite the given situation only one midair collision took place between two military jet trainers at FL 295 in 1963.

Regarding the operations set-up on the ground, every C-Controller (the man responsible for the provision of standard separation in the UTA and for meaningful traffic information to flights above the UTA and operating the radios) had one assistant controller assigned to him to help point out conflicts, correct flight progress data and perform all telephone coordination in passing on CPL "Estimates" and revisions, etc. With the two UTA sectors, the UIC (FIS) working position and the adjacent units the assistant had to coordinate with a minimum of 20 partners. Therefore, the job of the C- and A-Controllers often turned out to be a rat-race in chasing for seconds to reach the required coordination partner with some of them only to be reached through telephone switchboards, which added to the delay. Lacking frequency coverage in the south of the Rhein UIR, such as over Kempten and south of Munich only added to the existing problems. Landline and radio outages, missing or wrong flight plans and uncoordinated entries into the Rhein UIR were standard daily routine.

Already towards the end of 1960 the traffic amount above FL 250 had reached such a level that a multiple flight progress strip display system could no longer be applied because the flight progress boards could not hold all the required strips, i.e. one strip per flight per route conflict / waypoint, and could not be handled by one C- and one A-Controller working there. Flight progress boards were equipped with six bays, each holding about 25 strips. Instead, a so-called "Single Strip System" was introduced, i.e. one strip only per flight throughout the whole flight in the UIR above FL 250.

Proper staffing levels were never reached. About 20 to 30 % of all official working positions could not be manned for a period of 15 years! Both organizations, BFS and GAF, being responsible for ATS operations could not manage to provide for the required numbers of ATS staff due to the existing bad working conditions, employment tariffs and low remuneration offered under government pay scales.

RHEIN CONTROL - 1962 Live Radiotelephony Air Traffic
Author: Frank W. Fischer

Highways in the Sky - The Story of the Airways and Air Communications System (AACS)

May 18, 2019

Visitors to this internet platform and interested in aviation history certainly wish to learn what this unique book of Louis Shores of 1947 contains. It describes the development of the "Airways & Air Communications Service" (AACS) of the United States since its establishment as a military air navigation service in 1938 until the end of Word War II. The author himself belonged to the AACS for four years. During World War II AACS units served all of the military departments and afterwards in almost all parts of the world with radio navigation as well as telegraphy, teletype and radiotelephony facilities and their operation. After World War II a global network of air navigation facilities remained, operated by 10,000 AACCS technicians, radio operators and air traffic controllers, constituting the basis of the global air navigation system and its air route network as set up within the sope of ICAO between 1944 and 1947.

Many of these former installations still exist at their original locations, alltogether constituting the cradle of the world's present air traffic control system. The report of Louis Shores describes the details of the often dramatic development during World War II. One may only think of the movies on wartime operations in the Pacific. This description is not a technical report, but the story of human achievements performed under the most detrimental conditions. Still today, it allows us to visualize the overall former development in air navigation and leads to remote locations like Poltava in the Soviet Union, Side Slimane in Morocco, Narsarssuak on Greenland, Attu in the Aleutians, Fischafen in New-Guinea, Guadalcanal, Iwo Jima and many more. This story is the description of a pioneering achievement of greatest extent with its consequences up until today. Without these achievements of the AACS World War II could not have been won by the four allies. You can download this documentation, for free. All pages are analyzed via Optical Character Recognition (OCR) that you can easily search the document for names, topics and terms.

Highways in the Sky - The Story of the Airways and Air Communications System (AACS)
Author: Louis Shores

IATA Air Traffic Services Reference Document

May 17, 2019

The IATA ATS Reference Document was first issued in January 1967. This revised edition - January 1973 - represents an updating and rearrangement of the original content, to reflect changes in the operational requirements for air traffic services which have taken place during the intervening years. This Document sets out to provide guidance on air traffic services requirements, procedures, and practices as seen from the viewpoint of international civil air transport operations. Although much of the content reflects recognized ICAO provisions for ATS, the importance of these services to the operator and the consequences of non-implementation of, or non-adherence to, internationally agreed procedures are also dealt with in more detail than is warranted in the relevant ICAO documents. For this reason the material has proved useful not only to those responsible for the overall planning of air traffic services, but also as a source of information and guidance to those involved in the day-to-day control of air traffic.

In a separate supplement at the back of the Document, IATA guidance is provided for the first time on SST operational requirements for air traffic services. While much of the material contained in the main part of the Document is equally applicable to SST operations, the supplement deals with those aspects which are unique to the SST and is intended to augment the recently published ICAO Guidance on the Planning of Air Traffic Services for SST Aircraft. At this stage, SST operational requirements for air traffic services should be regarded as being of a preliminary nature. They will be confirmed or revised as experience in SST operations is gained. Since this Document is intended for reference purposes it contains, in addition to a comprehensive index, discreet repetition of some of the material throughout the various sections, in order to maintain cohesion and avoid the need for excessive cross-referencing on the part of the reader.

Table of Contents:

IATA Air Traffic Services Reference Document
Publisher: International Air Transport Association

Chicago O'Hare Airport Air Traffic Control Tower Training Manual

May 16, 2019

This handbook was issued in 1975 by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for the local training of air traffic controllers in the aerodrome control tower (TWR) and the approach control unit (TRACON) for the control of flights at this airport with its seven runways. Already in 1975 the average number of hourly arrivals and departures amounted to 235 movements. Within the control tower cab always two teams worked back to back in order to cope with the volume of the separated traffic flow. The jurisdiction of TWR and TRACON covered the control zone (CTR) and the terminal control area (TMA).

This handbook, issued only for the internal operation, served as a personal information basis for newcomers, who had the nerv to volunteer for work at Chicago TWR or in the TRACON. It contains all then the airport using airlines and their types of airplanes, the CTR and TMA airspace structure with the approach fixes and holding patterns from the north and the south, the configuration of the landing area, traffic flow procdures, the allocation of working positions and their internal duties and procedures.

Chicago O'Hare Airport Air Traffic Control Tower Training Manual
Publisher: Department of Transportation - Federal Aviation Administration

Gliding Year Book 1931 by Dorset Gliding Club

May 15, 2019

The Dorset Gliding Club was founded in 1929 by German glider pilots in the UK. At the time, many German air athletes had the coasts of the British Isles visited, in order to study in detail the ridge soaring. For a gliding club, it was common that even a yearbook was issued, for example, the "Gliding Yearbook" from the year 1931. It includes reports on the ridge soaring or gliding in different countries, and a report on the glider training at the famous Wasserkuppe, Germany. You can download this documentation, for free.

Gliding Year Book 1931
Publisher: Dorset Gliding Club

Berlin Blockade and Berlin Airlift Routes and Procedures

May 14, 2019

The Berlin Blockade (24 June 1948 – 12 May 1949) was one of the first major international crises of the Cold War. During the multinational occupation of post–World War II Germany, the Soviet Union blocked the Western Allies' railway, road, and canal access to the sectors of Berlin under Western control. In response, the Western Allies organized the Berlin Airlift to carry supplies to the people of West Berlin, a difficult feat given the city's population. Aircrews from the United States Air Force, the British Royal Air Force, the Royal Canadian Air Force, the Royal Australian Air Force, the Royal New Zealand Air Force, and the South African Air Force flew over 200,000 flights in one year, providing to the West Berliners up to 8,893 tons of necessities each day, such as fuel and food.

The history of the Berlin Airlift is sufficiently known. However, unknown are the facilities and procedures of air traffic control to ensure this operation at all. The Digital Aviation Library provides digital copies of the flight manual, the so-called Combined Airlift Task Force Manual. It's the only flight manual that exists in Europe, and it might be very interesting for everyone, who is interested in history, aviation history and ATC. Because the flight operations covered the whole Western Europe area, the radio navigation maps for all airports are reproduced in this digital copy. Furthermore, the digital copy contains the navigation procedures for the use of the Ground Controlled Approach radar system (CCA) and for the Visual Aural Range (VAR). You can download the CALTF Flight Manual as a PDF document.

Berlin Blockade and Berlin Airlift Routes and Procedures (ATC)
Author: Headquarters Combined Airlift Task Force US Army

Handbook on the Italian Military Forces in World War II

May 13, 2019

The purpose of the handbook on the Italian Military Forces in World War II is to give United States military personnel a better understanding of the principal characteristics of the Italian Army. No attempt has been made to give complete details of any subject discussed in this handbook, a balanced, general picture of the Italian Army being considered of paramount importance. More detailed information regarding individual units, campaign, and commanders is provided in a special study of the Order of Battle of the Italian Army. On the other hand, Fascist as well as military elements are set forth.

The effects of 20 years of Fascist organization of the social, industrial, and economic structure of Italy cannot be expected to disappear at once with the dissolution of the Party. A considerable part of the Italian armed forces bears the stamp of Fascist education and training. It is therefore imperative, regardless of recent events, that the Fascist Militia and its component services, which for so long have dominated the life of the Italian people, be given an integral place in the text. A discussion of the Italian Air Force is included in this handbook. You can download this rare documentation, for free.

Handbook on the Italian Military Forces in World War II
Publisher: Military Intelligence Service

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