I just found a very nice computerphile-video about the basic history of computer useage in British ATC:
Really interesting – thanks for posting that mh.
I have visited both West Drayton and Swanwick centres. At WD we had a good look-around and a play on their ATC training simulator. At Swanwick security was tight and we saw nothing; just got a talk from a couple of guys, one of whom said categorically that if you set 7600 you will be shot down (he confirmed that when I asked him to). We saw some videos of big drama moments in the air; one was a 747 with all four engines apparently about to fail, and the USAF lady pilot did some great flying to get it down fast, but it turned out to be faulty instrument readings! They showed stats of CAS busts, etc.
Fun to hear about System/360 emulation mode. IBM were very clever to make that available. In the 1980s at my then firm we developed some IBM-plug-compatible coax and twinax boxes…
NATS’ present software is still poor however. For example when NATS receive a flight plan with multiple levels in it, they see only the first one. So if you file for FL100 and 2 hours later FL150 they see only the FL100. I have a presentation slide confirming this but can’t post it because it may not be public. So if you file for say FL040 out of EGKA increasing to FL100 at KONAN, they look at the FL040, decide it is in Class G, and toss it out, and when you depart you don’t have a flight plan in the system! Belgium will have their copy allright (sent to them by Eurocontrol, as happens all along the route) but you have to get there first… probably the best way would be to change your flight to a “VFR local east” and pop up at KONAN
one of whom said categorically that if you set 7600 you will be shot down (he confirmed that when I asked him to).
Fortunately this isn’t true, at least in Germany. I have squawked 7600 two times now due to old steam radio / headset malfunction just after contacting ATC / getting my clearance and other than the military calling my departure (for asking where I was going) and destination aerodrome (for giving them a head’s up) and asking for confirmation I had landed safe, nothing happened.
I am not too savvy on the computers, but some here are so I thought I’d share. The Channels of Brady Haran are all very interesting: http://www.bradyharan.com/
just got a talk from a couple of guys, one of whom said categorically that if you set 7600 you will be shot down (he confirmed that when I asked him to
He might have said that but I don’t believe him for a microsecond. Are they really going to shoot down a plane full of passengers, where the flaming wreckage could fall in a populated area, without discretion or second thought? Another Lockerbie when someone just accidentally entered a wrong code into a transponder?
They might send up a couple of Typhoons, but they aren’t going to pull the trigger unless they absolutely have to.
Of course it is nonsense. I just posted it to illustrate what the level of the presentation was. I think it was a missed opportunity.
A few months ago I saw some working documents on the ongoing software development for the French ATC. Plenty of automated functions like decluttering the radar view from irrelevant aircraft, detection of potential separation busts by track extrapolation, etc. The three biggest issues in the development are:
anisochronous message-based network
Here is a part two on that topic
if you set 7600 you will be shot down
If I were insane, trigger-happy and in ATC, I would probably itch more in my trigger-finger at a 7500 squawk.7600 is an almost everyday occurrence and does not offer any obvious excuses to do anything but try to help.
Apart from that … what a very silly thing to say.