The Engineering Club Air Traffic Control - Pattern and Prediction


David Hawken - Engineering Director, NATS

NATS provides air traffic navigation services to aircraft flying through UK-controlled airspace and at several British and international airports, moving more than 6,000 flights every day. David Hawken will give an overview of the communication, navigation, surveillance and data-processing systems that allow air traffic controllers to manage so many flights safely and efficiently. Safety is, not surprisingly, paramount for NATS but providing a reliable and resilient service is also critical to passengers. This, together with the fact that the service has to continue to be provided even when systems are being changed, creates big engineering challenges.

David will also explain some of the engineering-related developments that are made possible by new technologies: for example, how they are moving to much more strategic control of aircraft and to the point where an aircraft has a four-dimensional clearance from take-off to landing, how they are helping aircraft reduce their CO2 output and what they are doing to mitigate the effect of wind farms on radars.