compassion, collaboration & cooperation iN transistion
The European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation, commonly known as Eurocontrol was first mooted in 1960 when The Eurocontrol Convention was signed and subsequently ratified in 1963. Before the Convention entered into force that year, there were already indications that the matter of national sovereignty would complicate the full implementation of the organisation’s founding mission.
The first European plan for a harmonised air traffic control (ATC) system, proposed in 1962, was beset by the refusal of both France and Britain to comply, largely due to reasons closely linked with their national military airspace control. The other four original members (the Federal Republic of Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg) agreed in 1964 to set up a single international air traffic control centre to manage their upper airspace, 'centred' on the airport at Beek to the north of the Dutch city of Maastricht.
[IT] was following my own Air Traffic Controller training and more specifically my Joint Civil/Military Area Radar training at RAF Sopley, that I was seconded by the then Ministry of Aviation [MOA] firstly to Eurocontrol Brussels and then subsequently to the Maastricht UAC in Beek, following its opening; where I was involved in the training of other ATCOs and the development of my original idea of utilising the 1.5GB digital data capability of the Philips Laserdisc System, with the Aeronautical Fixed Telecommunications Network [AFTN], to facilitate the expedition of radar-handovers between LATCC and the Maastricht UAC.
The Dictionary of Design and Decoration was presented to me at the end of my secondment and return to LATCC, as a direct result of my refusal to be bullied into submission by the head honcho of the Maastricht UAC, following the Trident/C130 air-miss over the LNO beacon, which happened as a result of evaluating new technology still under test, on live air traffic movements; a process which myself and others had vehemently warned against, over a period of several month before the incident.
The real irony of this whole potential disaster [BE]ing that, the self same head honcho and his tribe, were being filmed during a television interview, to promote the very success of the NEW DIGITAL Air Traffic Control System; when the Trident pilot came onto the frequency, for all and sundry to hear, screaming that he had just cleared cloud during his decent as he had narrowly avoided collision with the C130 !!!
Needless to say my own idea of utilising the 1.5GB digital data capability of the Philips Laserdisc system, with the Aeronautical Fixed Telecommunications Network [AFTN] • to facilitate the expedition of radar-handovers between LATCC and the Maastricht UAC • was never followed though by either Eurocontrol or the CAA in the UK, upon my return from secondment to LATCC, subsequent to my presentation of the same initiative to them. Thankfully my own DESIGN IDEA for an Interactive Multimedia System for Education was accepted by the National Physical Laboratory and the Council of Educational Technology, and subsequently incorporated into the UK Government's Educational I.T. Literacy Policy, regardless of the fact that money was not forthcoming and action was never taken to adequately train the teaching staff, into HOW BEST TO MAKE USE of THE TECHNOLOGY.
Although Eurocontrol is not an agency of the European Union, the EU has delegated parts of its Single European Sky regulations to Eurocontrol, making it the central organisation for coordination and planning of air traffic control for all of Europe. Not withstanding however • in the context of Air Traffic Control for the Netherlands [LVNL], having become the world’s first air traffic control organisation to communicate its safety performance and potentially serious incidents in its operations and the Dutch Safety Board’s exemplary investigation into the causes of the crash of Flight MH17 on 17 July 2014 in the eastern part of Ukraine • WHAT I FIND extremely disturbing is the fact that on the day of that flight at least 162 other commercial flights were happily being instructed by Air Traffic Control to take this very same route by member states of EUROCONTROL !!!???
The EU itself is a signatory of Eurocontrol and all EU member states are presently also members of Eurocontrol. The organisation works with national authorities, air navigation service providers, civil and military airspace users, airports, and other organisations. Its activities involve all gate-to-gate air navigation service operations: strategic and tactical flow management, controller training, regional control of airspace, safety-proofed technologies and procedures, and collection of air navigation charges.
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