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Following on from the joint establishment of RADAR @ THE MIT RADLAB, twixt

the USA and the UK and the tragic mid-air collision over the Grand Canyon •

which led to an awakening realisation in the USA, that commercial Air Traffic

had been flying from point to point, without any form of control whatsoever,

other than occasional exchanges of Flight Information • a robust system of

Air Traffic Control was therefore consequently established for the first time.  

[IT] was of course he who had established an Air Traffic Control System similar

to our own here in the UK, in Germany as part and parcel of The Marshall Plan

that took on the role of Chief Instructor and ATC Cadet Course Team Leader of

my own course of students fresh from Grammar School with the appropriate

academic qualifications. So [IT] was hardly surprising that we were soon steeped 

into developing our own understanding of the AFTN and the phonetic alphabet,

Meteorology and Systems Design on the IBM 64K core store mainframe at

RAF Hurn north of Bournemouth, which over [TIMEhas now transmogrified

and moved into the College of Air Traffic Control

The original AFTN infrastructure consisted of landline teleprinter links between

the major centers. Some long distance and international links were based on

duplex radioteletype transmissions and leased lines, before it was subsequently

upgraded to CIDIN (Common ICAO Data Interchange Network), by way of X.25

links at much higher data rates. As the AMHS comes online over the next

decade, it will switch to X.400 links, with either dedicated lines or tunneled

through IP.

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 1963Before 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.

As Ed Catmull has written in his epic book CREATIVITY, INC.

"Though it was housed within the Defense Department, its mission was

 ostensibly peaceful: to support scientific researchers in America's universities

 in the hopes of preventing what it termed "technological surprise." By way of

 sponsoring our best minds, the architects of ARPA believed, we'd come up with

 better answers. Looking back, I still admire that enlightened reaction to a

 serious threat: WE'LL JUST HAVE TO GET SMARTER. ARPA would have a

 profound effect on America, leading directly to the computer revolution and

 the Internet, among countless other innovations. There was a sense that big

 things were happening in America, with much more to come. Life was full of

 possibility. In fact, one of ARPA's proudest achievements was linking

 universities with something called "ARPANET," which would eventually evolve

 into the INTERNET [of interconnecting networks] • the first four nodes of the 

ARPANET were at Stanford Research Institute, UCLA, UC Santa Barbara, and

 the U of U, so I had a ringside seat from which to observe this grand

 experiment, and what I saw influenced me profoundly."


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