December 15th, 2014
Episode 430 of 559 episodes
As our skies become more crowded Jack Stewart examines the long awaited modernisation of air traffic control. With traffic predicted to reach 17 million by 2030 more flights will mean more delays. For many a new approach to controlling flights is long overdue since aircraft still follow old and often indirect routes around the globe, communication between the ground and air is still by VHF radio, and any flexibility is heavily constrained by a fragmented airspace operated by many national authorities. Jack Stewart examines how aviation technologists have come up with a radical solution. It enables pilots, once airborne, to choose their own route. 'Free Routing', it is argued, will allow more direct flights, no planes to be caught up in holding patterns, reduced fuel emissions and flights departing and arriving on time. Crucially, free routing will enable a tripling of flights than currently we are capable of controlling. But will the ability of pilots to choose their own routes increase the risk of collision? Researchers argue it will in fact produce even safer skies. Jack Stewart visits NATS air traffic control centre that annually looks after the safety of over two million British airspace to hear how such a system could evolve. Jack finds out how free routing could work from the engineers at Indra UK – who are trialling such a system in airspace controlled by the NATS Prestwick air traffic control centre. In a new approach they are turning 'reactive' air traffic control into a more strategic approach with computer designed flight trajectories utilising much of the currently underused satellite navigation that is fitted on modern aircraft. It will enable aircraft to be safely spaced closer together and at the same time predict potential 'conflicts' of spacing much further ahead of the routes being taken, leaving less room for human error. And as automation begins to play a greater role in all aspects of flight planning and control is the era of pilotless planes moving a step closer? (Photo: NATS air traffic control centre. Credit: NATS)
Have you trembled ‘round the campfire as the ghost stories are told? Do tales of horrors wrought by nature and beyond strike fear in your soul? Is it best when you are afraid to turn out the light? Thrill to stories that strike at your deepest fears, as host Stephen Kilpatrick brings the best of horror fiction to your ears and your mind, read to you by the most chilling narrators that podcasting has to offer. <br /> <br /> Podcasting the finest in genre fiction, Tales to Terrify is where the depths of horror reveal the truths of good, evil, and the human spirit in the District of Wonders podcast network. Like all shows in the District of Wonders, Tales to Terrify is supported by a welcoming community of dedicated fans and contributors. Subscribe today, and begin your journey through the spine-tingling depths of storytelling.<br /> <br /> Everyone has a story in the District of Wonders. Come and find yours.