Lefty wrote:I regret I didn't have mine on. Arrived approx 11.00 - left just about 12.30.
I thought the arrivals got a bit manic and at times a little more dangerous than I have experienced in a very long time. We were goven a squawk and radar vectored onto final - then found ourselves about 50 ft above a high wing Technam - with him in our blindspot. If the tower controller hadn't spotted it ........
He can't have been doing more than 50kts - at 2.5 nm from the threshold.
Big scramble for departure - no one could get a word in edgeways.
Without making excuses, a few factors which may be of interest.
1. Aircraft were not being given radar vectors. As per the brief, aircraft were allocated squawks for conspicuity purposes. Using information derived from that source the controllers cleared aircraft to final or base leg as appropriate so that they fitted into the landing sequence - this is not vectoring.
2. As luck would have it, our primary radar failed on Friday evening which meant that we were only able to see transponding aircraft. As it turned out, a higher than expected proportion (around 20%) of arrivals did not carry a transponder. We endeavoured to fit those in by clearing them to an overhead join so that the tower could see them and then give instructions to fit into the pattern but unfortuantely not all of these pilots gave accurate position reports and some turned up unexpectedly on final - this may account for your Tecnam.
3. Due to a clerical error, some allocated squawks were duplicated and this caused some confusion until the controller realised what was happening.
4. In allocating arrival slots we assumed that most pilots would not want to leave until early afternoon. In practice many started leaving from around 1100am when arrivals were at their peak - hence the saturation of the tower frequency. Were we to do it again, I would arrange a period in each hour for departures only but of course this would reduce the number of inbound slots which were already at a premium - you can't have your cake and eat it (except at Filton where I'm told the cakes were excellent. Well done, Jane!).
Apart from that we in the tower had a most enjoyable day and it was great to see this once busy airfield come to life again. I hope the odd hiccup didn't spoil anyone's day.