Primarily for general aviation discussion, but other aviation topics are also welcome.
#1871787
I went around….
Sitting smugly and nicely lined up on the ILS localiser at Cranfield yesterday, halfway through the GS descent, I suddenly got this message from ATC .

When I got home I phoned to see if I had committed some transgression…

Turned out they had lost their ‘runway situation’ screens and although I had been cleared for low approach and go-around, they could no longer confirm that the runway was vacant.

A bit worrying for a brand new ground breaking system : has anybody else experienced this?

It was pretty busy yesterday with gliders mixing it in the Instrument approach : they really do need radar…..

Kudos to ATC for calmly dealing with numerous unbooked, late or pop-up requests for beacon slots and managing to accommodate them The hold seemed busier than Bovingdon on a stormy day! :shock:

Edit for those unaware: Cranfield has pioneered the 'remote camera' system whereby all views of the airfield and approaches are presented to ATC on screens.
There is (as I understand it) no direct view 'out the window'.
I understand London City has a similar system.
Last edited by PeteSpencer on Wed Sep 22, 2021 9:22 am, edited 1 time in total.
#1871792
I had this situation elsewhere when there was a runway incursion, or when somebody busted airspace and was about to cross final. So I went around.

I seem to recall another unit had a partial comms failure and resorted to shining lights at me.
#1871833
Well this is a recognised educational institution and research university. Like medical research, there should be procedures involved, and the risks should be communicated if anyone's lives were at risk.

Nobody died here - only a bit more time and fuel wasted. The fallback procedure "go around" was invoked so that they could get some breathing space and re-build their traffic picture.

So for now I'd say that fallback "worked" and so I don't have any concerns.
StratoTramp liked this
#1871860
Given that it is a new system and the eventual aim (presumably) is remote ATC - wouldn't it make sense for the first installations to have a backup view out of the window, just in case? Move on to "blind ATC" when it has run smoothly for a prolonged period........
#1871870
Sounds like they are going for realism to the detriment of Peter's wallet.

But I thought remote towers had CCTV view of the entire airfield anyway?

James Chan wrote:Well this is a recognised educational institution and research university.

Do you know? I am old enough to remember when it was a quite decent airfield too.

Rob P
#1871928
Flyingfemme wrote:Given that it is a new system and the eventual aim (presumably) is remote ATC - wouldn't it make sense for the first installations to have a backup view out of the window, just in case? Move on to "blind ATC" when it has run smoothly for a prolonged period........


Do you know that it hasn’t been successfully trialled over a number of years? I don’t. I only ask as presumably the technology has been developed and tested over a number of years or it wouldn’t be getting installed at London City.
#1871976
There were a massive set of hoops to jump through to gain CAA certification for remote (and analogue) Towers. Cranfield will have done their homework to gain the approval under which they currently operate.

The risk assessment that formed part of the safety case would include system failures as described and the mitigation (the go-around) appears to have worked.

None of this is new really as a concept. I’ve had radio, radar, NDB, DME, ILS, VDF, seat, window blind failures and nobody died. I’ve had to evacuate the Tower when the runway lighting control system caught fire and on another occasion when a colleague left his toast under the grill.

Stuff goes wrong from time to time. Normally, there’s some sort of back up or alternative.
kanga liked this
#1871982
James Chan wrote:I seem to recall another unit had a partial comms failure and resorted to shining lights at me.

'Resorted to shining lights at me...?' So you apparently didn't know what these light signals were for. :roll:
In that scenario (which is practiced regularly at smaller ATC units and FISO units) I would hope that the 'standard ICAO' light signals are used but having said that, an ATC unit would have had a backup mains operated radio plus a trickle charged battery operated backup whilst a FISO unit would have a backup battery radio and both units would also have a battery operated handhelds .
Last edited by chevvron on Thu Sep 23, 2021 9:58 am, edited 3 times in total.
#1871983
Flyingfemme wrote:- wouldn't it make sense for the first installations to have a backup view out of the window, just in case? ..

No this doesn't happen, as you will be aware, the controllers for London City are situated at Whitely in Hampshire and the Cranfield controllers are positioned away from the airfield and have no external view.
This is what the controllers/FISOs at HIAL airports are being asked to do too being positioned at Inverness and not surprisingly they are somewhat reluctant to do it.
#1872021
Even at places with a good old fashioned view out of the window other systems are available. I was instructed to go around from quite low level at Gatwick one very quiet night after their runway incursion alarm activated.

Turned out to be a false alarm but undoubtedly the correct decision.
#1872033
'Resorted to shining lights...?' So you apparently don't know what these light signals are for. :roll:


They used the lights because they had a problem with their transmitter. I knew what they were for and so proceeded as directed. Why the eye roll?
Katamarino, Dickie liked this
#1872153
PeteSpencer wrote:I went around….
Sitting smugly and nicely lined up on the ILS localiser at Cranfield yesterday, halfway through the GS descent, I suddenly got this message from ATC .

When I got home I phoned to see if I had committed some transgression…

Turned out they had lost their ‘runway situation’ screens and although I had been cleared for low approach and go-around, they could no longer confirm that the runway was vacant.

A bit worrying for a brand new ground breaking system : has anybody else experienced this?

It was pretty busy yesterday with gliders mixing it in the Instrument approach : they really do need radar…..

Kudos to ATC for calmly dealing with numerous unbooked, late or pop-up requests for beacon slots and managing to accommodate them The hold seemed busier than Bovingdon on a stormy day! :shock:

Edit for those unaware: Cranfield has pioneered the 'remote camera' system whereby all views of the airfield and approaches are presented to ATC on screens.
There is (as I understand it) no direct view 'out the window'.
I understand London City has a similar system.


I don’t even think London City control tower staff are located at the airfield at all and are now based miles away