New technology installed at Biggin Hill


A new voice communications control system has been installed at the air traffic control centre at London Biggin Hill Airport.

                     Biggin Hill TCP990
A new hi-tech voice communication control system (VCCS) has been installed for Air Traffic Control at London Biggin Hill Airport. The system uses the latest touch-screen technology and has recently received approval from the UK Civil Aviation Authority.

Designed and constructed in Holland by Micro Electronic Products (MEP), the £155,000 system known as TCP990, comprises a central electronic processor in the heart of the Tower that integrates all processes and co-ordinates all the necessary operations needed at the airport. Each TCP990 console incorporates tabs, pictograms and touch fields, resulting in intuitive selection operation with a minimum of operator actions.

At Biggin Hill, two consoles are linked to controller positions in the visual control room (VCR), a third console on the ATC Assistant’s desk and a fourth based in ATC Engineering who manage the system. Each console is fully customised according to local preferences.

In an emergency, the system can call up a check list of all essential contacts in the required order. The touch screen will energise the selected communication instantaneously. The system also combines the statutory requirement for logging and recording all ATC communications.

Bill Robinson, Senior Air Traffic Controller at the airport said “VCCS replaces the old push button and dial-up era of yesteryear and is already proving to be a huge benefit to our ATC staff . Today, all their varied communication requirements are presented for touch selection in a single display at their position. This contributes strongly to improved efficiency and helps to reduce stress.”

Photograph: Bill Robinson, SATCO at the airport, introduces the new VCCS console installed at a controller position in Biggin Hill’s VCR.