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back to article Radar gremlins GROUND FLIGHTS across southern Blighty

Computer glitches in the UK's air traffic control system have restricted the number of flights over the south of England. It's reported thousands of passengers and holidaymakers face delays thanks to the technology gremlins. National Air Traffic Services (NATS) confirmed that it's "experiencing technical problems" at its …

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flightradar24

flightradar24 seems to show no less aircraft than normal for Southern Britian.

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Re: flightradar24

Could this be because scheduled flights are being given priority over chartered flights which, last time I looked, weren't tracked in-flight anyway?

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Re: flightradar24

All aircraft entering commercial flight lanes have to have a suitable mode-S or ADS-B transponder, so will be picked up on surveillance radar, and hence "tracked in-flight".

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Re: flightradar24

Well, the last few chartered flights I've tried to track (one being a couple of weeks ago, a Thomson flight) did not appear on any (online/app) flight tracker I used, only the scheduled (and actual) departure and arrival times were displayed. Maybe I've been doing something wrong then?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: flightradar24

"flightradar24 seems to show no less aircraft than normal for Southern Britian."

I expect you mean "no fewer"

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Anonymous Coward

I'm going on holidays in two weeks

WARNING JOKE FOLLOWS

They better fix their shit up, or I'm going to blow it sky high!!

WARNING JOKE ENDS

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I'm going on holidays in two weeks

Recent cases on either side of the Atlantic suggest that marking your commentary as "a joke" in order to avoid being arrested on suspicion of being a terrorist is about as useful as as marking it as "allegedly" in order to avoid being sued for libel.

Even talking about the weather is risky these days :-(

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Big Brother

Re: I'm going on holidays in two weeks

Two weeks in Gitmo.

You're doomed!

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Big Brother

Re: I'm going on holidays in two weeks

"It is allegedly alleged that jocularity is involved in rumors about the use of possible $HOTWORD"

THAT'S IT! YOU ARE GOING DOWN!

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Happy

Re: I'm going on holidays in two weeks

Hi! Paul Chambers here, You may remember me from such news stories as

“Twitter airport bomb joker to face jail”

“Robin Hood Airport, Yes, it is a real place”

“Northern Irishman in bomb scare shock”

and “My only comment is, thank God I’m not a Muslim, or I would not be available for comment”.

While I fully support your joke, I would like to suggest you remove all items that could be mistaken for a weapon from a half mile radius of your home, and spend the rest of the afternoon practicing your ‘non-threatening face’ while waiting for the knock on the door. You may also want to become friends with Al Murray and Stephen Fry.

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Coat

Re: I'm going on holidays in two weeks

>Two weeks in Gitmo.

>You're doomed!

Actually, it sounds quite nice. I hear that you even get your own personal food attendant these days ++ you don't even have to chew anymore and they'll even carry you to the table. That's what I call service!

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Big Brother

Re: I'm going on holidays in two weeks

You do realise that ALL ACs will now be locked up until they can be extradited to the US to face terrorism charges?

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Alert

Re: I'm going on holidays in two weeks

Didn't a teen just get jailed because he joked about "going to blow up a school full of kids and eat their corpses" ... even though the next lines said "lol, jk" ???

The security services seem to be going dumber every day...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I'm going on holidays in two weeks

Looks like there's 33 members in your terror joke cell and you're all being actively tacked now!

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Re: I'm going on holidays in two weeks

"tacked"

Gives a whole new meaning to being nailed to the wall.

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Black Helicopters

Re: I'm going on holidays in two weeks

Anonymous is only anonymous until government comes knocking.

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Re WARNING JOKE FOLLOWS

Word "JOKE" does not compute. All I understand is bomb threat. Get him! Hang him!

/irony

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Alien

Oh Boy

Its a cyber-attack! All duck and quack!

Alternatively, the aliens have been spotted once again and the global conspiracy will continue to hide them in the secret chamber.

(sometimes you wish you could choose multiple icons; a coat for the aliens may be required)

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or a bug in the NSA interface routine

or a bug in the NSA interface routine

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FAIL

*still* not got all the bugs out of this yet?

Swanwick seems to be "slow-motion-car-crash" mode for years already.

And for the record "Allegedly" works pretty well for avoiding trouble with lawyers.

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Good

There are far too many aircraft in the sky over the SE already. Long may this fault continue.

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Re: Good

What makes too many?

I work extremely close to heathrow and it is remarkable how quiet the aircraft are nowadays. Modern economies are founded on easy communication and travel. I think there are far too few aircraft over SE england caused by the paralysis of our political and planning system that makes it impossiblw to sensibly increase capacity. This is damaging the UK economy and therefore jobs etc.

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Re: Good

"I work extremely close to heathrow and it is remarkable how quiet the aircraft are nowadays."

From what I've read it seems that planes landing are now the bigger noise problem, not planes taking off.

Quiet engines, steep ascents, throttling back at the right moment so as to be able to tip-toe away have made take-offs much quieter than they used to be.

But when landing aircraft are still coming in on a straight line, in a shallow glide, shedding speed as they go (which makes a ton of noise) and they're going slowly anyway. It means they can't fly around noise sensitive areas like they can on take off, they're low, and they they take ages to pass overhead. Sorting those problems out will take a lot of thinking.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Good

I may be one of the few people who would gladly see profoundly noisy aircraft such as the Fairey Rotodyne reinvented and put into use - no matter how loud those rotor tip jets were - because it looked brilliant.

Anon, as I hail from an area of Eastern England where there seem to be fewer flights and I grew up to the sound of Lightnings and Jaguars so unlikely to be met with enthusiasm by someone whose conservatory lies under the final approach into Heathrow.

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Flame

Re: Good

So now can they reduce the noise of the Met's helicopter when it circles somewhere above my house for half-an-hour at three in the morning?

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Re: Good

@bazza

If you watched Airport Live, you'd know that manufacturers like Airbus are working on the problem. e.g. a lot of noise comes from landing gear and slats and flaps and other devices that are needed for takeoff and landing and disrupt the otherwise smooth passage of air around the aircraft (e.g. airbrakes/spoilers). Those contribute a lot noise, especially on landing (landing gear is raised quickly on takeoff to reduce drag). Putting a small cover over the landing gear mechanism near the wheels (brakes, etc) made a noticeable difference in the noise profile of the undercarriage.

There are other things that can be done also. The universally accepted approach angle is 3 degrees. A slightly steeper approach angle will reduce the noise quite a bit, especially further from the airport. It also means less engine power is needed to sustain the glide slope (you never fly your engines at flight idle on approach at 3 degrees, they're always generating a bit more thrust. It's easier said than done as you'd have to recalibrate a LOT of gear, including the now infamous glideslope ILS transmitters.

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Flame

Re: Good

Tell me about it - only it's not London, but Brum. Have had that sodding copper chopper hovering in a tight circle around my street for 90 minutes at least 3 times this year.

Around 2 am.

No sirens, no sounds from the ground, and nothing on their twitter feed.

Oh, and it has some sort of flashbomb on the front, so as it's bearing down it's blinding you - really wouldn't have been out of place in "Apocalypse Now".

I have little time for a police force that tries hard to intimidate it's citizens.

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Re: Good

So now can they reduce the noise of the Met's helicopter when it circles somewhere above my house for half-an-hour at three in the morning?

No those are deliberately noisy as its a well know fact that terrorists hate the sound of western helicopters and will run out of their hiding places to shake their fists at them, making it easier to detain them.

PS if you don't know a terrorist in you area, then its you!!!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Good

".... system that makes it impossiblw to sensibly increase capacity"

What the f'ing hell do you think HS2 is? A way of getting more people to do business ooop North (outside of M25 that is). Don't be so silly, it's to get people in and out of BHX and London ASAP.

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Megaphone

Re: Good

“I work extremely close to heathrow and it is remarkable how quiet the aircraft are nowadays”

I also work close to Heathrow, and I agree, the aircrafts have gotten a lot quieter, I recently told this to my brother who lives in the countryside when I went to stay with him, he told me to stop shouting and turn the TV down.

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WTF?

Re: Good

"What makes too many?"

The fact that you hardly get blue skies over London any more - its always a white smear of vapour trails - and in a damn aircraft goes over at low level about once a minute either taking off or landing.

"I think there are far too few aircraft over SE england caused by the paralysis of our political and planning system that makes it impossiblw to sensibly increase capacity."

Too few?? Are you a troll or just a fool?

"This is damaging the UK economy and therefore jobs etc."

Utter bollocks. Air travel is a minor part of the UK economy - its only the vested interests in the air transport sector who are clamouring for more capacity and gullible politicians who believe them.

For the record London has more runway capacity than ANY other capital in europe. Don't believe me?

Ok then , try Heathrow, Gatwick, Luton, City, Stansted, Southend, Biggin Hill.

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Re: Good

Possibly the decision to relocate International Rescue's secret headquarters to an island in the Pacific has had something to do with it.

Every time Thunderbird Two launched or landed my kitchen windows would break.

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Re: Good

"What makes too many?"

Remember the few days after 9/11? And how there wasn't the continual background rumble of aircraft, and skies unpolluted with contrails? Lovely.

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Boffin

Re: Good

Yeah - bring back the Republic XF-84H too!

The loudest plane in history. Powered by a supersonic propeller mated to a turbine engine with reheat capability! Famed for making ground crew and people in the tower physically ill (nausea, headaches and seizures!), even when taxiing due to the constant sonic boom coming off the tips of the prop that were travelling at over mach 1.1.

The sonic boom shockwave extended from the prop for hundreds of yards and was audible from up to 25 miles away when doing high-speed ground run-ups!

Respect...

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Re: Good

The Evening Standard has had a multitude of articles on Heathrow expansion.

A couple of weeks ago it was a scare piece, saying how awful everyone's life is in West London due to all the flights, aircraft noise and so on, and how a Heathrow expansion would be a disaster.

Literally two days later, the local politicos in West London went apeshit at the idea of BoJo Island, which would DESTROY their local boroughs and lead to the collapse of civilisation in Hillingdon.

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Unhappy

Re: Good

Not so sure about 3 degrees glideslope on my recent landing in Dallas Fort Worth!

I swear the BA pilot was an ex-harrier flyer and the spine shortening lading was one of the harshest I have ever had...

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Stop

Re: Good

I flew into Frankfurt last week with BA, they didnt land the plane, they threw it sideways at the runway.

3 degrees might be optimal but no one told our pilot that!

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Black Helicopters

Re: Good

I work extremely close to heathrow and it is remarkable how quiet the aircraft are nowadays.

Are you sure it isn't just continual aircraft noise slowly making you deaf?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Good

> you never fly your engines at flight idle on approach at 3 degrees

Someone should tell Asiana...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Good

"you hardly get blue skies over London any more"

Up-voted for correct writing of "any more" and not that horrible non-word "anymore."

(Oh, and agreeing with the sentiment).

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Re: Good

I'm appalled at the Luddism shown by supposedly techy types. Air travel is one of the greatest inventions of mankind, and you complain about a bit of noise (I grew up on the flight path of Vulcans, and recently lived on the path from Birmingham), and would happily move back to live near a proper airport (Dundee doesn't count ...)

NIMBYs are the lowest form of social life.

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Signal failure

Due to running out of money after the last round of directors' bonuses we couldn't afford to pay the bill for this quarter. We apologise for the interruption to your journey and any inconvenience this may cause. We're attempting to source a couple of buses for you..

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Happy

Diplomacy At Work

Wonder if there's a chance Snowden might have been going that way. It is unlikely I know, just more fun than to think its just buggy software.

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g e
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Black Helicopters

Keep an eye out

For US transport planes with Snowden-shaped rendition cargo on those flight paths.

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I did wonder...

Why a few pilots were talking about radar problems in Bristol (sector). I guess they can't use hand signals at 25,000ft!

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Re: I did wonder...

It's not the 25,000ft that's the problem, it's the 500MPH!

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Coat

Re: I did wonder...

"It's not the 25,000ft that's the problem, it's the 500MPH!"

I think you'll find opening the window at 25,000ft to do a hand signal is a big problem.

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In the mean time, at Eindhoven.nl airport

pic.twitter.com/hauY6TOfEP

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Coat

Own up, who put petrol in a diesel 737?

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New jet engines (Which I think includes the APU in the tail) come covered in a protective oil for storage purposes. When you first fire them up, that smoke cloud happens. Go watch the video on airbus.com of the recent power-up of the Trent XWB engines for another example.

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