The impact of storms
As well as fog, storms and heavy winds can severely impact air traffic control as aircraft are re-routed to avoid the bad weather areas. Again, with limited predictability, procedures are often implemented in a rapid and agile fashion - often incurring increased workload on our Air Traffic Controllers.
We’ve taken a day’s worth of flight data from 14 February 2014 to try and show you how storms and winds can impact the operation. Why 14 February? Far from being romantic, it remains one of the worst days of weather in the UK in recent years.
Heavy rain and severe gales lashed much of the country, with gusts of 60–70mph widely recorded, and even 80–90mph along the coasts. In short, very difficult conditions to fly in.
Watching the video you’ll see how the strengthening winds heap layer upon layer of complexity on what is already one of the busiest areas of airspace in the world.
Keep a close eye on each of the airports and you’ll see dozens of ‘go-arounds’ as pilots choose to abort their landings and either re-join the queue or fly elsewhere. And as the airspace gets ever busier, more holding stacks open for waiting aircraft while the team at Swanwick work out a plan to get everyone down safely.
It’s a day that’s still remembered by the controllers in Terminal Control, but thanks to their skill and professionalism and some incredible teamwork with the airlines and airports, every plane landed safely and without a single loss of the required separation.