21. February 2015 by Peter
Last weekend I was so lucky to ba able to spend a day inside Naviair at Copenhagen. Naviair is the company that handles all air traffic control in Denmark.
We started off at 20 in the morning by meeting at the famous “Flyvergrillen”. A grill placed near the fence with a good view of RWY 22R/04L. If you are in Copenhagen and like airplanes, you should go there. However there is a huge nerd alert factor there. A lot of spotters. I just took out my iPhone. So that is how close they get.
Unfortunately now cameras were allowed inside and phones had to be switched off. But it was quite an experience. We started off in the old tower (Close to RWY 22R). It is not in use any more but still operational and with a good view of the airport. We could listen to the Tower and apron freq and see the movements on the ground radar. Quite cool to see that VATSIM was pretty close to this.
Next was a tour of the approach and center positions. We were allowed about half an hour together with a controller. The guys I teamed up with was a Center position controlling the northern and western part of Danish airspace, covering all of the North Sea and above Jutland/Jylland. Others were teamed up with the Copenhagen Approach guys.
They worked in pairs. So one guy was planning and communicating with ATCs in other contries, while the other was giving orders to aircrafts. In average they had control of about 16-18 aircrafts at a time, but mind you only traffic above FL 125/195 (Depending on geography).
What I was very impressed by was how they continuously worked on giving aircrafts directs. An aircraft that just departed from Oslo could be the danish controllers be directed direct to Eelde VOR (That’s in The Netherlands). So out of the 40-50 aircrafts that was in contact with Copenhagen Control while I was watching no (I mean NO) enroute aircrafts had to follow their files flight plan. They were ALL given directs. It was very fascinating to see the cooperation between the two controllers. How they planned ahead and how they with ease communicated with ATC in other contries.
After a good lunch we saw their tower simulator with a 320 degrees view. It was a replica of a tower with all the computers and equipment necessary. In fact it was better equipped than the old tower. But the most fascinating part (As a cockpit builder) was when the instructor used the tower-simulator as an aircraft and the 320 deg view really showed its strength. Oh God! My storage started turning when the view suddenly started banking to the right. Like being in a roller coaster!
The picture to the right is from the security gate where we had to registrer to get on the other side of the fence again.
So while waiting we could watch the departures from 04R on this grey day in February.
Visiting the tower was just as fascinating as seeing the control. Now this was Saturday afternoon so there was not much going on in the airport. So perhaps not much to see but that just gave more room for the controllers to answer all out questions.
The guys in the tower handles both the tower (Runways) and the ground (apron). What a view from 70 meters above.
We had a good chat with the controllers. Especially the ground-guys was very nice in telling us how they did things. Again I must say that flying online comes pretty close to what I saw in the tower.
After about an hour of watching the inner life of the airport it was time to say goodbye. We went in to Copenhagen, grabbed a few beers and had something to eat, celebrating a wonderful day whit some fantastic memories.