Image: Courtesy IAA 

I had the pleasure last Sunday 9th March on the invitation of the Irish Aviation Authority to attend the first General Aviation Pilots ATC Open Day, held at Dublin’s Air Traffic Control Centre, as part of its General Aviation safety initiative.

80 general aviation pilots attended the event from all over the country.  The event was ideally timed to give pilots a perspective of the workings of Dublin Air Traffic control center ahead of the start of the busy summer season, as longer days increase visual flight rule (VFR) traffic considerably in the Dublin area , in tandem as commercial air traffic increases considerably.

This year Dublin Air Traffic is expected to increase by 6% according to IAA.

Pilots were welcomed to the centre by Billy Hann General Manager Terminal Services and Paul McCann Operations Manager Dublin ATC. Billy outlined aviation’s contribution to the economy and IAA’s Operational units and provision of ATC services.  Paul outlined a series of initiatives rolled out by Dublin’s ATC Center.
After the presentation pilots were taken on a tour of the center to give a different perspective viewing operational areas: engineering room, simulation room, radar center and control tower.

In simulation room a demonstration was given of the IAA’s new Airspace Infringement Warning (AIW) system. AIW goes live next month and will assist ATC management of VFR traffic, from West of Dublin ATC Zone.

A recurring theme throughout the day to pilots was to activate their transponders once airborne, to contact ATC services to let them know their intentions on frequency 118.500 in Dublin’s Air Traffic control zone. In advance to contact Dublin ATC Duty Manager to advise them of their intended flight detail.

Following the tour the groups reconvened for a briefing on European Action plan for Airspace Infringement and issues to be addressed in Irish Airspace. IAA will shortly publish a new VFR chart for Dublin TMA.

This was followed by a question and answers session on the tour and issues arising concluding the event. The next General Aviation Pilots ATC Open Day is scheduled for 4th November.

Irish Aviation Research Institute © 13th March 2014 All Rights Reserved.