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View Diary: How Airliners Work - Navigating the Oceans (75 comments)

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  •  Never heard "Canoe" reference (2+ / 0-)
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    markdd, PeterHug

    Our strip holders were plastic. I know that before my time, in the "old center" (the original facilities, usually located in a hangar on the airport, before the modern ones were built in the early '60s) there had been metal strips, but they were plastic when I got there in '68. We were still using them in '97 when I left. I'm not sure when the stripless operation began, but it was well into the aughts.

    I can't imagine how they're doing things without the strips. We used them a ton for keeping track of instructions. When holding, they could become almost illegible with all the markings on them.

    Radar, while an absolute necessity with modern traffic (like anything from the '50s on) wasn't used without the strips. We just didn't use them the same way with radar as we did non-radar.

    By the way, in rereading my original comment it makes it sound like we (FAA) don't do oceanic. ZNY (New York), ZMA (Miami), ZHU (Houston), ZOA (Oakland), ZNL, (Honolulu), and ZAN (Anchorage) all have significant oceanic areas, and while I've visited both ZMA and ZOA, I never saw the oceanic operation.

    •  I visited the Seattle Regional ATC in 2009 (2+ / 0-)
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      exatc, RiveroftheWest

      they referred to the old strips as some type of boat, canoe, shrimp boat?, but they weren't using them anymore.  They were using a 'synthetic' display, they relied on software to combine several radar tracks and the transponder data into one display.  The plane was represented by an X with a tail showing the direction they had come from.  Below the X was the flight's call sign and altitude.  Every few seconds the display would update and show the new location.  

      The station I got to observe was covering central Washington, from the Cascades east to near Spokane, south to Moses Lake and north to Canada, and from 24,000 feet up.  As a plane climbed from 23,500 feet there would be a dimmed version of his data show on the screen, same as they descended below 24,000 feet.

      Certainly hot the level of traffic as O'Hare, but they were just as serious.  They were also going thru quite the transition since most of them had been hired after the PATCO strike and were facing mandatory retirement.

      “that our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions, any more than our opinions in physics or geometry.” Thomas Jefferson

      by markdd on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 08:37:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Ahhh, shrimp boats… (2+ / 0-)
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        RiveroftheWest, eyesoars

        An entirely different (but still related) kettle of fish.

        Shrimp boats were the little plastic markers we used on the radar to track the various targets. I pushed plenty of them both at ZJX (Jacksonville) and ZAU (Chicago). Sometime in the mid '60s an ATC upgrade with a large automation component was designed and ZJX was the prototype facility. When I hired in ('68) the flight data part of it (flight progress strips) was being tested but hadn't been ORDed, yet. It was nearly a year before it was and the positiion of Flight Data and the handwriting of strips was phased out.

        A second component of the automation project was a radar associated function which would give us data blocks (those are the thingees with the "×" for the target) and eliminate shrimp boats. The prototype system we got at ZJX was pretty good, but the FAA had bigger things in mind. This, however, was the system in use when I left in 1973.

        When I got to ZAU later in '73, they were fully operational with the flight data processing package that had been developed from our prototype and delivered to the other facilities (we're talking ARTCCs here). The new radar part was installed and we were at about the same testing level with it as we had been at ZJX with the llight data processing when I started there.

        It was probably 1977 or '78 when we went full time RDP (radar data processing) at ZAU, although we were still pushing shrimp boats into the '80s on midnight shifts when they'd shut down the computer for maintenance.

        There's so much more detail which is worth memorializing, but data-bombing diaries isn't the way to do it. I'm going to try and craft a diary of my own to cover it, but in the meantime, my ATC website in my sig below already covers much of what I might post here.

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