Essendon Control Tower - 1971
shroud covering radar displaypending strips in suspense bayAnsett Fokker F27-200 VH-FNGAnsett Boeing 727-77 VH-RMRmain Terminal building

These two photos show the view from Essendon Tower, looking south across the RPT apron in and the Terminal. They can be contrasted with some similar photos taken eight years earlier.

The mix of aircraft has changed. The crowded apron is now populated by Boeing 727s, Douglas DC-9s and Fokker F27 Friendships - the ubiquitous stalwarts of the Australian airline industry throughout the late 1960s and 1970s. In the upper shot a TAA DC-9 thunders airborne trailing the usual plume of smoke, whilst at the terminal passengers walk out across the apron to board their Ansett Boeing 727-77 VH-RMR, and crowds look on from the observation deck on the Terminal building. Air travel was still a relative novelty.

Inside the Tower we see the new console which was installed in September 1967. In the foreground can be seen Flight Progress Strips in the Surface Movement Controller's pending bay. Blue strips were used for departing aircraft and buff for arrivals. Toward the far end of the console in the shot above is a black shroud over the radar display. The shroud was necessary in the bright light of the Tower environment. At left, sitting behind the console, is the Flight Data Officer whose job it was to prepare the strips and activate inbound strips based on messages received on a teleprinter from other units.


Ansett Fokker F27-400 VH-FNU

(Photos: Ern Mainka collection)

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