Melbourne Air Traffic Services Centre - c.1999-2000

This close-up shows air traffic controller Brendan Jessup at the console in the third Melbourne ATSC in about 2000. The tags above the central display screen indicate that he is doing the Mallee (MLE) and Canty Low (CLO) sectors combined. These were low level sectors comprising mainly former Flight Service functions to the north and west of Melbourne.

Brendan's left hand is resting on the Press To Talk (PTT) device, known as a 'ferret' (as opposed to 'mouse'). His right hand rests on the three-button mouse used to perform most interactions with the Eurocat display system. To the right of his right hand is a two button mouse which is used to interact with the separate TAAATS Electronic Data Display System (TEDDS).

At the far left of the console hangs a handset which can be used in quiet times when a headset is not required. Inside a door on which the handset is mounted is another handset which accesses the communications bypass system for use in emergencies.

The upper left display screen is for the TEDDS system. This is basically a combined weather radar display (Radar Picture, or RAPIC) and display system for various useful 'static' information such as approach plates and databases to decode location codes and aircraft type designators.

Below the TEDDS display is the Voice Switching Communications System (VSCS) touch-screen which gives access to all the communications equipment including intercoms, telephone and radio controls. Some positions operate 15 or more frequencies simultaneously.

In the centre of the console is the Main Display with keyboard in front, and to the right is the Auxilliary Display. Above the Main Display is an airspace map. The Eurocat system fuses data from radar, datalink and flight plan information (in that order of priority) to provide a single 'track' for each aircraft on an Air Situation Display (ASD). The shape of the track symbol changes to indicate the type of data from which the track is being derived. From 2003, tracks based on ADS-B data can also be displayed.

Aside from information presented to the controller through the track label on the ASD, other information is presented in a multiplicity of windows. On the Aux Display in the photo above can be seen electronic 'strips', which are used to provide some flight data, however in the Eurocat TAAATS implementation, only Towers still have paper strips.

For most purposes the Main and Aux Displays can be treated as one display, with windows able to be moved from one to the other as desired. The cursor also cunningly moves across from one display to the other simply by moving the mouse off the edge of the display.

(Photo: Airsevices Australia/CAHS collection)

Click here to see a photo of the previous AACC

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