Melbourne Area Approach Control Centre 1979


This photo shows the Melbourne Area Approach Control Centre (AACC) in 1979. This AACC was located at the western end of Building 4 at Melbourne/Tullamarine airport and operated from September 1967 until October 1988. It was built as part of the construction of Tullamarine airport and opened before the airport itself opened. It replaced an earlier AACC at Essendon Airport.

The group in the foreground is (L-R): John Polson, Mike 'Mate' Braden, Kevin Smith and Ray McMahon.

At left in the foreground of this photo is the end of the Area Flight Data 1 console where flight progress strips for routes to the north-east of Melbourne were prepared. Against the wall at the far end of the room is the Senior Area Approach Controller (SAAC), the AACC supervisor. To the right of the SAAC is the Approach/Departures cell, the positions being (L-R): DEP N; DEP S; APP. Approach Procedural (APP P - always known as the 'Inky') occupies the left half of the procedural console. The Inky was responsible for much of the planning and coordination for movements within the terminal area (out to 30NM from the aerodrome).

The communications console suspended from the roof was used by the Senior Terminal Area Controller - the STAC - who was the supervisor of terminal area operations. The standing figure behind App/Dep is thought to be STAC Phil Fletcher.

The right-hand procedural console and adjacent radar console was occupied by Arrivals Procedural and Arrivals Radar respectively. These positions were responsible for traffic between 80NM and 30NM from Melbourne to the south, west and north.

Either there is a lot of training going on or every available chair was occupied especially for this photo!

The radar display equipment in use is the 'bright display' system. At this time, radar coverage extended out to about 160NM from Melbourne. Procedural control, using the big procedural boards seen in this photo, was thus necessary for much of the airspace under Melbourne Control's responsibility. Unlike previous radar displays which had to be operated in the dark, this system could be operated in a dimly lit room. Click here to read more about the bright display system.

(Photo: CAHS collection)

Click here to see a later, colour photo from Melbourne AACC

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