NATS, the air traffic control provider at Farnborough, is trying to confirm the identity of an intruder into the restricted airspace set up for the show.

The good news is that, by Tuesday, there had only been one, because in previous years unauthorised general aviation infringements of the complex airspace in the vicinity of London and its many surrounding airports were higher.

The tall, elegant control tower at Farborough is busy at any time, but particularly in the hour leading up to the beginning of the flying display, and during the display. Farnborough does not stop operating as a working airport at any time, although clearly arrivals and departures between display routines have to be carefully planned and managed.

In the visual control room there are three controllers, one of whom choreographs the complex ground movements positioning aircraft from the crowded static display areas to where they need to be to slot seamlessly into display routine without interrupting normal airport operations, and two communicating with the aircraft crews.

The tower is a primary landmark for formation display routines. Synchronised opposing low-level passes plan to cross just in front of the tower along the runway line, at about the same height as the visual control room. The controllers have the best view in the house.

Down at the tower's base is the radar room. This contains Farnborough Radar, which co-ordinates aircraft arriving, holding for the beginning of a display routine, and hands departing aircraft over to London Control.

In the same room lives the Lower Airspace Radar Service that helps manage the intense general aviation activity that takes place around the London Terminal Manoeuvring Area, most of it operating in the limited amount of uncontrolled airspace surrounding the manoeuvring area.

Intruders stray into restricted airspace, usually unintentionally and without squawking their identity or communicating to controllers in the vicinity, potentially endangering traffic approaching Heathrow, Farnborough or any of the other London area airports under instrument flight rules.

NATS, studying the primary radar returns and local airfield logs for clues as to the identity of its recent intruder, has a suspicion that it is an old biplane.

Source: Flight Daily News