Air Cadet visit to Heathrow control tower simulator


On Wednesday the 23rd of November 2011, 15 cadets from 1374 East Barnet squadron went to Heathrow’s air traffic control tower simulator to gain experience on what it is like to be an air traffic controller at Heathrow. Two other air cadet units joined 1374 at Heathrow, including 1083 Uxbridge sqn. The adult staff from 1374 was CI Cottrell. Staff from other squadrons included CIs McNamara and Man.


The aim of the event was to experience the best air traffic controller in the world and gain an insight into the training of air traffic controllers, while making the whole occasion enjoyable. This aim was achieved as all cadets had a good time whilst on a learning experience.


The visit lasted from 20:00 to 20:35 on the 23/11/11. Thus, no accommodation or catering was necessary. No incidents occurred within the duration of the trip, although there were many cadets so it was rather packed within the simulator room. 1374 cadets assembled at squadron headquarters at 18:00, wearing civvies. Cadets brought with them the items which were on the kit list: 3822 record of service book, water, and money. As planned, minibus whiskey bravo arrived at Heathrow at 20:00 and departed at 20:35. On the way back to the squadron, we stopped for personnel to purchase McDonalds meals.

This is a map or the route taken to reach Heathrow, from HQ.


Overall, I, and all fellow cadets, NCOs and staff from 1374 thoroughly enjoyed the educational experience to be had at Heathrow’s ATC simulator. The advanced technology really made us feel like we were flying, whilst we were in a simulated flight.

If I had to suggest any improvements on the visit, it would be to be able to enter the actual ATC centre. The person explaining the simulator kept comparing it to the real thing, so it would have been nice to be able to see the real view ourselves.

Cadet Chady, Vishal 1374sqn Middlesex wing