A Personal Post ~ A Visit To Heathrow Air Traffic Control Tower


Yesterday as a special birthday treat, I had the opportunity to go to work with my other half. ‘That sounds exciting!’ I hear you say. Well yes it is when your husband’s office is a giant lollipop 87 metres off the ground, with huge panes of glass (each weighing that of a Mini) and  360o views of Heathrow airport.

The last time I went to work with my husband was years ago when air traffic was still situated in the old iconic 1950’s red brick control tower, with it’s 9 floors and white dome, which has since been demolished.  I’ve wanted to visit the new tower many times, however the events on this day 12 years ago set in motion a deep and perhaps irrational fear for me of flight and all things ‘plane’,  and up until now I just haven’t been able to do it. Fortunately a recent long haul flight seems to have quelled this phobia – for now, and it felt like the right time to finally get to see where he goes to work every day.

The atmosphere inside this visual control room is surprisingly calm and belies the sheer amount of air traffic that is being handled. It’s really quiet, there is very little outside noise apart from the occasional rumble of an A380 taking off, a phone ringing or instructions being passed between controllers. Did I mention the controllers are super clever, well actually superhuman? These men and women are skillfully juggling a LOT of balls, but you don’t need to worry (I say this to myself too), they really are very very good at what they do.

Thanks you to all the controllers for letting me hang out while you work, and to Nadine and management for allowing me to visit the tower and take a few snaps.

All images are copyright  ©Juliet Mckee Photography 2013