A day out - in West Drayton! Many years ago, on the first leg of my qualifying cross-country, from Ipswich to Earls Colne, I was 'temporarily' unsure of my position. Recognising that I was heading rapidly in the direction of Stanstead, I decided that it was prudent to act sooner rather than later and asked for help from D & D on 121.5. Today I was at the D and D operations room in West Drayton and saw the other side of the equivalent conversation... It was a great privilege to be a part of the GASCo visit, to LATCC organised by John Thorpe. It was especially interesting to see the D & D cell that I used many years ago. The technology that is used although dated is truly impressive. Even before you finish saying MAYDAY MAYDAY MAYDAY, your position will have been triangulated and plotted on a large board at the cell. The 24 hour coverage provided by the staff is truly professional and amazingly effective. The staff, friendly relaxed and professional will know what you want even before you've finished your transmission. During my trip to Earls Colne and my short conversation with D & D, (I wasn't very far off track), they were so relaxed on the R/T that I'd imagined that they wore cowboy boots and hats. Just mozy on over to 315 degrees and you should see Earls Colne right on the nose pardner That vision was shattered today, but the friendliness and the helpful atmosphere were there in bucket loads. Just a few tips that they asked me to pass on. 1. Keep a reasonable height, DF gets more difficult the lower you get. 2500 is good. 1000 - 1500 very difficult. 2. 7700 - Emergency, 7600 - Radio Failure, 7500 - Hijack. Use them you'll get D & D's attention. 3. Careful changing to 7000 (It's easy to go through 7700). 4. Close your VFR or IFR Flight plans. 5. In case of need call early. Finally D & D like to be thanked. If you do use the service, which is free, phone them after the flight and let them know of your appreciation, and if you can afford it send beer or wine! The address is D & D Cell, Porters Way, West Drayton, Middlesex. Thanks Pardner !
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