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Rhein Control, an entirely US military ATC Centre until September 1960

Rhein Control, an entirely US military ATC Centre until September 1960

Regarding RHEIN CONTROL’s operation and to understand its organization one needs an overview on its internal organizational structure, technical set-up, operational layout and procedures. As mentioned earlier the 619th TCS, succeeded by the 7424th SUPPRON of USAFE owned and operated RHEIN UAC as an entirely US military facility in providing air traffic services to all flights in the South German upper airspace as of 1 June 1957 mainly in accordance with ICAO standards and recommended practices (SARP) as contained in Annex 11 (Air Traffic Services - ATS) to the Convention, in Document 4444 (Procedures Air Navigation Services - Rules of the Air and Air Traffic Services - PANS-RAC). The 7424th Support Squadron was assisted by two german personnel detachments providing civil (BFS) and military (GAF) ATS personnel for the joint operation of the centre.

Before January 1960 by publication of BFS NOTAM A 1/60 and the previous announcement of BFS of 1 August 1959 by NOTAM A 31/59 on the repeated implementation of ATS by BFS in the UIRs, the provision of ATS in the Frankfurt UIR by the 619th TCS and the 7424th Support Squadron under 17th Air Force command of USAFE legally constituted the same provision of ATS than those of BFS. But USAFE’s staff was not properly licensed for civil traffic.

The establishment of Rhein Control in June 1957 as successor of CORNBEEF CONTROL mainly in accordance with ICAO standards had already legalised the provision of these air navigation services to GAT by the transfer of the authority for high altitude traffic control as part of Germany’s sovereign rights in the national airspace by the german government to USAFE.

And it should not be forgotten that Rhein Control’s ATS operation under USAFE command had provided a more extensive ATS, namely air traffic control service throughout this UIR without an upper limit until autumn 1959; and that mainly BFS’ limitations and RAF considerations had caused the later reduction of ATC service provision to the altitude band of 19.500 to 25.000 feet MSL inclusive. In1958 headquarters USAFE decided to transfer the operational responsibility over the Birkenfeld centre from the 501st TCW, previously responsible for the direction finder network, to its own “ADVON” section.

It resembles the agreed lines of command and coordination between the different parties as concluded by USAFE, the German Ministry of Transport, BFS, GAF, US AACS and US CAA on 11 April 1958. The command and coordination lines of 1958 show that (1) the authority for high altitude traffic control will be transferred by the German Government to USAF, with headquarters USAFE acting for USAF; (2) provision is made for a later revocation of high altitude control responsibility by the German Government and corresponding assignment to BFS; (3) for an undetermined interim period the commander USAFE will appoint administrative and advisory staff to operate the Birkenfeld ATC Facility with representatives of BFS, US CAA, GAF and the US AACS, as well as with the 12th Air Force USAFE Chief of High Altitude Traffic Control (= Rhein UAC) and the AACS Squadron Commander.

Read More:
German Air Traffic Control During The Cold War
The Story of Rhein Control
Vol 3, The Operation of ATC in South Germany's Upper Airspace 1957-1977


Die umfassende Dokumentation über den Luftverkehrsdienst Flugsicherung. Eine Buchreihe in mehreren Bänden, die von Frank W. Fischer im Verlag der International Advisory Group Air Navigation Services (ANSA) herausgegeben wurde.