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The Role of the German Air Force at Rhein UAC

The Role of the German Air Force at Rhein UAC

This partnership between BFS and the GAF over the past 20 years varied significantly in form dependent on the external parties involved. In 1957, when Rhein Control was established as a USAFE ATS unit the local parties were USAFE with the 619th TCS and the 7424th SUPPRON, BFS and the GAF with their personnel detachments and superior organizations, being 17th Air Force and headquarters USAFE (ADVON), BFS headquarters and the MoT, and the Telecommunications (Signal) Regiment 12 of the GAF and their MoD.

In North Germany’s upper airspace (Hannover UIR) Area Control (ATC) and Flight Information Services were first provided by the RAF as “Hannover Military” for military flights (later on OAT) in cooperation with Hannover UAC/UIC as “Hannover Control / Information” for all civil (later GAT) flights at a co-located unit,  Hannover ACC as of 1955. In South Germany’s upper airspace Area Control (ATC) and FIS were first provided by the USAFE as “CORNBEEF Control” for all military (later OAT) and civil (later GAT) flights and as of June 1957 as “Rhein Control (UAC)” at the integrated ATS unit at Birkenfeld for all civil and military traffic.

When USAFE at Rhein UAC turned over all ATS Operations at this facility, maintained by the 7424th Support Squadron of the 17th Air Force in September 1960 to BFS, the sole provider of ATS in the form of Area Control service and FIS became BFS, internally assisted by GAF ATS staff, which were only few. This military component of the BFS UAC was then called “Flugsicherungs-Bereichszentrale” (FS-Ber-Z 11/12), but a proper mandate for calling this a separate center did not exist, because of the two above mentioned ministries’ decision of 1959.

The situation changed upruptly in September 1960, when BFS assumed responsibility for ATS operations and USAFE withdrew all its controllers, leaving the control of all military flights into the hands of the civil controllers. Now only civilians were allowed, respectively forced to control all this traffic. As can easily be understood, this led to tension with the remaining GAF controllers, who were integrated into the civilian BFS teams. GAF controllers, enlisted men, NCO and officers, now had civilian supervisors, were not allowed to control traffic anymore, but had to perform assistant, coordinator or support functions only. The workload for the civil controllers increased to an irresponsible level over the next years. German soldiers only worked day shifts excluding the weekends. When the Erbeskopf area and its installations had been a sole USAFE facility before with the BFS as its tenant, it became a BFS facility in 1964 with the GAF as its only partner in ATS operations.

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.