Air Traffic Control at Ronaldsway Today
The Isle of Man Airport
 
Island Images Homepage
IOM ATC History Index
 
 
 
Airspace around the Isle of Man
In compliance with international agreements, all UK airspace is divided into different classes, from A to G. In each class there are requirements and flight rules
for aircraft and differing levels of Air Traffic Services available. Around and above the Isle of Man we have airspace falling into classes A, C, D, F & G. All airspace above Flight Level 245 is Class A, and between FL195 and 245 is Class C. Below Flight Level 195 the airspace is defined by Control Areas and Control Zones, the Airways system being Controlled Areas. Control Zones start at ground level and have an upper limit, Control Areas have defined lower and upper limits.
 
UK Airspace Classifications
Table showing the different types of airspace
and rules applying to each class
 
Irish Sea Area Airspace Maps
 
 
Ronaldsway Air Traffic Control in 2012
 
At Ronaldsway, ATC is provided from two locations, Aerodrome Control - located at the top of the 'stalk' and 
Approach Radar Control, located in the lower building.
 
Ronaldsway Airport Control Tower
 
 
Aerodrome Control   -  Callsign 'Ronaldsway Tower'  118.9 Mhz
 
Aerodrome Control has authority over aircraft on and in the immediate vicinity of the airport and vehicles on the Runways & Taxiways. Ronaldsway has two runways available, giving a total of four possible landing and take-off directions, they are designated according to the first two digits of their magnetic directions, the longest runway is either 26 or 08 with the shorter cross-runway 21 or 03. ATC decide on the 'Runway in Use', based mainly on the wind direction as aircraft performance is enhanced by operating into the wind, but also other factors such as navigation aids available or in light winds the direction traffic is arriving from or departing to. Pilots can request a non standard runway and ATC will try to oblige, but it may not be possible as our aim is to provide a 'safe, orderly and expeditious' flow of traffic and what might be advantageous to one flight could result in delays to several others and reduce overall expedition.
 
Ronaldsway Airport Diagram - December 2011
Ronaldsway Apron Diagram - December 2011
 
Aerodrome Controller Workstation
 
The tower controller keeps track of aircraft and vehicle movements using a 'flight progress board' This holds paper flight progress strips in coloured holders appropriate to the type of flight: Departures in blue holders, Arrivals in yellow, Local flights (not landing away from Ronaldsway) in green and Overflights in Red. Vehicles operating on the manoeuvring area have laminated strips. All ATC instructions are recorded on the strips which are moved around the board to indicate positions of aircraft. A specific section of the board is used to show aircraft or vehicles that have been allowed to enter the runway. To assist the controller an Aerodrome Traffic Monitor shows radar derived information of the traffic situation in the vicinity. To aid visual acquisition of aircraft it is orientated 'south up' to replicated the window view.
 
Tower Flight Progress Board
Aerodrome Traffic Monitor (ATM)
 
ATIS 123.875
Aerodrome Control is where the ATIS - Automatic Terminal Information Service broadcast is prepared. Transmitted continuously when the airport is open and routinely updated every 30 minutes, it gives the runway in use, type of instrument approach to be expected, latest weather report from Met and any other pertinent information on the airfield or ATC operations. Each broadcast is identified by an incrementing letter of the alphabet. 
 
Copperchase Flight Data Managment System (FDMS)
Integrating all the ATC data together is the Copperchase Flight Data Management System. Flight Plans are automatically recieved via the Aeronautical Fixed Telecommunication Network (AFTN) and live estimates on inbound flights by phone from Scottish Centre are entered to print paper Flight Progress Strips. Flight plans filed directly with Ronaldsway ATC are entered into the system for dissemination via the AFTN and Airways or local aircraft transponder codes (squawks) entered. Weather information from the Ronaldsway Met Office is displayed and relevent flight data is exported to the Park Air surviellance displays. The main duties of the Air Traffic Service Assistants (ATSAs) are keeping the FDMS up to date, by processing flight plans, inputting estimates and logging arrival and departure times of aircraft to produce the movement log book. FDMS terminals are located in both Aerodrome and Approach Radar ATSA and ATCO working positions enabling data to be entered as required.
FDMS Computer Terminal
Inputting an inbound estimate and squawk
Message Editor Window
 
 
Arrivals
Inbound aircraft will normally establish communications with tower when transferred by radar at 10 miles or less from the airfield, either when they are established on an instrument approach or visual with the airfield. 
'Tower, Propstar 123 ILS established at 5 miles'
'Propstar 123 continue approach'
'Propstar 123, runway 26, cleared to land'
'Propstar 123 cleared to land'
 
Tower has absolute control of the runways and will clear an aircraft to land once a preceding landing aircraft has taxied clear of the runway or a departing aircraft is airborne. Normally aircraft will receive a landing clearance by about 4 miles from touchdown but it may be later if an aircraft is departing or a vehicle crossing the runway. Once the aircraft has landed and slowed to taxiing speed, instructions are issued to the parking stand, e.g. 'Logan Five One November Yankee, taxy to stand eleven via bravo, alpha and foxtrot'.
 
Departures
Departing aircraft operating under Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) will call tower before starting engines, giving the ATIS information letter  and are passed an 'airways' or local clearance as appropriate. A typical 'airways' clearance would be: 'Jersey Eight Alpha Hotel is cleared to Manchester via (airway) Lima Ten. Climb Flight Level seven zero, after noise abatement turn right (onto) heading one five five, squawk zero four seven seven. This gives the pilot his initial departure clearance and he will read it back to ATC for confirmation. Departures operating under Visual Flight Rules (VFR) will normally make their first call after starting engine(s) and be issued with a local clearance and squawk. As Ronaldsway is situated in Class D controlled airspace, all flight require a flight plan to be submitted to ATC before departure. Sometimes pilots will pass this by radio after starting, but this inevitably results in some delay to their flight as the plan has to entered into the computer system to print a flight progress strip.
 
Initial Clearance
 
The clearance issued to Jersey Eight Alpha Hotel (BEE8AH) has been recorded on the flight progress strip, passed to the crew and read back - the ticks indicates that the read back is correct.
 
When the flight has completed boarding and is ready to go he will call tower again and be cleared for 'push and start'. This authorises engine start and for the aircraft to be pushed back off stand by the tug, positioning onto the apron centreline. When engine start is completed and the tug disconnected the pilot will call for taxy instructions and if the route is clear a typical ATC response would be 'Jersey 8AH taxy to hold alpha nine via bravo, the QNH is 1021', which the pilot will read back. All ATC instructions must be read back for confirmation. The pilot will switch on the aircraft ATC transponder with the issued 'squawk' code to show his position on ATC secondary surveillance radars and taxi to the holding point. As the aircraft approaches the holding point, the tower controller phones Ronaldsway radar and requests a 'release'. This gives him permission to let the aircraft depart in accordance with any instructions radar might issue. If there is no conflicting traffic, the reply might be 'released to Scottish Control on 133.050', i.e. the aircraft can depart in accordance with the clearance already issued and be transferred directly to Scottish Centre on frequency 133.050. If there is conflicting traffic, the radar controller can change the assigned heading or add a level restriction, e.g. 'Jersey 8AH climb straight ahead after departure, released'. In this case the tower controller passes the amended clearance to the pilot and obtains a read back before instructing the aircraft 'Runaway zero eight, line up' and after again reading the instruction back the pilot taxies the aircraft onto the runway. 
 
 
Departure Co-ordination
 
The radar controller has amended the initial clearance to instruct the aircraft to climb straight ahead after departure which has been annotated on the strip, passed to the pilot and read back. The revised clearance will be due to one or both of the inbound aircraft shown by the flight progress strips above the runway designator as the flight paths are required to cross at some point.
 
If there are no other aircraft or vehicles on the runway the controller will then transmit 'Jersey 8AH runway 08 cleared for take-off' which will be read back and the pilot will commence the take-off run. After the aircraft is airborne and established in the climb, in this case probably passing around 2000 ft, communications will be transferred to the appropriate departure frequency: 'Jersey 8AH contact Ronaldsway radar, 120.850'. 
 
Ground Movement Control
Ground movements are controlled to de-conflict aircraft and to optimize the departure order of aircraft on the same route, aircraft being cleared to one of the designated holding points or given clear instructions regarding other aircraft, e.g. 'follow the Aer Arann ATR to hold Alpha' If a runway has to be crossed while taxiing this must be specifically instructed, e.g. 'taxy to hold alpha one via foxtrot and alpha, cross runway two one' . 
'Vacate next right, give way to the outbound company Dash8'
 
Vehicles are controlled on the Manoeuvring Area using a discrete UHF frequency. 118.9 is re-broadcast on this frequency so that vehicle drivers can be aware of aircraft movements. ATC has no responsibility for vehicles operating on the airport Aprons (aircraft parking areas). On the aprons, vehicles must use the designated roadways and give way to all aircraft movements. Certain vehicles are permitted to 'Free Range' on taxiways (but not runways) keeping well clear of all aircraft movements.
 
Runway and Taxiway Lighting
During the hours of darkness or in poor visibility the airfield runways are illuminated with white lights and the taxiways with green centreline and blue edge lights. These lights are all controlled from the Visual Control Room using a touchscreen display. Taxiway holding points adjacent to runways are protected by red 'Stop Bars', a row of red lights across the taxiway which aircraft and vehicles are forbidden to cross. When the controller gives permission to enter the runway, he deselects the stop bar on the lighting panel and the green centreline lights continue onto the runway.
Aerodrome Control at Dusk
Aerodrome Lighting Control Panel

 
 Approach Radar Control     'Ronaldsway Approach/Radar' 120.85 118.2
 
Ronaldsway Approach Radar Room
Approach Radar Controller Workstation
 
Ronaldsway Approach Radar usually controls aircraft up to about 40 miles from the airport. Inbound traffic arriving via the Airways system is transferred from Scottish Control, usually with no telephone co-ordination required, in accordance with standing agreements that vary according to the route flown. Off-route traffic will be identified and issued a clearance into controlled airspace at a level under Ronaldsway's jurisdiction, that is at Flight Level 70 or below.
 
Agreed Levels
Under 'Standing Agreements' with the Area Control Centre, inbound aircraft are descended by Scottish Control and outbound aircraft climbed by Ronaldsway Radar to standard levels as depicted. This ensures vertical separation with no co-ordination normally required between units.
 
Airway 'Lima Ten' to the southeast is worked as a one way system, aircraft positioned on radar headings to keep inbounds on the north side and outbounds on the south side.
 
Inbound aircraft flying under the Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) are vectored (given headings to steer and levels to fly at) using radar until they are established on an appropriate Instrument Approach or wish to continue with a visual approach.  Separation is provided by ATC from other IFR aircraft either laterally or vertically. The minimum separations allowed are 3 miles laterally or 1000 ft vertically.They are then transferred to Tower.
 
Outbound Airways traffic is worked by Ronaldsway Radar if there is a confliction with local traffic, either inbound or overflying, once the confliction is resolved the aircraft is transferred to the relevant Scottish Control sector in accordance with the standing agreement. Levels are assigned to keep aircraft within controlled airspace and radar cover (to the north radar cover at lower levels is restricted due to screening from the hills). Within the Ronaldsway Control Zone, the minimum altitudes to be used are defined by the 'ATC Surveillance Minimum Altitude Chart'
 
ATC Surveillance Minimum Altitude Chart
 
Shows the lowest altitudes that can be allocated by controller when vectoring aircraft
(Click for larger map)
 
 
Two common ATC Scenarios - vectoring aircraft arriving via airway L10 for an Instrument Landing System Approach
 
 Vectoring for ILS Approach Runway 26
A significant proportion of the airways traffic to Ronaldsway arrives via Lima Ten from the south east direction. As the aircraft are already positioned by Area Control on the north side of the airway, they are easily de-conflicted with outbound traffic being routed by Ronaldsway to the south side of the airway. The only problem that can occur is aircraft wanting to 'stay high' for fuel conservation and having to be retained inside the confines of the airway as the top of Ronaldsway's Control Zone only extends up to Flight Level 65. MATS Pt1 instructs controllers that aircraft are to be retained within Controlled Airspace if possible.
 
 Vectoring for ILS Approach Runway 08
Slightly more complicated as the arriving traffic is still positioned by Area Control on the north side of the airway and departures have to be positioned on the south side due to a traffic orientation system involving the whole route structure between England and Northern Ireland. At some point the aircraft tracks have to be crossed and vertical separation must be maintained until horizontal radar separation is obtained. Often not helped by inbound aircraft wanting to maintain an optimum descent profile (staying high) to save fuel. This can result in outbound aircraft effectively being 'trapped' at lower levels. (And using more fuel!)
 
 
A close up view of the surveillance display showing runway 26 in use. 'Aer Arran 8 Lima Charlie' was being vectored to the ILS but has become visual with the airfield and released for a visual approach (own navigation with no ATC level restrictions) as it is horizontally separated from departure 'Neptune 521' which is being vectored to the south side of the airway climbing to Flight Level 70.
 
The green slashes on the display are from the Primary Radar showing track history with a diamond symbol showing current position from the Secondary Surveillance Radar. The aircraft data block shows the radio callsign 'Jersey 821' with the SSR ATC Squawk code, 7026. The next line shows the current level reported by the aircraft transponder, in this case Flight Level 57 with the down arrow indicating that the aircraft is descending. The bottom line shows the computed ground-speed, 232 Knots.
 
Air Traffic Services Outside Controlled Airspace (ATSOCAS)
Although Ronaldsway ATC is mainly concerned with aircraft operating within controlled airspace, sevices are also provided to aircraft operating in uncontrolled (Class G) airspace. Services available outside controlled airspace are either 'Basic Service', ''Traffic Service',  'Procedural Service' or 'Deconfliction Service', which are defined in the Manual of Air Traffic Services and other aeronautical publications.
 
ATSOCAS Services Available
ATSOCAS Examples
 
Approach Control
In the event of a radar failure, Ronaldsway is able to offer a 'Procedural Approach' service, providing separations based on time, level and distance in accordance with MATS part 1. Although it is quite possible to work the airspace in this way (and not unlike the service provided in 1937 in 'QBI') it is un-expeditious and large delays are likely to build up in busy traffic situations, with traffic being held both in the air and on the ground. The Flight Progress Board becomes essential to the control of traffic, levels allocated to aircraft being recorded as with radar control, but in addition many more radio calls are required between ATC and aircraft to ascertain when levels are vacated and can be allocated to another aircraft. Expected Approach Times (EATs) are issued to inbound aircraft that have to hold, as a rule of thumb when aircraft are making instrument approaches, one aircraft can land every 10 minutes, providing that there are no conflicting departing aircraft. Inbound aircraft may have to enter a holding pattern at a higher level if there is a departing aircraft below. Once the departure is laterally separated (time or distance) the inbound aircraft can be descended in the hold to a suitable level to commence approach.
 
 
 
Instrument Approaches
Instrument approaches are designed to allow an aircraft flying in Instrument Meteorological Conditions (IMC) to become visual with the airfield and complete a landing. Each Instrument Approach Procedure has defined minimum altitudes below which an aircraft is not allowed to descend without visual contact with the airfield. The Instrument Landing Systems are certificated to 'ILS Category One' enabling instrument approaches down to a minimum altitude (runway 26) of around 200 feet (subject to pilot/company minima). At the specified 'Decision Height' pilots must be able to continue the approach visually or commence a missed approach. Automatic landings are not permitted at Ronaldsway.
 
Ronaldsway has instrument approach procedures published for runways 03, 08 & 26. The main instrument approaches used are the Instrument Landing Systems on runways 08 & 26. Both runways also have non-precision NDB/DME approaches and Surveillance Radar Approaches available. Runway 08 also has a VOR/DME approach available, using the en-route 'IOM' beacon to the west of the airfield. The only instrument approach available to runway 03 is a Surveillance Radar Approach. There are no instrument approaches available to runway 21, if required an instrument approach can be made to another runway followed by visual manoeuvring to land on runway 21.
 
CAA Approach Procedure Charts
These give a pilot all the information required to complete a instrument approach to land, including the point at which the approach must be discontinued if the airfield is not sighted. This varies according the aircraft category (based on size & speed) and the approach type. Pilots will more normally use charts produced by one of the big commercial companies, e.g. Aerad or Jeppesen. Charts are published for every approach available, those below are just a selection.
03 SRA
08 VOR/DME
08 ILS/DME
26 ILS/DME
26 NDB/DME
 
 
 
ATC Engineering
 
ATC engineering is a small section of specialist engineers who keep all of the ATC technical equipment operating. This ranges from the many computer systems used to radio beacons, radio transmitters and receivers, instrument landing systems, radar and radar display consoles and radio and radar recording systems. Whilst based in the control tower, considerable amounts of equipment are located around or away from the airfield. The picture shows the main equipment room in the control tower.
 
 
 Navigation Aids used at Ronaldsway
 
Ronaldsway is equipped with a variety of radio navigation aids, to enable pilots flying in Instrument Meteorological Conditions (IMC) to fly to a point where they can safely complete a landing on one of the runways. These days the use of GPS is becoming common for en-route navigation and airfield approach procedures are published for some airfields in the UK. As yet, no such procedures have been designed for Ronaldsway.
 
 Aeronautical radio beacons transmit an identification in morse code, usually two or three letters. Pilots will listen to the beacon to ensure that they have tuned the correct frequency although equipment on some modern aircraft can 'auto tune' the beacon and display the identification visually on the flight deck.
 
Non Directional Beacon (NDB)
'RWY' 359 kHz
Wikipedia NDB Article
 
Located on the airfield the NDB is a basic Medium Frequency homing beacon, can be used for holding and non precision instrument let down procedures. NDBs have been in use for aircraft navigation since the 1930s and radiate a signal in all directions (hence 'non-directional'). Automatic Direction Finding (ADF) equipment in aircraft enable pilots to navigate to or from the beacon. The beacon radiates on a continuous basis, even when the airport is closed.
 
Distance Measuring Equipment (DME)
'I-RY or I-RH'
Wikipedia DME Article
 
Located adjacent to the 'RWY' NDB, DME is a radar based system that provides aircraft with a distance from the beacon. DME frequencies are paired with an associated VHF navigation aid, in this case the Instrument Landing Systems on runways 26 & 08. The airborne DME equipment is automatically tuned by the ILS/VOR equipment and interrogates the ground beacon, receiving a reply pulse that enables it to calculate and display the slant range to the beacon, which is displayed in a digital format on the flight deck. This gives distances from touchdown on either runway, being located equidistance from the runway thresholds. The DME beacon codes according to the ILS system in use, but is also used in conjunction with the NDB approaches and just to give a distance to the airfield.
 
The mast on the left of the picture with the 'hat' is the RWY Non Directional Beacon radiating on 359 KHz.
 
On the right is the vertical aerial for the airfield 
Distance Measuring Equipment.
 
The orange and white hut contains the beacon equipment.
 
 
Instrument Landing Systems (ILS/DME)
I-RH & I-RY 111.15 Mhz DME CH48Y
Wikipedia ILS Article
 
Precision instrument approach aids installed for runways 08 & 26. Comprising a VHF Localizer signal for horizontal guidance and a UHF Glideslope signal for vertical guidance together with Distance Measuring Equipment giving range from touchdown. The runway 08 Localizer is offset by 4 degrees to the north of the final approach track, this was due to siting problems for the localizer aerial. The usual location at the far end of the runway was not available and the aerial had to be located to the south side of the runway.. Only one of the two ILS systems can be radiating at any time and a complex interlocking system is installed to facilitate changing from one to the other.
 
Offset ILS Localizer Aerial - Runway 08
ILS Glidepath Aerial - Runway 26
 
 
 
'IOM' VHF Omni Directional Range with Distance Measuring Equipment (VOR/DME)
IOM 112.2 Mhz  DME CH59X
Located to the west of Ronaldsway near Cregneash
Wikipedia VOR Article
The 'IOM is an en-route navigation aid operated by the UK National Air Traffic Services (NATS), 
but also used by Ronaldsway for holding and approach to runway 08
 
The aerials for the co-located  'IOM' VOR & DME
 
The large circular aerial is for the VOR with the vertical aerial for the DME above. Electronic equipment is in the building below the aerial.
 
 
Watchman 10cm S band Primary Surveillance Radar (PSR) & Cossor Secondary Surveillance Radar (SSR) Mode A/C
Wikipedia Article - Radar
Wikipedia Article - Secondary Surveillance Radar
 
Providing surveillance out to a range of 60nm, the radar is used for separation and tactical vectoring of aircraft to a final approach aid. The watchman can also be used to conduct Surveillance Radar Approaches (SRA) to runways 03, 08 & 26, the controller giving headings to steer to maintain the final approach track to 2nm from touchdown, together with advisory altitudes or heights. The radar aerials are co-located on the same turning gear, with the SSR aerial mounted on top of the PSR aerial. Primary radar works by detecting radar pulses reflected from objects, generally aircraft but also ships, land surfaces and precipitation and produces a 'blip' on the radar screen. Secondary radar works by interrogating a transponder fitted to the aircraft and returns a discrete code (squawk) and a height, which is displayed on the screen. Using the display processor a particular code can be associated with an aircraft callsign to display it on the controllers screen.
 
The co-located radar aerials for the Watchman Primary Radar and Cossor Secondary Surveillance Radar
The PSR aerial is the lower solid dish type aerial with the Large Vertical Aperture SSR aerial above.
 
Radar showing 'uncancelled' returns from weather and land areas in the IOM and England
A more normal picture with and weather and land returns processed out.

 
 
The Area Control Centres
London (Swanwick) & Scottish (Prestwick) Centres operated by National Air Traffic Services (NATS)
 
Air traffic control services over a wider area around the British Isles are provided from the two Area Control Centres, London ACC at Swanwick and Scottish ACC at Prestwick. In the vicinity of the Isle of Man, most Area ATC is provided by Scottish Control some by London Centre. Services are provided by both civil and military controllers.
 
Scottish Area Control Centre
London Area Control Centre
 
 
Scottish Control
Pictures courtesy of and © NATS PC 
 
Scottish controls en-route aircraft operating within the controlled airspace structure over the northern half of the UK
Sectors controlling traffic in the vicinity of the Isle of Man are: 
Antrim Sector 123.775, Isle of Man Sector 133.050, Rathlin Sector 129.1
Scottish Prestwick Centre Operations Room
Scottish Centre 'West 2' Group
 
Antrim Sector controls Lima 10, Whiskey 911 Delta and Whiskey 928 Delta to the north and east of the Isle of Man.
Isle of Man Sector controls Lima 10 and and Whiskey 2 Delta to the south and east of the Isle of Man. 
When 'bandboxed' (combined) with Wallesey Sector uses 128.050
Rathlin  Sector controls the high level routes over the Isle of Man and as such has no direct interface with Ronaldsway.
 
A Scottish sector using Electronic Flight Progress Strips
Scottish Control Surveillance Display picture
 
 
NATS Radar Stations covering the airspace surrounding the Isle of Man
NATS Lowther Hill Radar Station
NATS St Anne's radar Station
 
 
Scottish Information 119.875
Scottish Information provides a Flight Information and Alerting service to all aircraft that require it to the north of the Isle of Man.
Flight Information Service Officer at NATS Prestick Centre
 
 
London Control
London Information 125.475 London Volmet North 126.6
Most of the airspace controlled by London has no direct interface with Ronaldsway, however to the south of the Isle of Man a Flight Information Service is provided by London Information. London Volmet provides a continuous broadcast of weather reports for airfields, including Ronaldsway.
 
London Military
London Military 277.625 127.450
Provides a service to the many military aircraft operating around the northern Irish Sea. Often providing an Airways crossing service, one of their major customers are the Hawk aircraft operating from RAF Valley on Anglesey, that need to cross the controlled airspace over the Isle of Man before continuing with operating over southern Scotland or the Lake District. Provides a radar service in Air to Air refuelling Area 13 which is located just to the east of the Isle of Man.
London Military Sector at Swanwick
 
 
Snaefell Radio Station
Operated by NATS and providing en-route ATC transmit and receive services for London & Scottish Centres.
Located on the highest point of the Isle of Man, accessed by the Snaefell Mountain Ralway tramcars or in Winter months by NATS own railcar
NATS Snaefell Radio Station
NATS Railcar
 

Adjacent Airfields
 
Warton
Warton Radar 129.525 + discrete UHF frequencies
Operated by British Aerospace primarily as a flight test centre. Can be very busy usually with military aircraft, most often Typhoons and Tornados. Provides an extensive radar service to their aircraft all around the Irish Sea and also a Lower Altitude Radar Service (LARS) to other users. Equipped with a Selex L band radar, also has feeds from NATS en-route radars.
 
Blackpool
Blackpool Approach/Radar 119.950
Adjacent airport to the east, operating scheduled services to several destinations, including the Isle of Man. Can be busy with private aircraft. Ronaldsway and Blackpool will often conduct 'radar handovers'. Equipped with a Plessey AR15 radar with SSR feed from NATS. Advisory route 'W2D' is often closed on weekdays if Warton are conducting flight testing and Isle of Man - Blackpool flights will route direct with a handover from one airfield radar to the other.
 
Liverpool
Liverpool Approach/Radar 119.850
Busy commercial airport to the south east, occasionally there are radar handovers between Ronaldsway & Liverpool, but low level coverage is limited so more often aircraft are 'free called' between units.
 
RAF Valley
Valley Radar 125.225 + UHF frequencies
Very busy military training airfield to the south, although normally only operating Monday to Friday. Two squadrons of BAe Hawk training aircraft, 208 (R) Sqn & 4 (R) Sqn. Often Ronaldsway stands by as a diversion airfield for the Hawks which also visit regularly for practice ILS approaches and sometimes visual circuits. Valley is also home to 22 Sqn 'C' flight providing Search & Rescue facilities using Sea King helicopters and the Search and Rescue Training Unit (SARTU) operating Griffin and A139 helicopters. Radar handovers regularly conducted between Ronaldsway and Valley.  RAF Valley ATC also provides a Lower Altitude Radar Service (LARS) in the area, offering Traffic Service and De-confliction Service.
 
Belfast International (Aldergrove)
Aldergrove Approach/Radar 128.5
One of two commercial airports serving Belfast in Northern Ireland. There is very little overlapping radar coverage between Ronaldsway and Aldergrove so aircraft are normally 'free called' between units. 
 
Belfast City
Belfast Approach/Radar 130.850
The second commercial airport for Belfast. As with Aldergrove, poor overlapping low level radar coverage normally precludes handovers between units and traffic is 'free called' Airline flights between the airports operate via the airways system so depart/arrive via Scottish Control. Light aircraft operating to the club airfield at Newtownards also usually work Belfast City.
 
Dublin
Dublin North 129.175  Dublin Information 118.5
The major airport for the Irish Republic. Very busy and ATC there have a hold established just the other side of the Flight Information Region (FIR) boundary at 'ROKNA' which is between the Isle of Man and Dublin.  Airline flights between the airports operate via the airways system so arrive/depart via Scottish Control.
 

 
Listening to ATC Radio
I should probably mention at this point that despite what has been published in the past and the general availability of radio scanners and publications detailing frequencies, monitoring ATC communications is in fact illegal without proper authorisation, although as far as I am aware, nobody has been prosecuted for it and it seems to generally accepted in the UK (and Isle of Man).
Ofcom publish guidance here.
 
 All pictures on this website unless otherwise credited are  © Jon Wornham