Saab, the public-private Virginia SATSLab and Leesburg (Va.) Executive Airport are partnering to demonstrate and evaluate Saab’s remote tower technologies for use at non-tower airports. The trial will take place at the currently non-tower Leesburg field next summer, with the Virginia Department of Aviation acting as an advisory partner.
Remote and Virtual Tower
Countries including Sweden, Norway, Ireland, Switzerland, Germany, Thailand, Australia and New Zealand have an interest in using “remote towers” to control air traffic, according to Saab, which is already certifying one such facility in Sweden. The company is also competing to provide systems for three airports in Germany and up to 75 in Norway.
The Swedish Transport Agency approved technical and operational procedures Sweden’s air navigation service provider LFV will use to operate the world’s first “remote tower,” contractor Saab announced. This fall, controllers at the Sundsvall Remote Tower Center will begin managing takeoffs and landings at Örnsköldsvik Airport, 62 miles distant.
As air traffic grows at a frantic pace, India has to deal with the challenges posed by ageing air traffic management (ATM) infrastructure and the need to train more air traffic controllers (ATCOs). Progress is being made, however, despite a very limited budget.
“Remote tower” ATC systems advanced by Saab have passed site acceptance testing in Norway and Sweden, paving the way for broader acceptance of the technology at small and regional airports that have no manned tower or a tower that is temporarily staffed during the day.
A remotely controlled ATC tower constructed by Saab for Norway’s Avinor air navigation service has passed the site acceptance tests that will eventually allow for a smoother fit into the Sesar air traffic management system, Europe’s version of NextGen, once final testing of the facility’s operations is completed.
Patrick Ky, who has led the Single European Sky ATM Research (Sesar) program through its development phase, has been named executive director of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), effective September 1. Ky will succeed Patrick Goudou, who has headed the European safety authority based in Cologne, Germany, since it was created in September 2003.
The Single European Sky ATM Research (Sesar) effort, Europe’s equivalent of NextGen in the U.S., is making progress as a research and development program “but it is not yet a successful modernization program,” according to the man directing its development phase.