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.
With maintenance and upgrades scheduled for the tower at New Jersey’s Teterboro Airport, aircraft operators should be aware of temporary reductions in nighttime services extending through Sunday. Work in the tower includes replacing the elevator, upgrading the electrical system and removing asbestos, all of which requires relocating air traffic controllers to a different site. Between the hours of 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. this week there will be no radar, flight data input/output (FDIO) or automatic terminal information service (ATIS) available at the New York City-area airport.
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.
Twenty air traffic controllers, all members of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (Natca), were honored for their skill, dedication and professionalism at the association’s March 26 Archie League Medal of Safety awards ceremony. The annual event spotlights controllers who saved at least one life during an emergency.
When the FAA was looking for ways to slash expenditures by more than $600 million in Fiscal Year 2013 as part of “sequestration” cuts mandated by the U.S. Congress last spring, part of the plans was a shutdown of 149 low-activity contract control towers.
The Aircraft Accident Investigation Board of Norway issued its final report explaining how confusion between two aircraft with similar call signs resulted in a near-collision at Oslo Airport in October last year. The incident occurred as a Norwegian Air Shuttle Boeing 737-800 (NAX 741) executed a missed approach as another of the company’s aircraft (NAX 740) was taking off.
Stop-gap legislation enacted in late May enabled the FAA to abandon its budget-trimming plan–prompted by sequestration cuts imposed by Congress–to close the 149 contract air traffic control towers starting on June 15. However, the agency left open the possibility that the towers could be closed when the new fiscal year starts on October 1, which is now just two weeks away.
Vehicle movement area transmitters (Vmats) have been installed at both Denver (DEN) and St. Louis-Lambert (STL) international airports to help improve runway safety.
The prospect of an ATC facility without human air traffic controllers is progressing well, according to Dr. Dave Byers, a pioneer in the technology that would enable this development.
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