The first phase of the Leesburg (Va.) Executive Airport remote tower demonstration program concluded yesterday, with data collected during a four-month “passive monitoring” phase. Saab, which developed the remote tower system, partnered with Virginia SATSLab and Leesburg Airport to demonstrate remote tower technologies at the field, with the FAA, Virginia Department of Aviation and National Air Traffic Controllers Association (Natca) serving as advisors. In addition, the FAA and Natca provided controllers in support of data-collection activities.
With the phase-one milestone now reached, the data will be analyzed and form the basis of a safety case report to be presented to the FAA for approval to move on to phase two of the demonstration—active control of traffic at Leesburg using the Saab system. A Saab spokesman told AIN that the company is hoping to begin the second phase in the first quarter, pending the FAA safety review.
“This is a great example of public-private partnership where government and industry work together to drive progress and development,” said Saab Sensis president and CEO Mike Gerr. “We look forward to starting the next phase of the demonstration, which will include active controlling at Leesburg Airport, and moving toward the ultimate goal of approving this new technology for use in the U.S.”