Colorado Airport's Remote Tower on Life Support

 - April 11, 2023, 10:48 AM
The Searidge-supplied remote tower at the Northern Colorado Regional Airport is in limbo until the FAA can establish a path to certification for the system. (Photo: Colorado Department of Transportation)

The Colorado Department of Transportation aims to keep a remote tower operating at Northern Colorado Regional Airport (KFNL) if a path to FAA certification surfaces. Searidge Technologies is supplying the remote tower equipment at KFNL and also at London Heathrow (EGLL), Hong Kong International (HKIA), and Singapore Changi (WSSS) airports. The FAA said the Searidge system at KFNL is “under evaluation.”

“We will be able to save it if Searidge can provide the required system design approval documents and the FAA supports the KFNL system,” said Bill Payne, who is managing the project for the Colorado DOT. “It will be a shame if the system does not complete the certification process after the state invested $8.8 million and the FAA did four years of testing.” 

The FAA approved the installation of the system but later issued new requirements for increased visual acuity. In response, Searidge replaced some 1040 HD cameras and displays at KFNL with 4K models to meet these new requirements.

But now, the FAA wants remote tower systems to be tested first at the FAA Technical Center in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Meanwhile, Saab pulled out of the remote tower project at Virginia’s Leesburg Executive Airport (KJYO) last month after six years of testing there when the company concluded it could not finish the FAA certification process. The FAA plans to discontinue the system at KJYO in June.