EANS in partnership with Estonian software developer Cybernetica has presented a remote tower solution to enable simultaneous air traffic control at several aerodromes.
Üllar Salumäe, EANS board member, said the development of the remote tower started in September 2016 in cooperation with Estonian leading software developer Cybernetica which has extensive experience in developing surveillance solutions for vessel traffic services and video monitoring for port operations.
“As there is only one major aerodrome and four regional aerodromes in Estonia, it is not practical to use different systems for air traffic control, but to transfer regional aerodromes to a single air traffic control system. The existence of a remote tower is a prerequisite for the switch,” explained Salumäe who added that although the system was initially designed for Estonian air traffic control, it could be easily used by any nation or company.
According to Martin Link who heads Cybernetica’ communications and surveillance systems sales, the greatest advantage of the remote tower solution is its open architecture, which provides the opportunity to customise.
“In addition, it is possible to integrate the system with other software systems or to use the solution as a basis for developing your own specific system, making it all more cost-effective than current air traffic control alternatives,” said Link. Furthermore, the technology is developed in a way that there will be no need for major changes in operational working methods of air traffic services personnel.
System development has involved aviation and IT experts to ensure maximum system security. “During the development process, we have tested various high-tech solutions and their suitability for day-to-day real-life air traffic control situations with the Estonian Aviation Academy and Estonian Air Navigation Services, thereby ensuring the highest quality and air safety,” said Link. At the moment, prototype development and system certification are underway with a provision that the remote tower will be on the market in 2020.
EANS and Cybernetica said they would like to develop the remote tower solution into a remote tower center air traffic control facility that enables a central and flexible provision of air traffic services simultaneously to multiple aerodromes from one work station.
“An innovative air traffic control system like RTC would help regional aerodromes to make more cost efficient use of labour, yet still ensure highest quality of air traffic control and safety,” explained Salumäe, who added that in Europe, the leading users of remote towers are Norway and Sweden, where small airports are often controlled via remote tower. He said he believed remote tower tower technology will be one of the key solutions in the future of air traffic control.