Remote control Tower - first in the UK
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  1. #1

    Remote control Tower - first in the UK

    Do we think this is a good idea?
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  2. #2
    Computer says "No"
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  3. #3
    The only thing I don't like about the concept is lack of depth perception due to the 2D displays. If it could be done with a VR headset, I think it would be better. Once that's done, you'll need multiple redundancies on both ends.

  4. #4
    Charter Member 2017 srgalahad's Avatar
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    Testing has been ongoing since about 2009. Saab is the featured developer in the BBC article but there are others working on remote virtual towers including a Canadian company that has been acquired by NavCanada. The Saab system was tested in Leesburg VA in 2015 and is still apparently in the cards for Fort Collins, CO.

    Tom, I understand your question about depth perception, but since most of that comes from knowledge and processing data (binocular vision only works in a very short range) the potential problems in that area are quite small.

    Interestingly, many countries are using essentially the same type of systems for ATC training so it's not that big a step, except in the public eye.

    Regarding redundancy, that's a no-brainer. In the LCC instance there are triple fiber-optic data lines on separate routes, and a lot of ATS data and comms are remoted already.
    Also, LCC is a single-runway operation in a highly structured airspace so it's a relatively 'simple' operation.

    Looking at it through the eyes of a controller who spent 30 years in various towers, I can see operations that will be straight-forward, and others where it would be difficult, or not as practical as on-site humans. Local weather, sight-lines and all sorts of other issues will determine where and when such an idea would be functional, but perhaps the biggest obstacle will be the perceptions of those who have never done the job. Factor in the relatively large cost benefits and I see it as a way to provide service that might otherwise be reduced, lost entirely or never implemented. Consider that the tendency today is for no one wanting to pay for anything, a system that can potentially provide minor reductions vs. major gains in available ATC, looks like a viable idea.

    I'd sure like the idea of living and working in a lower cost, less remote site than some of the places I got to visit in my career ( and that might be another benefit - retention of controllers who quit because they are stuck in some over-priced, or unpleasant location.).

    "To some the sky is the limit. To others it is home" anon.
    “Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.” -Albert Einstein

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by thefrog View Post
    Do we think this is a good idea?

    Vatsim's been doing it like that for years...

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