ATM Modernization

Italian Demo Tests Remote ATC Towers on Live Flight Ops

By Woodrow Bellamy III  | November 17, 2016
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[Avionics Magazine 11-17-2016] Remote tower technology is a key technology for the future of aviation, and for boosting European mobility and connectivity. These were some of the conclusions from an open day on remote tower technology, which took place on Nov. 11, 2016 at Milano Malpensa Airport.
The Remote Tower demonstration lead by SESAR and ENAV. Photo: SESAR JU.
The event presented the results of the Single European Sky ATM Research (SESAR) large-scale demonstration project Remote Airport Concept Of OperatioN (RACOON). Coordinated by Italian Air Navigation Service Provider (ANSP) ENAV, the project has successfully tested remote tower technology in real operations involving more than 100 real flights at Linate and Malpensa airports.
Remote towers offer alternatives for places where conventional tower facilities and services are currently unavailable or too expensive to run. High-definition cameras and panoramic screens allow traffic controllers in remote workstations to remotely provide air traffic and aeronautical flight information services in real time by providing them a 360-degree view of a given airport. Sensors and controller tools enable them to ensure flights take off and land safely.
Currently, the deployment of remote tower services is local, but according to Massimo Garbini, SESAR Deployment, synchronized deployment of the technology should also be considered in order to fast track its take-up.

During the event, visitors were given an opportunity to visit the Malpensa remote testbed platform. This was a unique opportunity to witness the execution of flight trials, during which Milano Linate and Malpensa traffic were managed by controllers from the remote tower centre located in Malpensa tower.  

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