Australian Firm Acquires Virtual Control Tower Technology In Estonia


Australia-based Adacel Technologies, a developer of innovative air traffic management technology, has completed the acquisition of a new virtual Air Traffic Control (ATC) tower solution in Estonia. According to Adacel, “The new system has successfully passed a rigorous Site Acceptance Testing (SAT) with Estonian Air Navigation Services (EANS) [self-defined as “a state-owned public limited company”], to provide virtual tower operations for Kuressaare in Tallinn.”

The system is built on a modular, open-architecture principle, which can integrate with existing and future systems involving air traffic management, communication, navigation and surveillance. Daniel Verret, Adacel CEO, said, “The new virtual ATC tower solution presents immense opportunities for everyone, and along with our deep industry expertise and ever-evolving technological advancements, we look forward to continuing to advance safety and efficiency in aviation.”

Following the successful certification of the technology in Tallinn, the next applications are scheduled for the Estonian airports in Tartu, Pärnu and Kärdla. Ivar Värk, head of EANS, said, “Developing remote tower solution for Estonia is a significant step forward that supports our goal to digitize all Estonian regional airports by the year 2025.”

Mark Phelps
Mark Phelps is a senior editor at AVweb. He is an instrument rated private pilot and former owner of a Grumman American AA1B and a V-tail Bonanza.

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  1. Hmm… here in AZ, our Governor allowed a driverless car company to test their cars on our streets. Until one of the cars hit a woman who, arguably, wasn’t supposed to be in a street. (IIRC, she was under the influence of something. And even tho there was a human on board, he was out of the loop at the time.) My point is, these automated / virtual systems work fine as long as everything goes as expected. But throw in the unexpected – say, an airplane experiencing an electrical emergency, and so NORDO; a student pilot who’s lost and who stumbles into Class D without talking to anyone; etc. and all bets are off.

    Maybe there’s not a lot of air traffic in Estonia for this to be a problem. But I’ve seen enough of the unexpected at Towers here in the states that I want humans on site. (I wonder how they virtually aim a Light Gun?)

    And this doesn’t include the potential problem that a virtual Tower could be hacked.


  2. Really, this is just a step up from RCOs you use for clearances, or maybe the old Flight Service Station staffers who quasi-managed traffic for the airport where they were located while sitting in a room somewhere on site. With voice communications augmented by video and radar, the most likely problem would seem to be failure to sufficiently staff the control point.