Poll: Are Remote Towers A Good Idea?


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  1. 19 years ago I installed an EFIS and Moving Map GPS in a number of aircraft and everyone asked if “Are Glass Panels A Good Idea?”

  2. KFNL has a remote tower. I chose “I’m not sure,frankly” because of the mixed feelings I have about it. It’s a contract tower, not staffed by FAA employees, which is one aspect—they seem ultra-conservative so that there are inordinate delays getting cleared to depart. Whether that’s because they are just being careful or can’t see traffic in the pattern or what, I don’t know—but see the next paragraph.

    In spite of a plethora of cameras spotted around the field, they don’t seem to be able to see aircraft, where a person in a real tower cab would be able to. For instance, on one occasion, I reported 5 east, to which the controller replied “not in sight” although I have HID lights wig-wagging and it was a clear day. I was told to enter downwind for 15, which I did, and the controller seemed surprised when I announced turning base. He first chewed me out for not reporting that I was downwind before clearing me to land, so obviously he didn’t see me.

    I’ve been in the “cab”, which has a series of huge screens all along one wall, which gives a 360° view compressed into 180°. Perhaps with training it’s not a problem, but I frankly thought it was confusing, to see an aircraft depart to the right of the screen and then show up on the left of the screen.

    Lastly, at least at KFNL, I don’t see the need for any tower. There’s still not enough traffic count to warrant a tower, IMHO. But that’s me—I’m pretty comfortable with a non-towered situation.

  3. A remote as opposed to no tower, I am on the fence with this. Yes, it might be a good idea. Especially when there are fools taking off and landing at non towered airports, and not using the radios. I once came in for fuel in Iowa, and a crop duster in front of me landed. He never said a word or ever called out his position.

  4. I don’t believe that a radio is required in a crop duster at an uncontrolled airport. He/she was probably using a walkie/talkie.