Remote Control Tower To Be Tested In Virginia


This summer, a remote control tower developed by Saab will be tested at Leesburg Executive Airport, in Virginia. The technology makes it possible for controllers to operate as they would in a control tower, but from an off-airport location. A prototype system has been operational in Sweden since last fall, where controllers in Sundsvall work the takeoffs and landings at Ornskoldsvik Airport, 60 miles away. The system uses high-definition and pan-tilt-zoom video cameras, meteorological sensors, and microphones. Controllers are able to operate signal light guns at the airport from the remote control room. “A controller at the Remote Tower Center has the tools to operate the airport in a similar manner as he or she would in a traditional air traffic control tower,” according to Saab. The project spent more than a year in the testing phase before going live.

The Remote Tower technology makes it possible to provide air traffic services at low-traffic airports and has the potential to add services to airports without towers today, according to Saab. Leesburg is one of the top three ranked GA airports in Virginia, with more than 100,000 takeoffs and landings annually, but currently is not served by a tower. The remote system will be based at the airport and will be operated by FAA controllers. The company says the technology can improve safety and lower costs.”Remote Tower makes it possible to have a network of airports operated from one location, and we can see a great deal of interest from many parts of the world,” said Saab CEO Hakan Buskhe. The system can also be used to enhance traditional towers, the company said, for example, to provide views of airport areas that are not visible from the tower, or to provide FAA services at airports, like the one in Leesburg, without the expense of building a tower.


  1. Used a platform similar to this going through the AT-CTI program in 2010. The display wrap-around was about 300 degrees with 3 stations in the middle, IIRC.

    Will a single RTC one day work multiple airports simultaneously?