Remote tower process

Remote tower concept allows providing service to low density aerodromes in a more flexible and cost effective way. Detailed description about the concept can be found from European ATM Master Plan.

Remote towers are developed all around the world and some ANSPs have already succeeded in deploying it.
With the decision of Estonian Air Navigation Services supervisory board and Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, the remote tower project team developed Estonian remote tower strategy and the concept for the provision of services.
EANS together with its contractor Cybernetica AS have built the remote tower to Tartu airport site and started with the validation process. Validation and testing mostly concerns the technical realization (audio-video system), human factors and the acceptance of the new workplace for the ATCOs.
During two months period the passive shadow modes were held and successfully finished. The aim for the ATCOs participating in passive shadow mode trials was to simulate ATCO’s work in remote tower and get familiar with the new work environment.
The next step is to start with the active shadow mode trials during which the ATCO provides full ATC service from remote tower environment. As the system is in the development phase then risks are mitigated with an ATCO in traditional tower who has constant situational awareness and is ready to take over whenever necessary.

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In the long term, EANS plans to develop a technical system that unites all regional airports’ video representations and to certify multiple remote tower solution.

As the result of successful remote tower project, clear benefits are feasible, such as:

• providing cost efficient ATS services to low density aerodromes and heliports, including multiple remote tower solution where the personnel and infrastructure are used in a more effective way,
• providing ATS services whenever there is a need – the flexibility of regional airports’ operating times, e.g. the possibility to arrange 24/7 SAR operations and medical flights from the aerodromes and heliports that have the necessary capability,
• improving flight safety with the usage of new technology,
• resolving unexpected events in a more flexible and cost efficient manner,
• developing engineering knowledge in Estonian aviation through system and product development,
• using the modern cutting-edge ATS technology in regional airports.