Tech Updates

1st U.S. Remote Air Traffic Control Center in Alabama

SELMA, Ala. — A company plans to build the nation’s first-ever remote air traffic control center, which could handle multi-airport traffic, on the site of an old Alabama air force base, a newspaper reports.

Advanced ATC Inc., an air traffic control academy based in Valdosta, Georgia, announced plans Thursday to invest about $4.7 million in Craig Air Field, now a public airport in Dallas County just southeast of Selma, the Selma Times reported. JThe company also announced that it will establish an international training academy at the site. Journal.

The remote tower uses cameras, real-time video, and other features, allowing remote air traffic controllers to perform tasks they would previously have performed in a traditional control tower, the company said.

“External towers represent an important and innovative step in the effort to modernize US airspace, and I am excited to see Advanced ATC establish its groundbreaking operation at Craig Field,” said Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of State. Commerce.

While the technology is gaining traction in Europe, it’s relatively new to the United States, Dan Cunningham, chief operating officer for Advanced ATC, told The Associated Press.

“Remote tower systems are brand new in the United States,” Cunningham said. He said the tower will be part of their training academy at the site — where they expect to train students from around the world — but needs approval from the Federal Aviation Administration before it can handle air traffic in the United States.

The Federal Aviation Administration has not approved external tower systems for use. But Cunningham said remote towers at two airports are currently going through the evaluation process, and “our process will be the same.”

Advanced ATC officials said the remote tower will be equipped to support aviation expansion and provide air traffic control services for up to 40 airports in the US.

“The prospects for small airports to be able to afford ATC service without the need to build a $5 million to $10 million control tower is now available with the advancement of camera and satellite technologies changing almost daily,” he said. Cunningham. “The Selma RTC will catalyze this historical change in the United States.”

The company’s five-year plan aims to bring as many as 119 jobs to Selma, with an $8 million payroll. Of those, the company will hire 28 people within the first year to operate the facility at Craig Field, with a payroll of $3.1 million.

Remote Air Traffic Control

Indra, an air navigation systems company, will partner with Advanced ATC to provide North America personnel, software, and logistics for each remote tower system.

Meanwhile, the international training academy will provide operational training and certifications to 25 and 50 students annually.

“We are excited to reach a win-win agreement and are eager to start making aviation history at Craig Field,” said Advanced ATC President Monica Cunningham.

When asked for a timeline of when the new additions should be operational, Craig Field Executive Director Jim Corrigan said the academy would accept its first class in September, and the remote air traffic control tower will be certified in December. He added that Craig Field will also have a manned air traffic control tower.

Albert L. Davis

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