The FAA has selected Searidge Technologies to install, test and certify a Remote Tower System (RTS) at the Northern Colorado Regional Airport (FNL) in Loveland, Colorado.
This is one of the initial steps toward the implementation of a test site for NextGen air traffic control technology to increase the efficiency and safety at one of northern Colorado’s busier general aviation airports, according to state aviation officials.
Searidge Technologies, headquartered in Ottawa, Canada, was the first company to have an operational video surveillance system in an air traffic control tower, and now has video-based airport surface management technology at 30 airports in 16 countries.“Searidge is looking forward to working with the FAA and the Colorado Department of Transportation Aeronautics to certify one of the first remote towers in the United States,” said Moodie Cheikh, co-founder and CEO.
FNL was chosen as the test facility based on several factors, including the availability of commercial air service, traffic volume, and the wide mix of aircraft types operating at FNL.
“We at the Northern Colorado Regional Airport are more than ready for the start of this pioneering project. I am looking forward to the transition from planning to implementation, and keeping innovation alive and well in Colorado,” said Northern Colorado Regional Airport Director Jason Licon.
The project will be the first in the world to integrate both video and track-based surveillance (radar) to provide a comprehensive view of the airport surface and Class D airspace to air traffic controllers working in a remote facility, according to state aviation officials.
“The high-tech array will provide an enhanced view and situational awareness of the airport environment and Class D airspace that will be superior to that of a traditional airport traffic control tower, with construction, operational and staffing costs dramatically lower than necessary with a traditional control tower,” officials said in a prepared release.
“The success of this project is dependent on the strong partnership we have developed with the FAA and Northern Colorado Regional Airport. This unique synergy will help establish Colorado as a leader in the next generation of air traffic control technology,” said Colorado Division of Aeronautics Director David Ulane.
The Colorado Division of Aeronautics collaborated with the FAA on the development of the Colorado Mountain Radar Project, which deployed Wide Area Multilateration and ADS-B surveillance technologies to provide enhanced surveillance in areas of the Colorado mountains previously without radar coverage.
Phase I of this project was completed in 2010 at airports in Craig, Hayden, Steamboat Springs and Rifle, Colorado. Phase II of the Colorado Mountain Radar Project became operational in 2013 and included airports in Durango, Gunnison, Montrose and Telluride, Colorado.
Lessons learned from the Mountain Radar Project ultimately led to the development of the remote tower concept, state aviation officials said.
The Remote Tower System project, expected to be operating by the winter of 2019, is being funded with $8.8 million from the Colorado Division of Aeronautics.