Technology now enables the replication at remote sites of traditional 'out of the window' views from aerodrome visual control rooms by electronic means. This allows aerodrome Air Traffic Control (ATC) or Flight Information Service (FIS) to be provided from a location other
than the aerodrome while maintaining a level of operational safety which is equivalent to what can be achieved using a manned tower at the aerodrome to oversee both air and ground movements.
Aerodrome Air Traffic Service (ATS) from a remote position is facilitated by the streaming in real time of the view from an assembly of fixed and moveable high definition digital video cameras situated at the remotely controlled aerodrome. This encrypted signal is used to replicate a view of the aerodrome and its
vicinity which is equivalent to the view which would exist from a visual control room on the aerodrome. Fixed cameras provide the main display – these may be supplemented by other (such as ramp close-ups). Moveable cameras which can be directed as required from the may also be used to replicate the way binoculars might be
used in a conventional tower. This visual situational awareness for the controller or flight information service operator can be supplemented by a range of environmental sensors and microphones capturing sound and meteorological or other operational data.
The CAA foresees the development and deployment of remote tower technology enabling the following types of operations:
The CAA has today published an
initial update of its Policy concerning the approval of
remote tower operations which revises a number of definitions and some
technical content to align with the content of EASA ED 2019/004/R. The
policy still addresses the following themes:
CAP 670 will be amended in due course to reflect remote tower approval requirements. The following changes are anticipated (final text subject to outcome of the
CAP 670 Air Traffic Services Safety Requirements consultation):
a. ATC04.1 ANSPs considering the implementation of Remote Tower operations are reminded of the requirements within Part A paragraphs A88-A92 for Change Notification, in particular A90 in regard to major changes.
b. ATC04.2 ANSPs shall consider the guidance included within Reference A
a. RTOS01.1 ANSPs employing optical systems shall specify System Performance Requirements including Detection and Range Recognition Range Performance, Video latency, Video Update Rate, Video Failure Detection time, Point Tilt Zoom (PTZ) Function Control Latency, PTZ Function Movement Speed, and Time Synchronisation.
b. RTOS01.2 EUROCAE Document ED-240 'Minimum Aviation System Performance Specification for Remote Tower Optical Systems' provides guidance in developing these requirements and in verifying compliance.
c. RTOS01.3 ANSPs should consider Point and Zoom (PTZ) functionality using guidance from Reference A.
d. RTOS01.4 The visual presentation screens together with aerodrome ambient sound reproduction (if used) should be recorded. Where surveillance information is overlaid and/or integrated (in 'enhanced equipage') the recording of the screens will be a requirement.
e. Detailed requirements for recording and replay will be included in RTOS and will be largely similar to those for At-The-Glass Surveillance data described in SUR10
a. COM02.36 will be updated to include data communications equipment used for links between VHF radio systems and the Voice Switch equipment (for example, as part of remote tower modules) within the definitions of main, contingency and emergency equipment.
Industry will be provided with advanced notification of the change.
ICAO Doc 4444 (PANS-ATM) Amendment 8, effective 8 November 2018 - introduces remote tower-related content into PANS-ATM
EASA has published the following remote tower-related Acceptable Means of Compliance and Guidance Material
EUROCAE publishes ED-240A - Minimum Aviation System Performance Standards (MASPS) for Remote Tower Optical Systems
• MOTO - the 'embodied' reMOte TOwer - www.sesarju.eu/projects/moto plus www.moto-project.eu/• PJ05 Remote Tower - www.sesarju.eu/projects/remotetower plus www.remote-tower.eu/
Eurocontrol is a further source of related material.
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