Research Projects

Low cost remote tower solution

Install and operate a low cost remote tower solution using COTS/FAA approved radar only FOD detection solution (currently in operation at Heathrow) combined with an optical aircraft tail number/aircraft counter system/situational awareness system.

Background (Describe the current situation or problem in the industry, and how your idea would address it.)

Numerous airports have a need for air traffic controllers but the costs to have on site personnel equipped tower may exceed the budgetary support due to seasonal limits, traffic volume, infrastructure limitations or other limitation. This proposed solution is well under current remote tower solutions and the proposed equipment is already FAA approved for use on airports. The system could be installed within 90 days of FAA siting approval. All equipment is situated outside of the RSA and meets Part 77/FAA Airport design ACs.

Objective (What is the desired product or result that will help the airport industry?)

Install and operate a low cost remote tower solution using COTS/FAA approved radar only FOD detection solution (currently in operation at Heathrow) combined with an optical aircraft tail number/aircraft counter system/situational awareness system.

Approach (Describe in general terms the steps you think are needed to achieve the objective.)
  1. Collect data from existing COTS Radar Only FOD systems
  2. Collect data from existing COTS Tail number/Aircraft ID systems
  3. Demonstrate fusi
    on of data to airport operators, pilots, ATC, state and federal authorities.
  4. Set up demonstration/test site at US DoD facility. Use MARSA rules to operate. Volunteer sites ready to move
    forward on project.
  5. Demonstrate under VMC conditions that syst
    em meets FAA requirements.
Cost Estimate and Backup (Provide a cost estimate and support for how you arrived at the estimate.)

Budget estimate: $500,000 for a 5000' runway or less
Budget for equipment, deployment, sensor integration, and turn key solution ready for use
Tests and evaluation to be provided by FAA.
ATC services enhance safety. Providing any ATC service through proven COTS sensors is safer than the current
pilot only reporting via radio and visual clearing from the cockpit. The systems are proven and COT. The challenge
is creating a lower cost solution. This can be achieved through use of COTS and increased cost savings in large scale
production.
Traditional Control Towers and current remote tower offerings are too costly. The proposed system meets the needs
of pilots, airports and ATC while costs can be reduced to well below $500,000 per airport.

Related Research - List related ACRP and other industry research; describe gaps (see link to Research Roadmaps above), and describe how your idea would address these gaps. This is a critical element of a synthesis topic submission.

There are a number of remote tower solutions in the US and Europe. The COTS systems proposed have also been
evaluated and tested by the FAA. The difference in this research is that
an operational system can be established that
meets both safety requirements as well as the budgeting constraints of a system below $500,000 which has not been
achieved to date.

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Idea No. 72

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