The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced that it has entered into an agreement with Searidge Technologies to install, test and certify a Remote Tower System (RTS) at the Northern Colorado Regional Airport (FNL) located in Loveland, Colorado. This announcement 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. See the media release for full details:
In October 2015 the Northern Colorado Regional Airport was selected as the official test facility for new Virtual Air Traffic Control Tower technology, “Remote Tower”. This leading edge aviation technology will employ ground-based video and aircraft ground detection components to provide data monitored by air traffic controllers working in a central off-airport location. The high-tech array will provide an enhanced level of air safety at a cost dramatically lower than the expense required to construct and staff a traditional air traffic control tower.
The NextGen Office of the FAA coordinated with the Colorado Department of Transportation’s (CDOT) Division of Aeronautics to develop a selection process for determining the airport facility location for Virtual Air Traffic Control Tower testing and assessment. The site selection process considered the following criteria for determining the initial test location: airspace type, existing airport infrastructure and runway configuration, daily aircraft operation levels, aircraft traffic mix, accessibility to a major airport, and local stakeholder support. The process concluded with Northern Colorado Regional Airport and Durango-La Plata County Regional Airport as the front-runners for the official test facility locations. The Northern Colorado Regional Airport was ultimately chosen as the initial test facility in part due to its close proximity to the FAA Approach and Air Route Traffic Control Centers located in Denver and Longmont, Colorado.
The $5.9 Million in funding for the test phase of this monumental project is being provided by the Colorado Aviation Fund and unanimously approved by the Colorado Aeronautical Board. The Colorado Aviation Fund is supported solely through the collection of aviation fuel taxes administered by the CDOT’s Division of Aeronautics.
The equipment necessary for the testing is expected to be installed at the Northern Colorado Regional Airport by spring of 2017, with initial testing and assessments of the new virtual technology commencing shortly thereafter.
The Colorado Airport System consists of 74 public use airports that support over 265,000 jobs, provide $12.6 billion in annual payroll, and $36.7 billion in total annual economic output for the State of Colorado.