Air traffic

1st remote air traffic control center in the United States to be in Alabama

SELMA, Alabama — A company is looking to build the nation’s first-ever remote air traffic control center, which could handle traffic from multiple airports, on the site of a former Air Force base in Alabama, a newspaper reports .

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

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

“The Remote Towers represent an important and innovative step in airspace modernization efforts in the United States, and I am thrilled to see Advanced ATC establishing its pioneering operation at Craig Field,” said Department Secretary Greg Canfield. of the Alabama trade.

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

“Remote tower systems are brand new to the United States,” Cunningham said. He said the tower will be part of their on-site training academy – where they plan to train students from around the world – but will need approval from the Federal Aviation Administration before handling air traffic at the airports. United States.

The Federal Aviation Administration has not approved the use of any remote tower system. But Cunningham said remote towers at two airports are currently undergoing the assessment process and “our process will be the same”.

Forward 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 United States.

“The prospects for smaller airports to be able to afford ATC service without having to build a $5-10 million control tower are now available with the advancement of camera and satellite technologies that change almost daily,” Cunningham said. “The Selma RTC will be the catalyst for this historic change in the United States.”

The company’s five-year plan aims to bring up to 119 jobs to Selma, with a payroll of $8 million. Of these, the company will hire 28 people to operate the Craig Field facility in the first year, with a payroll of $3.1 million.

Indra, an aeronautical navigation systems company, will partner with Advanced ATC and provide personnel, software and logistics for every remote tower system established in North America.

At the same time, the international training academy will provide operational training and certifications to between 25 and 50 students each year.

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

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