World’s first remotely run air traffic control

Aviation history was made in the north-east of Sweden, Tuesday lunchtime, when a Saab 2000 aeroplane touched down on the runway at the world’s first operational remote controlled airport.

It was a few minutes late but for a project which began eight years ago, it was well worth the wait as the aeroplane with 50 passengers on board arrived at Örnsköldsvik airport at 12:18. It had been guided in from an air traffic control office at Sundsvall airport.

The aircraft control tower at Örnsköldsvik, which had been manned to oversee its six daily flights, is now empty of all human contact. Instead, the tower is filled with sensors, antennas, digital video cameras, and microphones, providing a 360 degree coverage of the runway, as well as sound of an aircraft coming in to land.

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All information is collated and beamed 180 kilometres south, to Sundsvall airport, where the pictures appear on television screens for the air traffic controllers, who from now on, will virtually guide in the handful of daily domestic flights in and out of Örnsköldsvik.

The system they use, has the name, Remote Tower System (RTS), and has been created by Saab, in conjunction with LFV, Sweden’s state-owned air navigation service provider. It has passed all safety tests by the Swedish Transport Agency.
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Source News: Radio Sweden
Photo: Ulla Öhman/SR