One year ago LFV initiated the world’s first RTC - Remote Tower Centre - with remote tower services. This occurred in Sundsvall and the first airport to be remote controlled was Örnsköldsvik, with a start date of April 21, 2015. Today we write April 21, 2016.
In the summer Sundsvall airport will become the second airport to be remote controlled from RTC and the air traffic controllers will soon move in. Sundsvall Timrå Airport is now set-up next to the centre where Örnsköldsvik airport illuminates the screens. A flashing square at the top of the screen shows the airport status in real time.
"The system has worked well. It is a complex system that we are continuously refining and developing. Here in Sundsvall this is everyday life, we have the technology and operative know-how, it's "business as usual" for us,", says Erik Bäckman, Head of LFV's Remote Tower Centre in Sundsvall.
Erik Bäckman, head of Remote Tower Centre in Sundsvall.
He can confirm that the system displays high quality Swedish engineering and that RTS is an innovation that has taken a foothold in the digital future.
"This is just the start of a major shift in this industry and has really put LFV on the world map. And with nearly 4000 logged hours we have built up a great deal of operative experience here in Sundsvall," declares Erik Bäckman.
LFV received several prizes and awards for its work on RTS, Remote Tower Services, at WATM, the global trade fair in Madrid for Air Traffic Management. LFV had live streaming from Sundsvall on its stand where participants could follow the work and meet employees who answered questions and demonstrated how remote control works - and this in real time. After this the number of requests to visit increased and you could really speak of a "Madrid effect" even if international interest has been sizeable since the remote tower services were put into operation.
"I have definitely seen an increase in requests in my mailbox and something that is extremely interesting is that FAA in USA would like to see how we work and share our experiences.
FAA is the Federal Aviation Administration in USA that is also a part of the US Department of Transportation.
Per-Anders Bäckman is an RTC Specialist in Sundsvall and is happy to speak about the development, how the system works and the advantages that RTS provides.
"In my eyes all the interest and all the developments represent a positive upward spiral. For example, when I see that the system means a regional airport can survive, I consider this an important social benefit. RTS is an investment in the future," he says.
He also believes that by being able to move 150 kilometres to another airport in just a few steps in LFV's Remote Tower Centre is an asset; it is easier to take up authorisation and the traffic leaders are always surrounded by colleagues.
Per-Anders Bäckman, RTC Specialist.
Siv Sandberg, air traffic controller, shows how the system works on the large 55 inch screens, 15 forming a half-moon shape. A helicopter has parked close to the edge of a wood and the pilot seems to be taking a coffee break. It is quite similar to a traditional tower. Earlier during the day Siv Sandberg guided in a plane at Örnsköldsvik Airport and the landing was as clear as looking through a window.
Air Traffic Controler Siv Sandberg.
During the summer colleagues from the Sundsvall tower will start to work in LFV's RTC to remote control aircraft to and from Sundsvall and the staff are currently halfway through the preparation process to receive authorisation.
"I look forward to having more colleagues and I like the technology," says Andreas Ahnlund, air traffic controller at the Sundsvall tower.
Mats Olsson and Andreas Ahnlund, Air Traffic Controlers at Sundsvall Tower,
will both move to Remote Tower Centre during May.
General Director Olle Sundin believes that LFV and SAAB together have created reality from a vision.
"I'm proud and happy that LFV with Remote Tower Services can now celebrate one year of operation.The system works extremely well and interest from around the world is immense. I would like to thank all those working with RTS - together we are writing Swedish industrial history," says Olle Sundin.
Remote Tower Services
• In RTC at Sundsvall Airport are fifteen 55 inch screens that show the runway, taxiway and apron at Örnsköldsvik Airport. At Örnsköldsvik the entire airport is filmed using 14 cameras on a single mast.
• The Örnsköldsvik air traffic controllers at RTC sit in front of a complete instrument panel: communication panel, radar, electronic strip board, zoom camera, emergency alarm, etcetera.
• The tower windows have been replaced by screens where you clearly see what is happening, and where you can also zoom in on special areas. There are always extra screens.
• Sundsvall Timrå Airport will start to be remote controlled from the RTC in May and during 2017 Linköping will be added.
• Multiple remote control is under development, where on air traffic controller will be able to manage several airports simultaneously from the RTC.
• RTS is a technological innovation that put LFV on the world map and during its first year RTC has had visitors from over 40 nations.