Leesburg Airport To Test Remote Control Tower

**Controllers at the remote tower center in Sundsvall,
Sweden direct traffic at an airport about 60 miles away. **

Leesburg, Virginia, is about to become the first airport in the United States with a remotely operated control tower. This summer, the Leesburg Executive Airport (JYO) will begin a 90-day trial of a system that has been in operation in Sweden since last fall.

The technology was developed by Swedish aerospace and defense giant Saab in cooperation with the country's air navigation service provider LFV. In September 2014, the Örnskölsvik Airport became the first airport in the world to be operated from a remote location. Controllers are located in a center in Sundsvall, about 60 miles away.

High definition cameras and pan-tilt-zoom cameras, surveillance and meteorological sensors, microphones, signal light guns and other devices located in Örnskölsvik send information to the Remote Tower Center (RTC) in Sundsvall, where controllers who receive the data on high-definition screens and other devices provide ATC services to the pilots flying into Örnskölsvik, as if they could see them out of their windows.

While similar equipment will be set up in Leesburg, the RTC will be located right at the airport during the test phase. The RTC will have multiple high-definition displays and two controller positions, the town of Leesburg announced. A Mobile Air Traffic Control Tower (MATCT) will also be operational during the test phase to ensure safety.

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Pia Bergqvist joined FLYING in December 2010. A passionate aviator, Pia started flying in 1999 and quickly obtained her single- and multi-engine commercial, instrument and instructor ratings. After a decade of working in general aviation, Pia has accumulated almost 3,000 hours of flight time in nearly 40 different types of aircraft.

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