Common questions from air traffic controllers about digital towers

Work as an air traffic controller is pretty much the same no matter whether you sit in a traditional tower or a remote tower centre. The work is the same, and the same tasks need to be carried out, but of course there are differences.

Erik Bäckman, Vice President Operations at the Remote Tower Centre in Sundsvall, Sweden, knows all about it. For the past 8 years, he has been responsible for the world’s first digital towers in live operation and has welcomed many interested visitors to the centre. Many of the visitors are a bit hesitant at first, but after seeing the technology and the way it is handled, most of them leave as avid supporters.

“It’s always nice to see that change! They come in here, arms crossed, a sceptical look on their faces, but they leave with that sceptical look replaced by a wide smile,” says Erik. “The way to get there is to just show how it works in live operation, and to answer all their questions.” And there are usually many questions when you have such an interested crowd.

The questions range from what to do if you feel you need to use your binoculars (well, you don’t, obviously, but you have a pan/tilt zoom camera instead), to what special regulations there are for digital towers (there are no special regulations – digital towers conform to the same rules and regulations as traditional towers). “Over the years,” say Erik, “I think I’ve heard just about every question imaginable.”

To spread the word, we decided to gather together the most frequently asked questions in one video. Watch the video and hear the answers from someone who already today, every single day, is working with the air traffic technology of the future. And don’t hesitate to get in touch with us if you have any questions of your own.