Honestly you start tying these systems together with sensor fusing between visual sources like video/Flir and meta data from stuff like flightaware/ADSB tracks and then project it in a 3D environment, it’s hard to argue 2 guys in the tower are not the inferior option.Nav Canada up here in Canuckistan is also trialing virtual tower's in two different trials, looks like a pretty neat setup
Using a live feed from eight cameras mounted on the Fredericton control tower, flight service specialists in Saint John are delivering a full suite of overnight aerodrome advisory services to YFC.skiesmag.com
They activated full remote ops last Monday. Once they got the radio levels sorted out it has been pretty solid. Much better since they have two guys in the tower working ground/tower separately vs. one poor bastard in the horse trailer. It's a pretty cool looking system but it will be vastly improved once they have radar and/or some kind of data link. Right now it's eyeballs and cameras. The good news is that their ground coverage of the ramp is much, much better than it was.
There is no question in it being reasonable to have a reservation for the Murphy factor. Yes it would absolutely suck to lose hours of operation at a major airport because some rodent chewed through a braided cable in a black box amongst miles of cables....IDK ... I’m not personally a fan of automation having experienced too many failures over the years in a different venue.
Task saturation (the need to check four different programs to pinpoint a cell call, for example), network failure (from local to regional to provider-wide), everything from falling trees to chewing mice to pole fires and contractors who dig in the work place, microwave failure between towers, weather (all the way to the sun with solar flares) ... the causes can be nearly endless.
It could take 90 minutes for Verizon to diagnose how to work around an issue and to transfer 911 calls to our backup PSAP (which was just 3 miles distant) - much longer if the diagnosis required a tech/IT support to visit our building because it couldn’t be done remotely. Before I left we had six 911 landline trunks for which Verizon was responsible that ran through two ”switching“ terminals (one in Westchester and one in Rockland County). It was FAR more than simply throwing a switch to regain service if it went down. Our six cell trunk lines were dependent upon individual carriers AND Verizon and all of them, more than once, had network issues that would knock them out of service.
I absolutely can’t imagine what it will take to fully protect (if that’s even possible) local infrastructure (phone lines for voice and video, other information), radio towers, local equipment, and so forth from the vagaries of nature, parts failure, chewing mice, and ill-willed people, and the time required to troubleshoot issues and get systems back online from a ninety mile distance.
Automation and CAD, etc., are nice as long as they are no glitches or failures. While those may not happen OFTEN, they do occur with more regularity than one might guess. Could be I’m just old, but this doesn’t seem like a good idea to me.
Offered (mostly) tongue-in-cheek:
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Only somewhat related, I love taxi instructions in ICN. “Follow the greens” and the taxi centerline lights in front of you light up. It’s a glorious thing.There is no question in it being reasonable to have a reservation for the Murphy factor. Yes it would absolutely suck to lose hours of operation at a major airport because some rodent chewed through a braided cable in a black box amongst miles of cables....
That said, we live far more comfortable as a 1st world society already relying on “electronic perfection“ in so many ways, this is just a drop in the bucket of places it can go wrong. If it weren’t for that, we’d have a lot more traffic cops out directing traffic in intersections.
I look at tech like this and what it can bring in SA and see a real chance at preventing a catastrophe because now with sensor fusing. I mean you could go full down the rabbit hole of “what could be” and imagine a remote controller seeing the airport environment in a 3D overlay and find a problem before it starts, using some sort of 3D imagine and stylus/minority report glove to make corrective changes, and issuing active taxi instructions to an aircraft that networking allows to see in their hud. Or we can read a series of complicated instructions to a guy that may be speaking a second language, and then watch them taxi in crappy vis to see if they really did copy what you told them.
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