What is taking so long for the test of the KJYO SAAB Remote Tower Test by the FAA ?

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Australia, Finland, Ireland, Netherland, Norway, Sweden & the UK have had SAAB Remote Tower Systems for years

FAA has been testing it for 2 years and needs 2 more to issue an AT Certificate

FAA doesn’t trust these ANSPs?

The below matter-of-fact announcement that, after testing since 2019 and more than 75,000 operations , the FAA EXPECTS to issue a certification Saab’s remote tower “not currently expected before the end of 2024.”

SAAB remote control system






If that is not enough, the countries with the above flags are currently utilizing the SAAB remote tower system SAFELY!!! Each success is chronicled below:

Saab and LFV ( Swedish Air Navigation Services Provider)sign contract for remote air traffic control

14 DECEMBER 2010

Saab and Airservices Australia sign contract to conduct remote ATM tower trial

              1 JUNE 2011

 Saab Advances ‘Remote Tower’ Technology in Norway, Sweden

by Bill Carey

 – June 18, 2013, 12:20 AM

Saab Remote Tower System For LFV Passes Site Acceptance Testing

1 MARCH 2013

IAA signs Remote Tower System contract with Saab

Jun 02, 2015

London City Airport and NATS to introduce the UK’s first digital air traffic control tower

19 May 2017

Saab Receives Order for Digital Towers in the Netherlands

11 DECEMBER 2019

Saab Further Expands its Operations in Finland

14 OCTOBER 2021


If that is not enough, the highly respected Jane’s aviation publication honored the SAAB system with its 2016 ATC Award !!!

Saab’s Remote Tower Wins Prestigious Award

Från Örnsköldsvik Airport

Örnsköldsvik Airport in Sweden became the world’s first remotely managed airport in the world in April 2015 as Saab’s Remote Tower was taken into operation. Sweden’s Sundsvall Timrå Airport and Linköping City Airport will follow in 2016 and 2017 respectively. In 2015 Saab signed a contract with the Irish Aviation Authority to deliver a Remote Tower Centre to Dublin Airport and corresponding remote tower installations at Cork and Shannon Airports.

Saab and LFV received the award at Jane’s ATC Award ceremony on 7 March 2016, held in conjunction with the World ATM Congress in Madrid, Spain.







Why a digital tower?

Moving on from conventional towers to digital tower technology drives change in a number of ways:
• Increased operational efficiency
• Increased productivity through centralization
Safety enhancements
Increased flexibility
Reduced maintenance and enhanced systems support functions
• New ways of working for ATCO, technicians and managers
• Ability to add functions in line with the digital evolution in ATM
• New business models and services possible

In a digital tower centre, personnel handling different towers are gathered in one site, increasing availability and flexibility:
24H availability
Open and close on demand
• Streamlined systems to ease training, maintenance
Flexibility of staffing
• Back-up for each other
Improved safety nets and tools
Operational analysis, environmental monitoring
• System analysis and integration


Single controller at SAAB remote

Aviation has accepted that it is a global institution. That with limited exceptions, one Civil Aviation Authority should be able to rely on the technical expertise and judgements of its peers. The regulatory competence of Australia, Finland, Ireland, Netherlands, Sweden and the UK are held by the FAA in highest regard.

However, the exact same SAAB Remote Tower System as being used by these sovereigns for decades; the records of these operations are available to the US evaluators. Yet, after  2 years of testing at the Arthur Godfrey Field and REQUIRES another 2  years of assessment before the FAA will accept it. The Leesburg test is being conducted in the Commonwealth of Virginia not a foreign country for which the FAA has concerns about its ATC reliability.




FAA: Remote Tower at Leesburg ‘Operationally Viable’

by Chad Trautvetter

 – November 10, 2021, 12:34 PM



The FAA has declared the Saab remote tower system at Virginia’s Leesburg Executive Airport (KJYO) “operationally viable,” authorizing ATC services to continue there using this system. Leesburg has been Saab’s U.S. test site for its remote tower technology and in 2019 was granted approval from the FAA to conduct an initial operational phase, during which time certified controllers safely managed more than 75,000 operations at the airport.

Monday’s announcement “brings us even closer to an FAA-certified, lower-cost alternative for U.S. general aviation airports needing to replace their aging towers, or for busy airports similar to Leesburg seeking to add ATC services,” said Saab Inc. president and CEO Erik Smith. An FAA spokesman told AIN that agency certification of Saab’s remote tower is “not currently expected before the end of 2024.”

The system at Leesburg includes fixed high-definition cameras and controller displays, as well as maneuverable optical and infrared cameras, microphones, and signal light gun. Controllers at the remote tower have the same tools as at other ATC towers, but use live video displayed on monitors instead of direct vision to detect and direct in-view air traffic



“This milestone FAA decision has positioned the Leesburg airport—the second-busiest general aviation airport in Virginia—one step closer to permanent ATC services, while avoiding the ever-increasing expense of constructing and maintaining a conventional, multi-story ATC tower,” Saab said.


























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1 Comment on "What is taking so long for the test of the KJYO SAAB Remote Tower Test by the FAA ?"

    More on FAA and Remote Towers

    Shortly after last month’s article about FAA’s very slow progress on implementing lower-cost, higher-performing remote towers appeared, I received an email announcing FAA’s new “Sustainable Tower Design Initiative.” My initial hopes were dashed as I discovered that this project is a competition for—wait for it—new designs for conventional control towers. Lest you have any doubts, the FAA announcement requires the proposed designs to be between 60 and 119 ft. above ground level, include one elevator, a mechanical floor, an electrical floor, an equipment room, and dedicated office space. It also requires a control cab on top with 360-degree view of the airfield. And the release touts 16 control towers designed by the architectural firm of I. M. Pei. So FAA is still in the business of funding architectural monuments at airports.

    Meanwhile, as I’ve been writing for more than a decade, the world aviation community is rapidly embracing digital remote towers, with only the sensing equipment mounted on masts and the control room and other facilities at ground level or possibly underground. Aviation journalist David Hughes has an article on recent worldwide remote tower developments in the latest issue of Air Traffic Management magazine.

    Congress seems to be getting more concerned that FAA is falling behind the rest of the world on this important transition. In the 2018 FAA reauthorization act, it authorized FAA to operate a pilot program under which it would develop and test remote towers at five different locations. But to the best of my knowledge, Congress has appropriated no funds for this project. That may be changing. In its FY 2022 transportation and housing appropriations bill, the Senate Appropriations Committee’s recommendation for FAA’s Facilities and Equipment account includes $4.9 million for remote towers, focused on getting the still-in-testing projects at Leesburg, VA, and Ft. Collins, CO, certified. The language also expresses concern about FAA delays in certification and asks for a report 90 days after enactment of this legislation, explaining the agency’s plan and schedule for getting this done.

    As I was writing this article, I learned that FAA has issued an “Operational Viability Decision” on the Saab Remote Tower System at Leesburg, authorizing it to continue managing traffic there. This is not official “certification” of the system, but it triggers the type certification process between Saab and FAA. Once that is done (no time frame was announced), the system will be approved as a non-federal system within the National Airspace System. Former FAA Chief Counsel Sandy Murdock, in JDA Journal, asks the obvious question: “Why Is It Taking So Long for the KYJO [Leesburg] Saab Remote Tower Test by the FAA?”

    However, there is still no funding for new remote tower projects, though there is definite interest from small airports in (or aiming to be in) the FAA Contract Tower program. One of these is the Freedman Memorial Airport in Hailey, ID. Its current tower does not comply with runway clearance requirements, so the airport board is seeking to replace it with a remote tower, pursuant to the pilot program in the 2018 legislation, with its application submitted in 2019. Both Idaho senators and its lone House member wrote to FAA supporting this request in February 2019. But no approval has been forthcoming. It looks to me as if FAA would rather continue to build architectural monuments.

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