The FAA will return to the use of a mobile air traffic control tower at Leesburg Executive Airport (JYO) in Virginia to support its next round of remote tower operation testing this summer. Operators flying under both VFR and IFR will be required to contact the tower, NBAA advises, cautioning that pilots should pay close attention to Notams and comply with the conditions of the JYO Maneuvering Area.
A manned mobile air traffic control tower handled traffic at JYO last fall as contractor Saab Sensis, the FAA and the Virginia SATSLab demonstrated the remote tower there. The manned mobile tower worked directly with aircraft operators, while the remote tower gathered data in “passive” mode.
The remote towers use a high-definition camera and sensors to enable offsite controllers to serve airports that do not have a tower. Remote towers cost “significantly less than doing a full stand-up tower,” said Heidi Williams, director of air traffic services and infrastructure for NBAA, adding they provide an enhanced layer of safety.
The new round of tests at JYO will run from June 5 through August 12, from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily, and then from 4 p.m. to midnight August 13 through September. 8. On May 25, the FAA will hold a pilot town hall meeting on the operations at 7 p.m. at the airport.