SESAR Demonstration Project “RACOON” (Remote Airport Concept Of OperatioN) - the very first experience in Italy on Remote Tower services - demonstrated in a live environment the practicability of single remote tower operations with low traffic volumes and, under given operational conditions and technological assumptions, how the solution can be extended to multiple airports - by mixing local and remote capabilities.
Additionally, the Project addressed RNP-APCH procedures and GNSS real time monitoring solution through the development of an ad-hoc tool named GNOME (GNSS Operative Monitoring Equipment).
RACOON – a two-year project awarded within the SESAR Large Scale Demonstration Call 2014 - was coordinated by Enav with the participation of keynote stakeholders such as Air France, Deep Blue, IDS, Nav Canada, SEA and Searidge Technologies, plus the contribution of Alitalia and SITTI as supporting partners.
The Remote Tower Centre (RTC) was set up at Milano Malpensa Control TWR providing remote airport services to Milano Linate and Malpensa as well as a third virtual airport - referred to as LIXX - that was represented by a portion of Malpensa.
In October 2016, after two years of intense technological developments, more than 100 flights were managed remotely by the RACOON Remote Tower Centre over the scenarios of Linate (82 flights) and Malpensa/LIXX (36 flights).
The project, building on the SESAR experience from the recently available solution package on Remote Tower for Single Airport, deployed the required technologies and procedures to control the traffic by a remote location, with no degradation in the current levels of service and safety.
The remote tower working position was equipped with conventional ATS systems complemented by a reproduction of the “out-the-window” view based on high definition camera sensors systems as well as electronic flight strip-based environment.
Remote Tower Centre had also advanced video functionalities such as zooming, tracking, infrared sensors and augmented reality through overlay information (e.g. radar labeling, gate numbering, contours) plus five specific hot-spot cameras located at key points on the Linate airfield.
The demo roadmap envisaged real-time simulations and shadow mode sessions as preparatory steps to live trials campaign.
The positive outcomes of RACOON, ended in November 2016, confirmed that Remote Tower Services (RTS) are a promising solution delivered for deployment by SESAR, the European flagship Programme for air traffic management modernisation.RACOON experience allowed ENAV to gain a significant operational and technological experience on Remote Tower solution and to create a solid collaboration framework on this subject with National Regulator (ENAC), Airlines and international Stakeholders.