The system, which is used for controller training on airport operations, is now in use at Austin and includes a visual database to simulate air traffic scenarios on an airport’s layout, operations and airspace, enhancing safety. Controllers at the Texan airport handled over 250,000 flights in 2023. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) plans to install the new tower simulator systems in 95 facilities across the country by the end of 2025.
“Safety is our priority, and we are investing in new technologies that provide enhanced training for our air traffic controllers,” FAA administrator Mike Whitaker said. “The new simulators will help us achieve that by providing real scenarios to train controllers throughout the National Airspace System.”
Modernising the simulator system will also speed up the time it takes for controllers to fully certify at air traffic facilities, the FAA said. This is one of the many actions the administration is taking to increase the number of controllers and improve training following the release of the National Airspace System Safety Review Team Report.
Other actions include conducting advanced training at regional facilities, hiring more experienced controllers from the military and industry year-round, and expediting the onboarding process for new hires. The FAA will also work with colleges and universities to enhance the Air Traffic-Collegiate Training Initiative (AT-CTI) Program, to ensure graduates have the skills to immediately begin on-the-job training at a facility.