The days when air traffic controllers were issued a pair of sunglasses or, if
they still could not see, quickly went outside to get a better view, are fortunately long gone.
Air traffic safety is a critical issue for the safety of all concerned, not least the
crew and passengers in departing and arriving airplanes. Over the years, many different types of shading have been used; different types of material, different positions in the tower; straight from the ceiling or close to the glass in an inclined position. Even black-out blinds are still being used.
Some five years ago Reflex-Rol UK, a division of De Leeuw, set out to design
and produce materials and systems with specific ATCT problems in mind.
The result is the Reflex-Rol ‘Aviation’ system with its AR760 high-capacity
reflectors. Mounted on a precision-manufactured roller system and housed in
a cassette, the system hangs and rolls flat and taut due to its specially
designed balanced bottom bar.
The system can be manually operated for the smaller towers, but most
installations are motorised, controlled by either switches on a control panel or
radio remote controls. Touch-screen operation is also an option.
Installations so far include towers across the UK, including the new tower at
Heathrow Airport, and towers across Europe, Latin America, Africa and the UAE.
The most recent major tower to benefit from the ‘Aviation’ system is the new
100m-high tower in Cancun, Mexico.