Dubai Air Navigation Services (DANS) is to invest $2.5m to upgrade a 360° tower simulator that has been developed at a cost of $5.5m.
The Air Navigation Service Provider (ANSP) handles Air Traffic Control (ATC), and Air Traffic engineering services at both Dubai International and Al Maktoum International Airport in Dubai World Central.
The tower is owned by DANS and can mimic almost any airport in the world, which can help the authorities select the best features from other airports to be trialled and enhanced in the simulator before deployment into the Dubai airspace.
This also ensures the highest safety standards without disruptions to live operations. The simulator is said to use the world’s largest 360 cylindrical HD projection system.
DANS vice-president for strategy Nils Olof Svan was quoted by Arabic Aerospace as saying: "We have a big use of this 3D full-scale simulator. We are at times running it in two shifts, totaling 18 hours a day. Return on investment is high.
"The advanced facility is in a league of its own in terms of replicating the reality as close as possible which in turn helps in producing highly-skilled controllers, as well as facilitates safety evaluation of procedures and systems. Safety remains our top priority."
The technology enables the development of concepts to reduce deployment time. The simulator also helps in reducing training time and costs by providing an accurate and close to reality training environment for controllers.
The Dubai airports are growing exponentially with the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) projecting about 1.13 million flight movements under the UAE Flight Information Region (FIR) by 2020. The number is expected to rise to 1.62 million aircraft movements by 2030.
The tower simulator would help DANS to support the Dubai airports for all tower-related training and research and development programs.
DANS head of operational technology Greg Pile said: "The system has been enhanced beyond any rival systems in the world by integrating all the controller tools from the live operation. These include communications, ground movement radar display, approach radar, airfield lighting, control and monitoring and electronic flight progress strips (EFPS)."
Currently, the Dubai International and Al Maktoum International have 65 and 20 tower controllers, respectively. According to the projection of growth, an additional 100 tower controllers would be required at the airports.
The facility operates around 2,000 hours of training a year or 300 training days in a year and produces up to 40 controllers to take up positions in the control tower in phases.
DANS is also providing an Abinitio tower control training programme from Sharjah to Birmingham.