Control Towers design

AERTEC Solutions, as an aeronautical engineering firm specialised in airport infrastructures, also has extensive experience in the design of what could be considered as the most recognisable of all aeronautical buildings – the airport control tower.

 

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Our team of multidiscipline engineers is capable of taking on the design of buildings of this type with the utmost efficiency.

When it comes down to it, a control tower is just a building, however the way in which it is used is a factor that sets it apart from a standard building, giving it an extra dimension.

As a first step in the design of this type of building, AERTEC Solutions would typically create a planning and location study for the building, unless of course this is provided beforehand by the client. This type of study analyses the factors that must be taken into account when designing a facility with these characteristics.

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One factor to take into account is that the control tower cab must have a clear view of all the most critical and furthest points of the airfield, along with all the flight paths in close proximity to the airport. Conversely, the control tower must not affect the obstacle limitation surfaces of the airport. These two conflicting requirements determine the minimum and maximum height of the building, which in turn helps establish the most suitable location for the tower.

As well as these two fundamental characteristics, other factors must be taken into account such as access to utilities networks, controlled access from landside, among others. After evaluating all of these different criteria, the preferred location will be determined. The building can then be equipped with all the required equipment to correctly operate, recognising the client’s budget.

Once the location for the building has been chosen, the design concept is created. A basic programme for surface areas will be developed, in which the height and type of use for the building must be agreed between the developer and the operators that will be using it. Obviously, the cab of the control tower is the most recognisable part, with all the other elements being based around it. Usually located below the cab are the auxiliary services rooms, containing elements that support the cab. This includes the navigation equipment, communications and AGL equipment, along with technical rooms and rest areas for the air traffic controllers. In addition, the air-conditioning equipment must also be located as close to the cab as possible, however it is important that the cab is not affected by noise or vibration.

AERTEC Solutions would also perform a study of the wind effects on the 

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building, which may include wind tunnel simulations.

According to the specific needs of each client other services, such as meteorological services, can be located close to the cab.

Once the different elements that are required to be located close to the cab have been decided, all others will then be located at the base of the shaft, therefore reducing costs.

Airport control towers, by design, are slender buildings. They must allow the controllers to work without any interference from noise or vibration. With this in mind, AERTEC Solutions pays special attention to the stability of the building and possible effects from seismic activity or wind. As well as performing the structural analysis required for this type of building, AERTEC Solutions would also carry out a wind turbulence assessment.

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In terms of the building’s installations, the fact that it provides air navigation services means that additional care must be taken regarding a series of factors that directly affect the availability of this service. For example, the air conditioning both for the cab and for the navigation and communications equipment must be sufficient for needs and also be equipped with a alternative power supply. The electrical installation must also operate correctly, protecting the facility and the people that use it, while also being robust and reliable.

Finally, it must always be remembered that air traffic controllers are people, therefore the building must comply with health & safety and fire prevention requirements. AERTEC Solutions is fully aware of all the issues that typically arise in this type of building. To tackle these potential issues head-on, at the start of the project AERTEC Solutions ensures that two key elements are covered. Firstly we make sure that all relevant standards are complied with and secondly we ensure that correct communication channels are established between air traffic control representatives and airport fire & rescue services. This ensures that all their requirements are covered in the project.

 

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