Airport Facilities Terminal Integration Laboratory


The Airport Facilities Terminal Integration Laboratory (AFTIL) is located at the Federal Aviation Administration William J. Hughes Technical Center Building 170 in Pomona, New Jersey. Learn about visiting the Technical Center.


The AFTIL's primary mission is to provide a modeling and simulation platform to support proof-of-concept evaluations; control tower siting and evaluation with interior design, tower layout, site selection, orientation, and height determination; as well as supporting human-in-the-loop simulations, operational and procedural concepts, and line-of-sight studies in the terminal environment.


The AFTIL has a full-scale Air Traffic Control Tower (ATCT) Mock-up Laboratory, one 360-degree Control Tower Simulator, and one 210-degree Control Tower Simulator that can operate independently or in tandem to create a realistic ATCT environment that complements the unique NAS facilities and aviation-based systems located at the Technical Center. The AFTIL also has a virtual simulation of the airport environment using 3D goggles. The design of this environment allows for the integration of capabilities located at other labs within the Technical Center, as well as those located at non-FAA facilities, such as those of academia, industry, and other government agencies.

Characteristics of the AFTIL include:

  • More than 100 airport models
  • A real-time, rapid prototyping and simulation environment that can simultaneously model two ATCTs
  • Ability to create and integrate virtual reality simulations
  • Ability to include and integrate future capabilities
  • Technical Center and external laboratory integration capabilities
  • Voice communications capabilities
  • Audio, video, and data recording capabilities
  • Certified ISO 9001:2008 laboratory

Airport Modeling & Simulation

The AFTIL can simulate potential sites in a realistic ATCT simulator, using photo-realistic, 3D airport models and aircraft simulations. By combining all aspects of ATCT operations in one simulation facility, a much more complete evaluation of potential ATCT sites can be accomplished. The AFTIL combines all aspects of ATCT siting and Quick-Look Assessments with state-of-the-art visual projection and virtual reality. The AFTIL's sponsors include FAA Terminal Operations, airport operators, and the various FAA service centers. The laboratory is operated and maintained by the Technical Center Laboratory Services Division (ANG-E1), Airport Modeling and Simulation Branch (ANG-E18).

Control Tower Simulation Suites (CTSS)

The CTSS is a 360-degree out-the-window display area, which includes wrap-around tower consoles with customizable site-specific equipment. The CTSS can display any airport using photo-realistic graphics and can include any planned airport construction, such as hangars, terminals, runways, or taxiways. The AFTIL creates 3D airport models used to evaluate new control tower locations as well as current tower cabs. These airport models can be used to determine if clear and unobstructed views of the airport surfaces and approach paths are available from the various tower control positions. CTSS airport models can be used for studies and evaluations involving line-of-sight, visualization, or operational and procedural concept development.

The CTSS can also simulate aircraft movements to and from the airport for a complete enhanced tower evaluation. ATC procedures associated with future airfield changes can be evaluated in a real-time environment. The CTSS provides an optimum operational environment for the identification and resolution of transition issues associated with the implementation and integration of ATCT systems and equipment. The AFTIL can connect to WJHTC and conduct fully integrated, multi-lab simulations, including TRACON, Cockpit Simulators, Unmanned Aircraft Systems, En-Route, and other ATCTs.

Mock-up Facility

The Mock-up Lab contains a 60' x 60' assembly area for a full-scale ATCT cab or Terminal Radar Approach Control Facility (TRACON) room configuration. Adjacent to this area is a complete carpentry shop used to fabricate the full-scale interior, which fully replicates the proposed ATCT cab or TRACON consoles. The lightweight sections are easily movable to arrange the cab interior. Replicas of ATCT cab equipment are available for controllers to place in desired locations. This allows controllers and managers to arrange the workspace and position radio, radar, weather, and support equipment in the most appropriate locations. The Mock-up Lab creates an optimum work environment for air traffic controllers. The Mock-up Lab routinely supports facility and engineering field work modifications up to 1015 square feet.

Virtual Reality Playing Area Facility

The Virtual Reality Playing Area simulates the interior of an ATCT. It allows for a virtual view of tower equipment, the airport environment, and the virtual and dynamic reconfiguration of the tower and equipment.

Last updated: Monday, August 14, 2023