Austin Airport is First in Nation to Get Advanced Tower Simulator, Boosting Controller Training and Safety

Monday, January 29, 2024

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced that Austin-Bergstrom International Airport is the first air traffic control tower in the nation to receive the new modernized Tower Simulation System, which is used for controller training on airport operations.   

"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." 

Austin tower simulator

The system is now operational at Austin and includes a visual database to simulate air traffic scenarios on an airport’s layout, operations and airspace, enhancing safety. Controllers at Austin handled over 250,000 flights in 2023.

The FAA plans to install the new tower simulator systems in 95 facilities across the country by the end of 2025.

Modernizing the simulator system will also speed up the time it takes for controllers to fully certify at air traffic facilities. This is one of the many actions the FAA is taking to increase the number of controllers and improve training following the release of the National Airspace System Safety Review Team Report.

More actions include: 

  • Filling every seat at the Academy by 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. 
  • Working 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.  Upon graduation, graduates can be placed directly into air traffic facilities.