Sunday, March 10, 2013

New Air Traffic Control Tower Officially Opened at Rockhampton Airport

The new air traffic control tower at Rockhampton Airport was officially opened Friday 8 March by the Federal Member for Capricornia, Kirsten Livermore and Airservices Australia Chief Executive Officer, Margaret Staib.

The facility is the first stand-alone replacement tower to be built by Airservices since the mid 1990s and according to Airservices, will ensure the continued safe management of air traffic at and around the airport.

It is also one of the first towers in Australia to be fitted with the latest air traffic surveillance and communications technology, integrating flight and operational data, surveillance and voice communications into one tower-specific design.  This represents a significant change for air traffic controllers in Rockhampton as they move away from the traditional paper strips used for air traffic control and towards a full digital system.

At 25 metres tall, the tower is also substantially taller than the existing 50-year-old tower it replaces and will give controllers better visibility of all operational areas of the airport.

The new Rockhampton Tower is one of four new towers constructed around Australia as part of Airservices $1 billion, five year investment in new infrastructure.

The tower is a precast concrete structure designed to withstand cyclones, flooding and earthquakes. The 1.3 metre thick slab is strengthened with 10 tonnes of reinforcing steel and 140 cubic metres of solid concrete.

The tower windows were manufactured to stringent optical, thermal and acoustic performance criteria to ensure there is no distortion or imperfections which could impact on a controller’s view. Each plane of glass is 50mm thick and weighs several tonnes.

The new tower and its advanced technology will ensure Airservices air traffic controllers can continue to provide air traffic control services for all scheduled passenger transport operations seven days a week, 365 days a year operating to and from Rockhampton.

My thanks to Airservices for providing some information for this Blog psot, and my sincere thanks to Rockhampton Airport plane spotters Don W and 'IAD' for supplying some fantastic new and old photos of the Rockhampton air traffic control towers.

Photos taken by Don Williams and IAD  ©

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