I was wondering why some airfields, for example Tatenhill Airfield (EGBM), don't have anybody in their ATC towers?

  • 1
    You might get more understanding by editing your question to explain why you think there would be someone in the tower? – Simon Jan 8 '15 at 20:47
  • as far as I can see, Tatenhill Airfield doesn't even have a building that resembles a tower. goo.gl/maps/mMHja – rbp Jan 8 '15 at 23:21
up vote 2 down vote accepted

In the case of Tatenhill, the field was previously used by the RAF. Evidently the original control tower was replaced by a previous operator, which explains why there is still a control tower there. But currently it is a private field, where the amount of traffic doesn't warrant operating the control tower.

Information from NATS lists a Tatenhill Radio frequency that provides A/G (air to ground) service during certain hours. YouTube videos suggest no tower services.

There are many airports in similar situations, that do not operate a control tower (whether or not they have one), or only operate at certain times, when there is not enough traffic for a control tower to be needed. VFR rules give pilots the responsibility to "see and avoid" each other in these areas, and announce their intentions on the appropriate frequencies.

Also, see the related questions to the right, especially: What's the process for an uncontrolled airfield to become controlled/towered?

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    It shows in Blue on the VFR maps, which is supposed to indicate a manned airport. Magenta icons are supposed to indicate untowered airports. Is the map wrong? – abelenky Jan 8 '15 at 16:36
  • I understand, thats a great help, thankyou and thankyou abelenky – ThePrinceofPython Jan 8 '15 at 16:38
  • @abelenky It appears that there is a frequency but not providing tower service, I've edited with more info. – fooot Jan 8 '15 at 16:59

One of the biggest reasons to not man a tower is (not unsurprisingly) costs.

Many remote airports only have a few movements per day, and a permanent staff in the tower makes it even more difficult keep the operation economically viable.

For this reason, remotely staffed towers are being developed now, and for instance Örnsköldsvik airport (ESNO) in Sweden has just received approval from the Swedish Transport Agency to operate with a remote tower:

The system’s sensors are installed at Ornskoldsvik Airport but traffic is remotely controlled from Sundsvall, Sweden.

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