A virtual tower simulation environment is used to conduct NextGen research at the FAA’s NextGen Integration and Evaluation Capability (NIEC) laboratory. The tower simulator features a 300-degree viewing angle, multiple air traffic control (ATC) systems, voice communication capabilities, binoculars, and various data collection equipment. The tower simulator allows researchers to evaluate the effectiveness of future technologies within the ATC tower environment, records all system interactions so the effectiveness of new capabilities can be objectively measured, and is fully integrated with other laboratory capabilities. Results of the research are used to enhance the aviation systems of tomorrow.
The FAA William J. Hughes Technical Center is the nation’s premier air transportation system laboratory. The Tech Center’s workforce conducts test and evaluation, verification and validation, and sustainment of the FAA’s full range of aviation systems, and develops scientific solutions to current and future air transportation safety challenges by conducting applied research and development. Additionally, the Center provides the gateway for National Airspace System upgrades, improvements, and operational sustainment.