Apron and Tower-Simulator (ATS)

The large-scale Apron and Tower Simulator (ATS) facility, based at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und raumfahrt; DLR) Institute of Flight Guidance in Braunschweig, replicates air traffic controller workstations typically found at airports. The ATS can be used to validate new systems and methods for traffic control at airports and in areas close to airports.

Simulation facility for workstations and processes in an airport control tower

The ATS enables the validation of planning systems for departure and taxiing traffic management, the investigation of new approach procedures and apron layouts, and the evaluation of cooperative traffic management concepts. For this purpose, controllers and researchers in the ATS have all the tools and resources of real workstations at airports at their disposal. For example, controllers can use approach and ground radar, see an outside view showing all vehicles at the airport and can contact aircraft and other workstations by radio and telephone. Future assistance systems can be flexibly prototyped and made available to controllers to assist in planning, guiding and monitoring traffic.

In addition to the ATS, a separate and highly flexible facility known as the TowerLab is available to investigate innovative workplace concepts and support functions for air traffic controllers. The core elements of the laboratory are flexible air traffic controller workstations with several large displays designed to show simulated as well as real external panoramas.

These facilities are part of the DLR's Air Traffic Validation Center. This provides scientists with the necessary tools to test and evaluate new ideas and technologies for all areas of air traffic management.


Volker Speelmann

Head of Research Infrastructures
German Aerospace Center (DLR)
Executive Board department for Innovation, Transfer and Research Infrastructure
Linder Höhe, 51147 Cologne

Isabel Carole Metz

ATM Simulation
German Aerospace Center (DLR)
Institute of Flight Guidance
Lilienthalplatz 7, 38108 Braunschweig