Alaska’s Tallest Air Traffic Control Tower

Alaska’s Tallest Air Traffic Control Tower

DALLAS — For Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (ANC), which is home to the largest seaplane base in the world at Lake Hood, the facility will handle air traffic control from a new air traffic control tower (ATCT).

The new ATCT, which will be more than 300 feet tall when finished and more than twice as tall as the current tower, will be the tallest tower in Alaska. The Conoco-Phillips building, standing at 296 feet, has held the title of the tallest building in both Anchorage and Alaska since its completion in 1983.

The 12-sided cab of the new ATCT will enhance technology and viewing to control aircraft movements at ANC. The cab will be protected by a strong metal panel rain screen and glazing.

The FAA hired the sustainable design and engineering firm, STANTEC, to handle the project, and it claims that the design tackles overpopulation by including extra space for supervisory and support workers as well as representatives of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association.

The ATCT’s neighboring two-story TRACON facility serves as a base for environmental, administrative, and radar-approach activities. To increase energy efficiency, Stantec’s design for this 35,000-ft2 structure will have a metal panel rain screen exterior façade and a low wall and roof-to-floor area ratio.

Alex Thome, principal in STANTEC’s airport practice, said it was an honor to collaborate with the FAA once more to enhance the air traffic control and radar approach facilities at ANC.

Mr. Thome added, “This infrastructure is essential for the safe passage of millions of people and a significant amount of air freight into and out of the United States in the future. We can give the FAA the best of both worlds because Stantec’s Anchorage staff has Alaska-specific design experience as well as global aviation design expertise.”

N854GT Atlas Air “Qantas Freight” Boeing 747-8F at ANC. Photo: Brandon Farris/Airways

A Tower to Weather the Elements

Strong, straightforward shapes devoid of unnecessary angles, a high-performance façade, and exterior finishes that are robust, essentially maintenance-free, and exceedingly durable are the fundamental components of the ATCT design. Stantec will put an emphasis on design elements that support safety, sustainability, and the facility’s vital mission in order to maintain ATCT/TRACON’s operational efficiency.

The new structure will have mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems that are energy-efficient and have floor plans that are optimized for operations and maintenance. In terms of structure, the ATCT will meet the requirements for high seismic performance in a cold region to give ANC staff a secure working environment under any circumstances.

Due to ANC’s location in a seismically active area, the new facilities’ design had to take additional structural and life-safety measures in order to protect the safety of FAA employees and air traffic controllers. The first air traffic control tower at the airport was demolished in the most severe earthquake to ever hit North America in 1964, a magnitude 9.2 earthquake, and it was rebuilt in 1977.

Both facilities will have architecture as well as civil, life safety, structural, electrical, fiber-optic transmission system, ICT, mechanical, and sustainability design services provided by Stantec’s internal team and sub-consultants.

5.7 million passengers and more than 3 million tons of freight flow through ANC annually, making it the entry point to Alaska and the United States. The airport is located on the Dena’ina people’s ancestral land.

Featured image: STANTEC

Alireza is an avionics engineer, aviation books author, and aviation magazine writer. Based in Iran.

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