ASDE-X To Improve Runway Safety

 - October 31, 2006, 4:40 AM

Airport surface detection equipment model X (ASDE-X), designed to help controllers spot potential runway collisions, will be installed at 15 airports beginning with Seattle-Tacoma International Airport next month.

By integrating data from radar and transponders, ASDE-X creates a continuously updated map of all airport-surface operations. Consisting largely of off-the-shelf commercial products, it was designed originally as a solution for the smaller of the top-tier airports.

The first ASDE-X was activated for operational use and testing at General Mitchell International Airport (MKE) in Milwaukee in June 2003, and declared ready for national deployment four months later. In addition to MKE, ASDE-X is also operational now at the Theodore Francis Green State Airport in Providence, R.I.; Orlando International Airport, Fla.; and William P. Hobby Airport  in Houston.

The FAA has already deployed the airport movement area safety system (the target of NTSB criticism) at 34 of the busiest airports. But ASDE-X’s capabilities, especially in helping controllers at night or when visibility is poor, led the FAA to prioritize where ASDE-X could be deployed to deliver the most immediate safety benefits. The agency considered factors such as passenger traffic and runway and taxiway complexity, which can lead to an increased risk of runway incursions.

ASDE-X will be installed at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall; Boston Logan International; Chicago O’Hare International; Chicago Midway; Detroit Metro Wayne County; George Bush Intercontinental in Houston; Los Angeles International; JFK International; La Guardia; Newark Liberty International; Ronald Reagan Washington National; Washington Dulles International; and Minneapolis-St. Paul International.