The U.S. Department of Transportation’s inspector general (IG) last month issued recommendations related to the FAA plan to integrate two runway safety systems with airport surface detection equipment (ASDE-X). The two systems are the runway status lights (RWSL) system, which gives pilots a visible warning when runways are occupied; and the automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) system that generates simultaneous alerts to controllers and pilots of potential runway incursions and ground collisions.
The FAA recorded 1,150 runway incursions in the 12-month period ending September 30 last year across the U.S., and 18 of them were classified as “A” and “B,” the most serious of the four incursion categories. Some 772 of those incursions were pilot-induced.
An airport ground vehicle transmitter developed by ITT Exelis and avionics manufacturer FreeFlight Systems is the first such device certified to a new standard by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Ground vehicles fitted with the device can be monitored by air traffic controllers, improving “situational awareness” and safety at busy airports. The vehicle movement area transmitter (V-MAT) continuously reports the position of a ground vehicle through automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) OUT transmissions.
Because runway incursions are on everyone’s radar (they have been on the NTSB’s “most wanted transportation safety improvements list” since 1990), the Department of Transportation’s Office of Inspector General plans to look more closely at how the FAA is managing the airport surface detection equipment–model X (ASDE-X) program. ASDE-X provides detailed information to air traffic controllers, but not directly to pilots, about aircraft runway and taxiway operations.
The NTSB has opened the public docket of another high-profile close call at a major airport, this one at Chicago’s O’Hare International (ORD) Airport. Just before noon on Aug.
A new FAA Advisory Circular–Change 1 to AC 150/5220-26–updates vehicle requirements for the use of ADS-B with squitter output, soon to become necessary in ground vehicles on most major commercial airports using ASDE-X systems.
The concept isn’t new. In fact, one could call it a logical extension of development work that originated with Saab in Sweden in the mid-2000s, which showed the economic potential of datalinking various sensors at an unmanned airport to controllers at a distant air traffic monitoring and control center. Such a center could handle a number of small airports that had relatively few arrivals and departures but that still needed personnel to maintain a monitoring watch.
ITT Exelis has created a web-based operations management application suite for airlines and airports based on the surveillance data it collects as provider of the automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) radio network in the U.S.
The Namibia Wam system was supplied by Era, of the Czech Republic, and employs 36 widely separated and unmanned ground stations that listen for aircraft transponder replies to radar interrogations and then retransmit those replies to a central processing station. In Namibia, which has no radar, selected listening posts transmit pseudo, but otherwise identical, radar interrogations.
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