While speakers at the Air Traffic Control Association’s annual convention in Washington in October discussed a wide range of ATC technologies, both current and future, several presentations touched on a common underlying theme: where will the money come from?
The FAA recently added new Safety Logic runway incursion alerting technology to its ASDE-X airport surveillance equipment at Orlando International Airport in Florida. ASDE-X combines radar scanning with a transponder tracking system to provide controllers with a real-time picture of airborne and airport surface traffic.
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.
The FAA is more than two years behind schedule for commissioning equipment designed to improve runway surveillance to reduce incursions. Congress wants to know why and what can be done about it and asked the DOT Inspector General to launch an audit into the matter. While the FAA has procured 36 out of 38 Airport Surface Detection Equipment-Model X (ASDE-X) systems, it has commissioned only three for operational use.
The FAA announced in August that it expects to award its ADS-B ground station contract (estimated to be for up to 500 ground stations) next July. The agency will use a “performance-based” contracting approach for the project, which will reportedly cost around $2 billion over its lifetime.
While European ATM research focuses on the 2020-oriented Sesar program and the FAA has picked 2025 as the date for implementation of its new system,
private-sector companies are working on near-term improvements.
Despite the installation of runway collision avoidance equipment at many of the nation’s largest airports, recently there has been an increase in the number and severity of runway incursions at three major airports.
Two takeoff near-collisions in July at Chicago O’Hare and Los Angeles International Airports underscored the fact that runway incursion accidents–one of the NTSB’s top safety concerns–remain a threat. In both cases, pilots were forced to lift off prematurely when another aircraft appeared suddenly, crossing the runway ahead of them.
- Page 6