DOT IG: FAA Not Up to Speed in Stars Integration

 - February 12, 2018, 11:44 AM

While the FAA has installed its Standard Terminal Automation Replacement System (Stars) at 11 large terminal radar approach control (TRACON) air traffic facilities, a DOT inspector general (IG) investigation concludes that, despite installation of this major ATC system upgrade, the FAA has “experienced challenges” in transitioning from the legacy system to Stars.

Stars is critical to achieving the expected benefits of the FAA’s NextGen initiative, including enhancing capacity, reducing delays, and displaying ADS-B information for controllers. “But Stars program risks, if not mitigated, could impact the long-term viability of NextGen,” the DOT IG report said. “In addition, despite having a detailed management plan for new Stars requirements, the FAA could not sufficiently document how new requirements were validated or prioritized.”

To improve FAA’s Stars implementation and facilitate NextGen benefits, the IG recommends that the FAA finalize a timeline for identifying the remaining Stars requirements, implement a process track and document when and how new requirements are validated and prioritized, and redesign the power supply configuration of Stars rack assemblies to eliminate series-connected power strips in the next Stars technical refresh of the 11 TRACONs. 

The FAA concurred with all three of the recommendations and based on this response, the IG considers “all the recommendations resolved,” but open, “pending completion of planned actions.”