STARS Wars Continue

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FAA system specialists say there's no way the FAA can safely meet a November 17 target to deploy the controversial STARS system in Philadelphia. Tom Brantley, vice president of the Professional Airways Systems Specialists Union, told Aviation Weekly there will only be three people trained to maintain the new gear by then. Up to eight will be needed to cover 24-hour operation, according to Brantley. The FAA claims it will have five specialists trained. PASS also claims a software glitch that sometimes attaches the wrong information box to a blip on the screen has not yet been fixed. Although it hasn't happened in Philadelphia, trial systems in El Paso and Syracuse are still having the "jumping track" problem. The FAA claims all will be in order by Nov. 17 and if it isn't ... well, that date was a "target" and no precise date has really been set. FAA spokesman William Shumann said Administrator Marion Blakey has made it clear that the screens won't be lit up "until and unless the system is safe." Or is that just the target?