No More Runway Incursions?

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Ground Monitoring System Certified...

A new system that can keep track of just about anything moving around an airport has been certified by the FAA but its remarkable capabilities are being eclipsed by the speed, efficiency and cost effectiveness with which it was deployed. The Airport Surface Detection Equipment system went live at General Mitchell Field in Milwaukee a few weeks ago and not only was it within its $27 million budget and delivered in just over three years, it works so well that other airports are skipping the lineup for an FAA-funded system (33 systems are planned over the next four years) and paying to install it themselves immediately. Not bad for a system which, according to The Washington Post, the FAA didn't even want and had to be forced into pursuing. The system, developed by a small Syracuse company called Sensis Corp., was actually about five months behind schedule but that was mainly because Raytheon, which supplies a major part of the system, was five months late fulfilling its part of the bargain. Considering many FAA technology projects often lag years behind schedule and cost more (sometimes much more) than predicted, the ASDE-X system is being hailed as validation for the agency's new procurement system, which sets fixed costs, imposes penalties for delays and involves monthly meetings to flag and resolve problems, rather than sending a blizzard of memos back and forth.