NATCA Decries Malfunctioning Equipment...

  • E-Mail this Article
  • View Printable Article
  • Text size:

    • A
    • A
    • A

The Long, Hot ATC Summer

Two recent near-collisions on runways, one at Boston's Logan Airport and one at New York's John F. Kennedy, show that the FAA's automated warning system is flawed, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) said last week. The system, known as Airport Movement Area Safety System (AMASS), is unreliable during heavy precipitation, NATCA said. "This results in controllers not having this safety alerting system to help them when they need it the most -- during bad weather and periods of low visibility," said Doug Fralick, NATCA's safety and technology director. During the JFK incident, the system had been suppressed because the rain caused it to give off multiple false alarms. AMASS is a software enhancement to the Airport Surface Detection Equipment Model 3 (ASDE-3), which provides controllers with aural and visual alerts to potential collisions on the runway. It processes data from the ASDE-3 and Automated Radar Terminal Systems (ARTS) to predict aircraft movement for arriving and departing aircraft and detects aircraft and vehicles that infringe on the runway surface. It does this by correlating speed, time and distance algorithms to assess potential collision situations.