...As Critics Question, FAA Defends...

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The NTSB has also raised questions about whether the AMASS system is an effective tool for preventing runway incursions. Alerts may occur as little as 8 to 11 seconds before a potential collision, the NTSB said. In at least one incident, at Los Angeles International in August 2004, there are "strong indications" that AMASS didn't alert the controller until it was too late to take corrective action, the NTSB said. The NTSB also says a system is needed that would warn pilots directly of potential conflicts, rather than alerting controllers. FAA spokesman Jim Peters told The Boston Globe the AMASS system was never designed to work in all conditions and its creators warned about ''false targets" in rain. Peters said the system successfully alerted air traffic controllers about a potential collision in November 2001, and added that a software solution that would fix some problems with the system is being tested in San Diego.