Construction Project Plays A Role In AMASS Outage

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DOT Inspector General Scovell is also recommending that the potential impact of construction work on airport systems be considered when new projects are planned. At least part of the problem with LAX’s ILS and AMASS system was traced to the construction activity on one of the airport’s four runways. The ILS suffered five failures in July and August. It was apparently a run of bad luck, compounded by the age of some of the components and corrosion damage from LA’s salty (not to mention polluted) air. Even when the gear was working, however, interference by the construction equipment caused some approaching aircraft to lose the ILS signal. Meanwhile, sometime before July 26, the AMASS gear was shut off because of all the false alerts triggered by the construction machinery. On July 26, there was a near collision on a runway that the AMASS system should have detected had it been turned on. Scovell said AMASS doesn’t work that well, anyway, and will be replaced by a new ground movement monitoring system. He said the FAA doesn’t see any sort of common thread between the three issues, but Scovell said they must be individually monitored for safety’s sake. “Taken together, these incidents in Southern California underscore some important lessons,” he said. “Runway construction can have an unintended but significant impact on critical systems. Careful planning is needed to prevent negative effects of the construction. Aging equipment in harsh environments requires proactive monitoring and troubleshooting, especially after system failures, to eliminate subsequent outages.”