Blakey Cites Comair Crash In Promoting New Gear

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FAA Administrator Marion Blakey said the crash of Comair Flight 5191 might have been avoided if the CRJ-100 had been equipped with Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B). Blakey told reporters at a news conference at UPS's headquarters in Louisville that ADS-B's LCD screen (not unlike a host of vastly more affordable products currently available to the private pilot) tells pilots which runway they're on and that might have alerted the crew in time to avert the disaster. Blakey was in Louisville to tout ADS-B as the next-generation air navigation system, something UPS has already committed to. The cargo carrier has spent $100 million of its own money developing ADS-B technology for its fleet and it uses the gear in Louisville. The federal government has earmarked $80 million to expand ADS-B service, which is mainly concentrated on the east coast. It's also been deployed in Alaska and is under development in the Gulf of Mexico. The first of that new $80 million will be spent installing ground equipment at UPS hubs in Ontario, Calif., Juneau, Alaska and Philadelphia.