FAA Deploys New Technologies For Runway Safety, Thunderstorm Avoidance

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A system to better predict the future positions of thunderstorms, which has been tested in the Northeast since 2001, will now be deployed nationwide, the FAA said on Monday. The Corridor Integrated Weather System (CIWS) was upgraded significantly last month, and will enable air traffic controllers to keep air routes open longer and reopen them sooner during thunderstorm events, the FAA said. Also, runway status lights, which have been tested at several sites, will be installed at 20 major airports across the country over the next three years, Acting FAA Administrator Bobby Sturgell said on Monday. The lights warn pilots when it is unsafe to cross or enter a runway, and have been tested at airports in Dallas and San Diego. The FAA also said this week it will re-evaluate its takeoff and landing procedures at New York's JFK International Airport, after two near-midairs in less than a week.

The NTSB says that on July 5, "preliminary radar data" shows that a Boeing 767 and a 737 conflicted, passing within about a half mile laterally and 200 feet vertically. Last week, the FAA had denied that the July 5 incident had been a close call. In a a second incident, on July 11, a Delta 757 that was going around was put into the path of a Comair jet that was departing on a different runway, according to news reports.