New Technology Allows ATC To Track Aircraft In Mountainous Areas That Are Outside Radar Coverage
– The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) announced the activation of new NextGen technology that will help pilots address inclement weather around Montrose Regional Airport in western Colorado.
The technology, known as Wide Area Multilateration (WAM), improves safety and efficiency by allowing air traffic controllers to track aircraft in mountainous areas that are outside radar coverage.
“Safety is our highest priority, and this is an excellent example of state and federal governments working together to not only improve safety and efficiency, but also provide immediate economic benefits,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “The new technology will help local businesses that depend on (...) aviation.”
The FAA and State of Colorado expect to complete the project by deploying WAM around Durango, Gunnison and Telluride in summer 2013.
“This system will allow pilots to fly search and rescue missions in weather conditions that would have previously kept them grounded,” said Acting FAA Administrator Michael Huerta. “It also will support Colorado’s tourism by enabling pilots to land in conditions that previously caused diversions or flight delays.”
WAM is a NextGen technology that tracks aircraft using a network of small sensors deployed in remote areas. Aircraft transponders receive and send back signals to these sensors. System computers immediately analyze those signals and determine the aircraft’s precise location.
The NextGen program uses technology to create a modern, satellite-based air traffic control system, transforming the national airspace to make it safer and more efficient.