ASDE-X saves the day in Charlotte

The FAA doesn’t usually like to talk about the “saves” that take place when safety alerting systems in the tower sound off and save the day. The NTSB however does. In a press release issued Tuesday, the safety board reveals that it is investigating the case of a PSA Airlines CRJ-200 that narrowly avoided hitting a single-engine Pilatus PC-12 as both were taking off at the Charlotte Douglas International Airport in North Carolina on the morning of 29 May.

I’ve compiled the video below with some of the details, plus the audio of a frazzled controller who calls off the CRJ’s takeoff after the ASDE-X airport surveillance system issues its automated alert. ASDE-X, built by Sensis Corp, fuses a variety of surveillance data on aircraft and vehicles on and around airports to computer potential conflicts. The system was installed at Charlotte in 2007, and is being rolled out at the 35 largest airports in the US.

While it’s unclear whether the pilots themselves would have been able to see and avoid each other since the weather was good, the NTSB points out that the FAA said the two aircraft stopped only 10ft from each other when it was all said and done. The investigation continues…



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