FAA launches deployment of AMASS throughout USA

Washington DC
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Installation of a new runway collision avoidance system will go ahead immediately at 34 major US airports following an FAA decision today to field the system nationwide.

An FAA spokesman says the agency will begin deploying the airport movement area safety system (AMASS) - designed to warn air traffic controllers visually and aurally of serious runway collision risks in time for them to take action - at the USA’s 34 busiest airports from June.

Deployment of AMASS at all 34 airports – and at Andrews Air Force Base in Washington DC - is scheduled for completion in November 2002.

“We decided to field the program nationally [because] the nuisance alerts and problems [that AMASS testing threw up] were worked out to our satisfaction,” says the spokesman, stressing that the FAA does not intend AMASS to provide alarms every time there is any chance of a runway incursion happening, but only when the risk of a collision is high.

AMASS is an enhancement to the airport surface detection equipment Model 3 (ASDE-3) ground surveillance radar already in use at 33 major US airports. The new system processes surveillance data from the ASDE-3 and the terminal automation system to detect conflicts based on the position, velocity and acceleration of airborne arriving aircraft with ground-based aircraft and vehicles.

The FAA has been testing AMASS at San Francisco International Airport and at Detroit Wayne County Municipal Airport, with maintenance and oversight of the developmental system based at the agency’s headquarters in Washington DC.

In June, however, AMASS maintenance and program oversight will transfer to the FAA’s facilities in San Francisco and Detroit. The two airports will be the first to use AMASS in normal operations.

The schedule calls for St Louis and Atlanta to follow in making AMASS operational in July. Two systems will go into operation at Los Angeles in August, then Chicago O’Hare and Salt Lake City will introduce AMASS in September.

Cleveland Hopkins and Boston will follow in October, Seattle-Tacoma and Newark in November, and then Miami International and Minneapolis/St Paul in January 2002.

New York JFK and Kansas City will receive AMASS next February, Pittsburgh next March, Portland International next April and Cincinnati and Memphis in May 2002.

In June 2002, Baltimore Washington International and New Orleans will put AMASS into operation, three airports – Philadelphia, Las Vegas and Louisville – following in July.

August 2002 will see AMASS become operational at San Diego and at Denver International, with two systems to be installed at the Colorado airport.

Anchorage and Dallas/Fort Worth will make AMASS operational in September 2002. New York LaGuardia, Washington Dulles and Charlotte will introduce the system in October 2002, and then Houston Intercontinental and Andrews Air Force Base the following month.

Washington Reagan National Airport will receive at an unspecified date the AMASS system that the FAA Technical Center in Atlantic City has been using for developmental work.