Philadelphia deploys airport surface detection equipment

Washington DC
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Philadelphia International airport has became the latest US facility to launch Sensis' airport surface detection model equipment X (ASDE-X) to supply controllers with improved information about airport surface movements to prevent runway incursions.

Philadelphia marks the 22nd US facility to use the system, which fuses surface movement radar, transponder multilateration and automatic dependent surveillance broadcast (ADS-B) position data with predictive algorithms to alert air traffic controllers about potential runway collisions.

Sensis is under contract with the FAA to develop and deploy ASDE-X at 35 airports. Nationwide deployment began in 2003, and in June 2009, the FAA accelerated its target of installing the system at 35 airports to autumn 2010 from 2011.

FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt has also expressed interest in deploying ASDE-X beyond the initial 35 airports targeted in the roll-out of the programme.

Sensis notes that in June 2009 the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) identified that the ASDE-X system at Charlotte Douglas International airport alerted controllers about a potential incursion involving two aircraft cleared for take-off from the same runway.

After receiving an alert, a controller cancelled the take-off clearance for one of the aircraft to prevent an accident.

In addition to deploying ASDE-X, Sensis has also augmented the system at some facilities to enable controllers to simultaneously separate aircraft on approaches on closely-spaced parallel runways.

The ASDE-X system at Detroit Metro Wayne County airport was augmented with wide area multilateration surveillance to provide precision runway monitoring - alternative (PRM-A), which has enabled more flights to land per hour for increased throughput at the airport.