The often-delayed multi-billion-dollar effort to modernise the US air traffic control (ATC) system is on track and beginning to yield results, says the Federal Aviation Administration.

Steve Zaidman, the FAA's associate administrator for research and acquisition, says that all en-route air route traffic control centres (ARTCCs) and oceanic ATC centres have been equipped with the new Host and Oceanic Computer System Replacement (HOCSR), which processes flight data information and distributes it to other units.

Also, the 20th and final Display System Replacement (DSR) computer has been installed at the ARTCC outside Washington DC. Lockheed Martin's $1 billion DSR contract replaces the 20 to 30-year-old monochrome radar screens with modern colour controller workstations.

Meanwhile, the FAA will progress to the next phase of its Free Flight programme in October. Phase 1, which started in 1998, includes the User Request Evaluation Tool (URET) conflict probe, the Traffic Management Advisor (TMA), and the Final Approach Spacing Tool (FAST).

Free Flight Phase 2 involves wider deployment of these air traffic management tools and the introduction of controller-pilot data link communications.

Source: Flight International