Washington, Dec 21 (ANI): AGPS-assisted system is being tested for routing aircraft to and from the runways.
As part of a plan to ease air traffic around the buzzing skies of New York City, Newark Liberty International Airport is becoming the first major airport in the nation to test the system.
The Ground Based Augmentation System (GBAS) won't replace traditional radar - at least not in the immediate future. However, if the test turns out to be successful, the system should compensate for radar's shortcomings, particularly in bad weather, and allow for less elbow room in the skies.
"This system will give us good-weather capability in bad-weather days," Discovery News quoted William DeCota, the aviation director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, as saying.
When visibility is hampered by rain, fog or snow, air traffic slows because it takes longer for pilots to get a view of the runway for landing.
Instead of relying on radio-fed landing aids on the ground, the new system uses satellite signals augmented by ground-based antennas and a centrally located VHF transmitter to give pilots necessary information for landing.
According to Eric Perrin, project manager of a European GBAS project by an air safety organization known as EUROCONTROL, data from the system currently in use can be compromised by radio interference, blocked channels and obstacles, such as by buildings.
Also, each runway needs to be outfitted with instruments to relay approach and landing data to pilots.
DeCota said that with GBAS, "within a meter, you get this absolutely accurate approach signal."
For now, FAA rules will keep aircraft about three miles apart, but if the new technology delivers on its promise, those zones could be narrowed considerably.
"There's a lot of friction built into the system so that we can assure safety in an environment that uses radar, controller directions and pilot execution," DeCota said.
Beside inclement weather landings, GBAS also would enable pilots to approach runways from curved paths, rather than flying only in straight approach corridors used today, easing traffic pileups.
"If you could bring planes in on curved approaches, you actually have more capability built into the system," DeCota said. (ANI)