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FWD: Article "Logan to get radar to detect ships - Monitoring could improve flow of air traffic"



 
 
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Old April 18th 07, 09:22 PM posted to rec.aviation.piloting,rec.aviation.ifr
Jon
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Default FWD: Article "Logan to get radar to detect ships - Monitoring could improve flow of air traffic"

Apologies if the (un)wrap gets ya (un)wrapped

Logan to get radar to detect ships
Monitoring could improve flow of air traffic

By Mac Daniel, Globe Staff | April 14, 2007

The Massachusetts Port Authority plans to install a $1.3 million radar system at Logan International Airport to help detect large ships before they pass by two critical runways and potentially interrupt air traffic.

The announcement was made a year after air traffic controllers at Logan said their ability to monitor taller ships was being compromised, especially at night, by faulty camera equipment and orders not to use ground radar to detect ship traffic.

The Port of Boston's main shipping channel is directly off the end of Logan's Runway 4R, which is used for landings, and 22L, which is used for takeoffs. Air traffic at the airport can be affected by ships 85 feet tall or higher.

Cargo ships often use the channel to reach the Conley Terminal in South Boston.

Soon after air traffic controllers complained last year, Massport installed a multicamera infrared camera system that feeds live pictures to the Logan control tower, even at night. One camera image includes a measuring line that allows controllers to determine whether a ship is more than 85 feet above its waterline.

Before that system was installed, controllers had to rely on visual checks of passing ships, as well as daily reports from the Boston harbormaster and the US Coast Guard.

This week, the Massport board of directors approved the $1.7 million system, spending $1.3 million to purchase and install it and $372,000 for five years of maintenance and support.

Large ships have been a long-standing problem at Logan. However, the issue reemerged in 2005 after a team of FAA specialists cited the problem after investigating a rash of runway near-misses and other incidents at Logan. By the end of that year, the airport had 17 runway incidents in 14 months.

In recent years, those numbers have dramatically fallen after changes were made based on FAA and Massport recommendations.

None of the incidents was related to large ship traffic.

Runway 4R is the only runway pilots can use for certain instrument landings when inclement weather prevents controllers from guiding a pilot into Boston.

However, if a ship passing Runway 4R is 176 feet or higher, FAA officials have said, no instrument approaches are allowed on the runway. If a ship passing Runway 4R is between 85 feet and 176 feet, instrument approaches to Logan are allowed but are more difficult.

After installing the infrared cameras last year, the new radar system "is the next step, the next enhancement," said Flavio Leo, manager of airport planning at Massport.

The new system will feed the information to a radar scope in the control tower, Leo said, sending speed, location, distance from the nearest runway, and ship height.

Leo said the system would be installed in about 1 to 1 1/2 years. A new ground radar system for aircraft, approved after the rash of runway incidents, would be installed at the same time.

Copyright 2007 Globe Newspaper Company.


 




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