Wrong-surface landings are one of the FAA’s top-five safety hazards, and to help mitigate the threat of pilots lining up to land on taxiways the agency has completed its enhancement of ground radar systems at 43 airports with an ASDE-X Taxiway Arrival Prediction (ATAP) upgrade. These airports already had either ASDE-X or similar ASSC ground radar systems.
The ATAP software analyzes the flight paths of arriving aircraft and anticipates when one is lining up for an improper landing. It will then issue visual and audible warnings to alert controllers.
“ATAP is a great technology aid to assist controllers in mitigating these events, and has proven to be effective,” said Bridget Singratanakul, runway safety representative for the National Air Traffic Controllers Association and co-lead for the National Collaborative Workgroup on ATAP.
Since its first implementation in 2018 at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, the system has prevented more than 50 attempted taxiway landings. There have also been eight alerts already this year among the 43 airports so equipped.
“Aircraft as small as a Cessna Caravan 208 up to a Boeing 757 have been sent around due to an ATAP alert,” explained Giovanni Dipierro, former manager of the FAA’s runway safety group. Later this year the agency will begin testing in Omaha of a comparable system for airports that do not have ASDE-X or ASSC systems.