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Air Traffic Control

Miami International Airport receives new ground radar system

eTN Staff Writer  Sep 01, 2009

Miami International Airport, through the efforts of US Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart, R-FL, has secured the delivery and installation of an advanced ground radar system for the control tower that will help controllers ensure safety on the runways, taxiways, and ramp areas at one of the nation's busiest airports.

A long-sought victory, Diaz-Balart began his mission to bring the new system, called ASDE-X (Airport Surface Detection Equipment, Model X) to Miami International Airport more than four years ago in early 2005. The system is a great improvement over the old ground radar system, which did not work well in bad weather - precisely the time controllers need such technology the most. Miami's ASDE-X system went into full operational status on Wednesday, making the airport the latest in a list of major airports to receive the new technology, including Chicago O'Hare, New York-JFK, and Boston.

ASDE-X, developed by Sensis Corp., works on the airport surface and provides seamless coverage and aircraft identification to controllers in the tower. According to Sensis, it "uses a combination of surface movement radar and transponder multilateration sensors to display aircraft position labeled with flight call-signs on an ATC tower display. The integration of these sensors provides data with an accuracy, update rate, and reliability suitable for improving airport safety in all weather conditions."

"When the controllers at MIA contacted Congressman Diaz-Balart about the poorly-functioning older equipment and asked about the possibility of getting the new equipment, he took it upon himself to go to the FAA and ensure that Miami would get the new equipment as soon as possible," said Jim Marinitti, who is the MIA facility representative for the National Air Traffic Controllers Association. "Through his efforts, that new equipment is fully operational ahead of schedule and the controllers at Miami would like to thank him for his efforts. Congressman Diaz-Balart's concern for safety and his continuing support of aviation are to be commended."

Added Mitch Herrick, NATCA's South Florida legislative coordinator: "Lincoln Diaz-Balart and his staff are acutely aware of the dire need for this radar during the summer months here in South Florida. All of South Florida should feel good knowing that our elected officials are engaged and forward thinking regarding airport safety."

Miami International Airport receives new ground radar system
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