EAST SYRACUSE, NY – September 23, 2009 – Sensis Corporation’s Wide Area Multilateration (WAM) deployment around four airports in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains has achieved Initial Operating Capability (IOC) from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Yampa Valley Regional, Garfield County Regional, Steamboat Springs and Craig-Moffat County Airports now have surveillance coverage through the FAA Surveillance and Broadcast Services (FAA SBS) program office and Colorado Department of Transportation’s Aeronautics Division (CDOT) Wide Area Multilateration Project. The system uses Sensis Multistatic Dependent Surveillance (MDS) to provide FAA air traffic controllers at the Denver Air Route Traffic Control Center with high accuracy, high availability surveillance to improve capacity of the airspace surrounding the four airports. This is the first multilateration system accepted into the National Airspace System (NAS) by the FAA for the separation of en route aircraft by air traffic controllers.
In Colorado’s areas of rough and extreme terrain, existing en route radar experiences coverage gaps below 13,000 feet, resulting in procedural-based, “one-in/one-out” air traffic control operations during instrument meteorological conditions. CDOT and the FAA SBS evaluated a number of surveillance solutions, ultimately deciding to deploy WAM at the airports and in the surrounding mountains. WAM was selected due to its compatibility with existing aircraft transponders and its distributed nature, which makes it both reliable and extensible. As a result of the WAM surveillance, controllers are implementing standard radar procedures with five nautical miles of separation, which includes flight following and the ability to vector aircraft during instrument approaches. Additionally, it is expected that the WAM system will greatly assist in aviation-related search and rescue operations in the mountains.
“Increasing flight safety by eliminating gaps in radar coverage in the Rocky Mountains is a critical goal for the Colorado Department of Transportation,” said Travis Vallin, CDOT Aeronautics Director. “With the Sensis WAM system, we now have accurate surveillance of flights in this area during all weather conditions, enabling an increase in the capacity and efficiency of flights in this economically vital area.”
Sensis MDS uses multiple low-maintenance, non-rotating sensors to triangulate aircraft location based on transponder signals and to provide air traffic controllers with precise aircraft position and identification information, regardless of weather conditions. With a higher update rate and greater positional accuracy than traditional radar, Sensis MDS provides effective surveillance for increased safety, capacity and efficiency of airspace and airports. With its advanced processing techniques, an MDS system uses the minimal number of sensors for a less complex, lower lifecycle cost solution. Additionally, every MDS sensor deployed by Sensis also supports Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast (ADS-B).
“By accepting this system into the NAS, the FAA has validated the use of multilateration for providing surveillance for en route air traffic separation services,” said Marc Viggiano, chief operating officer of Sensis Corporation. “The FAA and the State of Colorado had the foresight to deploy a multilateration system that enhances safety today while establishing the infrastructure for a transition to NextGen ADS-B technology.”
Sensis MDS is providing solutions to a number of WAM surveillance applications around the world, including precision runway monitoring (Detroit Metro Wayne County Airport, Michigan and Sydney Airport, Australia); terminal area surveillance (Innsbruck Airport, Austria, Vancouver Harbor and Fort St. John, Canada, Sydney Airport, Australia and Juneau, Alaska); special use airspace (29 Palms Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, California, U.S. Navy Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Maryland, and Yuma Proving Grounds, Arizona); and en route surveillance (Tasmania, Australia and the North Sea, United Kingdom).