The skies above America’s airports have been suffering from a terrifying phenomenon – pilots mistakenly touchdown on taxiways as an alternative of runways. These doubtlessly lethal errors have induced 1,641 “flawed floor occasions” since 2016, with small planes being accountable for a stunning 83% of those harmful incidents.
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However there’s a glimmer of hope amidst this chaos – new expertise generally known as ASDE-X Taxiway Arrival Prediction (ATAP) is being rolled out throughout the nation to forestall these horrifying accidents.
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How a brand new visible and auditory ATAP alarm sounds within the air visitors management tower
ATAP makes use of superior radar and sensor expertise to mechanically detect when a airplane is lining as much as land on a taxiway as an alternative of a runway. The software program sends an alert to air visitors controllers, who can shortly relay the data to pilots each within the air and on the bottom.
New flawed course plane alert expertise is working
This groundbreaking expertise has already prevented 50 wrong-surface taxiway landings at Seattle-Tacoma Worldwide Airport alone since its implementation in 2018. However the penalties of failing to implement ATAP could possibly be catastrophic. Unintended taxiway landings have resulted in near-misses between planes, placing numerous lives in peril.
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Proof of an airport catastrophe ready to occur
Some extraordinary shut calls have occurred at a few of the nation’s busiest airports together with a Boeing 757 touchdown at Newark Liberty Worldwide Airport, a Delta 767 touchdown in 2009 at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta Worldwide Airport, and in 2015 an Alaska Airways 737 landed on a taxiway at Seattle-Tacoma.
Essentially the most disturbing shut name got here in 2017 when an Air Canada Airbus 320 virtually touched down off beam on the taxiway at San Francisco Worldwide Airport the place 4 plane had been lined up for takeoff.
Even skilled pilots can confuse taxiways for runways, and with the rise in air journey, the danger of those lethal errors solely continues to develop.
In 2023, already 8 alarms have sounded alerting to a possible airline catastrophe
With eight ATAP alerts already issued this yr, the significance of this expertise can’t be overstated. The accelerated rollout of ATAP, regardless of pandemic-related interruptions, demonstrates the urgency with which airports throughout the nation are adopting this life-saving software program.
“Go Round! Go Round!” command heard over the radio to an plane on track to overlook the runway
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As soon as ATAP alert goes off within the air visitors management tower, it is as much as the controller to leap into motion telling the approaching plane to abort their harmful touchdown. In a world the place even the likes of Harrison Ford have narrowly prevented tragedy on account of unintentional taxiway landings, the implementation of ATAP is a crucial step in direction of making certain the protection of all those that take to the skies.
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