Salt Lake City, UT —- The FAA today announced the commissioning of a new upgraded Instrument Landing System (ILS) at Salt Lake City International Airport (SLCIA). The project is an upgrade of the existing ILS for Runway 34 left, raising it from a Category I to a Category IIIb capability.
A Category IIIb allows the pilot to land without seeing the runway provided there is enough visibility to manually exit the runway and taxi to the gate. Further, it provides for an approach without a decision height minimum — with a runway visual of no less than 300 feet.
The upgraded system goes online today (Nov. 1, 2001) and will add a critical landing capability especially significant for the upcoming 2002 Winter Games — allowing for a fourth approach to the SLCIA.
"This ILS system upgrade adds another important dimension to our operations at Salt Lake," said Larry Andriesen, FAA Regional Administrator, Northwest Mountain Region, Renton, WA. "ILS systems are especially critical for a pilot when landing in severe winter weather because it allows the pilot to make a precision approach and landing without actually seeing the runway from a long distance."
The congressionally mandated project was approved to support the 2001 Olympic Games and was completed for approximately $2.4 million, well under its $3.1 million budget.
The project consisted of enhancing the reliability monitoring of the system that provides course guidance to the runway and to the existing ILS. The medium intensity approach lighting system (MALSR) was replaced by a high intensity approach lighting system with sequenced flashing lights (ALSF). Construction of the ALSF began in November 2000, with the erection of steel bridges, spanning two canals, to support the new approach lights. Also included in the project was the addition of an engine generator to provide an additional power source.
The construction contractor was Airfield Construction Service of Watkinsville, Georgia.
Salt Lake experiences frequent severe winter weather and with the increase in air traffic during the 2002 Games, this additional capability becomes even more critical. Because of Salt Lake's rising terrain to the east of the airport and the Great Salt Lake to the West, this system will further enhance safety especially during reduced visibility conditions.
The ILS provides a precision landing approach of course and height (ground track and elevation) during both good and bad weather — down to the end of the runway. The ILS consists of several essential visual and non-visual aids; hardware and software systems onboard the aircraft and on the ground to communicate with pilots, and ground lighting and beacon systems to enhance flight safety.
This will be the airport's fourth approach with this capability. Further, Runway 34L will support "autoland" operations. With autoland, the guidance, throttles and brakes of the aircraft are all controlled by the aircraft's Flight Management Computer System (FMS). The pilots monitor the approach, but normally, do not touch the controls until the aircraft has slowed down to a speed where the pilots take over and manually exit the runway.
The FAA's goal for the 2002 Olympic Winter Games will be to provide the necessary infrastructure in the National Airspace System (NAS) for the flight capacity increases which will allow the 2002 Olympic Winter Games to be held without aviation related delays and to build for the future beyond the Olympics.
FAA efforts will lead to an increase in the safety and capacity of the NAS in the greater Salt Lake City area to handle the influx of operations during the 2002 Olympic Winter Games and to expand the capacity of the system for future growth.