For Immediate Release

June 13, 2002
Contact: Ray Ballantyne
Phone: (503) 493-7500

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has announced the commissioning of its new alert warning system at Portland International Airport designed to help prevent runway accidents. Already in use at various airports across the country, the new Airport Movement Area Safety System (AMASS) provides air traffic controllers with visual and aural alerts of potential runway accidents caused by runway incursions.

According to Ray Ballantyne, FAA's Terminal Radar Approach Control and Tower Manager at Portland International, "This new system will provide tower controllers with a significant tool in preventing runway accidents and provides passengers an extra margin of safety on the runway."

The AMASS, a computer software and hardware system, is an enhancement to the existing Airport Surface Detection Equipment (ASDE-3) radar. The system works by processing surveillance data from the ASDE-3 and airborne targets from the Airport Surveillance Radar (ASR 9), as well as additional flight plan data from the Automated Radar Terminal System (ARTS). It then determines potential conflicts based on the position, velocity and acceleration of airborne arrival aircraft with ground-based traffic. The ASDE-3 enables controllers to observe airport surface movements, particularly at night and when visual observation is impaired by bad weather.

In its continuing effort to improve runway safety, the FAA is working closely with the aviation community to promote and support increased education, training and awareness for pilots, controllers, airport personnel, and vehicle operators.