For Immediate Release

June 3, 2002
Contact: Arlene Salac or Jim Peters
Phone: (718) 553-3015


Air traffic control specialists will now have available for their use a precision radar monitor, a stand-alone air traffic control system, that will allow aircraft to make simultaneous instrument approaches to parallel runways less than 4,300 feet apart from each other. This secondary radar will be used to improve the airport’s operational efficiency and safety, especially during inclement weather operations.

Prior to the installation of this new radar system, aircraft scheduled to land at Philadelphia International Airport were unable to make simultaneous instrument landings to parallel runways during bad weather operations. Now, controllers will be able to direct aircraft to make such approaches to runway 27L and runway 26, which are 3,000 feet apart. This should improve the flow of traffic into the airport and reduce delays. Controllers and flight crews have been trained in PRM operations. New PRM approach procedures have also been published for the airport.

The system tracks and displays each aircraft on two PRM high-resolution color monitors located in the air traffic control tower’s radar room. The radar provides one-second updates on an arriving aircraft’s position and speed. Controllers monitor the progress of each aircraft on final approach in real time and issue directions to maintain safe separation between the two aircraft.

The electronically scanned secondary radar, which scans at a considerably faster rate than existing airport surveillance radars, interrogates civil and military transponder equipped aircraft. The rapid scan rate of this radar system reduces the time a controller needs to determine if an inbound aircraft has deviated from its flight path toward the safety zone set up between the parallel runways. The system is also equipped with visible and audible hazard alerts needed to safely land the aircraft.

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