More than simply mid-flight collisions and severe weather are concerns for pilots; they also incur the chance of a collision if they land on the taxiway rather than the runway. Thank goodness, they now have a digital defence.
The ASDE-X Taxiway Arrival Prediction (ATAP), a software platform that alerts air traffic controllers if an aircraft is accidentally setting up to land on a taxiway, is now being used by 43 major US airports, according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), according to Axios.
Due to inexperience or exhaustion, an aviator shouldn’t put life on the ground in jeopardy.
The system utilises conventional radar in addition to other sensors. It also functions regardless of the size of the aircraft; both little turboprops and giant airliners can be detected. The FAA claims that software changes for ATAP were completed at compatible airports in September of last year.
ATAP was first used at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in 2018. Boston Logan, Chicago O’Hare, and New York’s JFK are a few of the airports utilising the technology.
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This is not merely a hypothetical exercise. The FAA reports that since 2018, ATAP has detected over 50 potential taxiway landings, and eight notifications have been sent so far in 2023.
Even if the software only prevents pandemonium from an aircraft breaking the queue, unplanned landings are still much less fatal than crashes and happen much less frequently. Nonetheless, it may still be useful.
The rise of ATAP coincides with an increase in the use of digital safety systems in airports and aircraft. For instance, Airbus has started developing a pilot assist that can autonomously redirect planes in crises, provide assistance with taxiing, and even land the plane if the pilots are unable to do so.
Although complete autonomy is still a ways off, there may soon be many protections against everything from trivial mistakes to a crew that is not fully awake.
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