Last updated 2:12AM ET
December 16, 2017
KSUT Regional
KSUT Regional
New Aircraft Radar System Moves Ahead
(2007-06-14)
(ksut) - HOST LEAD: A contractor has been selected and a timetable set for a new system that should improve airline service in Colorado's mountain communities.
KSUT's Victor Locke reports.

VICTOR: Flying in and out of Durango can be a challenge.
Sometimes that's due to the fact only three airlines serve Durango LaPlata County Airport.
Other times its because of inclement weather.
The latter is a particular problem during winter months, the ski season.
It appears a solution is in the distant future, to reduce weather related delays and cancellations,
The Colorado Department of Transportation or CDOT, has selected New York based Sensis Corporation to install phase one of a new radar like surveillance system to serve airports located in Colorado's mountain communities.
It's called the Colorado Air Traffic Control Beacon Interrogator, Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast System.
The 15-million dollar system will be comprised basically of refrigerator sized sensors that will be strategically placed to detect aircraft identifiers as they fly over.
The same devices will send information about the planes, through satellites, to the FAA's Air Route Traffic Control Center outside Denver.
That means planes can be seen better while in the mountains and in particularly during periods of inclement weather, something Durango LaPlata Airport Deputy Director Don Brockus says isn't possible with the FAA's present radar system.
BROCKUS: THE COMBINATION OF THE CURVATURE OF THE EARTH AND THE PEAKS OF THE SURROUNDING MOUNTAIN RANGES BLOCK RADAR BEAMS FROM REACHING DOWN INTO HERE. THE NEAREST AIRCRAFT RADAR COVERING THIS AREA IS LOCATED IN GRAND JUNCTION. QUITE SIMPLY THAT SIGNAL IS SCREENED OFF BY THE MOUNTAINS AND THE CURVATURE OF THE EARTH, RADAR SIGNALS TRAVEL IN A STRAIGHT LINE.
The problems posed by the lack of radar coverage are especially troublesome during bad weather, such as snow storms.
Not only will the system reduce those problems, but Brockus says its installation will make operating here easier for airlines making it a more attractive place to do business.
BROCKUS: THE LONGER AN AIRPLANE IS SITTING ON THE GROUND, THE LESS MONEY THAT AIRPLANE IS MAKING, SO THIS WILL ENABLE AIRLINES TO FEEL MORE SECURE ABOUT THEIR ABILITY TO TURN AIRCRAFT OUT OF HERE AND GET THEM AIRBORNE SOONER. IT'S A CRITICAL PIECE OF MANY AIRLINES BUSINESS PLANS TO LOOK AT AVERAGE DELAY TIMES IN AND OUT OF A GIVEN AIRPORT.
The system is being installed in two phases.
Phase 1, costing about 5 million dollars is expected to be serving airports in Hayden, Rifle, Steamboat Springs and Craig by the 2008 ski season.
Phase two, which will follow by a year or two, and will cost 10-million dollars, and cover airports in Durango, Montrose, Telluride, Gunnison, Cortez, and Alamosa.
Third District U.S. Congressman John Salazar, himself a pilot, has been a strong supporter of the project and lobbied the FAA to participate with CDOT in its installation.
From KSUT, Four Corners Public Radio, I'm Victor Locke.
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