Colorado Deploys ADS-B

By Tish Drake | June 15, 2007
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Colorado aviation officials launched a campaign to provide radar-like surveillance capabilities to the state’s mountainous airports. Sensis Corp. won the first phase of the $15 million project, which is formally called the Colorado Air Traffic Control Beacon Interrogator (CO-ATCBI) Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) System for FAA certification into the National Air Space System. The project is based on a system of distributed sensors, each about the size of a small refrigerator, that utilize existing aircraft transponders to determine an aircraft’s position and report it to the FAA Denver Air Route Traffic Control Center, located in Longmont. Air traffic information will be displayed as a standard radar target on screens in the Denver Center facility, which provides radar separation for all air traffic in portions of nine western states. “This project represents a dynamic step forward and will greatly improve the aviation system as well as the overall efficiency of the transportation system for visitors to our mountain communities,” said Harold Patton, chairman of the Colorado Aeronautical Board. The project will be implemented in two phases. The first phase will provide coverage to airports in Hayden, Rifle, Steamboat Springs and Craig. It will cost $4.7 million and be operational by the 2008 ski season. Coverage volume and project definitions for Phase II will be finalized in the fall of 2007. However, it is expected to include airport coverage in Montrose, Telluride, Gunnison, Cortez, Durango and Alamosa and is estimated to cost about $10 million. Once complete, the FAA will assume ownership, including operations and maintenance costs of the system throughout its 15 to 20 year life.

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