“STARS” Shines in Philadelphia

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The U.S. Department of
Transportation’s Federal Aviation
Administration (FAA) today at
Philadelphia International Airport
commissioned the first Standard
Terminal Automation Replacement System
(STARS). Now fully operational, STARS
replaces older-generation technology
with an advanced air traffic system
with greater capability to meet
capacity needs for years to come.

STARS represents an important milestone
in the FAA’s ongoing plans to modernize
the nation’s air traffic control
system. Benefits from the new system
include synchronizing data from up to
16 different radars, capturing accurate
local weather, and tracking as many as
1,350 aircraft at a time over a 60-mile
radius. By integrating this data, STARS
gives controllers a picture of the sky
that is as accurate and detailed as
technologically possible.

“A significant part of our nation’s
future airspace system has arrived
today in Philadelphia,” said FAA
Administrator Marion C. Blakey. “STARS
and other technology are critical tools
to charting a new century of safer,
more efficient flight.”

The newly commissioned system is in the
Philadelphia Terminal Radar Approach
Control (TRACON) that controls aircraft
within the 60 miles of airspace
surrounding airports. Controllers use
the system to separate and sequence
aircraft, provide traffic alerts and
weather advisories, and vector arriving
and departing traffic. Other new
equipment supporting Philadelphia that
make it one of the country’s most
modernized facilities includes: a new
Airport Surveillance Radar Model 11
(ASR-11) that supplies digital data to
STARS; a runway safety alerting system
called the Airport Movement Area Safety
System (AMASS); Precision Runway
Monitor (PRM) radar that allows pilots
to perform precision approaches; an
automated pre-departure flight
clearance system called Tower Data Link
Service (TDLS); and a new TRACON
facility featuring innovative design
features for air traffic control.

Under a joint FAA and Department of
Defense program, STARS will eventually
replace computers and displays at more
than 300 air traffic control facilities
nationwide. In addition to
Philadelphia, other FAA deployments
scheduled for this year include
Portland, OR; Boston, MA; Miami, FL;
Milwaukee, WI; Port Columbus, OH; San
Antonio; and Seattle/Tacoma, WA.


The agency plans to deploy STARS at
facilities deemed most critical over
the next several years as funding
permits. Sites with the greatest need -
the highest growth in air traffic
combined with older, less-reliable
equipment - will receive STARS the