Ship Ahoy! New Radar Installed at Logan International Airport
Boston is First in the Nation to Have Airport System to Measure Ship Heights
Boston Logan International Airport today announced the latest effort by the Massachusetts Port Authority to improve safety and efficiency at New England's gateway airport by unveiling a radar system designed to detect large ships in Boston Harbor and measure their height. The $1.3 million radar will enhance an infrared camera system that is already in place to detect ships in the main channel of the Port of Boston when weather obscures them from view from the air traffic control tower.
In addition to infrared cameras, the Federal Aviation Administration tower and Massport Operations are in contact with harbor pilots who guide large vessels such as cruise ships and container ships in and out of the Port of Boston. Any ship that is more than 85 feet in height could affect air traffic and requires a warning to flight crews and the new system is the first to measure the height of vessels it detects.
The latest technology was installed this year at Logan Airport and has been operating for more than a month. The system is built by ProSensing, Inc. an Amherst, Mass.-based company and uses X-Band and W-Band radar to provide advance warning to air traffic controllers when tall vessels are in the shipping channel near the approach of runway 4R. The radar feed is transmitted to displays in the FAA Air Traffic Control Tower and Massport's Communication Center also located in the tower.
The system will enhance surveillance and allow Federal Aviation Administration air traffic controllers to manage better the arrivals at Logan, said Edward C. Freni, Director of Aviation at Massport. This radar displays location, speed, direction and height of ships to controllers and will alert a controller in advance if a ship is so tall that it could interfere with the flight path of planes landing on Runway 4R and allow the controller to coordinate arrivals, Freni said.
Working in collaboration with the Federal Aviation Administration, airlines and industry partners, Massport strives to consistently improve safety and security at Logan Airport.
Massport's comprehensive approach to airside safety has been recognized by the aviation industry including the FAA, FAA Regional Director Amy Corbett said. The new ship detection radar system is another step in the right direction by Massport to improve airport safety through collaborative efforts with all its partners.
Recent safety efforts include:
- Logan is among the first airports to deploy Runway Status Lights and will be the first to have that system at intersecting runways.
- FAA controllers at Logan use an advanced ASDEX-3 ground radar system.
- Logan was one of three airports to pioneer a composite map of the area to proactively protect airspace around the airport from development.
- Massport is engaged in ongoing efforts to improve airport layout, including the new centerfield taxiway.
- Logan is in the permitting stage for a longer arresting system known as EMAS at the end of runway 33L.
- Massport gave terminal space to the FAA for a tower training simulator that provides very realistic computer imaging of Logan's airfield to improve the skills of air traffic controllers who work at Boston Tower.
- Massport continues to test safety technology at Logan such as a system that alerts personnel to the presence of foreign objects and debris on the runway; and another that alerts airfield crews of the presence of birds.
Last year, the Air Line Pilots Association named Boston Logan the airport of the year. The nation's largest pilot group chose Logan because of the airport's extensive efforts to reduce runway incursions and excursions through enhanced markings and technologies, its new physical improvements that reduce congestion and delays, and its multi-faceted approach to emergency exercises.
Boston Logan serves as the gateway to the New England region and offers nonstop service to 70 domestic and 31 international destinations and in 2008 handled 26.1 million passengers. Boston Logan is the Air Line Pilot Association's Airport of the Year for 2008 because of its commitment to safety. Over the past decade, the airport has spent $4.4 billion on a modernization program that includes new terminals, parking facilities, roadways and airport concessions, and has transformed the airport into a world-class 21st Century facility.