AOPA is pushing for low-cost remote radar displays for controllers at smaller control towers. On Friday, the NTSB recommended that the FAA install remote terminal radar displays at all towered airports where radar coverage exists at traffic pattern altitudes. (Tower controllers at many reliever and GA airports can only track aircraft visually.)
But AOPA was well ahead of NTSB. AOPA has made the same suggestion to the FAA, starting in 1998. And the NTSB action follows an AOPA-supported amendment to AIR-21 approved by Congress last year. That bill directs the FAA to develop a national policy and procedures concerning the installation of terminal automated radar display and information systems (Tardis) at smaller towers. The system provides an inexpensive way of using FAA radar data at visual flight rule (VFR) air traffic control towers, improving the efficiency of VFR controllers by increasing their situational awareness and better enabling them to visually locate aircraft.
AOPA told Congress, "We believe our members would greatly benefit from this system because it improves safety in the VFR air traffic control environment."
Tardis uses a personal computer to display radar data from a remote tracon or air traffic control center. It costs less than $25,000 per site. More than 10 VFR towers currently have Tardis installed, including Chicago's Meigs Field.