Radar Network for Air Traffic Control
February 1957 Radio & Television
Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA), born in 1940 and now known as the Federal Aviation Administration (since
1958), was established originally to regulate the burgeoning commercial airline and cargo transport air traffic
as well as the private aviation activity. According to an
on April 3, 1947, CAA controllers began in-service evaluations of the ground approach control (GCA) radar system
at Washington National and Chicago Municipal airports. It was commissioned for officially use by the CAA on January
7, 1952, at Washington National Airport. This story from a 1957 edition of Radio & Television News
reports on the system upgrade to long-range radars that would permit, eventually, continuous coverage across the
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Radar Network for Air Traffic Control
CAA orders 23 long-range radars in biggest single electronics gear purchase.
A major step in a sweeping plan for improvement of the nation's air traffic control system was taken recently, with
announcement by the Civil Aeronautics Administration of an order for 23 long-range radars, biggest single purchase
of electronic equipment in the agency's history.
Radar operators scan skies on long-range radar. Shown on the scope are air lanes connecting cities. Planes appear
as light spots. Electronically projected map overlay enables the operator to pinpoint plane's position.
The radars are the heart of a CAA plan announced last April
by Secretary of Commerce Sinclair Weeks. The plan is designed to handle a fourfold increase in U. S. air traffic
with minimum delay and maximum safety. The new radars will help CAA controllers accomplish this by scanning the
skies for all aircraft up to 200 miles away, depending on size and altitude.
Raytheon Manufacturing Co.
of Waltham, Mass., will design and build the equipment, which will cost approximately $9,000,000. Deliveries will
begin this summer.
The 23 radars will be part of an expanding coast-to-coast traffic control network of more than 70 civil and military
radar installations. The network will give controllers a picture of aircraft from 15,000 to 70,000 feet in virtually
all the U. S. airspace, and of aircraft at lower altitudes on densely traveled routes. Thus, radar will serve to
track the civil and military jets which move at 600 miles an hour or more in the higher altitudes, and the conventional
aircraft traffic using the lower altitudes.
Giant 40·foot search antenna to be used with the new radars. This antenna will be equally effective for jet
operation at 35,000 feet and higher or for low-altitude slower aircraft./td>
Each radar uses a large 40-foot antenna, and effectively covers
more than 125,000 square miles of area. A single set will be able to feed up to 15 different monitor screens simultaneously,
so that each controller on duty in a CAA center can have a picture of traffic movement. At present, with the exception
of the radar-equipped New York and Washington centers, CAA controllers depend on position reports radioed in by
pilots en route. CAA also has radar for surveillance around 34 airports, which will continue to serve traffic within
a range up to 30 miles.
The new equipment employs either linear or circular polarization of the radar signal
so as to minimize the effect of rain or other bad weather interference. Another feature is an improved moving target
indication arrangement that removes radar echoes from fixed objects, thereby allowing signals from moving aircraft
to show up clearly.
CChances of breakdown are reduced because of the use of dual controls and functioning
parts, allowing uninterrupted operations.
New radars are to be installed at 23 of the 28 heavily circled areas
shown below. Remaining
5 areas will use military gear. Light
circles show future coverage.
Posted July 15, 2013