Radar Network for Air Traffic Control
February 1957 Radio & Television News
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
FAA document, 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 entire USA.
February 1957 Radio & TV News
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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.
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
circles show future coverage.
Posted July 15, 2013