Top officials gather to discuss airport ILS issues - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

2/10/10

Top officials gather to discuss airport ILS issues

By Tiffany Pelt - email

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - High ranking Federal Aviation Administration members, Congressman Randy Neugebauer, Mayor Tom Martin, and other officials met Wednesday to discuss the problems occurring with the Instrument Landing System at the airport.

Officials thought the problems were fixed Tuesday after several check-flights showed no interference with the ILS equipment, but planes arriving in Lubbock last night showed distorted data once again. Wednesday FAA officials say they are tripling their efforts to help find the additional sources of interference that caused the equipment to go down for a second time.

"We're bringing in additional spectrum engineers not only from our head quarters from the west coast, but we're also ringing in a crew dispatched from the Dallas office of the FCC to take advantage of the equipment they have that can help us," said FAA Deputy Administrator Michael O'Hara.

O'Hara says interfering signals are spilling over into the ILS frequency causing noise on the landing signals sent to the pilots while landing. "When that noise is on the signal it causes the signal the pilots receive to deviate slightly to the right or left indicating a different approach to the runway," O'Hara said.

FAA says changes in terrain and construction could be possible causes of the interference. Equipment broadcasting within the ILS frequency range could also be another culprit of the distorted data. Until the sources are located, FAA has four crews monitoring and searching for the items causing the interference 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The whole point of the ILS equipment is to help planes land safely during bad weather and low visibility, so officials say they don't feel comfortable turning the ILS back on until all problems are addressed. "We do understand it's been a disruption, but our number one focus is safety of the people that fly in and out of this airport. We want to make sure this equipment is working properly," said Congressman Randy Neugebauer.

Officials say they will continue to stay in Lubbock until the issues are resolved, and will give daily updates on the ILS progress.

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