Air Transport World

TCAS tommorrow? (traffic alert and collision avoidance system)

TCAS tomorrow?

After decades of delays, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) now sees deployment of a viable collision avoidance system--the Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance System (TCAS)--before the end of the 1980s. But as with past predictions, FAA's timetable rests more on good intentions than the security of possessing a tested, mature TCAS device.

FAA planners for most of the past decade have seen collision avoidance being provided by a three-level TCAS: TCAS I, a low-power system for general aviation aircraft providing only traffic advisories and a display of a threat's bearing, altitude and range; TCAS II, for transport and high-performance general aviation aircraft, providing, in addition to the above information, threat resolution maneuvering information indicating whether the pilot should climb or descend to avoid the threat; TCAS III, which would, in addition to the vertical maneuvering advisory, provide horizontal maneuvering direction. …

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