One of the air traffic management systems least well known to pilots is multilateration, sometimes called MLat, or multilat, or WAM (for wide-area multilateration).
Precision Runway Monitor
An FAA training video for precision runway monitor (PRM) operations, available online at www.faa.gov/avr/afs/prmtraining, is required viewing for all pilots who wish to participate in approaches at U.S. airports with PRM capability.
One of the FAA’s less publicized programs to increase airport capacity is the gradual introduction of the precision runway monitor (PRM). Currently commissioned at Minneapolis, St. Louis and Philadelphia, and soon to come online at San Francisco and New York JFK, the PRM allows aircraft to make simultaneous independent approaches to closely spaced dual or triple parallel, or dual converging, runways.
At the Air Traffic Control Association’s annual convention this fall, Syracuse, N.Y.-based Sensis announced that its multilateration system will replace the legacy precision runway monitor (PRM) radar used at the Sydney, Australia airport, to monitor aircraft flying simultaneous approaches to its closely spaced parallel runways, 16L and 16R.
The FAA has released Advisory Circular 90-98, “Simultaneous Closely Spaced Parallel (SCSP) Operations at Airports Using Precision Runway Monitoring (PRM) Systems.” The circular notifies pilots about the establishment of specific air traffic procedures to conduct flight operations into airports identified for SCSP approaches using PRM. Currently, PRM operational locations are limited to Minneapolis-St.
Researchers at Raytheon Co. have proposed a novel technique to increase future runway capacity–in some cases potentially doubling an airport’s throughput–while at the same time avoiding wake turbulence.