Air Traffic Control to Get a Makeover

Crowded flight paths is forcing upgrade of old, slow tracking system
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 25, 2007 11:10 AM CDT
A plane prepares to land at the Memphis International Airport in Memphis, Tenn., in a Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2007 file photo. A new air traffic control system may cut down on congestion and wait times. (AP...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – The FAA has unveiled a plan to relieve projected air traffic gridlock: a new tracking system called NextGen. The new system will take advantage of slicker GPS technology, which will gradually replace the current radar system, which is subject to delays in data and large margins of error that require extra space between aircraft, Wired reports.

The new system would also allow air traffic controllers to handle more planes more efficiently, as pilots would get much of their weather and traffic information from monitors, rather than verbally. But not everyone touts NextGen as the answer. One air traffic controller argues that "the issue is airport and runway capacity," not backups on the flight paths.