Tuesday, August 15, 2006

ILS outage at LAX -- again!

Last week there was an ILS outage at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). The Associated Press reported this:
Monday's malfunctioning equipment, called a localizer, acts as a beacon to guide arriving planes onto runways. It is most crucial when it is foggy or hazy. It was foggy at the airport on Monday.

The problem was compounded because one of the airport's four runways was closed for a major construction project. To compensate, one of the departure runways was handling both departures and arrivals -- and it was that shared runway that had the problem.

The localizer failed shortly before 9 a.m. PDT, and reduced the number of landings -- usually about one a minute -- to 32 an hour, the Federal Aviation Administration said. Airport authorities responded by reversing the direction of the runways so that the faulty equipment was no longer needed, bringing the number of landings back to a normal level.

Flights were forced to circle the airport, and some planes were ordered to remain on the ground at other airports, officials said. Arriving flights were held up to 90 minutes. Departures were also delayed, and several flights were canceled.

Technicians were able to repair the system shortly after noon PDT. Officials were investigating the cause of the equipment's failure.
Now there has been another, similar outage. According to the Aero-News Network:
For the second time in a week, one of the instrument landing systems at LAX went on the fritz... reducing to about half the rate of landing operations at the airport.

As was the case last week, the problem is the localizer on runway 25-Right. A spokesman for the FAA says the ILS went down at about 10 am Pacific time Monday morning, and was back on the air within 45-minutes.

Arrivals were delayed up to 45-minutes and flights within an hours' radius were held on the ground for about a half-hour.

The situation was somewhat mitigated by the weather. Unlike the first time this happened, back on August 7, the weather Monday was clear, with good visibility... allowing pilots to make visual approaches to the runway.

And, it appears, the sole technician in Los Angeles capable of repairing the ILS was somewhat closer to the airport than was the case last week... when just getting to the troubled equipment took more than two hours.
Is it me, or do these incidents just not inspire confidence?

An aviation consultant quoted by the Associated Press article said, "The FAA's complete instrument system, as we know, is somewhat accident prone. We need to do more what-if thinking."

LAX Malfunctions Raise Safety Questions - AP via Breitbart.com
Another ILS Outage At LAX - Aero-News Network

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