New system improves air traffic control over Gulf

January 12, 2010 5:14:48 PM PST
The Federal Aviation Administration showed off a new system meant to better track aircraft in the Gulf of Mexico. The Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast (ADSB) allows air traffic controllers to see aircraft at lower and higher altitudes. Planes used be separated up to 100 miles, but with the new system, they only need a five mile buffer. It's technology that could help companies flying back and forth from oil rigs.

"Traditionally we wouldn't see these aircraft at all," explained air traffic controller Kim Pettis. "So being able to see them is going to provide them with a quicker service in that we can separate them from each other a lot quicker and they don't have to delay on the rig, waiting for clearance to off, or to get in."

Some companies voluntarily use ADSB. It will be mandatory on all aircraft by the end of this year.