Air Radar and Ground control

Air Radar and

The word radar stands for radio detection and ranging. Imagine this, trying to land a jumbo plane, on a conveniently narrow tarmac in the darkest of nights and making sure you don’t kill everyone onboard. Clearly, you can’t do this on your own, takes a village. The plane uses the help of a radar to land the plane.

First developed during World War II to detect enemy airplanes, this really handy equipment uses radio waves. How it works is, an intermittent radio beam is transmitted by the plane-this signal can only be sent part-time and for the rest of the time it looks out’ for any reflections of the beam on any close by objects. When reflections are detected the plane makes sure not to run into them.

The plane can use the time taken for the reflection arrival to figure out how far away an object is. Their antennas typically rotate so they can detect movements over a large area. These antennas normally switch from transmitter to receiver and never the two jobs at the same time. The duplexer which is an important piece in the air radar equipment makes the swapping back and forth possible

Now that we know the air part of it all, let’s understand what happens on the ground. It takes a lot of teamwork and coordination on the ground to manage and ensure the performance at the airports is at its best. Helping to land a plane in the middle of a city, in a somewhat congested airport is not a job you take easily. Landing the plane safely is just half the puzzle but getting the airplane to its gate and park safely is the other half.

Ground control is in charge of that. Once tower control hands the plane over after guiding it away from active runways, ground control ensures that the plane doesn’t leave their taxiways and are not too close to each other.

The time is taken for a plane to reach its gate normally depends on many factors, the most important one being the number of planes already moving on the ground. If the traffic on the ground is too high it will take longer for a plane to get to its gate.

When two planes come too close to each other on the ground, the pilot cannot dive, ascend or evade the plane, it’s a collision, especially on small airports because there’s literally no way out. Quite a number of these accidents have happened but ground control tries their best to make sure this doesn’t happen often.

The airport taxiway layout also plays a huge role in the traffic on the ground, straight taxiways, see airplanes reaching their gates faster as they achieve high taxing speed, compared to taxiways with turns, where the pilot needs to be a lot more careful. Between air traffic control and ground control, no job is more or less important than the other. They both need each other to achieve a more cohesive and smooth running of an airport.