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Fri, Feb 12, 2010

Glitchy ILS Causing Concern At Lubbock Airport

FAA, FCC Have Crews On Site Diagnosing The Problem

For more than a week, the ILS at Lubbock International Airport has been giving pilots "distorted data", and the FAA and airport officials are scrambling to discover why.

FAA Deputy Administrator Michael O'Hara said signals were spilling over into the ILS frequency, causing interference in the form of noise on the signals sent to aircraft.  "When that noise is on the signal it causes the signal the pilots receive to deviate slightly to the right or left indicating a different approach to the runway," O'Hara told television station KDBD.

Officials thought they had the problem solved Tuesday, when several check flights showed no interference with ILS equipment in test aircraft. But planes arriving at KLBB Tuesday night again showed the distorted data, causing aircraft to mis-align with the runway.

The ongoing problem has caused the FAA to ask for help from the FCC. "We're bringing in additional spectrum engineers not only from our head quarters from the west coast, but we're also ringing in a crew dispatched from the Dallas office of the FCC to take advantage of the equipment they have that can help us," O'Hara told the station.

The FAA says changes in terrain or construction near the airport could possibly be causing the interference, or an outside source broadcasting on the same or adjacent frequencies might be the culprit. The agency has teams working 24/7 on the problem, and says it will stay in Lubbock until it is resolved.

FMI: www.faa.gov, www.flylia.com


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