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Antiquated Savannah Radar Still In Use, Radar Outage Results - (4/7/2009)

CONTACTS:  Savannah Tower Facility Representative Tom Rubrecht, (912) 856-9136; NATCA National Office, Alexandra Caldwell, 202-220-9813, acaldwell@natcadc.org

SAVANNAH, Ga. – From 6:45 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. on Sunday morning the air traffic control facility at Savannah airport lost its radar -- due to a burnt-out circuit board, a possible result of data overload.  The controllers at Savannah have requested for many years that the FAA install new radar, the current system dating back to the 1960s – their requests have fallen upon deaf ears.

Losing both the images of aircraft on the radar scope and the data dictating where the aircraft were located the Savannah controllers were forced to relinquish their control of the airspace to the controllers at Jacksonville Center – normally responsible for high-altitude traffic over a large portion of the South and the Gulf of Mexico. 

Despite previous radar issues at Savannah and requests made by government officials the FAA has yet to install new radar and continues to pour money into patching the old, less-reliable system.  Said NATCA Savannah Representative Tom Rubrecht:  “I equate what the FAA is doing to wasting money on fixing an old car – at some point you have to realize that it isn’t running the way it should and that it never will.  It’s time to buy a new car.”

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