January 25, 2008
Review of FAA's Final Monitor Aid Tool at Denver's Terminal Radar Approach Control Center
Project ID: AV-2008-022
This report presents the results of our review of the safety and suitability of the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) STARS Final Monitor Aid (FMA) tool deployed at Denver's Terminal Radar Approach Control Center (TRACON). Our objective was to determine if the FMA at the Denver TRACON is safe, effective, and suitable for managing air traffic. We found no evidence that Denver's new STARS FMA system is unsafe. It appears to be effectively performing the role for which it was designed. However, Denver's STARS FMA solution may not be the most suitable approach because it requires two complete terminal automation systems to do the job of one. In 2008, FAA will install new controller displays and upgrades at Denver. These new displays will be able to present FMA radar and flight data to controllers, without using STARS. Therefore, when installing the new displays, FAA needs to determine whether it is more cost‑effective to maintain two terminal automation systems or integrate FMA software into one automation system and remove the other. FAA should then implement the most suitable and cost-effective means of providing FMA capability.