NAV CANADA has installed wide area multilateration (WAM) for the surveillance of helicopter and aircraft traffic between Vancouver and Pemberton, British Columbia, as part of its preparations for the 2010 Winter Olympics.
The Sensis Corporation-developed WAM system will also provide low-level surveillance of helicopters serving the area of Whistler, an important site for the 2010 Winter Olympics and Paralympics Games.
The WAM system supports automatic dependent surveillance – broadcast (ADS-B), the technology deployed by NAV CANADA to provide accurate coverage for en-route surveillance.
NAV CANADA's president and CEO John Crichton said the sea-to-sky corridor between Vancouver and Pemberton Regional Airport is narrow and situated in difficult terrain with limited manoeuvring space.
"The system will provide air traffic controllers an accurate picture of the traffic in this airspace, increasing safety during this busy time," Crichton said.
Air traffic controllers hope to use the WAM system to perform continual, accurate surveillance of helicopters flying below 1,000ft.
The WAM system uses multiple low-maintenance, non-rotating sensors to triangulate aircraft and helicopter location based on transponder signals.
The WAM system is also designed to provide air traffic controllers with precise aircraft position and identification information regardless of weather conditions.