The principles of radar are not new; in fact, some early experiments were made back in the 1880s. In 1904 a German engineer had invented, as he explained, a radio-echo(1)"collision prevention device". By 1922 the famed electronics engineer, Marconi, devised a principle for sending radio signals between ships which would be reflected(2) back to a receiver on the sending ship and thereby immediately reveal the presence and bearing(3) of the other ship in fog or thick weather. This is the basic principle used in all radar.
Further improvements on this concept were developed, including the introduction of the "pulse" (4) principles on which modern radar is based. During the period 1935 - 1940, successful pulse radar systems were produced independently and, nearly at the same time, in the United States, England, France and Germany.
The application of radar in the air traffic control system consists of two basic designs. The initial type of radar, called primary radar, (5) began to be used in most parts of the world in the early 1950s. Another form of radar, secondary surveillance
(SSR)(6) is used for advanced air traffic control. When the word "radar" is used alone, it usually includes both primary and secondary radar.
In primary radar a beam of individual pulses of energy is transmitted from the ground equipment at the rate of approximately 1,200 per second, while the transmitting antenna rotates at a speed of 3 to 6 rpm(7) for long-range systems, and as fast as 60 rpm for airport coverage. These pulses hit the aircraft from 16 to 34 times each scan,(8) depending upon the rotation rate of the antenna and the width of the beam. An aircraft in the path of this radar beam will reflect back some of the pulses which are picked up by a receiving element on the ground antenna. The strength of the reflected energy depends on the aircraft's size and attitude, in addition to the power of the transmitter. This reflected energy produces a bright "echo" or "target"(9) on a cathoderaytube. (10) The bearing of the target from the radar site is known from the location of the echo on the CRT. The distance of the target from the radar site is determined in the time it takes the radar pulse to travel from the radar site to the aircraft and back (about 1 nautical mile in 12.34 millionths of a second or micro seconds).
The most common type of primary radar is the terminalareasurveillanceradar (TAR) (11) which was designed as a medium range radar - about 50 miles – for the control of traffic in the vicinity of an airport. While the progress of moving targets is constantly tracked, (12) display of fixed echoes reflecting from mountains or other obstructions may or may not be displayed. The normal rotation of a TAR is approximately 13 rpm, so that the traffic situation is updated every few seconds.
Another type of primary radar used in the control of air traffic is the long-range radar known as the en-routesurveillanceradar (RSR). (13) This system has a range up to about 200 miles and will detect aircraft up to an altitude of about 40,000 feet. It is used in area control centres for the control of en-route traffic. The RSR normally is provided with features similar to the TAR. Because of its slower rotation – 3 or 6 rpm and other factors, its accuracy and resolution are not as high as the TAR.
These are the more common types of primary radar used today; other primary radar are, PAR(14) and GCA(15) which are not so common.
─ The aircraft as seen on the radar scope. Also called blip or target (see below).
2. To reflect
─ To return heat, light or sound. In this lesson it is the radio signal that is returned or reflected back to a receiver.
─ The angle between a direction (object, radio emission, etc.) and a reference direction as determined at the place of the observer.
─ A single beat or vibration of sound, light, radio or radar.
5. Primary radar
─ A radio detection device which, by use of reflected radio signals, provides information on range and azimuth of objects.
6. Secondary surveillance radar
─ A radar system wherein a radio signal transmitted by a ground interrogator initiates the transmission of a radio signal from an airborne transponder. With secondary surveillance radar additional information may be fedinto the radar scope such as the identification of the aircraft, its altitude and ground speed in knots.
─ Revolutions per minute.
8. To scan; the scanner
─ To sweep or to search by means of radar. The scanner is the aerial assembly which, by rotating, scans the area to be searched. The scan is the movement of the scanner.
─ Meaning the aircraft as seen in the radar scope. It is also called echo or blip (see above).
10. Cathode Ray Tube (CRT)
─ Another word for radar scope or radar display or PPI.
11. Terminal Area Surveillance Radar (TAR)
─ Aerodrome radar. Also called airport surveillance radar.
12. To track
─ To follow the movement of an aircraft.
13. En-Route Surveillance Radar (RSR)
─ Also called area / airways radar.
─ Precision Approach Radar.
─ Ground Controlled Approach.
1. Is the echo an aircraft as seen on the scope? What does an echo represent on the radar scope? What is another word for echo? And another?
2. Is your face reflected in a mirror? Can light be reflected? Can a ball be reflected? What can be reflected?
3. Can a compass show you your bearing? Can an altimeter show your bearing? What shows you your bearing? Who is interested in knowing the bearing of an aircraft at an aerodrome?
4. If I touch my wrist, can I feel my pulse? When I run, my pulse is fast? Does modern radar have a pulse? Is the pulse principle important in modern radar? Is the pulse principle a new concept in radar? At what period in history was the pulse principle introduced into radar?
5. Was primary radar the first type of radar? Is primary radar still used in civil aviation? When was primary radar first used in aviation? Do you only see the aircraft with primary radar? Do you only see a mountain with primary radar? Is primary radar the most advanced type of radar? What type of radar is primary radar?
6. When we talk about radar do we mean primary and secondary? Is secondarysurveillanceradar a more advanced type of radar than primary? Does secondary surveillance radar only show the aircraft on the scope? What does secondary radar show on the scope? Tell me the difference between primary and secondary radar? What does SSR stand for?
7. Rpm is an abbreviation for revolutions per minute? Are 6 rpm's faster than 3 rpm's? Does a pilot watch the rpm's of the engine? If the rpm's of his engine slow up, what is happening to his engine? Does an antenna rotate at a speed of 3 rpm's?
8. When I scan a page in this book I look quickly at the page in order to find something. Did I scan the page? Did I read every word? What did I do? Will you read every word in this sentence? Why didn't you scan the sentence? Because you read every word. When would you scan a page? Do you look quickly at the page when you scan it? Does a radar antenna scan an aircraft slowly or quickly? Is a scanner an antenna? Does the scanner rotate? Does a scanner rotate in the direction of the aircraft? Who uses the scanner? Why does a controller use the scanner? Is a scan a movement of the scanner? Are there pulses in each scan? Do pulses hit an aircraft in each scan? Can pulses hit an aircraft 16 times in each scan? 34 times? How many pulses are there in each scan?
9. Can a target be seen on a radar scope? Is a target an aircraft? Does the scanner pick up a target? Is a mountain a target? What is a target? What is another word for target?
10. Is a CathodeRayTube another word for radar scope? Is the Cathode Ray Tube in the control tower? Are there many Cathode Ray Tubes in the control tower? Does a controller see the targets on the Cathode Ray Tube? What are other words for Cathode Ray Tube? What is the abbreviation for Cathode Ray Tube?
11. Is terminalareasurveillanceradar a primary type radar? Is terminal area surveillance radar at most airports? Does terminal area surveillance radar control the traffic at the airport? Does terminal area surveillance radar control the traffic en-route? In the airways? What traffic does terminal area surveillance radar control? What is the range of TAR?
12. A controller who follows an aircraft on his radar scope tracks an aircraft. Does he track an aircraft on his radar scope? Does he track mountainous terrain? Birds? Clouds? What does he track on his radar scope? On what does a controller track an aircraft?
13. Is en-routesurveillanceradar known as RSR? Is en-route surveillance radar known as long range radar? Airways? Area? Aerodrome? What is en-route surveillance radar known as? What controller tracks an aircraft with RSR? Is RSR at all reporting points? What can a controller track with RSR?
14. Is PAR an abbreviation for Precision Approach Radar? What is PAR short for?
15. Is GCA short for Ground Controlled Approach? Is GCA similar to PAR? What is GCA short for?
Instructions to students: Answer the questions.
I) What is the difference between the position and bearing of an aircraft?
II) What light/s or lamp/s radiate a beam?
(i) an Aldis lamp
(ii) Crossbar lights
(iii) Portable signal lamp
(iv) Aerodrome beacon
(a) Reflection comes from different sources; name three, e.g. a mirror is one.
(b) Name three types of radar.
(c) Why does an airliner always fly IFR?
(d) An aircraft seen on a Cathode Ray Tube is called what?
(e) A Cathode Ray Tube is also known as what? •
(f) Does a scan hit an aircraft once or many times?