Minnesota's MSP Airport is one of 43 across the country to get this new technology that's already helping make flying safer.

Flying in and out of Minnesota's largest airport, the Minneapolis - St. Paul International Airport (MSP) was already a safe endeavor. But it just got even safer, thanks to new technology the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is rolling out at airports across the country.

That the new technology, called ATAP is actually software, technically known as ASDE-X Taxiway Arrival Prediction (ATAP). It uses radar and other sensors to automatically tell if a plane appears to be lining up to land on a taxiway rather than a runway, the FAA said.

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Planes lining up on a taxiway or the wrong runway (a 'wrong surface event') are NOT what you want to happen at any airport. And, apparently, it happens more than we think. There were 1,641 wrong surface events from October 2016 to the end of 2022, the FAA told Axios.

While technically not a 'wrong surface event,' there was a scary instance here in Minnesota earlier this year at MSP involving a flight landing from Los Cabos, Mexico. Luckily, there were no injuries when that flight slid off the runway during slick conditions back on January 3rd.

To help combat those issues, this new ATAP technology has been installed at MSP here in the Land of 10,000 Lakes as well as at 42 other airports around the country, the FAA said. And it's already been a big help in heading off potential problems, according to a release from the FAA:

ATAP has helped prevent more than 50 wrong-surface taxiway landings since its first implementation at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in 2018. There have been eight alerts already this year.

There's been no specific word from the FAA on how many alerts have been sounded so far in 2023 here in the Bold North. But it's nice to know there's an extra level of protection standing guard at Minnesota's busiest airport!

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