The FAA has debuted a technology that tracks airplanes above the Rocky Mountains using radio transmissions rather than radar. The system measures tiny differences in radio reception times -- as small as 10 billionths of a second -- to determine a plane's location. "It's a major shift in how we do business, and it is one of the beginning signs that we are modernizing the system," says a professor at MIT who studies aviation issues. The technology has previously been used to track airplanes on the ground, and officials in Colorado hope the new airborne application will lead to fewer delays for both commercial and general aviation flights.
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