FAA checking out navaids in real time

One of the tasks of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is to monitor the accuracy of navigation aids (navaids) at all U.S. airports using its own fleet of 30 aircraft instrumented for the job.

Apr 1st, 1997

One of the tasks of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is to monitor the accuracy of navigation aids (navaids) at all U.S. airports using its own fleet of 30 aircraft instrumented for the job.

It`s a big job involving 50,000 navaids at 5,600 domestic airports and it`s made bigger when a new airport such as the one in Denver has to be checked out or a high volume of traffic is expected at an airport, such as happened last year with the Olympic games in Atlanta.

Until now the FAA`s Aviation System Standards (AVN) operation has used a mainframe at Oklahoma City that would download copies of the necessary database and provide them to one of the agency`s field offices, where they were uploaded to the mobile labs for tolerance testing before the flight tests. The work was done in a batch processing mode.

Now FAA officials are testing a new system known as the Aviation Standards Information System (ASIS) that maintains databases on 11 Sun workstations hooked together over a wide area network. FAA experts began testing the system in February 1995 and expect to begin operations this October.

Using the Patrol application management tool set from BMC Software Inc. of Houston, FAA experts can monitor applications over time to fine tune the system and enhance overall system performance, says Travis Ray, team leader of the project at AVN.

"It will no longer be necessary to download the databases to tape and transport them out to the field to fly missions," he says. "Field offices will be able to load directly into the mobile labs in the hangar." The new client/server, relational database environment also provides real-time processing capabilities. - J.R.

For more information, phone BMC Software Inc., Federal Division at 301-214-6400.

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