FAA will replace system for small-plane tracking

FAA plans to use the Operational and Supportability Implementation System (OASIS) to
store weather information and track warning messages for private aircraft.

Under the 10-year OASIS contract, Harris of Melbourne, Fla., will replace the Model 1
Full Capacity (M1FC) mainframe computers at 61 large FAA sites and several small

OASIS will alert small-plane pilots when equipment at airports is malfunctioning.

In recent months, pilots and controllers have criticized M1FC because of its limited
features and increasing number of equipment failures. Gary Simms, executive director of
the National Association of Air Traffic Specialists, told a civil aviation review
commission this spring that OASIS was critical to FAA's short-term safety goals.

M1FC became so overloaded, Simms said, the agency was forced to reduce storage of
weather-trending data from three hours to two hours. This threatens the safety of pilots
and their passengers, he said.

FAA also plans to let safety inspectors access OASIS. The system will generate the
letters and reports needed for each inspection, and it will give inspectors access to
advisory circulars and handbooks.

OASIS is one of the first contracts awarded under FAA's new Acquisition Management
System, a streamlined buying process. FAA wanted to award OASIS 20 percent cheaper and 50
percent faster than a standard procurement.

"This contract is another example of how the FAA's new procurement system is
helping us work better while costing less," said George Donohue, FAA associate
administrator for R&D.

After the initial rollout, FAA plans to add modules for training, interactive
alphanumeric and graphic weather briefings, and aircraft situation displays.

The contract directs Harris to provide all hardware, software, maintenance, training
and upgrades for OASIS. As its subcontractors, Harris has tapped Date Transformation Corp.
of Turnsville, N.J., and Unisys Corp.

About the Author

John Breeden II is a freelance technology writer for GCN.

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