Air Traffic Control: Good Progress On Interim Replacement For Outage-plagued System, But Risks Can Be Further Reduced

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DIANE Publishing, 2004 - 37 pages
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During the last year, certain Air Traffic Control centers have experienced a series of major outages, some of which were caused by the Display Channel Complex (DCC) -- a mainframe computer system that processes radar and other data into displayable images on controllers' screens. This report determines: the portion of the outages experienced at the 5 DCC-equipped en route centers that were attributable to DCC; whether DCC was meeting its system availability requirement; and FAA's projections of future DCC outages and availability. Charts and tables.

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Page 14 - System availability is defined as the time that a system is operating satisfactorily, expressed as a percentage of the time the system is required to be operational.
Page 3 - ... the airport, where en route centers' control begins. Twenty en route centers control planes over the continental United States in transit and during approaches to some airports. Each en route center handles a different region of airspace, passing control from one to another as respective borders are reached until the aircraft reaches TRACON airspace.
Page 3 - Administration's (FAA) mission is to promote the safe, orderly, and expeditious flow of air traffic in the US airspace system — commonly referred to as the National Airspace System (NAS).
Page 3 - ... permit air traffic controllers to view key information, such as aircraft location, aircraft flight plans, and prevailing weather conditions, and to communicate with pilots. These resources reside at, or are associated with, several ATC...
Page 4 - En route center controlled airspace usually extends above 18,000 feet for commercial aircraft. En route centers also handle lower altitudes when dealing directly with a tower, or when agreed upon with a TRACON. Two en route centers — Oakland and New York — also control aircraft over the ocean. Controlling aircraft over oceans is radically different from controlling aircraft over land because radar surveillance only extends 175 to 225 miles offshore. Beyond the radars...
Page 3 - ATC system, air traffic controllers use automated information processing and display, communication, navigation, surveillance, and weather resources to view key information, such as aircraft location, aircraft flight plans, and prevailing weather conditions, and to communicate with pilots.
Page 33 - ... record keeping and information retrieval, and trend analysis, failure anticipation, remote control of equipment and facilities, diagnostic and fault isolation, remote adjustments, and system security. MWP Meteorologist Weather Processor Provides weather data processing and display. MVR Multi-Channel Voice Recorders Make legal recordings of all voice communications between air traffic controllers and pilots. (continued...
Page 6 - Each of the five facilities highlighted above contain numerous interrelated systems. For example, the en route centers alone rely on over 50 systems to perform mission-critical information processing and display, navigation, surveillance, communications, and weather functions. Examples include the systems that display aircraft situation data for air traffic controllers, the system that collects and displays data from various weather sources, radars for aircraft surveillance, radars for wind and precipitation...
Page 34 - Air Route Surveillance Radar - 2 ARSR-3 Air Route Surveillance Radar - 3 ARSR-4 Air Route Surveillance Radar - 4 ARTS Automated Radar Terminal System (continued) GAO/AIMD-97-2 Air Traffic Control PAMRI Peripheral Adapter Module Replacement Item Provides interfacing capability to HCS. PSN Packet Switched Network Provides communication network for transmitting data via addressed packets. PUP Principal User Processor Provides the capability to request and display NEXRAD weather data. PVD Plan View Display...
Page 35 - Mode Select NAWPF National Aviation Weather Processing Facility NEXRAD Next Generation Weather Radar RCAG Remote Center Air-to-Ground RCL Radio Communications Link RMS Remote Monitor Subsystem TDLS Tower Data Link Service Telco Telecommunications TRACON Terminal Radar Approach Control VNTSC Volpe National Transportation Systems Center WMSCR Weather Message Switching Center Display System Replacement A Brief Description FAA'S Display System Replacement (DSR) is precisely what its name suggests —...

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