EU440 oceanic simulation (evaluate the new computerised Oceanic ATC system)

440a
left to right –
Jon Nias-Cooper
Me (Pete Clarke)
Peter Berry
Standing I cannot remember
440b
EU440b has –
Peter Berry
Me (Pete Clarke)
? –
EU440 was supposedly to last 3 to 4 weeks to evaluate the new computerised Oceanic ATC system. I could never understand how our evaluation unit would be able to create the software when it was still a huge task for the software company who were awarded the contract. Not surprisingly it kept crashing so most of the time was spent evaluating whether it would be able to input data manually to the displays in the event of a system crash.
The fi
rst problem was that each flight was displayed in a new format to the flight progress strips we used on the Ocean. The manual system used blue strips for westbound and yellow for eastbound. With the data almost identical, i.e. Callsign on the left, flight level then positions and times. The computer screens had the callsign “pulling” the data along, i.e. Callsign on the left for westbound and on the right for eastbound. Even when the system was working it was difficult to read the screens but when we went manual and had to type the data in it was extremely difficult to do this at speed.
I spent an evening in my hotel room and redesigned the data display screens to more reflect what we were used to in the ops room. During manual operation it proved to be much easier.
In the end this idea of typing in data during manual reversion was dropped before we went operational with the system as software was developed to dump all the screen data to flight progress strips with the controllers going back to using a red pen to manually keep track.
Pete

 

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