Case Studies

CSC Federal Systems Division Relies on mPower Software Services IT Staffing / Technology Support for FAA Contract

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The Client

CSC, headquartered in Falls Church, VA, is a global leader in providing technology-enabled business solutions. Since 1996, CSC has developed and maintained the systems developed by CSC for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) called Center Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON) Automation Systems Traffic Management Advisor, or CTAS TMA.

>>Learn More About CSC and the FAA

The Challenge

The FAA’s Air Traffic Control System (ATC) is a vital link in domestic air travel throughout the United States. Included in the daily operations within the ATC system are the Air Traffic Controllers who monitor and communicate 24/7 with each aircraft, domestic or international, within the specific air space they control and travel across the “highways in the sky” allowing for the separation and distance to be safely maintained through and within this airspace allowing for the aircraft’s arrival or departure at its’ designated airport. These vital activities take place within the Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC), Air Traffic Control Towers (ATCT) and Terminal Radar Approach Controls (TRACON). The ATC system also has support personnel who maintain the equipment in the system and maybe co-located at each of the facilities referenced above.

mPower’s IT staffing services were to, and continue to provide key technical personnel with understanding of the FAA’s Air Traffic Control system in support of Computer Sciences Corporation’s (CSC) contract with the FAA in providing development, testing, deployment and maintenance of the Traffic Management Advisor within the ATC system. Two key areas of support to CSC’s mission include:

  • Formal and informal testing activities and the applicable testing documentation (Test Plans, Test Procedures and Test Reports) for each software release
  • Logistics documentation for each of those releases which provided information delivered to each of the FAA’s ATC facilities and applicable support personnel.

The Solution

Testing activities are driven by critical release schedules that included upgrades to the software with new or changed requirements, resolution of field issues and updated software that may be specific to an ATC facility in support of the TMA system. Each release is thoroughly tested within the CSC lab facilities informally and formally with the FAA in attendance during the testing activities.

The testing is continued through two additional stages:

  • At the FAA’s William J Hughes Technical Center lab where the FAA conducts there own testing with support provided by CSC.
  • Ffinal testing performed at the deployed ARTCC site by FAA site personnel as well as FAA Technical Center with support by CSC personnel if required.

All of the testing activities require test plans, test procedures and test reports to be developed and delivered informally and formally to the FAA for review and approval. Any changes as a result of these reviews are incorporated and redelivered to the FAA based on comment approval. The successful testing activities provide a positive insight to the TMA system visible to the FAA customer.

Following each software release, the logistics documentation is developed, maintained and deployed for both the Air Traffic and Airways Facility personnel. The Air Traffic documentation included The TMA Operators Manual, TMA Reference Manual, TMA Quick Reference Cards and Guides for use by the Air Traffic Operations personnel. In addition documentation maintained by the FAA such as the TMA Maintenance Manual used by AF personnel at the various ATC facilities is supported and updated to include any changes as a result of either software and/or hardware that might have taken place since the last delivery.

The Monitor and Control Manual also an AF document is updated to incorporate any changes with regard to key strokes, command changes or updates with regard to screens/visuals that the M&C operator may need to know based on the current software release. Each change within the software release related to the specific manual requires that a test and checkout procedure be performed within the testing lab to ensure the particular change works as documented. Any anomalies are noted and communicated to the applicable development group for resolution. The logistics documentation is delivered informally and formally to the FAA for review, comment and approval.

The Results

The documentation delivered resulting from the IT support provided has been well received both internally by CSC and externally by the FAA customer. mPower’s technical support to the overall testing and logistics documentation has allowed CSC to be successful in its’ continuation of the TMA activities and maintenance of the deployed equipment to the FAA. within today’s ATC system and serve as the groundwork for the future ATC systems planned by the FAA. mPower Software Services experience and success in support of this FAA contract has built a strong basis for additional technology work within the aerospace industry, Air Traffic Control community, and FAA arena. Today, mPower continues to provide the technology staffing and recruiting required for this contract as well as technical training, and on-site IT support.