and control; and about the associated personnel selection, staffing, training, and performance appraisal procedures because: (1) there is variation across FAA regions, sectors, and facilities with respect to equipment, systems, and personnel considerations and (2) the current process of modernization involves the piecemeal introduction of new technologies, with associated changes to operations and personnel activities, in a manner that places the Airway Facilities domain in a state of flux.

As new technology tends toward more software-intensive and automated functions, network linkages, space-based systems, and highly reliable distributed architectures—introduced at different times in different places—several changes are occurring within Airway Facilities (Schroeder and Deloney, 1983; Reynolds and Prabhu, 1993; Federal Aviation Administration, 1991c, 1993a, 1995b, 1995c). There is a continuing trend toward increased automation of such functions as data acquisition and storage, diagnostics and fault localization for modularized equipment, reconfiguration through the use of redundant software as well as hardware elements, and maintenance logging. At the same time, automation support for such higher-level cognitive functions as system-level diagnostics, trend analysis, decision making, and problem solving is reserved for longer-term development. Maintenance philosophy is turning from an emphasis on corrective and regularly scheduled preventive maintenance to an emphasis on performance-based maintenance that takes advantage of automated trend analyses to identify the most efficient scheduling for maintenance to prevent failures. Maintenance philosophy is also turning away from concentration on on-site diagnosis and repair of elements of equipment toward more centralized and consolidated operational control centers (OCCs) that monitor and control equipment and systems at unmanned facilities, accompanied by automated localization of problems to line replaceable units that are replaced and sent to contractors for repair. The focus on "systems within one's jurisdiction" is being replaced by a focus on sharing of information, resources, and responsibilities across jurisdictions.

Airway Facilities job classifications have traditionally stressed specialized knowledge of hardware for specific equipment or systems—knowledge that is still required to keep the current system operational. However, new job classifications are placing much more emphasis on knowledge of and responsibility for monitoring and controlling interacting systems, on management of software-intensive, distributed networked resources, and on application of systems engineering methods to provide system services to users. Selection procedures, which previously encouraged the hiring of military personnel with electronics backgrounds, are placing more emphasis on the hiring of personnel with skills and abilities related to systems engineering, computer science, and automation. Training programs have traditionally involved strings of courses that develop expertise with single items of equipment or single, independent subsystems; there is increasing demand for programs that develop expertise in diagnosing and responding to system-wide difficulties, including understanding of the interactions between

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001

Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement