Contractor submits report on momentary hitch with new ATMS

Hong Kong (HKSAR) -      Following upon the request of the Civil Aviation Department (CAD), the contractor of the new Air Traffic Management System (ATMS), Raytheon Company, today (April 15) submitted its report on a momentary hitch experienced with the new ATMS on April 8, and committed to providing a software fix for testing within two weeks to fully solve the problem in the long run.

     On the cause of the issue, the report is consistent with the preliminary analysis made by the contractor's staff on-site on that day. The occurrence was caused by an accumulation of users' preferences settings exceeding the preset system limit, i.e. 5 500.

As a result, the Flight Data Processors could not function properly.

     Users' preferences settings are the settings made by the Air Traffic Control Officers (ATCOs) according to their own preferences, which help provide a screen layout that best suits an individual ATCO, such as the font size of the text and numbers in the data blocks of radar targets, screen brightness, the size of the control sector handled by the user and the centre reference point of the radar screen. These settings enable ATCOs to have the information shown on the radar screen according to their own preference regardless of which working position they use.

     The software fix being prepared by Raytheon will enhance the system’s alert messages to technical staff when the accumulation of users' preferences settings has reached the preset system thresholds before reaching the limit. Appropriate follow-up action will be taken by the technical staff, such as requesting the users to remove obsolete or unwanted preferences.

The software fix will also give alert to the users rejecting the creation of new preferences settings once their accumulation reaches the preset system limit, without affecting the normal operation of the new ATMS. Furthermore, it will increase the amount of users' preferences settings allowed. The software fix will be fully tested by Raytheon.

Upon the completion of the on-site testing in Hong Kong and relevant safety assessments with satisfactory results, the software fix is expected to be implemented in the new ATMS by May.

     Before the software fix is implemented, the CAD will continue to request the users to stop creating new preferences settings and to remove obsolete or unwanted preferences settings. Furthermore, the technical staff have been tasked to enhance the preventive maintenance of the new ATMS, which includes monitoring the accumulation of users' preferences settings round-the-clock and taking necessary actions to prevent the recurrence of a similar incident.

     For details of the report, please refer to Annex.

     The CAD will closely monitor the progress of the new software fix with the contractor with a view to completing all relevant work as soon as possible. The CAD will continue to update the ATMS Expert Panel members on follow-up actions in a timely manner.

Published on: 2017-04-15

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