Collaborative Process Leads to Success of the Main Display Monitors Program
Thursday, March 08, 2012

Monitor comparison; the new Flat Panel/Liquid Chrystal (LCD) Main Display Monitor, right, will replace all Sony 2K monitors, left, at all Standard Terminal Automation Systems (STARS) facilities.

On Tuesday, a Philadelphia Tower/TRACON (PHL) celebration was held and the FAA welcomed a new product into the air traffic control inventory. The new Main Display Monitor (MDM) officially started displaying live/active traffic on March 3, 2012. The new Flat Panel/Liquid Crystal (LCD) Monitors are made by Barco Corporation and will be replacing the Sony 2K monitors at all Standard Terminal Automation Replacement System (STARS) facilities.

Barco was recognized at PHL for its efforts to develop a product and deploy a quality display that will replace the aging monitors currently in use. It will also substantially reduce the FAA’s carbon footprint. The Barco MDM weighs less than 50 pounds. compared to the Sony’s 350 plus, and utilizes a small fraction of the energy required by the Sony displays.

NATCA has been involved with the MDM program since its inception. NATCA’s Terminal Automation Representative Mitch Herrick was an evaluator on the program and helped determine which of the four vendors would be awarded the contract. From the evaluation process through the Operational Test and Evaluation (OT+E) process NATCA has been directly involved in every facet of this program. NATCA brothers Ken McChord (PHL) and John Kerr (MIA) worked as testers during the OT+E phase and helped develop what has become known as the “Dark Filter.” This filter will allow a crisp, clean presentation of data tags in almost any light setting.

“This program’s success can be directly attributed to NATCA’s involvement,” said Herrick. “John and Ken’s hard work and dogged determination ensures the product that will be given to the controllers is a vast enhancement over what they currently use. There were many times during the development and test of this product that our “NATCA know-how” made the difference.“
This program is a great example of what can happen when NATCA, the FAA and the aviation industry collaborate on a project with a common goal. The end result is a product with which everyone can be pleased. Barco is to be commended for such a great product and the FAA and NATCA can point to a success that is the result of true collaboration.

Following PHL, MDM will be installed at numerous facilities later this year, including Miami and the Operational Support Facilities in the Northeast, Florida and Texas. Additionally, MDMs will be installed at the TAMR sites across the country starting with Dallas (D10) in February 2013 as ARTS IIIE facilities are transitioned to STARS.

Terminal Automation and Replacement (TAMR) Program Director Jeff Yarnell and NATCA TAMR Lead Mitch Herrick

TAMR Program Director Jeff Yarnell and NATCA Philadelphia (PHL) Tower controller Ken McChord

The new Flat Panel/Liquid Chrystal (LCD) Barco Main Display Monitor

Raytheon Group Mike Espinola, TAMR Program Director Jeff Yarnell, Barco Senior Vice President Dave Scott and NATCA TAMR Lead Mitch Herrick.