LM Aeronautics Flight Test Instrumentation group — charged with the essential task of ensuring that airborne test instruments and transducers are functional and reliable — had a data storage system that had really outlived its practical lifespan. And the impending arrival of Y2K only made things worse. As the 1990s counted down, company information experts found themselves weighing some serious questions — what to do about an array of antiquated SQL and HP–IMAGE databases, written in C and FORTRAN, and running on HP–9000 UNIX machines that weren't going to make it through the Year 2000 rollover. 'We had a hodgepodge of databases developed over twenty years,' recalls Senior Engineering Specialist Marcus Haptonstall, 'and none of them worked together. Much of our data was listed in multiple databases, covering parts documentation, drawings, and inventory, and none of it was connected. We had to do something!'
Engineering Specialist Darrel Russell was familiar with FileMaker Pro — he'd been using it for a long time — and he suggested that it could handle the challenge. The firm of Step Up Software was brought in to design the application and what a change it's been! All of the vital information from the old databases has been preserved. And that's only the beginning.