Solutions

Upgrade for a New Millennium

Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Flight Test Instrumentation Group

You can't face the future with the technology of the past. What worked twenty years ago isn't likely to meet today's challenges — let alone tomorrow's and at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company, one of the leaders in the high–tech world of aerospace, this is especially true.

Overview

  • Lockheed Martin's Flight Test Instrumentation Group ensures that airborne test instruments and transducers are functional and reliable, a job that requires functional and reliable data tracking. After depending for years on an array of separate, antiquated databases, Lockheed Martin upgraded to a central FileMaker Pro solution which links past and present data.

Industry

  • Aerospace/Defense
  • Medium-Large Business

We can track the entire drawing development process, track equipment movements, track, evaluate, and store all equipment and transducer test results — and all of it can be done as an integrated system within the FileMaker framework.

— Marcus Haptonstall, Senior Engineering Specialist, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Flight Test Instrumentation Group

Business Challenge

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.

Successful Solution

'Compared to what we have now, 60 percent of the information came from the original databases,' notes Marcus, 'but as a result of migrating that information into FileMaker Pro, we were also able to add in a lot of information that couldn't be included in the original databases. It was very easy to do. There are many automated capabilities in FileMaker Pro that were impossible in our older system — we can track the entire drawing development process, track equipment movements, track, evaluate, and store all equipment and transducer test results — and all of it can be done as an integrated system within the FileMaker framework.'

An example? Consider LM Aeronautics system for testing instruments and calibrating transducers under simulated flight conditions. The tests were carried out using C and Fortran based software and the results had to be printed out on paper for review and storage. There was no way to directly store the information into a data–storage system. But now, thanks to an interface designed by developer Lynda Grugett of G–Systems, the tests and processing are now performed in LabView software and the results go directly into FileMaker Pro — with no paper, no printouts, no extra work. The information can be instantly accessed and easily examined.

Compared to what we have now, 60 percent of the information came from the original databases, but as a result of migrating that information into FileMaker Pro, we were also able to add in a lot of information that couldn't be included in the original databases. It was very easy to do.

— Marcus Haptonstall, Senior Engineering Specialist, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Flight Test Instrumentation Group

Customer Benefits

So far, there are 51 separate FileMaker databases in operation with LM Aeronautics Flight Test Instrumentation group — containing a total of about 50,000 records. All these databases are linked — forming a single, vast information resource. It's a resource that combines the legacy of the past — with the demands of the present — with an eye to the future.

For FileMaker:

Kevin Mallon
Public Relations Manager
FileMaker Inc.
408-987-7227
kevin_mallon@filemaker.com
http://www.filemaker.com

For Step Up Software:

Jeff Benjamin and Jeff Hoffman
Step Up Software
972-241-3322
jeffb@stepupsoftware.com
jeffh@stepupsoftware.com

For G Systems:

Lynda Grugett
G Systems
214-373-9494
lynda_grugett@gsystems.com