More Handhelds Go to War

The U.S. Navy has been recognized with a Government Agency Award for its innovative use of Palm handheld computers to grade pilot landings aboard aircraft carriers.

Landing Signal Officers (LSOs) aboard Navy aircraft carriers are responsible for grading and evaluating each aircraft landing for safety and accuracy. To eliminate an antiquated data-collection process once completed with a paper notebook and pen, the developers developed an application called PASS. This runs on Palm handhelds and allows LSOs to electronically grade by pilot and aircraft, and to input comments for each landing.

Previously, grades from a paper notebook were manually re-entered into a PC database, resulting in redundant work and inefficient use of time. With PASS, LSOs eliminate hours of redundant data entry by electronically capturing the landing data and then uploading the information directly from the handheld to the Navy network during a HotSync. Also, the software helps increase overall flight-deck safety by saving time spent for data entry between landings.

"Since the first versions appeared in 1999, the PASS application has been perfected and distributed throughout naval aviation," said Kyra Hawn, spokesperson for the Pacific Fleet naval air force. "Today, this software is part of the official curriculum for Landing Signal Officers' training. The system has eliminated much of the tedious paperwork that used to occupy officers for hours. Everyone associated with this project should be proud of their contribution."

The software developers, Ken Schneider and Michael LaPaglia, are two naval aviators who applied their own programming skills to improve the existing LSO grading process.

"This award confirms that handheld computers have moved beyond their original purpose as personal information managers," said John Inkley, federal sales manager at Palm, Inc. "What started as a grass-roots phenomenon, by two officers working on their own, has extended to enterprise acceptance. Palm applauds the Navy's innovative spirit and highly successful handheld implementation."

Sponsored by Post Newsweek Tech Media Group, a division of The Washington Post Company, the 10th annual Government Agency Awards honor government agencies that have a demonstrated record of excellence in applying information technology.

"The Navy's use of handheld computers in a critical carrier-landing application demonstrated creative thinking that improved the quality of work done by the landing signal officers while ensuring better mission delivery -- all on a small budget," said Thomas R. Temin, editorial director, Government Computer News, owned by Post Newsweek Tech Media Group.

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I.M. Anonymous @ 10/28/2001 6:40:47 AM #

RE: Orange?
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/28/2001 6:43:11 AM #
It's PIC in Halloween colors :)

Not as great as it sounds

BBC @ 10/28/2001 11:25:43 AM #
I'm a Naval Flight Officer that just completed a six month cruise where this was tested. The LSOs were
ambivilent about it. The main problem, as I understand it, is that when LSOs grade passes,
they don't write out their comments with letters. Rather they use their own shorthand.
As I understand it, not being a LSO myself, this program does't recognize thier shorthand,
so they wind up writing the grades and comments in their notebook and transcribing it into the Palm.
If there any LSOs out there who know otherwise, let me know.

RE: Not as great as it sounds
GregGaub @ 10/28/2001 11:32:54 AM #
sounds like the LSO's need to be taught how to set up shortcuts. Even if they all have their own shorthand, they can set up shortcuts for all their shorthand codes, which the Palm will automatically replace with the full text. This way, they can use their shorthand, AND not have to do any transcribing. Hopefully someone will point that out to them so they can save even more time.



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