The Emery Winslow Scale Company is one of the world's oldest manufacturers of Hydrostatic PermaCell™ load cells and force measurement products. Its roots go way back to 1868 when scientist-engineer Albert Hamilton Emery launched an eponymous Connecticut company that manufactured hydrostatic and pneumatic force measurement systems.
After more than a century of industry leadership and innovation developing the most reliable weighing products for the harshest of environments, Emery Winslow created the first Automatic Aircraft Weight and Balance Verification System (AAWBVS). Aircraft performance and handling are dramatically affected by its weight. Excessive weight reduces the efficiency of an aircraft and the safety margin available if an emergency condition should arise. Improper loading also reduces the efficiency of an aircraft from the standpoint of altitude, maneuverability, rate of climb, and/or speed.
An overloaded or improperly balanced aircraft therefore requires more power, a reduced ceiling, greater fuel consumption, and a shortened range in the best flying conditions. But in the worst situations overload and imbalance can be the prime contributors to a catastrophic accident and loss of life during take-off, landing, or in-flight structural failures triggered by turbulence or maneuvering.
Working with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), Emery Winslow engineered, manufactured, and installed this mission critical first generation Automatic Aircraft Weight and Balance Verification System (AAWBVS) at the Colombia El Dorado International Airport (BOG) in Bogota Colombia in 1999. It was capable of verifying the weight and balance of a full range of aircraft up to and including the Boeing 747.
“Personnel were concerned with the user experience, software functionality, and software response time.”
More than a decade later because of expansion and changes in runway operations in Bogota it became necessary to move the AAWBVS to another location. However a holistic assessment of the situation quickly indicated that it would be less costly to install a new system at the new location than to extract and move the old one. Furthermore the new AAWBVS operations personnel at BOG (OPAIN S.A.) were concerned with the user experience, software functionality, and software response time of this first generation system.
It was then that Jeff Schmidt, the Electrical Engineering Manager for Emery Winslow turned to Advanced Decisions.
“Advanced Decisions really helped define the software requirements, [and] anticipated issues.”
Jeff had been very impressed with Advanced Decisions who he remarked had invested over a year of time to develop a relationship with Emery Winslow – even without a contract. Advanced Decisions' extensive expertise in developing mission critical applications showed in the consultative approach they took to this challenge. “We had great difficulty in getting requirements from the customer – not only because of a language barrier but also because they were not sure what they wanted,” said Jeff. “Advanced Decisions really helped to define the software requirements, anticipated issues, and offered suggestions to take different approaches to reduce cost and risk all the while making dramatic improvements to the user experience and software functionality. Most importantly they defined a realistic scope and executable plan.”
Advanced Decisions went well beyond scoping the effort. “Advanced Decisions did their own research on the airport location, conditions, and what was required for different aircraft and loading. They not only developed the software and instruction manuals but also came onsite and assisted in the integration, installation, and training of personnel – even through a translator!”
Jeff said that the operations personnel at BOG were very impressed with the quality of the new software and ease of interaction. “I had considered hiring inside for this role but was so impressed with Gary Felberbaum and his team at Advanced Decisions. They were such a pleasure to work with – a true collaboration – and they met their obligations. They were so helpful in trying to help us come to an agreement with the customer on price and quality of work and different ways to do things. And they took the time to explain things before they had an order.”
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