The FAA's new OASIS weather computer system is online at the Anderson, South Carolina, FSS. Pilots calling for the latest weather will speak to a briefer using a modern computer, instead of 1970s-era equipment that is prone to failure and impossible to replace.
"OASIS is the first step to solving the biggest problem that briefers deal with—outdated equipment," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "AOPA continues to be a vocal advocate for modernizing flight services." In addition to OASIS, flight service stations urgently need upgraded voice switch and telecom capability, to share information among stations.
Anderson is the first flight service station to receive OASIS since testing was completed at the Seattle FSS. While the FAA's plan is to modernize all 61 FSSs by the end of 2008, the DOT inspector general has recommended that the FAA modernization plan should include consolidation to reduce the number of FSSs to 21 continental sites and five off-shore locations.
The new system is based on an off-the-shelf computer operating system, meaning it's upgradeable, unlike the current system. It incorporates better weather graphics and can superimpose airspace boundaries, flight restrictions, and other special-use airspace on the briefer's screen. And ultimately, as more flight service stations get the new equipment, it should help with notam distribution and search-and-rescue operations.