Tuesday, April 12, 2011

How’s the Ouija Board?

I ask this question every once in a while in hopes that some Navy guy out there might email me with the real story.

Carrier ‘Ouija boards’ go digital

”By Philip Ewing - Staff writer
Posted : Sunday Sep 7, 2008 15:55:01 EDT

After decades as the central tool for managing the chaos of an aircraft carrier’s flight deck, the tabletop model known as the “Ouija board” will soon begin passing into aviation history, along with its toy-sized air wing.

In place of the board — and the disciplines of “pin-ology” or “nut-ology,” practiced by its users — the Navy plans a new, all-electronic aircraft control system that commanders hope will streamline and simplify the way aviators move, load, launch and recover aircraft. The carrier Abraham Lincoln will be the first flattop to get the system, with installation planned for next year.

In principle, the new gear, known as the Aircraft Data Management and Control System fulfills the same job as the Ouija board and other existing systems: Help the air wing keep track of where its aircraft are, what fuel and weapons they’re carrying, and other important details.”

As you can see, that story is from 2008. This picture is from 2010 (and I found one from 2011.)

It may just be taking some time to get the system deployed. I don’t know. I’m curious if they ever got the thing to work.

If I remember correctly, I was looking at this project before I retired (in 2006.) I always equated the Navy’s Aircraft Data Management and Control System with the FAA’s attempt to replace Flight Progress Strips with URET.

Once upon a time, it occurred to me that if you wanted to know something about putting a lot of airplanes on a runway with very limited capacity, the U.S. Navy could probably teach you a thing or two.

Don Brown
April 12, 2011


Roger D. Parish said...

And they probably don't have any planes striking the tail of another while taxing, either.

wfparker said...

I'm a former Navy air traffic controller and have been enjoying your blog for several months now. Your "Ouija Board" post caught my attention and peaked my interest. The Aviation Data Management and Control System (ADMACS) is under the cognizance of the Aircraft Launch and Recovery System Program Office, (PMA-251), Naval Air Systems Command. Their website (http://www.navair.navy.mil/index.cfm?fuseaction=home.display&key=5074CC29-4B5F-43F3-ADD5-37099DE79C91) says ADMACS Block 1 is operational on nine carriers. A 2/3/2011 article (http://www.jointbasemdl.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123241162) reports the first Block 2 upgrade is scheduled for completion on USS Dwight D Eisenhower in Spring of 2011 and eight more carriers by 2015. No info, unfortunately, on whether or not they've had the nerve to deep six the ouija boards...

Don Brown said...


Thanks for the comment. I have heard from a couple of Navy controllers (thanks y'all) and it appears all is well with ADMACS. It is slowly making its way onto all carriers. One source advised me it was up to the ship's command as to whether or not they retained the quija board as a backup.

Thanks again.

Don Brown