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Release No: 285-97
June 03, 1997


A Microsoft Windows driven computer program designed by and for the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve to plan flying missions was recently deemed good enough to be named a finalist in a worldwide software competition.

Called FalconView, the program was selected as one of only five finalists in the "core business" category of the 1997 World Windows Open, an international competition designed to award developers and their companies for their innovative custom application work solving business problems using the Microsoft Windows platform. Winners were announced at an awards dinner by Bill Gates, chief executive for Microsoft Corporation at the Windows World/Comdex Spring 97 conference being held this week in Atlanta, Ga.

"Spirits have been very high here at the FalconView team since being named as a finalist in the Windows World Open, " said Air National Guard Maj. Bobby Sandford, one of two members showcasing FalconView at the Atlanta conference. "It's like being nominated for an Academy Award! Although we didn't write this code intending to enter a competition, it's a great achievement for the team to be recognized and it's exciting to participate in the contest."

Under the old system, flight planning -- be it across a state or around the world -- required access to numerous maps, charts, weather information and other reference documents that were not always available or current. Using FalconView, aircrews members can easily view elevation data, satellite imagery, airport data, and navigational aid and hazard information from their personal computer. In the day-to-day work arena, pilots use FalconView to build their flight plans, check safety-of- flight parameters to identify military airspace and to print flight plans, maps and imagery.

Planning accuracy and safety have increased across the force due to the use of precise digital data and aeronautical mapping products. In addition, a FalconView/GPS link provides inflight precision location displays in the cockpit of many military aircraft that would otherwise lack this capability. Mission specific software enables fighter aircraft to hit their targets and airplanes to drop their cargo accurately. Global positioning satellite data allows precision locating for search and rescue and humanitarian efforts.

Using off-the-shelf technology and user feedback to continually enhance the program, FalconView has moved well beyond the Guard and Reserve aviators for whom it was originally designed. Its easy to use Windows interface has led to its successful fielding across Air Force flying units to more 13,000 current users.

For more information on Falcon View and it's uses in the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve, contact National Guard Bureau Office of Public Affairs at (703) 695-0421.

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