Civil aviation is one of the most performance-critical industries in the world. Everything—from the integrity of the aircrafts’ physical bodies and the reliability of their flight control systems to the operational precision of the world’s air traffic control networks—are taken into account to ensure the safety of passengers everywhere.
These days, there are more than 9,700 civilian aircrafts flying at any given time. These marvels of modern engineering carry upwards of 1.27 million people at any moment—the most since the Wright Brothers flew the first powered heavier-than-air machine in 1903.
Never before has keeping aircrafts safe in the air become more important, and one essential process that makes this possible is flight planning. As the name suggests, flight planning is the process of creating flight plans, which define the routes or flight paths that aircrafts will take before they launch to the skies.
Flight planning mainly involves two life-critical missions. First, flight plans need to take into account how much fuel an aircraft needs to ensure that the plane will have enough to power itself through to journey’s end. Secondly, flight plans must meet the requirements of ground-based air traffic controllers, whose primary goals are to prevent midair collisions, to properly regulate air traffic, and to provide any important information to pilots.
The Challenge of Real-Time Reporting in Flight Planning
By taking advantage of flight planning services—which are often provided by third-party service providers—airline pilots can determine the most effective flight routes in terms of operational costs and time spent on air. By ascertaining the best flight paths to take, airline companies can ensure the safety of their passengers while also gaining additional income through savings on fuel and manpower requirements. Furthermore, by minimizing the occurrences of flight delays and safety problems, these same companies can boost their reputation among passengers and the general public, resulting in the better patronage of their brand in the future.
However, processing the data required for effective flight planning can be challenging. In order for the system to work, the data required for real-time flight planning must be replicated to the central data repository of the flight planning service provider. Afterwards, optimized plans are then replicated back to the target airlines’ databases.
To do this, flight planning service providers use an efficient database replication software that can bi-directionally replicate between the central source and the numerous target databases of customer airlines anywhere in the world. Such software is able to provide real-time updates to a principal data source typically by using data integration techniques like change data capture, which is used to identify changes made to databases. This ability to pinpoint changes is vital to the process of synchronizing the central database with the target databases.
Log-Based Change Data Capture
There are different types of change data capture approaches, but one of the most preferable for IT service providers—including those in the airline industry—is log-based change data capture. Software products that offer log-based change data capture capabilities allow data to move efficiently between sources and targets, thereby making real-time reporting a breeze.
One characteristic of transactional databases is that they keep all changes in a transaction log so that the committed state of the database becomes recoverable in the event that the database crashes by happenstance. Log-based change data capture is able to make the most of this quality of transactional database by reading the changes from the stored transaction log.
Change data capture supports the many benefits that real-time reporting affords airline companies that take advantage of flight planning services. These include the reduction of overloading in online transaction processing, the ability to process huge volumes of data, being able to speed up queries, and easy integration of different types of databases and transactions.
Indeed, real-time reporting is a key process that helps keep aircrafts safe—whether it is already taxiing on land or just beginning to take to the skies. With modern technological tools such as these working in the background, travelers all over the world can rest easy knowing that it’s not just the four forces of flight that are helping keep their planes flying in the air.