March 5: The Museum in Washington, DC will open today. Due to weather, the Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA is closed.
This is the main console of an IBM 9020 computer. The IBM 9020 was a large, mainframe computer configured for real-time operation and programmed to handle en-route air traffic control functions at about two dozen centers across the continental United States. The 9020 consisted of three standard commercial mainframes, the IBM System/360 Model 50. All three ran in tandem to ensure high reliability. Each Model 50 had its own control panel, which looked like this one, but this was the master control for the whole configuration. Unlike standard IBM mainframes of the day, the 9020 was programmed to operate in "real time": that is, to compute and generate results as fast as or faster than data were fed into it.
A full system consisted of this computer coupled to air traffic controllers' consoles, with data fed into the system from long-range radar and other ground stations. IBM 9020s were in use at en-route centers from about 1967 through 1997. This system was used at the FAA en-route center in Leesburg, VA.
Transferred from the Federal Aviation Administration