Control Panel, Air Traffic Control Computer, IBM 9020

Display Status:

This object is not on display at the National Air and Space Museum. It is either on loan or in storage.

Collection Item Summary:

This is one of three subsystem control panels from an IBM 9020 computer. The 9020 consisted of three identical IBM System 360 Model 50 computers, which operated in tandem to ensure high availablity at all times.

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 Each Model 50 had its own control panel. 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.