The EXA Way Supplement

Solution Review Report

Page 160

Differential GPS Landing Guidance System for Unstable Platforms

1             Executive Summary:

This Solution Review assesses a proposed project to develop a Differential GPS Landing Guidance System for unstable platforms such as oil rigs. The review evaluates the high-level technical and management aspects of the solution, identifying key requirements, potential risks, cost drivers, and providing recommendations for the project's advancement to the Preliminary Design phase.

2             High-Level Description


  • Major technical requirements include seakeeping up to Sea State 6, dynamic glide slope adjustment, 3D terrain mapping for collision avoidance, integration with legacy avionics, and FAA compliance.
  • The project defines thousands of requirements, both explicit and implied.
  • This is a very complex project that involves interactions among highly skilled and diverse teams.


  • These requirements address critical safety and operational aspects for landing on unstable platforms in various sea conditions.
  • Various regulatory agencies will oversee this project.

Risks and Gaps:

Major gaps include:

  • Lack of a clear management, marketing, and technical strategy to integrate a new virtual glide slope technology into legacy avionics.
  • Ensuring compliance with FAA and other regulations.


  • The team should conduct further studies on integrating advanced systems with legacy avionics equipment and on a focused approach to achieving regulatory compliance.  
  • The project should not advance to the Preliminary Design phase until the team reaches a satisfactory resolution to these two gaps.

3             Technical Solution Assessment


  • The project aims to develop a highly accurate, reliable landing system for environments characterized by high instability and variable conditions.

Engineering Team Members and Organization:

  • A multidisciplinary team comprising experts in GPS technology, avionics, maritime engineering, and regulatory compliance. See the Engineering org chart in Annex A.


  • The team is well-structured but lacks expertise in dealing with FAA regulations.

Engineering Processes:

  • Following the engineering “V” model, emphasizing rigorous testing and validation at each stage.

System Integration:

  • Focus on integrating the new system with existing avionic suites while ensuring minimal disruption and high compatibility.

Technical Requirements Understanding:

  • Good understanding of the operational environment and technical specifications but limited insights into the regulatory landscape.

Adherence to Technical Requirements:

  • Adherence is satisfactory in engineering aspects but requires more attention to regulatory compliance.



  • Team composition is robust in technical aspects but requires additional expertise in regulatory affairs.

Risks and Gaps:

  • Risk of non-compliance with FAA standards.


  • Recruiting or consulting with an FAA compliance firm.


4             Management Solution Assessment

Management Team Members and Organization:

  • Comprises project managers, financial analysts, and logistics coordinators. See management org chart in Annex A.

Management Principles:

  • Emphasis on agile management principles to adapt to evolving project needs.


  • Effective management structure, but scheduling flexibility is limited.


  • Comprehensive but may need adjustments as the project progresses.

Contract Master Schedule:

  • Realistic but optimistic; requires buffers for potential delays.


  • Adequately structured to meet project demands.

Resource Allocation:

  • Appropriately allocated but might need adjustments for unforeseen expenses, particularly in regulatory compliance.


  • Management team is well-organized but may struggle with unforeseen delays.

Risks and Gaps:

  • Potential delays in project timelines due to technical or regulatory challenges.


  • Implement a more flexible scheduling approach and contingency planning.

5              Risk Management

Risk Management Methodology and Processes:

  • Standardized risk management approach with periodic assessments. It follows industry standard best practices.

Risk Register Location:

  • Maintained centrally by the project coordinator and accessible to all project stakeholders.

6             Cost Drivers

Major Cost Drivers:

  • Advanced GPS technology development, system integration, and compliance processes. The lack of FAA awareness is a critical cost driver risk, as FAA compliance can lead to very high costs. The costs are not just driven by the original work, but FAA non-conformance findings lead to significant rework that impacts costs, schedules, and potentially project viability.

Potential Mitigation Factors:

  • Consider engaging an engineering company with FAA certification expertise as a subcontractor.

7             Conclusion and Recommendations

This Solution Review highlights the project's strong technical foundation and robust management structure but also identifies critical areas requiring further attention, particularly in regulatory compliance and integration challenges. Recommendations include enhancing the team's expertise in FAA regulations, adopting a more flexible management approach to accommodate potential delays, and focusing on mitigating identified risks. The project is well-positioned to advance to the Preliminary Design Review phase, provided these recommendations are taken into consideration.

***Disclaimer: The information presented in this supplement is for information purposes only. It is not intended, and may not be used, as legal or business advice. The author makes no representations of warranty, accuracy, or fit for purpose of the information herein. Use at your own risk.