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Improving Safety in the Air and on the Ground

The Pragmatics transportation group develops and implements enhanced, safe transportation solutions using new, satellite-based technologies that focus on our customers’ needs. Our deep domain expertise enables us to assist them in analyzing, planning, modernizing, and implementing practical, reliable, and secure transportation solutions.


We are experienced in program management and in developing national regulatory standards for both air and ground operations, including acquisition and safety management systems (SMSs). We combine this experience with our CMMI® and ISO software and systems engineering processes, helping to ensure we provide a complete solution for our customers, often exceeding their needs.

Our expertise includes satellite navigation and operational procedures and approvals; system safety design, engineering, and safety assessments; and airport standards, SMSs, and geographic information systems (GISs).

Transportation Software Engineering

The Pragmatics transportation group provides federal government customers with improved oversight and delivery of enterprise-critical software engineering services and solutions that stay on schedule and budget, harness changing requirements, minimize project risk, and maximize product quality.

Pragmatic Agility®
We deliver software development solutions by using our award winning Pragmatic Agility, which combines the discipline of CMMI® Level 5 processes with the flexibility of agile development methodology to help make our customers’ strategic visions a reality. Our practices include continuous process improvement, test-driven development, time-boxed iterative development, and customer collaboration to ensure we are building the right product within a customer-designated time frame. We are proud of our delivery quality and responsiveness; our customer-oriented focus helps us to continually meet their evolving needs.

Exceeding Our Customers’ Expectations

  • Minimizing risk through two- to four-week deliveries of working software
  • Reducing rework and lowering cost by designing and building highest-risk and highest-value elements into earliest iterations
  • Performing continuous integration testing throughout development
  • Emphasizing customer collaboration, offering frequent opportunities for customers to validate and course-correct outputs
  • Managing complexity and changing objectives with the additional structure of CMMI Level 5 processes
  • Ensuring the safety design implementation in accordance with RTCA DO-278 guidance

Safety Engineering Assessments

Safety engineering is an integral part of every Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) system’s development. The FAA’s Acquisition Management System (AMS) requires safety assessment during every phase of the acquisition life cycle. The Safety Risk Management Guidance for Systems Acquisition document contains the requirements for the FAA’s Safety Management System (SMS). Depending on the phase, the Pragmatics transportation group performs an operational safety assessment consisting of an operational hazard assessment and an allocation of safety objectives and requirements.

The operational environment is defined in an Operational Services and Environment Definition document. If there is more than one alternative, we perform a comparative safety assessment. We compile the results in a Safety Risk Management Document (SRMD) and a Hazard Tracking System document, which become part of the preliminary program requirements and the update to the enterprise architecture. ISI has developed many safety documents for Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSSs), Global Positioning System Phase IIIA, Unmanned Aerial System, and SMS for Baltimore-Washington International Airport.

We support all aspects of the FAA’s AMS and SMS requirements including:

  • Full compliance with all aspects of the AMS, including the Service Analysis and Concepts and Requirements Definition
  • Full integration of the SMS’s SRMD into the AMS process, including hazard analysis, risk assessment, hazard tracking and risk resolution, and risk acceptance (with design of appropriate controls and mitigations) into the program development and life cycle
  • Development support for the safety specifications and safety assurance requirements and the verification and audits of the safety design implementation.

Transportation Program Management

The Pragmatics transportation group (ISI) follows industry principles such as those established by the Project Management Institute (PMI). Our program management support services are built on our knowledge of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Acquisition Management System (AMS) and Department of Defense (DoD) acquisition regulations and policies, as well as an in-depth knowledge of product life cycles.  We use our skills and tools to help our customers manage their programs to control costs, maintain schedules, and manage risks.

Our program management capabilities cover a wide range of functional areas, including budget and costs analysis, acquisition management, program control, earned value management (EVM), systems engineering, logistics support, and training.

We understand FAA and DoD federal acquisition requirements and are well-positioned to support program management needs. Our personnel are involved in all aspects of program management.  We develop and track schedules and budgets; identify, assess, and track technical and program risk items; establish and maintain EVM; and consult with internal and external stakeholders to address issues and provide solutions.

Airport Safety and Standards

The Pragmatics transportation group (ISI) is at the forefront of airport standards, regulation, and policy development. ISI supports the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in developing standards and regulations defining the planning, design, construction, and operation of airports. We apply the skills needed to assist airport organizations meet their goal of continually improving airport safety and efficiency.

This involves two key elements. The first is technical support in developing, revising, and maintaining more than 80 FAA Advisory Circulars defining standards used in the planning, design, construction, and operation of airports in the United States. These circulars cover the entire spectrum of airport information, including standards for:

  • Pavements
  • Lighting
  • Installing navigational aids
  • Airport design and construction
  • Master planning
  • Safety management systems
  • Surface movement and guidance control systems
  • Environmental protection
  • Our team of professionals works closely with its FAA counterpart to ensure the development and standardization of airports both nationally and internationally, setting the stage for safe ground operations.

The second element is the development of an enterprise-wide, geospatially referenced information management system called Airports Geographic Information System (GIS). Airports GIS supports the modernization and improvement of the National Airspace System and NextGen by providing an all-digital data set describing the physical infrastructure, characteristics, and services of an airport. Our role is to plan, design, and develop a standards-based database and supporting infrastructure — including public-facing Web pages — to collect, manage, and maintain data for more than 19,000 public- and private-use U.S. airports. This data supports FAA studies and analysis and provides critical airport infrastructure information for instrument flight procedure development and airspace analyses. By making data discoverable through the FAA System Wide Information Management system, other system developers can use the accurate, standards-based, independently validated and verified data. Airports GIS supports open Geospatial Consortium standards for Web services, making it easy for other systems to obtain and use Airports GIS data.

A key aspect of Airports GIS is the electronic Airport Layout Program, which provides electronic airport layout plans for all airports in the National Plan Integrated Airport System. These highly accurate, vector-based depictions of the airport and its surrounding environment support many Office of Airports activities, including planning, design, construction, and operation. They also provide source information for instrument flight procedures and airport airspace analyses.

Standards and Regulations

The Pragmatics transportation group (ISI) is at the forefront of standards and regulations development for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). ISI supported the evolution and development of the United States Standard for Terminal Instrument Procedures criteria. Our team has supported the development of these criteria from the early days of the Global Positioning System (GPS) through today’s Performance Based Navigation (PBN) criteria, both nationally and internationally. We have been involved with every change in navigational technology, supporting system simulation, operation analysis, and criteria development to ensure desired levels of safety and performance were met.

Utilizing the required safety level for implementing performance-based and conventional technologies for all operations, including arrivals, approaches, departures, and advanced terminal operations, we develop, provide, and revise the criteria. We facilitate satellite-based navigation into performance-based operations for all categories and classes of aircraft, from new jet transport aircraft; to commuter, business, and general aviation aircraft; to helicopters. We also support the implementation of the required navigation performance (RNP) concept, defining system performance based on aircraft, airspace, and procedure classifications. This new generation of terminal and enroute operations, including continuous descent from altitude to the final approach fix of an instrument approach, is performance based, rather than specific to a navigation system. ISI is involved with all aspects of criteria development, including:

  • Concept of operations
  • Development of minimum operational performance specifications
  • Development of avionics and analysis of system performance
  • Computer modeling and simulation
  • Flight test research
  • Data analysis
  • Development of criteria
  • Coordination of criteria within the FAA industry and the military, and where appropriate, internationally
  • Editorial preparation for publication
  • Distribution
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When criteria are officially published in FAA orders and implemented, ISI also provides training, implementation policy, and published guidance. To facilitate the transition to new criteria, we provide technical guidance and assistance. ISI personnel were instrumental in the development, design, and implementation of the first public RNP Authorization Required (AR) approach to Washington Reagan National Airport. We develop and revise criteria for en route and terminal operations, including complex path arrivals and departures. The criteria encompass basic GPS with Barometric vertical navigation and augmented GPS using both Satellite Based Augmentation System (SBAS) and Ground Based Augmentation System (GBAS) navigational guidance. The complex paths include radius to fix segments, currently limited to RNP AR-certified aircraft and crews. We develop helicopter criteria unique to their performance for departures, approaches, and missed approaches to a point in space, to heliports, and to runways.

We also provide technical advisors to the U.S members of both the Instrument Flight Procedures Panel and the Navigation Systems Panel of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). Our guidance helps ensure the development of international criteria and navigation specifications and international standards and implementation are compatible with U.S. standards. Our people have been major contributors to the development of the ICAO PBN Manual and the ICAO PBN Procedures Design Manual. We also help develop implementation policy and guidance to support optimum application of RNP and PBN and work to ensure GPS is applied for optimum operational benefit, safety, and economy of operation in a performance-based national airspace system.

Learn more about how Pragmatics transportation solutions are enhancing security and improving navigation through advanced technologies and process excellence. Contact Us online or call at 703-890-8500.