Micro Nav Limited is foundedFred Johnson and Mike Male, both Air Traffic Controllers, launched Micro Nav’s first generation Air Traffic Control simulator - FIRST (Flexible Independent Radar Skills Trainer). Mike and Fred pioneered the use of PCs for air traffic control simulation, making it an affordable solution for the first time.
A number of high-profile salesA number of high-profile sales of the FIRST (Flexible Independent Radar Skills Trainer) ATC radar simulator, to national authorities and commercial training centres, supported Micro Nav's credibility as an ATC simulator provider. These included a first sale to AENA (now ENAIRE), the Spanish ANSP; International Aeradio Limited (now SERCO), Bailbrook College, the UK; Eurocontrol in Maastricht, the Netherlands; and the Dutch ANSP LVB (now LVNL), the Netherlands.
NATS College of ATC placed biggest order of FIRSTUK ATC authority NATS placed the biggest order of FIRST for the College of ATC at Hurn, Bournemouth, UK. Later, the college would go on to employ BEST at Swanwick Control Centre, London Heathrow Airport, and several regional airports.
The FIRST tower simulator was developedA contract from swisscontrol (now skyguide) led to Micro Nav's move into tower simulation. The next customer was the Dutch ANSP (now LVNL) for a full 360° projected FIRST tower simulator in 1994.
First national government orderThe German national ATC authority Bundesanstalt für Flugsicherung (BFS), now Deutsche Flugsicherung (DFS), ordered FIRST systems for 14 units across Germany, including their headquarters in Langen. In 2001, the DFS ordered 13 workstations of the next generation ATC simulator, BEST (Beginning to End for Simulation and Training).
Micro Nav sold FIRST to HughesWorking in partnership, Micro Nav and Hughes achieved a leading international product in FIRST. Following the sale of the FIRST product line to Hughes in 1995, the partnership ended in 1998.
The next generation ATC simulator was developedIn June 1998, Fred and Mike started to develop the next generation Air Traffic Control simulator, BEST (Beginning to End for Simulation and Training).
BEST launch customersNATS' College of ATC at Hurn, Bournemouth, UK, became the launch customer for BEST. This was followed by NATS procuring BEST to support the conversion training programme for the UK’s New En-Route Centre (NERC) at Swanwick in Hampshire, UK.
Tom Howard-Jones joined Micro NavInstrumental in bringing Hughes and Micro Nav together to establish FIRST as an industry-leading product, Tom joined Fred and Mike in 1998 to launch BEST.
The start of Micro Nav’s long term relationship with Thales ATMBEST was selected as the ATSIM stimulator for the Thales ATMAS programme in Switzerland. Micro Nav started developing interfaces for driving the real radar and flight data sub-systems of the operational ATC equipment, using industry-standard protocols. The ATSIM project became COOPANS, which continues to be supported by BEST for Naviair; Austro Control; Irish Aviation Authority; HungaroControl; Serbia and Montenegro Air Traffic Services; and Croatia Control.
Working with manufacturers of operational ATC systemsInterfaces were multiplied and expanded to suit a range of operational systems and partners, including: