The influence of generic airspace on air traffic controller performance

Full Text: PDF icon Pdf (3.70 MB)
Document Number:
Publication Date:
Authors: Stan Gromeleski
Jerry A. Guttman
Earl S. Stein

Guttman, J.A., Stein, E.S., & Gromelski, S. (1995). The influence of generic airspace on air traffic controller performance (DOT/FAA/CT-TN95/38). Atlantic City International Airport: Federal Aviation Administration William J. Hughes Technical Center.


The generic sector evaluated in this study was based on a four-comer post operation typically used in many terminal areas in the United States. Arrival aircraft originated from one of four arrival fixes just outside the sector boundaries. These arrival routes can be thought of as spokes of a wheel with the main airport site as the hub. In addition to the main airport, there were three satellite airports that were under radar control. Departure aircraft from the main and satellite airports were sent directly to one of four departure fixes located outside the sector boundaries. Eleven air traffic controllers from the Atlantic City TRACON participated in the study. The experiment was conducted at the Federal Aviation Administration Technical Center's Human Factors Laboratory at the Atlantic City International Airport, New Jersey. The experimental apparatus consisted of a high fidelity air traffic control simulator with voice communication equipment to allow controllers to issue commands to remote simulation pilots. The results showed significantly lower Air Traffic Workload Input Technique (ATWIT) ratings by the last generic run compared to the first generic run on the first-day training runs. Time under control and the distance flown by the aircraft significantly decreased by the last training run. Controller ratings of workload and stress were also significantly lower by the last generic run. In addition, post-scenario questionnaire ratings for ability to plan, exchange information, and prioritize were significantly higher by the last run. Correlations between scores on the generic sector and the Atlantic City sector were significant for the over-the-shoulder ratings, ATWIT ratings, and post-scenario questionnaire ratings. Final questionnaire comments indicated that the participants thought the generic sector was representative of a typical terminal environment.

Updated: May 04, 2012 11:21 AM