Implications of reduced involvement in en route air traffic control
Todd Truitt, PhD.
Willems, B., & Truitt, T. R. (1999). Implications of reduced involvement in en route air traffic control (DOT/FAA/CT-TN99/22). Atlantic City International Airport: Federal Aviation Administration William J. Hughes Technical Center.
The expansion of the National Route Program will allow airlines to be more flexible in filing and amending flight plans. This may result in a change in the role of the air traffic control specialist from direct control to a position with more monitoring responsibilities. This change may result in a reduction of situation awareness, memory and vigilance. This experiment investigated the effect of moving a controller from the current active control to a monitoring position. It examined the effect of the change in involvement and task load by measuring eye movements, workload, situation awareness, system performance, controller performance ratings, organization of information in memory, and responses to questionnaires. Controllers received training on a generic en route airspace, the Genera High sector, during four practice simulations of 40 minutes each. They then worked four 30-minute experimental scenarios. Results indicated that controllers showed a less structured scanning pattern under high task load and active involvement conditions. Measured workload correlated well with traffic volume. Under monitoring conditions, controllers perceived lower workload. Controller situation awareness was lower under monitoring conditions and decreased further with an increase in task load. Controllers perceived that their situation awareness did not change between active control and passive monitoring. The decrease in situation awareness warrants careful examination of the need for training and assistance of controllers for situations where they no longer function in the current active control position.
Updated: May 04, 2012 11:21 AM