Human Factors Requirements

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Authors: Ulf Ahlstrom, PhD.

Ahlstrom, U. (2008). Human factors requirements for en route controller weather displays (DOT/FAA/TC-08/01). Atlantic City International Airport, NJ: Federal Aviation Administration William J. Hughes Technical Center.


Adverse weather conditions affect flight operations, overall, but are especially hazardous to general aviation (GA) aircraft. The primary weather hazards are icing, convective activity (i.e., thunderstorms), and reductions in ceiling/visibility. Because of information shortcomings in current en route operations, this research proposes weather display concepts for convective activity, ceiling/visibility, and icing information that meet controller needs. Our weather displays do this by providing operationally useful information that effectively enables the controller to transfer hazard information to the pilot. In addition to the weather displays, our concept involves an automated support system that tracks GA aircraft and hazardous weather areas. When the automated system detects a future conflict with an aircraft and a hazardous weather region (i.e., no-go area), the system alerts the controller about the aircraft and the hazard. Once alerted, the controller can either inform the pilot about the location and extent of the hazard (thereby enhancing cockpit decision making) or the controller can execute necessary weather avoidance actions. Taken together, the weather displays and automation support tool could work towards a reduction in weather-related GA accidents and provide information that enhances cockpit decision making.