Pilot-ATC Communication Conflicts: Implications for NextGen

In the planned NextGen aviation operations, it will be critical to ensure shared situational understanding and cooperative problem solving between aircrews and air traffic controllers (ATC). A first step in predicting how future changes will impact flight crews and ATC is to examine the current system and to pinpoint problematic areas that could be ameliorated or exacerbated by advanced automation and heavier traffic density. In this study, the authors coded Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS) reports identified as having communication conflicts between pilots and ATC. Results describe types of conflict, operational context, phase of flight, operator states, and situations conducive to communication conflicts, risk perception differences, and inappropriate resolution strategies. Reports suggest that high workload approach and landing phases are conducive to communication conflicts, that different interpretations of the same information might lead to conflict, and that operator state could impact communication and collaboration between flight crews and ATC. A specific problem was noted when reporters felt that the affective response of the other party was not appropriate to the situation. Although this study reflects the limitations inherent in ASRS data, it can provide insights into potential problem areas and conflict triggers in NextGen operations. This research will enable better prediction of NextGen aircrew-ATC communication breakdowns and conflicts resulting from specific situations or operator states.

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  • Supplemental Notes:
    • Abstract reprinted with permission from Taylor and Francis.
  • Authors:
    • Mosier, Kathleen
    • Rettenmaier, Paula
    • McDearmid, Matthew
    • Wilson, Jordan
    • Mak, Stanton
    • Raj, Lakshmi
    • Orasanu, Judith
  • Publication Date: 2013-7


  • English

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  • Accession Number: 01490239
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Aug 20 2013 9:05AM