Pilot and Controller Evaluations of Separation Function Allocation in Air Traffic Management

Two human-in-the-loop simulation experiments were conducted in coordinated fashion to investigate the allocation of separation assurance functions between ground and air and between humans and automation. The experiments modeled a mixed-operations concept in which aircraft receiving ground-based separation services shared the airspace with aircraft providing their own separation service (i.e., self-separation). Ground-based separation was provided by air traffic controllers without automation tools, with tools, or by ground-based automation with controllers in a managing role. Airborne self-separation was provided by airline pilots using self-separation automation enabled by airborne surveillance technology. The two experiments, one pilot-focused and the other controller-focused, addressed selected key issues of mixed operations, assuming the starting point of current-day operations and modeling an emergence of Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) technologies and procedures. In the controller-focused experiment, the impact of mixed operations on controller performance was assessed at four stages of NextGen implementation. In the pilot-focused experiment, the limits to which pilots with automation tools could take full responsibility for separation from ground-controlled aircraft were tested. Results indicate that the presence of self-separating aircraft had little impact on the controllers’ ability to provide separation services for ground-controlled aircraft. Overall performance was best in the most automated environment in which all aircraft were data communications equipped, ground-based separation was highly automated, and self-separating aircraft had access to trajectory intent information for all aircraft. In this environment, safe, efficient, and highly acceptable operations could be achieved for twice today’s peak airspace throughput. In less automated environments, reduced trajectory intent exchange and manual air traffic control limited the safely achievable airspace throughput and negatively impacted the maneuver efficiency of self-separating aircraft through high-density airspace. In a test of scripted conflicts with ground-managed aircraft, flight crews of self-separating aircraft prevented separation loss in all conflicts with detection time greater than one minute. In debrief, pilots indicated a preference for at least five minute’s alerting notice and trajectory intent information on all aircraft. When intent information on ground-managed aircraft was available, self-separating aircraft benefited from fewer conflict alerts and fewer required deviations from trajectory-based operations.

Language

  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 10p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01526313
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: May 12 2014 9:04AM