This paper evaluates the effectiveness of three different display configurations of air traffic control (ATC) information: a text-based data link display, a format presenting the same information in synthesized voice and a format providing a redundant and identical display in both modalities. Certified flight instructor pilots flew a flight simulator with full visual display of the outside world through a series of ATC-instructed maneuvers, while scanning outside for traffic. ATC instructions of various lengths were delivered through one of the three configurations. Pilots read back the instructions and then complied with whatever maneuver was instructed while monitoring for traffic. Visual scanning was measured. The results revealed that the visual display was the least disruptive and provided greatest accuracy of communications readback. The auditory-only condition was most disruptive in part because the pilot was required to allocate visual attention to note taking while the ATC instruction was being played. The redundant display configuration was superior to the auditory-only, but was equal or often inferior to the visual display, in part because the disruption of the ongoing visual flight task. Across all conditions, the pilots allocated approximately 60 percent of their visual attention to monitoring the instrument panel and their communications accuracy was degraded by the longer ATC instructions. The overall pattern of these results can be interpreted within the context of three information processing mechanisms: preemption or attention switching; multiple resources; and working memory constraints.

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  • Corporate Authors:

    Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Incorporated

    10 Industrial Avenue
    Mahwah, NJ  United States  07430-2262
  • Authors:
    • Helleberg, J R
    • Wickens, C D
  • Publication Date: 2003


  • English

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Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00960789
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jul 19 2003 12:00AM