The Air Traffic Kludge – ES16A

Air Traffic is a ‘Kludge’. Antiquated methods are linked to state-of-the-art devices, and ‘work-arounds’ devised to keep going. There has never been a systematic analysis of Air Traffic as a whole. Analysis shows that the archaic controller-aircrew link is the weakest link in the system. The answer, however, is not to introduce specific technical innovations, but to examine the system as a whole, and to use knowledge of human (and computer) capacities to provide a safe, humane and economic solution.

Originally appeared in “Contemporary Ergonomics and Human Factors 2016 ” Eds Waterson, A., Sims, R., and Hubbard, E.M.

ISBN 978-0-9554225-9-1

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Strategy of HCI Design

This poster displays an overview of the general design process for human-computer systems. It presents eight stages of the design process: – Task Definition, Task Analyses, Operator-System Task Allocation,Inter-Operator Task Allocation, Interface Strategy, Interface Tactics, Testing and Implementation. For each stage the reader is asked to choose an alternative, and comments are made on the alternatives chosen.

Appeared in CREATE2007 – Proceedings of the Conference on Creative Inventions, innovations and Everyday Designs in HCI 13-14 June 2007 London UK Edited David Golightly, Tony Rose, B.L.William Wong and Ann Light Pages 97-102

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En-route Air Traffic Control Rooms 1965-2005 ES06a

En–Route Air Traffic Control (ATC) rooms contain mainly sector control suites. A sector may have up to six geographically adjacent sectors in three-dimensional airspace. Control room floors are two-dimensional and subject to practical constraints. Although executive and planning controllers were grouped together in early control rooms, it is now usual to place the executive and planner for each sector together. Sector suites are usually placed in lines, with associated sectors placed together. In recent years, the traditional darkened room with control units facing the walls has been replaced by day lighted rooms using furniture similar to office furniture.

Published in Contemporary Ergonomics 2006, Taylor and Francis, Ed. P.D. Bust ISBN13 978 0 4`5 39818 3 pp.79-82

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Design of Monitoring and Emergency Response Displays for Air Traffic Control

Future Air Traffic Control (ATC) systems will allocate functions between human and computer system elements in different ways. Papers presented at CREATE2007 described the aircraft symbol design and conflict resolution functions. This paper describes the design of displays to signal deviations from flight plans, and of functions to assist in response to emergencies.

Appeared in CREATE2008 – Proceedings of the Conference on Creative Inventions, innovations and Everyday Designs in HCI 13-14 June 2008 London UK

Pages 85-90

Edited David Golightly, Tony Rose, John Bonner and Stephen Boyd Davis

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Deep Design – Beyond the Interface

Many large-scale dynamic control systems are moving from traditional equipment-determined control systems to computer-mediated wholly or semi-automated systems. There has been a tendency for computer-based systems to mimic traditional displays. This approach fails to make use of the enhanced information-handling capacity of the computer, and often produces displays that are in practice inferior to those they replace – occasionally with tragic results. A better approach is to begin with an qualitative functional analysis of the control task, with as little reference to the existing system as possible, then to consider the component tasks, selecting those for which the operators are best suited to compose an interesting but not overloading workload, and delegating the remaining tasks to the computer-based system. Where the workload varies with time, particularly if the variation is unpredictable or uncontrollable, it may be necessary to provide ‘fall-back’ automation, which will maintain safety without regard to efficiency. Only after the operators’ overall tasks have been defined should consideration be given to what and how to display information to the operators, and to the communication links to be used. In many instances graphical images will be preferable to tabular and symbolic to numeric forms. Displays need not be confined to current data – historical trends and projections of future situations can be displayed. The latter can be particularly valuable if linked with projected sequences of control actions, to verify their effectiveness before applying them. Where control is largely ‘by exception’ displays must be designed to enable the operator to obtain the necessary information for effective control in adequate time. Training may include drills for the allocation of tasks between operators, as with CRM (Cockpit Resource Management) in civil aviation.

This paper originally appeared in “Advances in Multimedia and simulation. Human-Machine-Implications” Ed. Klaus-Peter Holtzhausen – Fachhochschule Bochum, University of Applied Sciences ISBN 3-00-002435-2 Copyright 1997 The authors and Fachhochschule Bochum

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Close-Coupled Dynamic systems – Challenge and Opportunity for Ergonomists

Computer-control or computer-mediation is becoming increasingly common in large and small-scale systems. Most such systems have evolved from mechanical or electro-mechanical precursors and have been adapted to, rather than designed for, computer operation. Short-term considerations of surface appearance and (sometimes) the lack of time for in-depth analysis have produced computer-based displays that mimic the preceding electric or mechanical systems, neglecting the enormous potential of modern computer systems, and equally neglecting basic ergonomic and cognitive principles, resulting in unnecessary routine strain on the operators, and failure to use their true strengths in emergencies. This paper suggests that the ergonomist is particularly well placed to guide the development of future interfaces.

Appeared in Contemporary Ergonomics 1997, Taylor and Francis, London, ISBN 0-7484-0677-8 Pages 540-545

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Redesign of the Aircraft Symbol in ATC Displays CR07b

The symbols used for aircraft on Air Traffic Control (ATC) displays have evolved in response to technical innovations. What was initially a luminous blob on a radar tube was replaced by a label containing coded information. The introduction of integrated data handling systems has provided more information and digital System Data Displays (SDDs) have replaced the traditional radar Plan Position Indicator (PPI). More information has been added to the original position symbol, until, in some experimental systems, the whole of the Flight Plan data can be displayed at one time. The result is severe information overload. This paper describes the re-design of the position symbol to produce a purely visual symbol without any alphabetic or numeric information.

Appeared in CREATE2007 – Proceedings of the Conference on Creative Inventions, innovations and Everyday Designs in HCI 13-14 June 2007 London UK Edited David Golightly, Tony Rose, B.L.William Wong and Ann Light Pages 69 – 74

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Evolution and Design of ATC Conflict Displays CR07A

A primary purpose of Air Traffic Control (ATC) is the prediction and resolution of potential conflictsbetween aircraft. For many years, however, potential conflicts were not displayed to the controller. Only when digital computer systems were available to combine data on the real position of aircraft with knowledge of their intentions was it possible to form a true conflict detection system. The Conflict and Risk Display (CARD) was a welcome innovation, but was most effective when showing no conflicts. As part of a conceptual re-design of ATC, a revised method of displaying and resolving conflicts was developed. Simulation tests showed remarkable improvements in the resolution of conflicts.

Appeared in CREATE2007 – Proceedings of the Conference on Creative Inventions, innovations and Everyday Designs in HCI 13-14 June 2007 London UK Edited David Golightly, Tony Rose, B.L.William Wong and Ann Light Pages 55-60

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Air Traffic Conflict Displays – Falzon to Trotsky ES05

A relative distance display was first suggested by Falzon in 1982. Although the display was not evaluated in its original form, a modified Conflict Risk display was tested in real-time simulation. It was received with enthusiasm by controllers, although its use was not easy. The Short Term Conflict Alert, implemented in real ATC, was more directly usable. Finally, the TROTSKY demonstrator incorporated conflict indications and conflict resolution validation into the controllers’ main display. The development reflects the developing awareness of the potential for computer-based systems to reflect human cognitive processes.

Published in Contemporary Ergonomics 2005, Taylor and Francis, Ed. P.D . Bust and P.T. McCabe ISBN 0-415-37448-0 pp.79-83

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