The Future of Real Time Control Room Simulation – ES16B

Real-Time Simulation has been used in Air Traffic Control  for many years. It has experienced problems of reliability, verisimilitude, specificity and cost. Consoles are increasingly standardized. Control rooms are more alike, more computer-moderated and less industry-specific. The underlying software is more modular. The investment required to perform Real-Time Simulation is decreasing, as it becomes more general. Real-Time Simulation will become part of standard control rooms. Generalized Real-Time Simulation will become an economic and profitable part of the control room design process.

Published in Contemporary Ergonomics and Human Factors 2016

Eds Waterson, P. Sims, R., Hubbard E-M ISBN 978-0-9554225-9-1

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Psychophysiological Measures of Fatigue and Somnolence in Simulated ATC

Eight Air traffic controllers carried out exercises using a TRACON II ATC Simulator. After a training and familiarisation day, the controller carried out four simulation exercises, two low and two high traffic load. His performance during each exercise was recorded, A self-assessment questionnaire for fatigue and a test of cortical evoked potential were applied and a sample of saliva was taken for cortisol analysis before and after each experimental session. The NASA-TLX was completed after each exercise and a test of alpha-rhythm attenuation was carried out at the start and end of each day.

Published in Contemporary Ergonomics 1998, Taylor and Francis,1998, ISBN 0-7484-0811-8 p429-433

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Second Evaluation of a Radically Revised En-route Air Traffic Control System ES03a

Second Evaluation of a Radically Revised En-route Air Traffic Control System ES03

26 fourth-year students (native French speakers) were given an overall briefing on air traffic control, including a video description of an advanced ATC system, followed by individual coaching using 20 selected training examples. They were instructed that conflict resolution was their main task, but that aircraft should leave at the predetermined point if possible.

They were then presented with two exercises presenting traffic corresponding to an entry rate of 200+ aircraft per hour in random direct flight for one-hour nominal duration. (When no action was required, the simulation rate was accelerated by a factor of six, so that the average length of one exercise was about 14 minutes.)

24 participants controlled this traffic correctly, with no unresolved conflicts. Of the 1720 potential conflicts only two were not resolved correctly. Of the 10468 aircraft, only 5 left at a time, place or height different from that planned.

Published in Contemporary Ergonomics 2003 , Taylor and Francis, Ed. P.T. McCabe ISBN 0-415-30994-8 pp 305-310

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Real Time Air Traffic Control Simulation – What, Why, Why not, Whither?ES02

Real-time simulators are widely used in Air Traffic Control. They originated as training tools, by analogy with pilot trainers, and have become more elaborate as the tools of air traffic control have become more elaborate. Simulators are generally used for training, and, to a lesser extent, as research tools. As research instruments, they suffer from some major drawbacks. They are extremely expensive, and at the same time rigid and difficult to control. Modern digital simulators are extremely difficult to program, and, although the experimental psychology paradigm is generally accepted, its application is, in practice, fraught with difficulties. It is assumed by users of real-time simulation that training and experimental results derived from simulation transfer to the real world, but there are some reasons to think that this is not always the case. Subjective and ‘objective’ methods are available for the measurement of simulations, and some statistical analysis is employed, but few of these methods could be defended in a court of law. Simulation can, however, be used effectively where the purpose of the simulation is well understood, for example, in the formation of teams, the rehearsal of emergency procedures or the maintenance of formal skills.

Published in Contemporary Ergonomics 2002 , Taylor and Francis, Ed. P.T. McCabe ISBN 0-415-27734-5 pp 203-207

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Initial Evaluation of a radically revised En-Route Air Traffic Control System

25 postgraduate students (native French speakers) were given an overall briefing on Air Traffic Control, followed by individual familiarisation with the keyboard system and 20 training examples.

They were then presented with traffic corresponding to an entry rate of 250+ aircraft per hour in random direct flight for one-hour nominal duration. (When no action was required, the simulation rate was accelerated by a factor of six, so that the average length of one exercise was about 24 minutes.)

19 students controlled this traffic correctly, with no unresolved conflicts. The total of potential conflicts was 1322 of which 1304 (98.6%) were solved correctly.

Published in Contemporary Ergonomics 2001, Taylor and Francis,Ed. M.A. Hanson ISBN 0-415-25073-0 pp 453-458

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Measures of Performance in Air Traffic Control ES04b

It has long been a problem in the scientific analysis of Air Traffic Control (ATC) that there is no adequate measure of the efficiency with which the traffic is controlled. This paper considers criteria that such a measure should meet, reviews some widely used measures, and proposes a relatively simple on-line measure that meets the criteria proposed.

Published in Contemporary Ergonomics 2004, Taylor and Francis, Ed. P.T. McCabe ISBN 0-8493-2342-8 pp.303-307

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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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What can you get from a Dribble File? ES03b

A ‘dribble file’ records the inputs to a system, showing which key was clicked or where the mouse was positioned and when. Additional data, describing the activities of the system may also be available. This data can be analysed on different levels, depending on the aims of the study. An initial level may concern the response times associated with specific keys. A second level may involve complete sequences of keys, forming a specific input instruction. A third level may examine the strategies used, in terms of sequences of orders. Although these analyses may be carried out for individual exercises, they may equally be summarised and compared between different exercises, to identify individual operating styles, the evolution of expertise or the effects of different operating conditions.

Published in Contemporary Ergonomics 2003, Taylor and Francis, Ed. P.T. McCabe ISBN 0-415-30994-8 pp.277-282

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