[DASC 2014] Examining Operations Coupling Autoflight To ADS-B Targets In High Traffic Density

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Future air traffic concepts of operation may couple autoflight functions to ADS-B targets in high traffic density airspace operations.  However, selection (and de-selection) of other aircraft raises a host of issues.  The selected traffic may then require special designations. The pilot may require assistance with identifying aircraft that subsequently needs to be de-selected. 

This research examines the required minimum standards for ADS-B applications relative to air traffic procedures, traffic displays, and flight crew interfaces for selection and de-selection of ADS-B targets.  Specifically, a Pilot-in-the-Loop experiment looked at ‘Interval Management’ (IM) and ‘Closely Spaced Parallel Operations’ (CSPO) in an integrated flight simulator – air traffic control simulator facility.  Pilots needed to de-designate traffic in situations where the other aircraft did not behave as expected, or where it was confusing to identify and enter the correct aircraft. These scenarios were picked to represent potential ‘gotcha’ situations that might pose safety concerns.

Results indicate that pilots generally (but not always) caught errors with disruptive IM scenarios, where the target aircraft was immediately ahead on the traffic display, although not always in a timely fashion. Conversely, pilots rarely identified problems with the pre-designation and de-designations targets during the arrival for CSPO operations.

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