Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast
Brian W. Morgan
Human Factors in Aviation Safety, SFTY 320
This paper will overviews the human factor implications of Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B). ADS-B is leading edge technology and since it is the future of air traffic control, these human factors issues need to be highlighted and resolved before full implementation of the system. ADS-B technology affords the opportunity for reduced separation standards, increased capacity and efficiency of flight operations, and it provides for greater airspace flexibility while maintaining or enhancing the quality of our environment. ADS-B monitoring will be an additional task for pilots to manage but the greater accuracy of traffic information over radio position reports should improve situational awareness of ADS-B traffic and ultimately decrease a pilot’s workload. Ultimately, ADS-B will increase safety while decreasing airspace congestion. Great abstract
Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast
Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) is a critical aspect of the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen). NextGen is a Joint Planning Development Office multiagency effort established by Congress to transform the air transportation system into amore flexible, adaptive, and highly automated system capable of handling two to three time the current air traffic (Thompson & Sinclair, n.d.). In short, the ADS-B system provides improved surveillance and pilot situational awareness simultaneously to pilots and air traffic controllers. ADS-B is still in the process of its development but is slowly being implemented in the United States and in the international community. New technologies bring about improvements in aircraft avionics functional capabilities but also bring about new human factors issues. Since ADS-B is the future of air traffic control, these human factors issues need to be highlighted and resolved before full implementation of the system. As with any new system in the aviation community, issues and controversy arise when technology advances. A couple of the questions needing answered prior to full ADS-B implementation are who will be responsible for maintaining minimum separation standards and can the pilots handle the increased cockpit workload that ADS-B can potentially impose on them? There are advocates for and against ADS-B and each in their own right have their own reservations and concerns about the system. But one thing is for certain; ADS-B is coming and the only way to be ready for ADS-B’s arrival is to ensure all aspects of its human factors implications are thoroughly examined prior to its application. There are many human factors issues to consider in all aspects of the SHELL model including proper training, aircrew workload, and clearly written procedures. But before we can answer any of these questions we need to know exactly what the ADS-B system is and what it can potentially provide the aviation community.
ADS-B is basically a replacement for the outdated 1940s’ World War II radar technology. Radar essentially bounces radio waves from a fixed terrestrial antenna off of airborne targets and then interprets the reflected signals. This gives the Air Traffic Controllers (ATC) a virtual picture of the skies. Radar technology occasionally has problems discriminating airplanes from migratory birds and rain “clutter” causing human confusion on its interpretation of what is essentially in the sky. Radar cannot provide coverage in areas where there is no line of sight and they are also subject to terrain blockage. Another slight downfall of radar is the accuracy of radars. Radar accuracy in determining position degrades at long range, and errors in measured separation between aircraft are introduced when different radars track different aircraft. Radars are also very large mechanical...
References: ADS-B.com (n.d.). What is ADS-B?. Retrieved February 3, 2010 from http://www.ads-b.com /home.htm
ATC Monitor.com. (2008). Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast – A Primer & Arguments Why the FAA Should Maintain Airport Surveillance Radar. Retrieved February 3, 2010 from http://www.atcmonitor.com/ads-b_explained_primer.html
FAA.gov (2010, January). Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast Fact Sheet. Retrieved February 3, 2010, from http://www.faa.gov/news/fact_sheets/news_story.cfm?newsId =7131
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