Identifying Ability Requirements for Operators of Future Automated Air Traffic Control Systems
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Identifying Ability Requirements for Operators of Future Automated Air Traffic Control Systems

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    This study was conducted to anticipate the impact on air traffic controller ability requirements that may result from implementation of a future stage of air traffic control automation. If important changes occur in ability requirements, it will be necessary to develop or modify selection procedures for future air traffic controllers. Accurate identification of ability requirements depends on knowledge of the job tasks to be performed, but only general information is currently available about the job tasks associated with later stages of air traffic control automation.

    In this study, nine air traffic controllers who had analyzed operational requirements for a future stage of automation (a) described how controllers would perform four job tasks using the automation, (b) assessed the degree to which nine specific abilities were likely to be required to perform the automated tasks, and (c) assessed whether the amount of each ability required to perform the automated tasks would be different than the amount of the ability required to perform the equivalent tasks in the current system.

    The controllers thought that some changes will occur in the presentation of information, much of the requirement for verbal coordination will be removed, and much of the detailed information that the controller must be present will be supplanted by automation aids. At the same time, these controllers suggested that the future controller will have to have about the same levels as required today of the abilities discussed in the study to perform the tasks included in the study. They also did not think that any new abilities would be required to perform the job using extensive automation aids. As more information becomes available about the functioning of the automation and the controllers' interaction with it, it will be easier to define the associated ability requirements.

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