Human Factors in Advanced Air Transportation Technologies

Richard Mogford
NASA Ames Research Center

Seminar on People, Computers, and Design
Stanford University February 18, 2000

The US National Airspace System (NAS) is composed of a huge network of surveillance, communication, and data processing equipment that enables the management all commercial air traffic. Operated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the NAS ensures safe and efficient airline flight operations. A workforce of over 14,000 air traffic controllers located in air traffic control towers, Terminal Radar Control facilities, and Air Route Traffic Control Centers monitors aircraft movements and provides clearances to pilots. The management and display of information for air traffic controllers and maintainers raises many human factors issues that are the subject of research by the FAA, NASA, academia, and industry.

The NAS is currently being modernized to provide controllers with new equipment, including large-format color radar displays. Work is also underway to develop decision support automation tools to assist controllers with their work. The FAA has been conducting intensive human factors work on these new systems as they near deployment. NASA and other research establishments have been exploring new concepts and automation tools that will improve the efficiency and safety of the NAS.

This seminar will provide an overview of the NAS and how the FAA and NASA address critical human factors issues that affect system safety and performance. Examples of important projects will be provided as well as a discussion of specific human factors techniques and tools.

Richard H. Mogford received his BA in psychology from York University in 1974 and his MA in psychology from Sonoma State University in 1978. Dr. Mogford obtained his Ph.D. in experimental psychology and human factors from Carleton University in 1990. He worked for Transport Canada on the Canadian Automated Air Traffic System and was employed until 1999 at the FAA William J. Hughes Technical Center in Atlantic City, NJ. There he was involved in a variety of air traffic control human factors projects. He is currently working as the Manager of Human Factors for the Advanced Air Transportation Technology Project at the NASA Ames Research Center. Dr. Mogford's research interests focus on human-machine interaction in air traffic control and flight deck systems.


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