Air Traffic Control

…Say again?… – Miscommunications in Air Traffic Control February 14, 2018 - This paper presents an investigation into miscommunications between air traffic controllers (ATC) and pilots. These miscommunications may broadly be applied to a range of verbal communications problems ranging from misunderstandings, such as those due to ambiguity, cultural differences, language structure, and so on, to more technical problems, such as microphone…

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A new development in tower-aviation safety September 8, 2014 - New FCC rules likely will make the use of audio visual warning systems (AVWS) more attractive to tower owners.  The FCC has amended Part 87 of its rules to allow for the use of audio visual warning systems (AVWS) to address the problem of aircraft-tower collisions. An AVWS is an…

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Air Traffic Control Best Practices July 15, 2014 - The aim of this manual is to highlight some of the causal or contributory factors that have resulted in runway incursions and which were identified during a runway safety survey in Europe in 2001. It is usually the responsibility of the air traffic service provider to put best practices in…

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Air-Ground Communications Briefing Note April 30, 2015 - The use of similar call signs by aircraft operating in the same area on the same RTF frequency often gives rise to potential and actual flight safety incidents. This hazard is usually referred to as “call sign confusion”. This briefing note will introduce you to the key concepts that are…

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Aircraft Communications at Uncontrolled Airports October 18, 2014 - At an airport without an operational control tower, sometimes referred to as an “uncontrolled” airport, communication is one of the key elements in maintaining proper aircraft separation. Use of the Common Traffic Advisory Frequency (CTAF) helps to assure the safe, orderly flow of arrival and departure traffic. FAR 91.113 cites…

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Aircraft Operations – Applying thrust on uneven pavement surfaces July 23, 2014 - Most flight crews are well aware of the danger of jet blast can pose to people and equipment.  However few are aware of the risks associated with applying high thrust while the aircraft is standing on or near pavement surfaces not normally used for take-off or during engine run-up. This…

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Approach Hazards Awareness December 18, 2014 - Factors that may contribute to approach-and-landing accidents include flight over hilly terrain, reduced visibility, visual illusions, adverse winds, contaminated runways and/or limited approach aids. Flight crews should be aware of the compounding nature of these hazards during approach and landing. Approach Hazards Awareness PDF file – 57 Kb

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Asia Surpasses U.S., Europe as Key Driver in Aviation Growth August 31, 2014 - AUG 29 – Over the past decade, the Asia-Pacific region has maintained a steady economic growth rate superior to that of North American and European growth rates. This stable growth has resulted in the ascent of a newly affluent middle class across Asia. An increase in disposable income in the…

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ATC Training – Course Design April 29, 2014 - The primary goal of air traffic control (ATC) training is to transform a student controller with little knowledge or skill into a licensed controller who is able to safely work air traffic within a complex ATC environment. If an ATC training facility promotes the ethos of “training for success”, it…

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Communication and Co-operation Analysis in Air Traffic Control September 7, 2014 - This paper presents a global human-machine communication model which explains data flow in an organization based on working position. This model is illustrated by the Air Traffic Control domain. A methodological approach is then proposed for studying the communications between Approach Control working positions, with regard to cooperative work. The…

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Communicative functions in languages for Aviation Radiotelephony September 11, 2014 - The main functions in pilot-controller dialogue are varied by nature of their tasks, however even though they are responsible for different tasks, pilots and controllers both need to acknowledge and communicate with each other in a form that is easily understood.   This document presents a unified checklist that pilots…

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Decoding a TAF August 10, 2014 - What is a TAF? A Terminal Area Forecast (TAF) is a statement of meteorological conditions expected for a specified period in the airspace within a radius of 5 NM of the aerodrome reference point. At most major airports a Trend Type Forecast (TTF) is available with the METAR. This is…

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Discipline in Aviation December 12, 2014 - This article defines discipline and illustrates its importance to safe flight operations. Its objective is to reinforce the importance of discipline as the foundation of airmanship and the need to follow procedures to ensure safe operations. The article also demonstrates that poor discipline is the direct result of attitudes that…

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English language training for Air Traffic Controllers must go beyond basic ATC Vocabulary December 4, 2017 - Miscommunications can have serious consequences – especially when co-ordinating aircraft flying in a variety of environments and variables.  Air Traffic Controllers (ATC) responsible for international flights must have the skills in English to communicate in a very broad sense – much more than talking and repeating standard and learned phrases.…

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Fatigue in Air Traffic Control July 25, 2014 - Fatigue is known to be a major risk for safety in aviation. Even if an accurate quantification of the contribution of fatigue in accidents is currently impossible because fatigue is not systematically investigated by a standardised procedure, it is classified as one of the “most wanted” factors by the National…

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Handling an Emergency January 27, 2015 - Most of us will go through our entire careers without ever having to declare an emergency. For those who do pull the short straw however, there are some basic considerations that apply, regardless of the specific problem(s).  The desired outcome for any emergency situation is a controlled rate of descent onto a prepared…

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How Complexity and Format of Air Traffic Control Instructions affect Pilot Recall September 7, 2014 - Until recently, controllers were required to communicate all numerical air traffic control (ATC) information in sequential format, that is, digit by digit. For example, an altitude of 17,000 ft had to be transmitted as “Climb to one seven thousand.” According to the latest versions of the Air Traffic Control handbook…

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Human Factors Aspects in Incidents / Accidents November 11, 2014 - This Flight Operations Briefing Note provides a summary of human factors issues identified in incidents and accidents. This summary may be used either to assess: • The company exposure and develop corresponding prevention strategies; or, • The reader’s individual exposure and develop corresponding personal lines-of-defense. Ultimately, human factors are involved…

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Hurry up Syndrome November 12, 2014 - Aviation’s worst disaster, the terrible KLM / Pan Am accident at Tenerife, was due in great part to schedule pressure problems experienced by both flight crews. The Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) conducted an eighteen month, three country investigation of this accident, with an emphasis on the human factors of…

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IATA, EASA strike data sharing deal May 8, 2014 - The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) have forged an agreement on sharing of safety information and joint analysis of safety trends. These analyses primarily will be based on the information derived from the Safety Assessment of Foreign Aircraft (SAFA) programme, and the IATA…

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Limitations of the See-and-Avoid Principle November 13, 2014 - The Bureau of Air Safety Investigation published a research report titled, Limitations of the See-and-Avoid Principle. This report concluded that “the see-and-avoid principle, In the absence of traffic alerts, is subject to serious limitations”. Unalerted see-and-avoid has a “limited place as a last resort means of traffic separation at low…

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Managing Interruptions and Distractions November 18, 2014 - Interruptions and distractions are the main threat facing flight crews. The omission of an action or an inappropriate action is the most frequent causal factor in incidents and accidents. Interruptions ( e.g., due to ATC communications ) and distractions ( e.g., due to a cabin attendant entering the cockpit )…

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Manual on the Prevention of Runway Incursions July 14, 2014 - In 2001, the ICAO Air Navigation Commission took action to address the problem of runway incursions. Several critical areas were identified that needed to be investigated and which had a relation to overall runway safety, including radiotelephony phraseology, language proficiency, equipment, aerodrome lighting and markings, aerodrome charts, operational aspects, situational…

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Materials development for speaking skills in Aviation English for Malaysian Air Traffic Controllers: Theory and Practice December 3, 2014 - In 2004 the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) mandated that pilots and air traffic controllers the world over meet a set standard of language proficiency requirements as a safety measure against language- and communication-related problems in flying. In response to this mandate, aviation English training and testing initiatives mushroomed in…

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New Pilot’s Guide to ATC Communication April 29, 2014 - There is an art to using the right words when you communicate with air traffic control (ATC). Effective aviation phraseology combines brevity with the transfer of complete and correct information. Long, detailed transmissions ensure the controller receives the needed information, but these monologues also tie up the frequency. If the…

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Pilot-Controller Communication Errors: An Analysis of Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS) Reports September 9, 2014 - Safe and expeditious air traffic depends upon accurate and efficient communications between pilots and controllers. This requirement for effective communication becomes even more critical as the amount and complexity of air traffic increases with attempts to increase capacity. Studies of actual pilot and controller communications reveal an astonishingly low error

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Planes, Politics and Oral Proficiency May 15, 2014 - This study investigates the variation in oral proficiency demonstrated by 14 Air Traffic Controllers across two types of testing tasks: work-related radio telephony-based tasks and non-specific English tasks on aviation topics. Their performance was compared statistically in terms of level ratings on the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) scale. The…

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Preventing Landings without clearance December 5, 2014 - A variety of reports identify pilots’ failure to obtain clearances prior to landing. Fortunately, most incidents do not result in traffic conflicts or other hazardous consequences. However, the potential for a breach of safety is high. So that the industry can better assess the factors contributing to landing-without-clearance events, this paper analysed a small number (37)…

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Proficiency in English for Indian Pilots & Air Traffic Controllers March 17, 2018 - A Government of India Notification Recently the Government of India issued a notification prescribing standards of English proficiency for all those who seek or already perform the duties of pilots, air traffic controllers, et al., employed by various airlines. It is certainly a welcome step. This step is in compliance…

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Radio miscommunication: EL2 pilots in the Australian General Aviation environment October 10, 2014 - Communicating effectively via the radio in General Aviation (GA) is a challenging task for most pilots. This is even more challenging for non-native speakers of English (EL2) who are required to master not only a second language but ‘Aviation English’ to communicate with both Air Traffic Control (ATC) and other…

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Sharing The Skies December 1, 2014 - This Transport Canada document is a crucial tool for managing hazardous interactions between wildlife and aircraft in the vicinity of airports. For example, some land-use activities near airports – such as waste-disposal sites, attract high-risk bird species and, therefore, directly impact aviation safety. Transport Canada strives for the holistic, proactive…

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Takeoff and Landing In Icing Conditions December 19, 2014 - There have been a number of accidents related to take-off in conditions in which snow and/or other forms of freezing precipitation were falling while the aircraft was on the ground preparing for departure. While there is no doubt that air crew have a clear understanding of the legal and airline…

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Today’s Air Traffic Control April 29, 2014 - Most air traffic controllers today do their jobs without ever seeing the aircraft they guide. They monitor radar screens to track aircraft. As aircraft fly over radar sites, the data from those radars is communicated digitally via telecommunications lines to controllers hundreds or even thousands of miles away. Controllers in…

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Tools for the Reduction of Approach and Landing Accidents November 27, 2014 - Data from numerous safety studies indicate that approach and landing accidents account for a significant proportion of air transport accidents. The aviation industry is committed to reducing the number of these accidents. One effort has led to the creation of a toolkit containing industry data and recommendations for use by…

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VFR Communications Failure April 29, 2014 - What should we do when experiencing Communication Failure during flights under Visual Flight Rules (VFR)? Here are the recommended procedures. 5.2 VFR Communications Failure 5.2.1 In the event of an apparent aircraft communication failure, the pilot of the aircraft should adopt the following procedures: (a) Maintain terrain clearance throughout all…

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What is a METAR? August 10, 2014 - A METAR is a routine observation (30 or 60 minuute intervals) when meteorological conditions are at or above specified levels. When conditions deteriorate below specified levels the observation is called a SPECI. At major airports, a statement of trend, valid for three hours from the time of the observation, is…

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When ATC meets TCAS II December 16, 2014 - The purpose of an air traffic control service is to prevent collisions and to maintain an orderly, expeditious flow of traffic. The objective of TCAS II is simply to prevent mid-air collision – it is an independent safety net. It is inevitable that at times there will be some interaction between ATC instructions, often as a result of…

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Which one is more stressful “air traffic control” or “pilot”? April 29, 2014 - Air traffic controllers (ATC) and pilots have different schedule of work and both involve high levels of stress due to the vigilant nature of their work. Both pilots and ATC can have an early morning, afternoon, and night shift. According to Stoke (1994) employees have a higher level error rate…

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Why NextGen Matters April 29, 2014 - The movement to the next generation of aviation is being enabled by a shift to smarter, satellite-based and digital technologies and new procedures that combine to make air travel more convenient, predictable and environmentally friendly. As demand for our nation’s increasingly congested airspace continues to grow, NextGen improvements are enabling the FAA to guide…

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