The Relationship of Sector Characteristics to Operational Errors
FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION OKLAHOMA CITY OK CIVIL AEROMEDICAL INST
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An exploratory study was conducted on the relationship of air traffic control ATC complexity factors to operational errors OEs. This consisted of a detailed examination of OE data from 1992 through 1995 from the Atlanta en route center. The Systematic Air Traffic Operations Research Initiative SATORI system was used to collect data for the analysis. Sectors were categorized into zero-, low-, and high-error groups. Fifteen sector and traffic flow variables had statistically significant correlations with OE frequency. Four variables were higher for the high-error group as compared to the zero-error group. Sector size was smaller for the high-error group as compared to the combined zero- and low-error categories. A significant multiple correlation was found between overall OE rate and a subset of the ATC complexity measures. The data were also analyzed to define relationships between the complexity measures and controller situational awareness SA at the time of the OE. The only statistically significant difference between OEs with and without SA was for horizontal separation. In addition, high-error sectors were characterized by low SA for errors. Certain sector and traffic flow characteristics were associated with these high-error sectors, suggesting that these factors may negatively affect SA. It was concluded that the results demonstrated a relationship between sector complexity and OE rate. Such findings, if extended, could assist with traffic management, sector design activities, and the development of decision-support systems.
- Air Navigation and Guidance