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UAS Integration into the NAS: An Examination of Baseline Compliance in the Current Airspace System  (2012)
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As a result of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) are expected to be integrated into the National Airspace System (NAS) by 2015. Several human factors challenges need to be addressed before UAS can safely and routinely fly in the NAS with manned aircraft. Perhaps the most significant challenge is for the UAS to be non-disruptive to the air traffic management system. Another human factors challenge is how to provide UAS pilots with intuitive traffic information in order to support situation awareness (SA) of their airspace environment as well as a see-and-avoid capability comparable to manned aircraft so that a UAS pilot could safely maneuver the aircraft to maintain separation and collision avoidance if necessary. A simulation experiment was conducted to examine baseline compliance of UAS operations in the current airspace system. Researchers also examined the effects of introducing a Cockpit Situation Display (CSD) into a UAS Ground Control Station (GCS) on UAS pilot performance, workload and situation awareness while flying in a positively controlled sector. Pilots were tasked with conducting a highway patrol police mission with a Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) UAS in L.A. Center airspace with two mission objectives: 1) to reroute the UAS when issued new instructions from their commander, and 2) to communicate with Air Traffic Control (ATC) to negotiate flight plan changes and respond to vectoring and altitude change instructions. Objective aircraft separation data, workload ratings, SA data, and subjective ratings regarding UAS operations in the NAS were collected. Results indicate that UAS pilots were able to comply appropriately with ATC instructions. In addition, the introduction of the CSD improved pilot SA and reduced workload associated with UAS and ATC interactions.
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aircraft, Airspace, Baseline, Compliance, Current, Examination, Integration, NAS, System, systems, Unmanned
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Proceedings of the 2012 Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Meeting
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Curator: Phil So
NASA Official: Jessica Nowinski
Last Updated: August 15, 2019