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Static and motion-based visual features used by airport tower controllers  (2011)
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Visual motion and other visual cues are used by tower controllers to provide important support for their control tasks at and near airports. These cues are particularly important for anticipated separation. Some of them, which we call visual features, have been identified from structured interviews and discussions with 24 active air traffic controllers or supervisors. The visual information that these features provide has been analyzed with respect to possible ways it could be presented at a remote tower that does not allow a direct view of the airport. Two types of remote towers are possible. One could be based on a plan-view, map-like computer- generated display of the airport and its immediate surroundings. An alternative would present a composite perspective view of the airport and its surroundings, possibly provided by an array of radially mounted cameras positioned at the airport in lieu of a tower. An initial more detailed analyses of one of the specific landing cues identified by the controllers, landing deceleration, is provided as a basis for evaluating how controllers might detect and use it. Understanding other such cues will help identify the information that may be degraded or lost in a remote or virtual tower not located at the airport. Suggestions are made regarding how some of the lost visual information may be displayed. Many of the cues considered involve visual motion, though some important static cues are also discussed.
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airport, controllers, features, motion-based, Static, tower, used, visual
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NASA TM-2011-216427, Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA
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Curator: Phil So
NASA Official: Jessica Nowinski
Last Updated: August 15, 2019