Use of a Traffic Display to Supplement Visual Separation During Visual Approaches

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At many busy airports, maximum efficiency and minimum delay occur when visual approaches are being conducted by pilots using visual separation from traffic. Pilot willingness to accept responsibility for visual separation also affords controllers maximum flexibility in traffic management under conditions of high traffic load. It may be possible to extend that efficiency to lower weather conditions if pilots are able to perform the same separation tasks by reference to a Cockpit Display of Traffic Information (CDTI) in lieu of visual contact out-the-window (OTW). This study is the third in a series of four designed to examine whether a CDTI can be used for this task. This particular study documents the first simulation to examine the concept during visual approaches. Eight commercial airline pilots flew visual approaches in a flight deck simulator, while maintaining a self-determined separation from the traffic, using two airspeed control methods: autothrottle and manual throttle. The objective and subjective results indicate that pilots are willing and able to perform this procedure (named CDTI Assisted Visual Separation (CAVS)) during visual approaches, using either the autothrottle or the higher workload method of manual speed control.