A simulation of terminal area merging and spacing with air traffic controllers and commercial flight crews was conducted. The goal of the study was to assess the feasibility and benefits of ground and flight-deck based tools to support arrival merging and spacing operations. During the simulation, flight crews arrived over the northwest and southwest arrival meter fixes and were cleared for the flight management system arrivals to runways 18 and 13 right. The controller could then clear the aircraft to merge behind and space with an aircraft on a converging stream or to space behind an aircraft on the same stream of traffic. The controller remained responsible for aircraft separation. Empirical research was performed to assess air and ground tools and the effects of mixed equipage. During the all tools conditions, 75% of the arrivals were equipped for merging and spacing. All aircraft were ADS-B equipped and flew charted FMS routes which were coordinated based on wake turbulence separation at the arrival runway. The aircraft spacing data indicate that spacing and merging were improved with either air or ground based merging and spacing tools, but performance was best with airborne tools. Both controllers and pilots exhibited low to moderate workload and both reported benefits from the concept.
& Lee, P.
(2005). Human Centered Decision Support Tools for Arrival Merging and Spacing. 2005 International Symposium on Aviation Psychology, 36-42.