Many recent initiatives involving social psychology applications in the aviation world have redoubled the interest in the concept of teams and teamwork. The importance of teamwork in airline cockpits, hailed as cockpit (or crew-) resource management (CRM), has been recognized for a relatively long time. It is also widely agreed that extensive and effective interaction among participants in the National Airspace System (NAS), pilots, air traffic controllers, and airline operations personnel, is tantamount to the daily successes of the nation’s air transportation industry. Team aspects in air traffic control (ATC) are, however, much more convoluted than intra-cockpit teams or top-level teamwork between NAS elements. The ATC system involves a complicated network of facilities, technology, and personnel, which all must interact synergistically, often under time pressure, to ensure safe, efficient, and orderly flow of air traffic. It is perhaps due to this complexity that there has been a significant deficiency in research activity relating to teamwork in ATC. Yet, inadequate coordination between controllers has been considered a causal factor in a substantial proportion of low to moderate severity operational errors. Furthermore, automation tools developed for controllers are primarily focused on supporting the individual controller, while many, if not all of ATC functions are a team effort. In this paper we review the literature relevant to the team concept in the ATC domain, identify and characterize the different teams controllers belong to either simultaneously (e.g., intra- and inter-facility teams) or in different operational environments, and catalog the results from research literature as they pertain to the aforementioned teams in ATC and their specific characteristics. Our principal focus is on concepts such as taskload, workload, and situation awareness. Within this framework, we also map recent automation applications to ATC teams, hence highlighting their impact on the team dimension of human factors in ATC.
Maynard, P. W.,
& Rantanen, E. M.
(2005). Teams, Teamwork, and Automation in Air Traffic Control. 2005 International Symposium on Aviation Psychology, 484-489.