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To address air traffic control (ATC) operational errors (OEs) that occur early on position, past OE reduction efforts focused on developing improved position relief briefing checklists and analyzing the content of the recorded verbal briefings. However, the verbal briefing, by itself, does not ensure that either the incoming or outgoing controller had an accurate mental representation of the traffic situation. If there are inaccuracies in either of their mental representations, then the position relief process is flawed. We examined an archival OE database to determine whether en route OEs that occur as the result of a problematic position transfer were due, in incoming or outgoing controller. The degradation of the mental picture was analyzed using situation awareness variables. Data Extraction. 455 en route OEs were extracted from the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA’s) OE database for the period June 1, 2001 to June 1, 2004. These OEs were marked in the data base as being associated with a problematic position transfer. Included in the extraction were: a) three position relief briefing (PRB) items (checklist not used, controller gave incomplete briefing, and controller did not use briefed information), (b) three Situation Awareness (SA) items used to measure the mental representation (did not detect, did not comprehend, and did not project future traffic status), and c) final summary of incident reports.