Increased use of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) in combat zones has put mounting pressure on airspace operations. Interviews were conducted with military helicopter pilots, air traffic controllers, and UAS operators to better understand the current concept of operations for managing potential conflict between manned and unmanned aircraft during combat operations. Interviews with the UAS operators revealed limited situation awareness of the low altitude airspace picture. To address these issues, a graphical airspace display with basic conflict detection and alerting logic was developed. In simulation, this display was compared with a baseline textual display, derived from current operations as identified during the interviews. Operators controlled a single UAS in densely populated airspace and deconflicted with other aircraft while conducting a surveillance mission. Operators were evaluated on their ability to maintain separation assurance standards and deconflict with other aircraft. The graphical interface was found to improve operators’ ability to maintain separation and perceived lower workload.
Flaherty, S. R.,
Shively, R. J.,
& Turpin, T. S.
(2011). Airspace Deconfliction for UAS Operations. 16th International Symposium on Aviation Psychology, 451-456.