Visually monitoring aircraft traffic outside the window is an important part of tower controllers’ tasks. Introducing new controller decision-support tools in the tower may increase or decrease their head-up time. The present study investigates the effect of NASA’s Spot and Runway Departure Advisor (SARDA) tool on controllers’ head-up time. A small video camera was mounted on controllers’ heads to measure their head-movement activities during simulated tower operations with or without the SARDA advisories. Simple, pixel-color-based classification algorithms were able to achieve reasonably high accuracy of head-up detection in the training video frames (91% on average). The results showed that the controllers were looking outside 33% of the time, on average. The Local Controller looked outside about 8.5% more when the SARDA advisories were provided. No other major impact of the SARDA advisories on the head-up time was found in the study.
& Cruz Lopez, J. M.
(2013). Effects of Airport Tower Controller Decision-Support Tool on Controllers’ Head-Up Time. 17th International Symposium on Aviation Psychology, 293-298.