The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is investigating Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) operations in the National Airspace System because military, commercial, and civil users want to fly UAS for a broad range of purposes. Our research addresses the potential impact to Air Traffic Control Specialists (ATCS) due to UAS pilots’ inability to comply with FAA regulations and air traffic control clearances and instructions that require direct visual means. UAS pilots cannot maintain visual separation from other aircraft, report aircraft in sight, or conduct visual approaches. The inability of UAS pilots to rely on visual means may affect ATCS workload, performance, and airspace efficiency. Twelve ATCS participated in teams of two in a high-fidelity, human-in-the-loop simulation. The participants controlled simulated traffic in two complex Class C airspace sectors under three conditions: Manned aircraft only, Low UAS activity, and High UAS activity. We collected measures of airspace efficiency, radio communications, and workload.
Truitt, T. R.,
& Sollenberger, R. L.
(2015). Integrating UAS Operations in Class C Airspace. 18th International Symposium on Aviation Psychology, 312-317.