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Legacy Workstations

Fosair Consoles

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ATC Consoles, Legacy Workstations.

ADVANTAGES OF THE FOSAIR RANGE OF ATC CONSOLES:

 

 

DISADVANTAGES OF LEGACY WORKSTATIONS:

 

 

 

SAFETY & ERGONOMICS PAPER PRESENTED AT ATC GLOBAL.

 

 

ATC Centres manage ever increasing volumes of traffic whilst at the same time reducing overall delays. The relationship between the air traffic controller or air traffic services assistant and the equipment they depend upon is becoming more and more critical.

 

Legacy systems have always depended upon a requirement to accommodate Equipment rather than the Operator, and often have not been designed in an ergonomic way, the provision of equipment being more important than the ability of an operator to interact with it.

These legacy systems, especially the furniture in which they are accommodated, are regarded by many in the ATC and Human Factors communities as capable of hindering tasks rather than facilitating them. One example is the problem of parallax error. Whilst previously, the extra time necessary to more closely scrutinise an adjacent radar display (as opposed to a ‘head on’ one) was an acceptable penalty, in the more demanding environment and higher traffic levels this is no longer acceptable. Another example is the increasing use of LCD technology whereby viewing angles are crucial in order to accurately interpret information or interact with the system using touch screens. Older ATM systems and the furniture in which they are embedded do not facilitate the use of such equipment as easily as is desirable. Similarly changes to display equipment can often mean that far from ideal solutions are implemented. Safety Executive guidelines recognise the need to minimise physical strain and optical difficulties when using all types of Human Machine Interface (HMI’s) and this is the case in Air Traffic Control where urgent and accurate collation of information, resultant decision making and the communication of those decisions, is a fundamental part of the Operator task.

 

Both the speedy and accurate interaction by the Operator and the need to recognise the potential for compromising physical well-being (this can also compromise the effectiveness of the operator) are increasingly problematical. Throughout the ATC community there is greater use of LCD displays and computer driven technology, changing the way in which we interface with the System, whilst at the same time development of tools such as conflict resolution systems and more efficient flight data processing systems, increase the time spent by operators in interaction with the ’machine’. It is important that this increased interaction is not at the expense of the primary tasks such as radar scanning and radio communication.

 

 

The FOSAIR controller working position addresses all of the problems referred to thus far. Because the equipment is adaptable to changing technology FOSAIR does not require major ’above desk’ changes in order to accommodate new or additional equipment. This obviates the need for major redesign work and the potential for operating mistakes to occur as a result of changes to the physical layout of the controller working position.

 

Because the equipment supported by the desk is totally adjustable, viewing angles, viewing distances, equipment heights and work surface heights can all be adjusted quickly and easily to suit the physical stature of the Operator as well as their own specific needs both for visual requirements and personal preferences. This means that for the first time the Machine factor of the Human Machine Interface becomes secondary to the  

Human factor. The benefits of this are two fold, physical and sensory strain can be virtually eliminated and at the same time, both as a result of that elimination and the positioning of the equipment in a manner suited to the individual and not an arbitrary fiftieth percentile, operators can be more effective in the execution of their task without distraction.

 

Whilst this dissertation refers specifically to Air Traffic Control tasks, the advantages referred to, both in minimising disruption associated with the introduction of new technology and in facilitating efficient and effective work effort, applies to many other fields where the reception, analysis and dissemination of information and critical decision making is the primary role.

 

 

 

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