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Controller Position Design

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Article Information
Category: Design Philosophy Design Philosophy
Content source: SKYbrary About SKYbrary
Content control: SKYbrary About SKYbrary

Description

The design of an air traffic controller's working position (CWP) is critical to the safe and efficient operation of a control room. Factors that affect CWP design include the following:

  • Controller comfort, including:
    • Seat design;
    • General lighting;
    • Noise;
    • Heating and ventilation:
  • Ergonomic arrangement of CWP with respect to:
    • Equipment;
    • Other staff within the control room;
    • Windows (where an outside view is required);
  • Equipment design, including:
    • Software philosophy and design;
    • Readability of radar screens;
    • Instrument lighting and readability;
    • Ease of use of controls;
    • Efficiency of communications equipment;
and many other factors.

The development or modification of controller working positions is one of the most visible and critical activities in the upgrade of an ATM system. It is also one of the most difficult. For controllers, the CWP is both their working environment and the tool through which they exercise their professional skills. Consequently, changes to the CWP are a matter of considerable significance, potential sensitivity and an area in which acceptance of a system upgrade can be won or lost.

Successful development and introduction of a controller working position involves the integration of operational, technical and human factors expertise as well as good management and effective communication. It is also a long process and increasingly stringent regulatory and safety standards are generating new requirements in terms of traceability.

CWP development, testing and acceptance has been a source of difficulties for R&D concept studies as well as a major contributor to delays in the introduction of major systems upgrades in Europe and elsewhere.

The Core Requirements for ATM Working Positions (CoRe) project was a project of the EATM Human Resources Management programme, carried out at the EUROCONTROL Experimental Centre and completed in December 2002. The purpose of the CoRe project was to consolidate and disseminate good practice on the requirements capture, design, and evaluation of ATM working positions for European ATM.

Further Reading

EUROCONTROL