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Airway Facilities

Airway Facilities is the FAA organizational element responsible for ensuring that systems and equipment are available to users of the national airspace. Such users include: air traffic controllers at en route centers and terminals (TRACON and tower controllers), traffic management personnel at the national Air Traffic Control System Command Center and at local traffic management units, flight service station specialists, and pilots, both as direct users of such equipment as navigational aids and communications systems and as indirect users receiving assistance from controllers. This chapter summarizes the breadth and suggests the depth of the activities performed by Airway Facilities specialists that bear on issues relating to automation of functions that support air traffic control.

The division of responsibility between Air Traffic and Airway Facilities personnel is more complicated than a simple distinction between attending to aircraft and attending to equipment. Air traffic controllers always consider the status and performance of the equipment on which they rely and develop strategies to maintain flight safety and efficiency despite equipment limitations, and Airway Facilities staff always consider the safety and efficiency of air traffic in the scheduling and prioritization of their tasks.

To fulfill its current responsibilities, Airway Facilities monitors, controls, and maintains the equipment on whose reliability, availability, and performance controllers and pilots rely. In addition, Airway Facilities shares with the Air Traffic organization the responsibility for installing and evaluating new, increasingly automated equipment as well as software and hardware upgrades to existing equipment. A critical procedural and legal responsibility is the certification of



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Flight to the Future: Human Factors in Air Traffic Control 4 Airway Facilities Airway Facilities is the FAA organizational element responsible for ensuring that systems and equipment are available to users of the national airspace. Such users include: air traffic controllers at en route centers and terminals (TRACON and tower controllers), traffic management personnel at the national Air Traffic Control System Command Center and at local traffic management units, flight service station specialists, and pilots, both as direct users of such equipment as navigational aids and communications systems and as indirect users receiving assistance from controllers. This chapter summarizes the breadth and suggests the depth of the activities performed by Airway Facilities specialists that bear on issues relating to automation of functions that support air traffic control. The division of responsibility between Air Traffic and Airway Facilities personnel is more complicated than a simple distinction between attending to aircraft and attending to equipment. Air traffic controllers always consider the status and performance of the equipment on which they rely and develop strategies to maintain flight safety and efficiency despite equipment limitations, and Airway Facilities staff always consider the safety and efficiency of air traffic in the scheduling and prioritization of their tasks. To fulfill its current responsibilities, Airway Facilities monitors, controls, and maintains the equipment on whose reliability, availability, and performance controllers and pilots rely. In addition, Airway Facilities shares with the Air Traffic organization the responsibility for installing and evaluating new, increasingly automated equipment as well as software and hardware upgrades to existing equipment. A critical procedural and legal responsibility is the certification of

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Flight to the Future: Human Factors in Air Traffic Control equipment, systems, and services. This certification responsibility involves the validation by Airway Facilities specialists that the equipment, systems, and services are performing within specified tolerances, as well as the legal attestation of certification with accompanying accountability. SCOPE OF RESPONSIBILITIES Airway Facilities monitors, controls, maintains, and certifies equipment, systems, and facilities that support air traffic control. Although a comprehensive list of items under its purview includes equipment at flight service stations (and their interfaces) and field sites of various types (e.g., remotely located navigation aids and communications links), our emphasis in this report is on the equipment and systems that support the activities of controllers at the en route centers and the terminals (including TRACONs, towers, and equipment local to airports). Taken together, such items include: Equipment internal to facilities: the HOST computer that processes the radar data and flight data presented to controllers (and the backup direct access radar channel used at en route centers to provide relatively unprocessed radar data to controllers when the HOST fails); the display channel processors that further process and provide data for the controllers' displays; the radar data displays, alphanumeric readout displays, keyboards, and other elements of the controllers' workstations; flight data entry equipment and associated printers used to prepare the controllers' flight strips; intrafacility communications equipment; power supplies for air traffic control systems; and building systems (e.g., heating, air conditioning, electricity). Equipment that interfaces with the facilities and the interfaces themselves; radars (long-range, airport surveillance, and weather radars); communications equipment (air to ground and interfacility communications); and airport local equipment with associated display/control devices used by tower controllers (runway lighting, low-level windshear alert equipment, runway visual range equipment, weather instrumentation, airport surface detection equipment, and microwave and instrument landing systems). Although this list is not exhaustive, it suffices to suggest that the critical task of supervisory monitoring and control of equipment and systems that ultimately support the activities of air traffic controllers merits careful attention with respect to human factors and automation issues.

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Flight to the Future: Human Factors in Air Traffic Control EQUIPMENT SUPPORTING SUPERVISORY CONTROL OPERATIONS The Trend Toward Centralized Monitoring and Control The equipment and systems that support air traffic control are widely distributed. Equipment sites may be generally categorized as: (1) remote from an en route center or a terminal (e.g., remote radar sites), (2) on the air traffic control room floor (e.g., the controllers' plan view displays and other workstation equipment), and (3) in the equipment "back room" at an en route center or terminal (e.g., HOST and other computers). Airway Facilities specialists monitor and control equipment both at the site of the equipment itself and through centralized maintenance control centers. At the site of the equipment, they inspect any display and status indicator panels located on the equipment and can usually perform control actions (including such actions as shutdown, start-up, and adjustments) and initiate built-in diagnostic routines (often with the assistance of plug-in diagnostic tools). Air traffic controllers also monitor the status and performance of their workstation devices; their shout for Airway Facilities assistance is a common form of alarm for such equipment. In addition (Federal Aviation Administration, 1994c), critical equipment and systems are increasingly required to include in their design an automated remote monitoring subsystem (RMS) that performs the following functions and reports the results to a centralized maintenance processor subsystem (MPS): acquiring necessary data from the monitored system; determining the status (e.g., failed, degraded, normal), the state (e.g., the availability of a redundant component), and the performance characteristics of the monitored equipment's hardware and software functions; determining whether it is appropriate to activate status alarms; and monitoring parameters of equipment and systems to support the certification process. The MPS stores the data for later retrieval and further processes the data to permit its display at a centralized maintenance control center, at which Airway Facilities specialists monitor the equipment's and the systems' status, state, performance, and associated alarms and indicators; request data for diagnostics and certification purposes; and perform many control actions. Maintenance Control Centers Airway Facilities activities are organized by sectors (the Airway Facilities' use of the term sector does not correspond to its use by air traffic controllers). Each sector consists of an organization that monitors, controls, and maintains the set of equipment assigned to it. There are two fundamental types of sector (Blanchard and Vardaman, 1994): air route traffic control center (ARTCC)

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Flight to the Future: Human Factors in Air Traffic Control sectors are responsible for equipment and systems associated with en route centers; general national airspace system (GNAS) sectors are typically responsible for equipment and systems associated with terminal facilities and with remote facilities. The GNAS and the ARTCC sectors must coordinate their activities, because each monitors and controls systems on which the other relies. In addition, sectors of either type may have to coordinate their activities with several other sectors, which may share equipment resources. Each sector is supported by a maintenance control center (MCC). Although the correspondence between the monitoring and control capabilities at the MCC and those provided directly at the site of the equipment varies considerably with the specific equipment and systems, and although some equipment does not interface with the MCC, the general principle is that Airway Facilities specialists are supported by a centralized monitoring and control workstation suite, which functions as the command center for activities supporting en route centers and terminal facilities. Airway Facilities activities throughout these facilities are generally directed by their operations managers, for whom the MCCs represent command centers. The MCC workstations merit significant attention because they are the hub of the supervisory monitoring and control activities that support air traffic control at en route centers, at TRACONs, and at airport towers and because they are focal points for the impacts of automation on such Airway Facilities activities. The MCC for an ARTCC sector is termed a system maintenance control center (SMCC). An archetypal SMCC is useful for investigating the monitoring. control, and associated automation aids currently available to Airway Facilities staff. The SMCC provides a focal point for identifying both current system monitoring and control capabilities and issues bearing on the applications of automation. The SMCC typically consists of an extensive set of separate indicator and alarm panels, control panels, keyboards, video displays, and printers that—taken together but hardly integrated—provide the capability to monitor and control limited aspects of: processing and distribution of radar and flight data, configuration of computers and peripheral equipment, communications equipment, audio tape recording of air traffic controllers' communications, environmental systems such as heating and air conditioning, and facility power subsystems. Each MCC is, in effect, a concatenation of separate workstations designed by separate vendors and developed under separate acquisition programs. MCCs exhibit neither a consistent approach to automation across the systems monitored nor a consistent human-computer interface. OPERATIONS In general, Airway Facilities is responsible for the following activities pertaining to equipment, systems, services, and facilities (FAA Order 6000.15B):

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Flight to the Future: Human Factors in Air Traffic Control monitoring of status, configuration, and performance; control (including adjustment and configuration); diagnosis of hardware and software problems; restoration of systems and services experiencing outages; certification; removal, maintenance, and replacement of items for periodic and corrective maintenance; logging of maintenance events and related data; and supporting aircraft accident and other incident investigations. Automation has been applied to maintenance activities through built-in equipment-level diagnostic tests and off-line diagnostic tools. A logging system that prompts the manual entry of maintenance and incident data supports both maintenance and incident/accident investigations (the system is described in FAA Order 6000.48). These applications of automation are widespread within Airway Facilities and therefore merit consideration. Certification Certification activities represent a high-visibility, critical responsibility of Airway Facilities that has long been considered a candidate for increased automation support. Because of safety and associated legal liability concerns, the FAA has established procedures whereby equipment, systems, and the services they provide (e.g., radar data) can be accepted for use by air traffic controllers only if they have undergone a process of verification followed by formal, written certification. The verification and certification are performed by technicians who must be ''certified to certify" and accept legal accountability by signing the certification log. Certification is performed when the equipment or systems are first accepted for use, when they are restored to use after interruption or maintenance, and periodically as scheduled (Federal Aviation Administration, 1991c, 1991d). FAA Order 6000.39 (Federal Aviation Administration, 1991c:3) defines the two general types of certification as: Service Certification. The verification that the appropriate combination of services, systems, and equipment advertised to the user have been certified and that they are providing or capable of providing the functions necessary to the user, and followed by the prescribed entry into the log. The certifying official uses personal knowledge, technical determination, observations, and inputs from other certified personnel to accomplish certification. System/Subsystem/Equipment Certification. The technical verification performed prior to commissioning and/or service restoration after a scheduled/unscheduled interruption affecting certification parameters, and periodically thereafter inclusive of the insertion of the prescribed entry in the facility maintenance log. The certification validates that the system/subsystem/equipment is capable of providing that advertised service. It includes independent determination as to when a system/subsystem/equipment should be continued in, restored to, or removed from service.

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Flight to the Future: Human Factors in Air Traffic Control Restoration to Service FAA order 6000.15B (Federal Aviation Administration, 1991d) identifies as a critical responsibility the restoration of equipment, systems, and facilities after service interruptions (unanticipated shutdowns) and other outages. General examples of outages include: internal failure of equipment hardware; power outages due, for example, to cable cuts or lightning that affect some or all facility systems; communications outages occurring within or between facilities or between ground and air; facility fires creating outages or the requirement to vacate the facility; major software failures that lock out input/output devices or produce faulty data; radar failures that temporarily eliminate this essential data source; and equipment, systems, and facilities shut down intentionally for maintenance purposes and for the installation of new or modified hardware and software. Restoration to service of failed equipment, systems, or entire facilities requires close cooperation between Airway Facilities and air traffic controllers, as well as staff on site and across sector, regional, and national levels, because outages at one facility can affect systems and services at other facilities, and because the responses to outages may require the support and approval of staff at other locations. FAA Order 1100.124 and FAA Order 1100.139 (Federal Aviation Administration, 1970, 1974), addressing the respective responsibilities of Air Traffic and Airway Facilities staff at computer-equipped en route centers and terminal facilities, directs that "No individual or organization shall be permitted to take unilateral action which may have a detrimental effect on the scheduling, testing, maintenance, and utilization of the air traffic control system." Although Airway Facilities is exclusively responsible for monitoring and maintaining equipment, systems, and facilities, FAA Order 6000.15B (Federal Aviation Administration, 1991d) specifies that Airway Facilities must keep Air Traffic advised of the operational status of all systems, subsystems, facilities, and equipment and that it is the responsibility of Air Traffic to determine the priority of restoration when more than one item of equipment, system, or facility has become inoperative. All intentional shutdowns (e.g., to install new equipment or to perform system certification) must be requested by Airway Facilities and are approved at the discretion of Air Traffic. In addition to coordinating with local Air Traffic staff, each MCC reports all equipment and system outages and restoration activities to the National Maintenance Coordination Center (NMCC), located in Herndon, Virginia. The NMCC monitors the following situations and coordinates resolutions with the national centralized Air Traffic Control System Command Center in Herndon: facility and service outages (equipment failures, software failures, power failures, and telecommunications failures); natural disasters (severe weather alerts, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, etc.); and other disasters (criminal acts, acts of terrorism, and air traffic accidents). The NMCC staff coordinate the responses of cooperating sectors and facilities and, when appropriate, notify or mobilize engineering

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Flight to the Future: Human Factors in Air Traffic Control and logistics support, civil emergency preparedness organizations, federal criminal justice personnel, and military organizations. In all cases involving interruption and restoration of items affecting air traffic control, Airway Facilities functions in a supportive capacity. Air Traffic must decide the priorities by which Airway Facilities applies its resources. However, in so doing, Air Traffic must consider recommendations from Airway Facilities that take into account the likelihood (considering logistics, staffing, and the course of problem determination) of restoring the affected item(s) within desired time frames, the levels of functioning available with degraded equipment, and potential temporary work-around strategies. That is, Air Traffic can establish desired priorities but cannot restore the affected items alone. Therefore, the outage of automated systems or functions becomes a problem that must be jointly solved. Such cooperative problem solving is currently addressed by experience and procedures rather than by automated supports, at both the local and national levels. STAFFING The FAA's 1993 demographic profiles of the Airway Facilities workforce identifies a total population of over 11,000, including over 9,000 engineering and technical staff. Of the technical staff, approximately 7,300 are classified as electronics technicians, each of whom typically specializes in one of the following: radar, communications, navigation, automation, and technical management. The electronics technicians are of primary interest with respect to the direct support of air traffic control operations and are those most significantly affected by proposed automation. The primary staffing unit for technical activities in support of en route and terminal operations is the Airway Facilities sector. There are currently 20 ARTCC sectors and 57 GNAS sectors, although the FAA is in the process of consolidating the 77 sectors into 33 system management offices (SMOs). Including engineering, technical, and administrative staff, approximately 8,500 members of the overall workforce are assigned to sector organizations: 6,500 to GNAS sectors and 2,000 to ARTCC sectors. Each sector is staffed as a "self-contained and self-sufficient" work unit. Each sector is organized into system operations and maintenance engineering groups reporting to the sector manager. The system operations group is responsible for the monitoring and management of the systems-level operations. It includes the operations managers and the technical specialists, whose activities are focused on the MCC described above. The operations manager has traditionally been an automation specialist knowledgeable in both hardware and software aspects of several systems. Each technical specialist is typically expert in computer operations, radar, communications, navigation, or environmental systems and equipment, although some may be certified in more than one area. The operations managers and technical specialists of the systems operations group are

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Flight to the Future: Human Factors in Air Traffic Control supported by computer operators and by maintenance engineering technical support staff, who perform detailed diagnostics, data analysis, and maintenance tasks (Federal Aviation Administration, 1991a). Actual assignments of numbers and types of technicians are determined by specific sector requirements according to guidelines prescribed by FAA Order 1380.40C (Federal Aviation Administration, 1991a). These requirements can vary considerably across sectors. In addition, the regional level includes a staff member whose function is to perform technical inspection of the region's sectors, both periodically and on special occasions (e.g., after an aircraft accident or incident or when sector performance has fallen below an acceptable level) (Federal Aviation Administration, 1991b). A New Job Classification Until 1994, the focus of electronics specialists was on specific subsystems or items of equipment to which they were assigned. Assigned specialties included radar, navigation, communication, and automation (computers). The automation specialist job classification was created to recognize the trend toward computerization and the need to develop technical skills that apply across computer-based systems. The operations manager, selected for knowledge spanning multiple systems, was often selected from the ranks of the automation specialist. However, in practice, the proliferation of computer subsystems has often drawn the automation specialist toward specific systems, such as the HOST computer. In recognition of the need to develop generalists who focus on system-level functions and the delivery of services across interacting systems, the FAA has recently created the GS-2101 job classification, whose knowledge and skill areas emphasize systems engineering skills (Booz, Allen and Hamilton, 1993, 1994; Federal Aviation Administration, 1993c, 1993d). The GS-2101 job classification was established in order to address two perceived needs: (1) a response to rapid changes in information technology (e.g., the trend toward networks) and (2) an emphasis on the management of systems and services rather than on maintenance of equipment components. The knowledge, skills, and task emphases of the GS-2101 specialist include: ability to work with automation tools for diagnostics and maintenance, ability to perform centralized monitoring and control, ability to perform system-and service-level certification, breadth of knowledge across systems rather than depth of knowledge of specific items of equipment, knowledge of how information flows between systems, ability to work with information management systems, maintaining end-product services for users, performance of independent actions, and ability to work well in interaction with others (users who are treated as customers and colleagues). Airway Facilities staff currently view the national airspace system as a hierarchical structure of elements that contribute to systems that provide services. The art of Airway Facilities consists of maintaining uninterrupted services despite the degradation or failure of individual elements. Airway Facilities specialists

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Flight to the Future: Human Factors in Air Traffic Control therefore become creative developers of "work-arounds, band-aids, and patches" that keep systems operating. Before the advent of the GS-2101 job classification, Airway Facilities personnel increasingly considered themselves systems engineers as well as electronics specialists. Therefore, it is unclear whether the new job classification provides a title that recognizes an existing approach to the job or whether it represents a distinct, new approach. The formal position descriptions, qualification standards, and job classification descriptions do not determine the answer to this question by themselves; the answer will be determined more by the selection process, training procedures, task assignments, and the characteristics of the new equipment that the GS-2101 specialists will be required to maintain. Currently, the GS-2101 incumbents are the same specialists who have been maintaining the existing equipment and systems. Therefore, the GS-2101 represents more an approach to the future than a response to the current task demands. Selection and Demographics The selection of Airway Facilities technicians is neither centralized nor standardized. Each region hires new technicians by evaluating the experience and education reported in candidates' applications against knowledge and skill criteria for the specializations that the regional office requires. Guidance applicable to each specialization is available in formal qualifications standards and position descriptions. There is no prehire selection test for Airway Facilities personnel. Those hired typically have backgrounds in electronics, usually developed in military service or through technical education. The introduction of the GS-2101 job classification changes the knowledge and skill qualifications used to guide hiring (Federal Aviation Administration, 1995). Knowledge of computer systems, computer programming, networks, telecommunications, and systems analysis methods are included in the GS-2101 qualification standard, in addition to the traditional knowledge of electronic principles. GS-2101 specialists must also possess good interpersonal skills, because their jobs include significant interaction with other staff. In terms of demographics, the average age of the Airways Facilities workforce is 44.6 years, and 64 percent are older than 40. The average length of service is 18.5 years, and 47 percent have 20 years or more of service. Currently 13 percent of the workforce is eligible for retirement; within 10 years, 35 percent of the ARTCC sector workforce and 27 percent of the GNAS sector workforce will be eligible for retirement (Federal Aviation Administration, 1993a). These data combine to suggest that the workforce will see, within 10 years, a simultaneous retirement of significant percentages of its experienced technicians and the equipment on which they have developed their experience.

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Flight to the Future: Human Factors in Air Traffic Control Training A salient feature of the technician hiring, training, and placement process is that new hires are placed at the time of hire rather than on the basis of performance during training. With respect to electronics technicians, each region determines its staffing needs, reviews candidates' work and education histories, and on that basis assigns them at the time of hire in one of the following areas: radar, navigation, communications, or automation. Technicians may also be assigned at the time of hire to specific systems, subsystems, or equipment items within an assigned specialty. The implication for training is that trainees do not pursue a generalist course covering all specialties (in which case their training performance might suggest appropriate job assignments or on-the-job training assignments). Rather, since the assignments are made a priori, trainees pursue at the FAA Academy strings of courses that are tailored to the assigned specialty and, within that specialty, to the assigned systems, subsystems, or equipment. A brief set of general electronics foundation courses are prescribed for all electronics technician trainees and administered mostly at the FAA Academy. These courses include instruction in general electronics, semiconductor and digital techniques, introductions to computers and microprocessors, and fundamentals of engineering mathematics. At completion of these few foundation courses, each trainee moves along a personalized track the course contents of which are tailored to a specialty area and assigned systems or equipment (Federal Aviation Administration, 1995; FAA Catalog of Training Courses). The training process has two goals: (1) certification of the technician's abilities with respect to given systems and equipment, so that the technician may be authorized to certify them for use in air traffic control and (2) career progression, so that, by demonstrating proficiency, the technician can progress to journeyman status. In principle, these goals are met by providing theory through course material and application through subsequent on-the-job training. In order to meet the specific needs of different regions and their sites, the Airway Facilities training program is extremely flexible. Training may be administered at the FAA Academy or at the site. Training methods include classroom instruction, correspondence study courses, computer-based instruction, and on-the-job training. A curriculum modernization study is under way to determine the most effective combination of media and content for each current course objective (Federal Aviation Administration, 1994a). A given trainee may be assigned to receive instruction in a specific item of equipment or across several systems. After initial and on-the-job training, technicians may receive additional training when systems are modified, when new systems are introduced, or if refresher training is needed. New hires undergo a post-hire assessment whereby, through evaluation of experience or through testing, he or she may be permitted to bypass appropriate initial training courses. The goal is to train technicians as quickly and inexpensively as possible while maintaining performance standards

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Flight to the Future: Human Factors in Air Traffic Control (Federal Aviation Administration, 1976, 1985). Local (regional and sector level) supervisors play the major role in determining the training program for each technician and in evaluating the proficiency and progress of trainees. Performance Appraisal Three types of performance evaluation are used for technicians: tests of mastery of training material, certification tests, and yearly performance appraisals. Formal tests, often standardized, are used to evaluate the technicians' mastery of training material. The "train for success" philosophy is applied: at the discretion of their supervisors, trainees are permitted to retake failed examinations. A formal personnel certification program, prescribed by FAA Order 3400.3F, establishes the examinations that technicians must pass to achieve certification. Certification is defined as "confirmation that the individual possesses the necessary minimum knowledge and skills to determine the operational status of a service/system/subsystem/equipment" (Federal Aviation Administration, 1992a:3). Personnel certification is a critical goal for electronics technicians, because it permits them to exercise, when so assigned, the duty of certifying systems, services, and equipment for use in air traffic control. Personnel certification is therefore fundamental to the technician's viability within the organization; it also contributes to career progression. Certification examinations are conducted by the technicians' local supervisors. The examinations typically consist of observation by the supervisor of walk-through exercises performed by the technician. The supervisor also uses personal knowledge of the technician's proficiency, based on observations during on-the-job training, as well as inputs from other certified personnel. Technicians undergo performance appraisal yearly. The appraisal is conducted by their direct supervisors, who apply a five-step rating scale (unsatisfactory, partially satisfactory, satisfactory, exceptional, and outstanding). Monetary rewards are calibrated to the rating scale. Three general appraisal factors are used: organizational effectiveness (includes the performance of assigned technical tasks and duties), customer focus (the satisfaction of Airway Facilities and other users of the services provided), and teamwork (emphasizes effectiveness of working relationships with other Airway Facilities staff and with airspace users). Formal discussion of performance is also undertaken semiannually, without written performance appraisal or rating. Airway Facilities is currently seeking approval by the Office of Personnel Management of a condensation of the performance rating scale to pass/fail and the elimination of associated monetary rewards in favor of biennial step increases.

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Flight to the Future: Human Factors in Air Traffic Control SUMMARY Airway Facilities monitors, controls, and maintains the systems and equipment on whose reliability, availability, and performance air traffic controllers and pilots rely. In addition, it shares with the Air Traffic organization the responsibility for installing and evaluating new, increasingly automated equipment as well as software and hardware upgrades to existing equipment. A critical procedural and legal responsibility is the certification of equipment, systems, and services. Restoration to service of failed equipment, systems, or entire facilities is another critical task and requires close cooperation between Air Facilities and Air Traffic, between Airway Facilities staff on site, and across sector, regional, and national levels. Airway Facilities specialists monitor, control, and maintain equipment and systems that support air traffic control both at its site and at increasingly centralized maintenance control centers. Each MCC is, in effect, a concatenation of separate workstations designed by separate vendors and developed under separate acquisition programs. MCCs exhibit neither a consistent approach to automation across the systems monitored nor a consistent human-computer interface. Until 1994, the focus of electronics specialists was on specific subsystems or items of equipment to which they were assigned. The automation specialist job classification was created to recognize the trend toward computerization and the need to develop technical skills that applied across computer-based systems. In recognition of the need to develop generalists who focus on system-level functions and the delivery of services across interacting systems, the FAA has recently created the GS-2101 job classification, for which the knowledge and skill areas emphasize systems engineering. It is unclear whether the GS-2101 job classification provides a title that recognizes an existing approach to the job or whether it represents a distinct, new approach. The formal position descriptions, qualification standards, and job classification descriptions for the GS-2101 do not determine the answer to this question by themselves; the answer will be determined more by the selection process, training procedures, task assignments, and the characteristics of the new equipment that the GS-2101 specialists will be required to maintain. Currently, the GS-2101 specialists are the same people who have been maintaining the existing equipment and systems. Therefore, the GS-2101 represents more an approach to the future than a response to the current task demands. The training process for Airway Facilities specialists has two goals: (1) certification of the technician's abilities with respect to given systems and equipment, so that the technician may be authorized to certify the systems and equipment for use in air traffic control, and (2) career progression, so that, by demonstrating proficiency, the technician can progress to journeyman status. In principle, these goals are met by providing theory through course material and application through subsequent on-the-job training. Local (regional and sector

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Flight to the Future: Human Factors in Air Traffic Control level) supervisors play the major role in determining the training program for each technician and in evaluating the proficiency and progress of trainees. Currently 13 percent of the workforce is eligible for retirement. Within 10 years, 35 percent of the ARTCC sector workforce and 27 percent of the GNAS sector workforce will be eligible for retirement. These data combine to suggest that the Airway Facilities work force will see, within 10 years, a simultaneous retirement of significant percentages of its experienced technicians and the equipment on which they have developed their experience.