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Feasibility analysis of sectorless and partially automated air traffic management

Birkmeier, Bettina (2015) Feasibility analysis of sectorless and partially automated air traffic management. Dissertation, Technische Universität Carolo-Wilhelmina zu Braunschweig.

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Abstract

Sectorless air traffic management (ATM) presents a radically different, but operationally feasible approach to en-route air traffic control, which directly addresses sector bottlenecks and thus permits a significant capacity increase. Instead of partitioning the airspace into sectors, sectorless ATM regards the airspace as a single unit. Controllers are assigned individual aircraft, for which they are responsible from their entry into the airspace until their exit. The contributions of this thesis are fourfold. First, it provides a comprehensive compilation of concept elements, solutions, and prior research concerning sectorless ATM and addresses both expected benefits and conceivable obstacles. Second, this thesis provides a feasibility validation of sectorless ATM based on human-in-the-loop simulations and expert interviews. The main result of the feasibility analysis is that sectorless ATM is, in fact, operationally feasible. With the support of medium-term conflict detection, an automation necessary to decrease controller workload, it is possible for one air traffic controller to safely guide at least six aircraft under normal conditions. This implicates a productivity increase of more than 100% compared with the current sectored ATM concept. Third, the thesis discusses expected changes to controller tasks, the controller’s mental model and situation awareness, the necessary controller skills, and the overall role of the controller in the sectorless ATM concept. The conclusions are that controller tasks will shift from planning toward more monitoring, that controllers can still build up a modified mental model and keep situation awareness, that controller skills will slightly change away from memorization toward fast information retrieval, and that controllers will identify more strongly with their assigned aircraft. Fourth, a safety assessment provides suggestions for a safety net, safety criteria, a barrier model, pre-existing hazards, safety objectives, a functional model, a safety and performance requirements (SPR)-level model, and safety requirements. In conclusion, sectorless ATM provides a fundamentally different but feasible approach to en-route air traffic control, which holds great potential. Strategies to introduce the concept into operation include element-wise, aircraft-wise, time-restricted, area-restricted, and topdown transitions, all of which are described and discussed in this thesis.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/98053/
Document Type:Thesis (Dissertation)
Title:Feasibility analysis of sectorless and partially automated air traffic management
Authors:
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthors ORCID iD
Birkmeier, Bettinabettina.birkmeier (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Date:July 2015
Journal or Publication Title:DLR Forschungsbericht 2015-12
Refereed publication:No
Open Access:No
Gold Open Access:No
In SCOPUS:No
In ISI Web of Science:No
Number of Pages:240
Status:Published
Keywords:ATM, air traffic management, sectorless, airspace management, air traffic control concept
Institution:Technische Universität Carolo-Wilhelmina zu Braunschweig
Department:Fakultät für Maschinenbau
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Aeronautics
HGF - Program Themes:air traffic management and operations
DLR - Research area:Aeronautics
DLR - Program:L AO - Air Traffic Management and Operation
DLR - Research theme (Project):L - Efficient Flight Guidance
Location: Braunschweig
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Flight Control > Pilot Assistance
Deposited By: Birkmeier, Bettina
Deposited On:25 Nov 2015 14:30
Last Modified:25 Nov 2015 14:30

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