FAA, Georgia Tech Sign NextGen Contract

By Tish Drake | July 8, 2010
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FAA has reached an agreement with Georgia Tech to research how the increased sophistication on the flight deck under the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) will affect flight crewmembers and controllers, FAA announced Tuesday. The agreement is the first of several the FAA expects to announce in the coming months with universities that specialize in aviation-related human factors research. For FAA, the work will be conducted by the Human Factors Research and Engineering Group, which is part of the Research and Technology Development Office.

Amy Pritchett, an associate professor in Georgia Tech’s School of Aerospace Engineering, will lead a study of pilot response to alerts from the Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) under NextGen. Frank Durso, an Engineering Psychology professor, will lead a team exploring how flight crews and controllers interact with automation. Specifically, Durso’s team will focus on how roles will evolve with NextGen technology. Durso will first lay the groundwork by examining how pilots and controllers work with today’s automation. His team will then see how pilots and controllers in the future can use automation to manage their workloads and to improve their situational awareness and performance. Research results will also help FAA develop guidance for aviation safety oversight of NextGen operations.

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