Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Air traffic control


Track-while-scan bird radars are widely used in ornithological studies, but often the precise detection capabilities of these systems are unknown. Quantification of radar performance is essential to avoid observational biases, which requires practical methods for validating a radar’s detection capability in specific field settings. In this study a method to quantify the detection capability of a bird radar is presented, as well a demonstration of this method in a case study. By time-referencing line-transect surveys, visually identified birds were automatically linked to individual tracks using their transect crossing time. Detection probabilities were determined as the fraction of the total set of visual observations that could be linked to radar tracks. To avoid ambiguities in assigning radar tracks to visual observations, the observer’s accuracy in determining a bird’s transect crossing time was taken into account. The accuracy was determined by examining the effect of a time lag applied to the visual observations on the number of matches found with radar tracks. Effects of flight altitude, distance, surface substrate and species size on the detection probability by the radar were quantified in a marine intertidal study area. Detection probability varied strongly with all these factors, as well as species-specific flight behaviour. The effective detection range for single birds flying at low altitude for an X-band marine radar based system was estimated at ∼1.5 km. Within this range the fraction of individual flying birds that were detected by the radar was 0.50±0.06 with a detection bias towards higher flight altitudes, larger birds and high tide situations. Besides radar validation, which we consider essential when quantification of bird numbers is important, our method of linking radar tracks to ground-truthed field observations can facilitate species-specific studies using surveillance radars. The methodology may prove equally useful for optimising tracking algorithms.

Concepts: Radar tracker, Marine radar, Air traffic control, Bias, Altitude, Flight level, Radar, Scientific method


Researchers have found that rigid dietary control is connected to higher psychological distress, including disordered and disinhibited eating. Two approaches have been touted by certain scholars and/or health organizations as healthier alternatives: intuitive eating and flexible control-yet these approaches have not been compared in terms of their shared variance with one another and psychological well-being (adjustment and distress). The present study explored these connections among 382 community women and men. Findings revealed that intuitive eating and flexible control are inversely related constructs. Intuitive eating was related to lower rigid control, lower psychological distress, higher psychological adjustment, and lower BMI. In contrast, flexible control was strongly related in a positive direction to rigid control, and was unrelated to distress, adjustment, and BMI. Further, intuitive eating incrementally contributed unique variance to the well-being measures after controlling for both flexible and rigid control. Flexible control was positively associated with psychological adjustment and inversely associated with distress and BMI only when its shared variance with rigid control was extracted. Collectively, these results suggest that intuitive eating is not the same phenomenon as flexible control, and that flexible control demonstrated substantial overlap and entanglement with rigid control, precluding the clarity, validity, and utility of flexible control as a construct. Discussion addresses the implications of this distinction between intuitive eating and flexible control for the promotion of healthy eating attitudes and behaviors.

Concepts: Air traffic control, Body mass index, Psychology, Human behavior, Control, Health, Nutrition


The effects of emotion on working memory and executive control are often studied in isolation. Positive mood enhances verbal and impairs spatial working memory, whereas negative mood enhances spatial and impairs verbal working memory. Moreover, positive mood enhances executive control, whereas negative mood has little influence. We examined how emotion influences verbal and spatial working memory capacity, which requires executive control to coordinate between holding information in working memory and completing a secondary task. We predicted that positive mood would improve both verbal and spatial working memory capacity because of its influence on executive control. Positive, negative and neutral moods were induced followed by completing a verbal (Experiment 1) or spatial (Experiment 2) working memory operation span task to assess working memory capacity. Positive mood enhanced working memory capacity irrespective of the working memory domain, whereas negative mood had no influence on performance. Thus, positive mood was more successful holding information in working memory while processing task-irrelevant information, suggesting that the influence mood has on executive control supersedes the independent effects mood has on domain-specific working memory.

Concepts: Air traffic control, Emotion, Cognitive psychology, Grammatical mood, Executive functions, Working memory


An air traffic controller is a professional who performs air traffic control functions in air traffic control units and is responsible for controlling the various stages of a flight.

Concepts: Terminal Control Center, Human voice, Air traffic control, Air traffic controller


Controllers and pilots must work together to ensure safe and efficient helicopter flight within the London control zone. Subjective ratings of pilot perception of controller responsibility for five key flight tasks were obtained from thirty helicopter pilots. Three types of airspace were investigated. Results indicate that there is variation in pilot understanding of controller responsibility compared to the formal regulations that define controller responsibility. Significant differences in the perception of controller responsibility were found for the task of aircraft separation in class D airspace and along helicopter routes. Analysis of the patterns of response suggests that task type rather than the airspace type may be the key factor. Results are framed using the concept of a shared mental model. This research demonstrates that pilots flying in complex London airspace, have an expectation of controller responsibility for certain flight tasks, in certain airspace types that is not supported by aviation regulation. Practitioner Summary The responsibility for tasks during flight varies according to the flight rules used and airspace type. Helicopter pilots may attribute responsibility to controllers for tasks when controllers have no responsibility as defined by regulation. This variation between pilot perceptions of controller responsibility could affect safety within the London control zone.

Concepts: Concept, Regulation, Airspace class, Understanding, Aircraft, Perception, Cognition, Air traffic control


To investigate the auditory skills of closure and figure-ground and factors associated with health, communication, and attention in air traffic controllers, and compare these variables with those of other civil and military servants.

Concepts: Air traffic control, Air traffic controller


Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) is the direction of airspace surveillance development. Research analyzing the benefits of Traffic Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) and ADS-B data fusion is almost absent. The paper proposes an ADS-B minimum system from ADS-B In and ADS-B Out. In ADS-B In, a fusion model with a variable sampling Variational Bayesian-Interacting Multiple Model (VSVB-IMM) algorithm is proposed for integrated display and an airspace traffic situation display is developed by using ADS-B information. ADS-B Out includes ADS-B Out transmission based on a simulator platform and an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) platform. This paper describes the overall implementation of ADS-B minimum system, including theoretical model design, experimental simulation verification, engineering implementation, results analysis, etc. Simulation and implementation results show that the fused system has better performance than each independent subsystem and it can work well in engineering applications.

Concepts: Engineering, Simulation, Computer graphics, Unmanned aerial vehicle, Air traffic control, Traffic Collision Avoidance System


Metacognitive monitoring and control of situation awareness (SA) are important for a range of safety-critical roles (e.g., air traffic control, military command and control). We examined the factors affecting these processes using a visual change detection task that included representative tactical displays. SA was assessed by asking novice observers to detect changes to a tactical display. Metacognitive monitoring was assessed by asking observers to estimate the probability that they would correctly detect a change, either after study of the display and before the change (judgement of learning; JOL) or after the change and detection response (judgement of performance; JOP). In Experiment 1, observers failed to detect some changes to the display, indicating imperfect SA, but JOPs were reasonably well calibrated to objective performance. Experiment 2 examined JOLs and JOPs in two task contexts: with study-time limits imposed by the task or with self-pacing to meet specified performance targets. JOPs were well calibrated in both conditions as were JOLs for high performance targets. In summary, observers had limited SA, but good insight about their performance and learning for high performance targets and allocated study time appropriately.

Concepts: Change, Display device, Test method, Cognitive science, Statistics, Cognition, Detection theory, Air traffic control


This article provides the reader a focused and organised review of the research progresses on neurophysiological indicators, also called “neurometrics”, to show how neurometrics could effectively address some of the most important Human Factors (HFs) needs in the Air Traffic Management (ATM) field. The state of the art on the most involved HFs and related cognitive processes (e.g. mental workload, cognitive training) is presented together with examples of possible applications in the current and future ATM scenarios, in order to better understand and highlight the available opportunities of such neuroscientific applications. Furthermore, the paper will discuss the potential enhancement that further research and development activities could bring to the efficiency and safety of the ATM service.

Concepts: Management, Radar, Research and development, Thought, Cognition, Neuroscience, Air traffic control, Psychology


We present an agent based model of the Air Traffic Management socio-technical complex system aiming at modeling the interactions between aircraft and air traffic controllers at a tactical level. The core of the model is given by the conflict detection and resolution module and by the directs module. Directs are flight shortcuts that are given by air controllers to speed up the passage of an aircraft within a certain airspace and therefore to facilitate airline operations. Conflicts between flight trajectories can occur for two main reasons: either the planning of the flight trajectory was not sufficiently detailed to rule out all potential conflicts or unforeseen events during the flight require modifications of the flight plan that can conflict with other flight trajectories. Our model performs a local conflict detection and resolution procedure. Once a flight trajectory has been made conflict-free, the model searches for possible improvements of the system efficiency by issuing directs. We give an example of model calibration based on real data. We then provide an illustration of the capability of our model in generating scenario simulations able to give insights about the air traffic management system. We show that the calibrated model is able to reproduce the existence of a geographical localization of air traffic controllers' operations. Finally, we use the model to investigate the relationship between directs and conflict resolutions (i) in the presence of perfect forecast ability of controllers, and (ii) in the presence of some degree of uncertainty in flight trajectory forecast.

Concepts: Ballistics, AnyLogic, Aircraft, Force, Flight planning, Agent-based model, Air traffic control, Air traffic controller