Operational Complexity in Performance-Based Navigation Arrival and Approach Flight Operations
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We studied how pilots handle operational variations during arrival and approach instrument flight procedures (IFPs), focusing on factors that may be related to performance-based navigation (PBN). PBN is a key enabler of the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen). We developed a factor rubric based on an iterative review of events in the Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS) public database and prior research. We coded 164 ASRS reports selected for relevance to PBN. We identified where each event occurred relative to the route of flight, tallied the coded factors and event outcomes, and gathered data on crew actions that indicated resilience to operational variations such as unexpected behavior of aircraft automated systems. We conclude that PBN appears to magnify the effects of operational complexity for these events. Pilots would benefit from training that provides opportunities to experiment with new situations they could encounter in PBN scenarios.
KeywordsPBN RNAV RNP STAR OPD ASRS NextGen Resilience
This document was prepared for the FAA under the FA6YCE Interagency Agreement (Human Factors of Flight Operations and Technologies) with funding from the NextGen Human Factors Division (ANG-C1) via the Fiscal Year 2017 RE&D System Development – NextGen Air/Ground Integration Project Level Agreement, Task 12. The Volpe Center thanks the FAA technical sponsors, Dr. Kathy Abbott and Jeff Kerr, and the program manager, Sabreena Azam. We thank NASA for selecting the reports in the study. We also thank Dr. Mark Shelhamer of the Volpe Center for his insights and feedback on this effort. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Volpe National Transportation Systems Center or the United States Department of Transportation.
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