Differences Between Manned and Unmanned Pilots Flying a UAV in the Terminal Area

Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing book series (AISC, volume 1210)


Detect and avoid (DAA), an essential component to integrate unmanned aircraft (UA) systems into the National Airspace System, focuses largely on developing and enhancing algorithms to assess and define requirements for the loss of well clear with other aircraft in the system. This flight simulation experiment focuses on terminal area alerting capabilities in and around the local airport traffic pattern and seeks to address under which conditions should the DAA system switch between large and small alerting criteria. Piloting differences observed between manned-aircraft and UA pilots while operating a UA in the terminal area in flight simulation are reported in this paper. Data indicate that UA pilots were more comfortable with smaller separations between their UA and other aircraft in the traffic pattern than the manned-aircraft pilots.


Unmanned aircraft systems Terminal area Aircraft separation 



This research was funded by the Detect and Avoid Well-Clear subproject of NASA’s UAS Integration in the NAS project. Tod Lewis and Michael Vincent contributed to the design of the experiment. For simulation, the authors would like to thank Dimitrios Tsakpinis, simulation development lead, Robert Myer, Joel Ilbuoudo and Joshua Kaurich (SAIC), and Kristen Mark and Anna DeHaven (Craig Technologies). During data collection, the authors would like to thank Paul Volk of AAG, and NASA Langley’s Air Traffic Operations Lab—Ed N. Scearce, NASA, Chad Chapman, David West of SSAI, and Troy Landers and Joe Mason of Metis Technology Solutions.


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Copyright information

© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2021

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.MS 152, NASA Langley Research CenterHamptonUSA

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