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Controller Proficiency requirements

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  2. The Requirements of Dress Design

ATC requires the performance of many different tasks using the same information or different selections from the information presented. When displays, controls and workspaces are specified, it is therefore important that they be suitable for the whole range of tasks for which they will be employed, and not merely for some of them. As a consequence, they may not be optimum for any, single function but must be efficient and safe for every function. Otherwise certain functions in the operational system may be very inefficient or impossible. For example, any visual coding such as colour is likely to tasks with which it is directly compatible but hinder tasks which require the collation of information portrayed in different colours. A balance has to be struck across the various tasks, to choose codlings that help as many tasks as possible and do not seriously interfere with any task.

The controller must be able to plan the air the air traffic control, implement the plans, make decisions, solve problems and formulate predictions. To perform the essential control tasks, the controller must understand the portrayed information, whatever form it takes. The controller must remember what forms of assistance are available and know when it is appropriate to call on each. The controller must know the right course of action in all circumstances. Human Factors addresses the thinking processes that the controller must follow and the effects of equipment changes on them. If necessary, equipment or procedures must be modified to ensure that these thinking processes do not change too much or too quickly. Whenever these thinking processes must change, appropriate controller retraining is essential. This often involves revised liveware-software links.

The controller must be able to understand and assign priorities to the relevant information, to plan ahead, to make timely and appropriate decisions, to implement them and to ensure compliance with them.

The proficient controller needs to know and understand:

- how ATC is conducted;

- the meaning of all presented information;

- the tasks to be accomplished;

- the applicable rules, procedures and instruction;

- the forms and methods of communication within the system;

- how and when to use each tool provided within the workspace;

- Human Factors considerations applicable to ATC;

- the ways in which responsibility for an aircraft is accepted and handed over from one controller to the next;

- the ways in which the work of various controllers harmonizes so that they rather than impede each other;

- what changes or signs could denote system degradations or failures;

- aircraft performance characteristics and preferred maneuvering;

- other influences on flight and routes, such as weather, restricted airspace, noise abatement, etc.


12 The Effects of the Weather on Aviation

Except perhaps for local or very short flights, a pilot, before taking off, obtains a weather forecast giving him the weather conditions which are expected along the route of his flight and at his destination. Because weather conditions affect aircraft in flight, to a considerable extent, special aviation forecasts are provided by meteorologists at weather offices all over the world.

The meteorologist, or forecaster, prepares a weather chart which shows the current weather conditions over the whole country. The current weather chart is called a synoptic chart. This synoptic chart shows the areas of low pressure, the areas of high pressure, where precipitation is falling, and all other weather conditions across the country.

From this weather map, the forecaster can advise pilots of the weather conditions they can expect to encounter during their flights. A high pressure area, for instance usually means good weather while a low pressure area usually involves one or more fronts producing clouds and precipitation over many hundreds of miles.

Pilots will pay particular attention to a low pressure area which lies en route, and the weather conditions associated with that low pressure area. The associated cold or warm fronts could involve clouds, thunderstorm, snow, rain, and turbulence. From his charts, the meteorologist can forecast where this weather will be at a certain time in the future, and with the help of these predictions, the pilot will decide which route to fly and when and he will know what weather conditions to expect. Should the forecast be very bad, for example, dense fog or poor visibility due to snow, the pilot may decide to postpone his flight. A pilot flying VFR would also cancel his flight because of low ceiling or low overcast conditions en route.

A pilot needs to know the wind direction and speed. A headwind will obviously delay the arrival of flights and is to be avoided if at all possible. A tailwind on the other hand, can be of great advantage as it increases the ground speed and results in a reduction in fuel consumption. Winds vary with altitude, and also from one place to another, so information on winds is very important.

Wind blowing between areas of different air pressure, has an important influence on aircraft operations. A pilot needs to know how the wind will affect his aircraft. He needs to know things about the wind: its direction and its speed. The wind direction is where it is blowing from and the wind speed is how fast the wind is blowing. ATC gives to a pilot information about the surface wind, that is the wind at ground level, in the following way: surface wind is 180/20. This means the wind is blowing from the south at a speed of 20 knots.

The words used to describe how strong the wind is are: calm, breeze, strong, gale (very strong), storm.

Calm means that there is no wind; storm means that the wind is very strong. A sudden increase in wind speed lasting only a few seconds is called a gust and the wind is described as gusting.

A squall is similar to a gust but lasts longer. ATC might pass the following information to a pilot: surface wind is 280/15 gusting 25.

Wind shear is the word used by ATC to warn pilots of a sudden change in wind direction or speed. Wind shear is a rapid change in wind speed or direction over a short distance horizontally or vertically. It can occur at any height, but is far more dangerous when encountered close the ground.

When wind shear is forecast or is reported by aircraft, ATC will warn other aircraft until such time as aircraft report the phenomenon no longer exists.

e.g. G-GD at 0745 a departing B-757 reported wind shear at 800 feet airspeed loss 20 kts.

Jet streams are high level winds which are very important for navigation because they blow very fast. They can blow faster than 200 knots.

Visibility is how far you can see in the weather conditions when you are flying. Visibility can affect flight operations.

Turbulence happens when the smooth flow of air is disturbed by something in its path on the ground or by rising or descending air.

Turbulence can be light, moderate and severe. In severe turbulence an aircraft can lose or gain a lot of height.

Clear air turbulence, or CAT, occurs at high altitudes away from clouds. It is normally associated with jet streams.

Information about significant changes in metconditions in the take-off or climb area is transmitted without delay, e.g. changes in surface wind direction and speed, visibility, RVR, air temperature, thunderstorm, moderate or severe turbulence, wind shear, hail, moderate or severe icing, severe line squall, freezing rain, sand storm, dust storm, blowing snow, tornado, waterspout.


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