The importance of the training
systems for air traffic controllers (ATCTS) could be illustrated
by the well-known fact: the biggest catastrophe in the aviation
history with almost 600 victims happened not in the air but on the
ground when two planes collided in the airport of the Tenerife island.
Among the main factors that caused the tragedy was the non-efficiency
of an air traffic controller.
The air traffic becomes more and more intensive and the number of
emergency situations on flying fields increases correspondingly.
Thus a problem of controller's readiness to act properly in the
alert condition becomes the urgent issue.
However until recent time the development of effective ATCTS (for
those working in an airport tower) encountered an insurmountable
safety barrier since there is no way to train controllers on
the flying fields of today’s big airports without the risk of a
crash. As a result nowadays ATCTS are realized as computer simulators.
The best of them simulate 360 degree vision from the airport tower
by means of computer graphics – as it is in the UND training center
shown on the picture.
Such simulators have 3 serious drawbacks:
training is carried
out on a virtual airport flying field, whereas effective training
may take place only on a real field of a real airport;
ATCTS permanent placement
in special rooms of training centers, which requires that controllers'
work should to be discontinued during training
high costs of the simulators
The progress of the augmented
reality (AR) technology allows to avoid the mentioned drawbacks.
This technology combines the real world and virtual objects created
by a computer. AR is not new for aviation – helmet targeting systems
of military aircrafts are good examples.
ATCTS based on the augmented
reality could be briefly described as follows:
The air traffic controller is on his workplace in the traffic control
tower observing the airport flying field.
There are moving virtual planes (or any other objects) side
by side with real planes on the field. The virtual planes are driven
by real pilots by means of special control devices. The virtual
planes may safely take part in the training situations including
dangerous ones. The traffic controller communicates with the virtual
planes pilots in the usual way.
AR training tasks are focused on alert conditions. An example: the
model for the collision of A380 and Comair in JFK airport on April
The video of AR scene in the real airport ->
Novelty and advantages
FULLY REALISTIC ENVIRONMENT
– any training situations can be safely created (planes, cars etc.)
on and above the real flying field.
MOBILITY - quick ( < 0.5 h) deployment on any airport traffic tower.
COST – about ten times cheaper than the existing ATCTS
– training at the workplace in any airport.
TRAINING EFFECTIVENESS INCREASE – because of the training environment
realism and decrease of the cost.
PRIORITY – at present there is no analogous ATCTS.