Unstable approach: the study of interaction breakdowns derived from mental model disconnects
Date of Issue2017
School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Despite the exploration and advancement in technology to ensure safety within the aerospace industry, accidents caused by the result of an unstable approach still remains prevalent in the aviation industry. As Air Traffic Management is a highly distributed and complex system that consists of the involvement between pilots and ATCOs, team interaction between them is especially critical in the contribution to the proper states and stability of aircrafts. Past research has mainly focused on the team interaction of pilots and ATCOs via the exchange of information between them. Interviews that were structured from the adaption of the Critical Decision Making methodology were conducted with 9 pilots and 5 ATCOs. The interviews target the coordination, communication, and cooperation aspects within their team interaction. Along with their goals and strategies during situations involving an unstable approach, a comprehensive overview was obtained about the Shared Mental Models of each stakeholder. Through the comparison of their Shared Mental Models, disconnects were identified in both Task- Related, as well as Team-Related Shared Mental Models. Some prevailing disconnects that comprise the working results incompatibility, which are the disconnects in their Task-Related Shared Mental Models, are pilots’ failure to promptly adapt to new arrival plans, and the insufficiency of considerations made by ATCOs regarding varying aircraft capabilities. This would call for a need to initiate team interaction to rectify the potential risks of the system. Should Team-Related Shared Mental Models also exist, such as pilots’ failure to initiate interaction on time and ATCOs’ failure to monitor the aircrafts’ states to promptly mediate the landing instabilities, their team reaction would be impaired. This ultimately leads to the situation of a missed approach, whereby the aircraft possesses an improper landing state during the approach phase.
Final Year Project (FYP)
Nanyang Technological University