Data Comm—a text-based controller-pilot communication system—is critical to many NextGen improvements. With Data Comm, communication becomes a visual task. Interacting with a visual Data Comm display may yield an unsafe increase in head-down time, particularly for single-pilot operations. This study examined the feasibility of supplementing Data Comm with synthetic speech. To this end, thirty-two pilots flew two experimental scenarios in a Cessna 172 Flight Training Device. In one scenario, ATC communication was with a text-only Data Comm display, in the other, communication was with a text Data Comm display with synthetic speech that read aloud each message (i.e., text+speech). Pilots heard traffic with similar call signs on the party line and received a conditional clearance (in both scenarios); in either scenario, pilots received a clearance that was countermanded by a live controller. Results indicated that relative to the text-only display, the text+speech display aided single-pilot performance by reducing head-down time, and may have prevented participants from acting early on the conditional clearance. Supplementing text Data Comm with speech did not introduce additional complications: participants were neither more likely to erroneously respond to similar call signs, nor to ignore a live ATC countermand.
Federal Aviation Administration, NextGen Advanced Concepts & Technology Department, Human Factors Division
Scholarly Commons Citation
Lennertz, T., Bürki-Cohen, J., Sparko, A. L., Macchiarella, N. D., Kring, J., Coman, M., Haritos, T., & Alvarado, J. (2012). NextGen Flight Deck Data Comm: Auxiliary Synthetic Speech Phase I. , (). Retrieved from https://commons.erau.edu/publication/148