Some of the Findings from the Research Project

  • There are 81 combinations of EC devices  possible giving a 50% average chance of detection (1sd = 30%) at best.
  • Pilots estimated that they had 60% chance of detecting traffic and a 70% of being detected thereby overestimating the capability of their equipment.

  • 43% of pilots experienced an emotional reaction to seeing an undetected aircraft (unconscious expectation of full coverage).

  • Pilots' understanding of EC was variable.

  • Many comments suggested a  ‘reliance’/false sense of security when using EC.  Even though pilots knew that the chance of detection was less than 100%, there was nevertheless an unconscious expectation of full coverage which gave rise to:

    •  Negative emotion (anger at others perceived not to be using EC, anxiety with EC)
    •  Examples were seen of EC usage extending beyond the intention of the manufacturers.
  • The use of EC devices could lead to distractions (operational, lookout, device-centric, finding distant target, etc). 

  • Major Points from the Report

  1. Non-compatibility is MAJOR issue which fuels many HF points (trust, decoy, confirmation issues, etc

  2. The use of EC devices Impacted on lookout (reliance, fixation, head-down, etc)

  3. Hardest to use EC devices in the most important phases of flight where the risk of a mid air collision was  at its highest, e.g. within ATZs.  Examples of this   were:
    •  Signal/noise (nuisance alerts)
    •  Overwhelming the attention e.g. in the circuit (some pilots switch it off)

  4. Examples of changed pilot behaviour/decision-making were noted when the devices were used in a tactical and strategic sense rather than simply as alerting devices.

Conclusion

EC-cued search is extremely enticing but it can funnel pilot attention, effort, and distract from wider look out.  However, it is a valuable aid to situational awareness and can detect other aircraft when the pilot is unable to do so.  With the current sate of interoperability, EC should be viewed as a means of enhancing see and avoid rather than replacing it.  Six pieces of HF advice were identified and published in video format which can be viewed here.

READ THE FULL REPORT HERE