CoSpace 2003 Flight Deck Experiments Assessing the Impact of Spacing Instructions from Cruise to Final Approach - The Full Report
This report presents the results of the CoSpace flight deck experiment conducted in 2003. This experiment formed part of a series of air and ground validation exercises aiming at investigating the use of spacing instructions for sequencing arrival flows. The previous flight deck experiments conducted in 2002 aimed at assessing the use of spacing in distance, from cruise to initial approach. The previous controller experiment conducted in 2002 introduced spacing in time and down to final approach. The present experiment is built upon these two previous experiments. Its objective was to assess, from a pilot perspective, the use of spacing in time and down to final approach. A recurrent secondary objective was to assess the evolutions of cockpit interface. Six crews of two airline pilots took part in the experiment on a part-task cockpit simulator. Flight crews were tasked to perform a spacing task in speed-select mode with the support of guidance cues, in addition to usual flight tasks.The spacing task was considered as quite compatible with usual flying tasks despite an increase of mental effort which remained acceptable. Pilots noticed a slight focalisation on the spacing scale that might lead to reduce monitoring of flight parameters. Perceived benefits were: better understanding of the situation and anticipation, lower communication load due to less frequent exchanges with controllers. Time-based spacing was felt easier to handle. Some pilots asked for a managed spacing mode. The impact on flight crews' activity was assessed through the analysis of the speed actions. The average number of speed actions was less than 1 per minute and most were comprised between -15kt and +5kt. Every crew successfully achieved the spacing task: the deviation was maintained within the tolerance margins (5 seconds) with an average deviation of 1 second. Next steps will consist in assessing the effect of various reactions of preceding aircraft under airborne spacing. Experiments on a full-flight simulator are envisaged to assess feasibility in a more realistic environment.