One of the techniques which aims at providing gains in efficiencies in the future will be ASAS.
Needless to say that introducing airborne separation will be a major evolution in air traffic control.
A lot of R&D is being carried out at the moment to identified the tools and procedures which will be necessary to provide sufficient situational awareness to pilots [who at the present point in time the little they have translates into what is presented to them via TCAS and their radio] and to controllers [who at present control all the aircraft which are active in their airspace].
One of the main future challenges will be to train both controllers and pilots in the direct and indirect skill sets that they will need to accommodate ASAS.
Having 100% control of your airspace can be very challenging, especially in busy and/or complex traffic situations, however having 80% control of the same situations will probably be even more challenging. The skill to accommodate a mixed mode of aircraft using ASAS and others which don’t will need to be learned, and even though I am sure that future controllers will be assisted by state of the art technology to do so, it will still be a challenge.
This will be part of the future paradigm shift that controllers have to make: they need to be more flexible and accept more variation.Â This means that even from very early future controllers need to be trained in a different way.Â Probably they have to be also selected on different criteria.
This in turn means that the trainers, and those specifying training objectives need to understand and appreciate the new challenges and introduce them into training at the right time. Those delivering training need to be kept enough in the loop to be able to provide advice to the new students. All this will not happen overnight, however knowing how long it takes to initiate, discuss, propose and approve training specifications and then develop and deliver training material, I think now is right about time to start.
I think that the SESAR development phase should take this work, and other related to it which will change the ATC tasks, on board as part of the Human Performance roadmap: Adapting Selection, Training and Licensing to enable the achievement of the ATM target concept.
As for the pilots, I think that similar work needs to be done.Â The principle of ‘aviate, navigate and communicate will have to be changed to aviate, separate, navigate [or navigate, separate, depending form where you see it] communicate.
So, interesting times ahead, but it is better if we start preparing now to enjoy it later!