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Training Requirements for Autoflight use in a Datalink ATC Environment

In this little project, I tried to map out the cognitive consequences of replacing the current system of aircraft/ATC voice communications with a computer-based system in which clearances would be delivered to the airplane, and perhaps to the flight guidance automation in the airplane, directly via datalink. At the time I did this work, datalink systems were still far in the operational future. The work got me thinking more generally about what information goes where, when, and in what form in the aviation system. It turns out that the patterns of information flow have cognitive consequences.

Datalink systems are now in use in trans-oceanic environments. I observed one of these operations on a flight from Auckland, NZ to Brisbane, Australia in the fall of 2005.


Hutchins E.  The cognitive consequences of patterns of information flow.  Intellectica  1,30:53-74, 2000.