Comparison of Alerted and Visually Acquired Airborne Aircraft in a Complex Air Traffic Environment
This study was designed to answer what percent of “required” traffic pilots acquire visually using the current “visual acquisition system” of windows, eyes and the Traffic Collision Avoidance System (TCAS). “Required Traffic” was defined as Air Traffic Control (ATC) calls to the research aircraft, TCAS Traffic Alerts and/or TCAS Resolution Advisories. The results of the approximately 40 hours of flight were that the majority of (“required”) traffic was NOT visually acquired (39% visually acquired; 61% not visually acquired). When traffic was identified to the pilots by more than one source, the visual acquisition rate was 58%. For validation purposes, an additional 10 hours of flight observations were made during revenue flights with a major airline. Flight test and airline observations were found to be comparable.