On the 1st week of May 2022, the SAFELAND team was gathered in the city of Braunschweig, Germany to conduct the Real-Time Simulation (RTS). The scope of the RTS was to evaluate the SAFELAND concept of operations aimed at ensuring a safe landing of a Single Piloted Aircraft in the event of onboard Pilot Incapacitation. This fruitful gathering took place at DLR´s Institute of Flight Guidance and involved experienced pilots from SWISS International Airlines, Air Traffic Controllers from LFV as participants, as well as operational and Human Factors experts from DLR and Deep Blue. During the RTS, a Controller Working Position (CWP), a Cockpit, and a Remote Cockpit simulator specifically adapted for the SAFELAND exercise were exploited. The simulations ran for 5 days, each of them involving one ATCO and one pilot that experienced two different scenarios:
- Scenario 1: short flight over Europe, on-board Pilot Incapacitation during the approach phase, after entering the Terminal Maneuvering Area (TMA, is a designated area of controlled airspace surrounding a major airport where there is a high volume of traffic).
- Scenario 2: short flight over Europe, on-board Pilot Incapacitation during the en-route phase (The en-route phase is defined as that segment of flight from the termination point of a departure procedure to the origination point of an arrival procedure.)
In both scenarios, the participants in their different roles (i.e., ground station pilot operating from a ground station, and ATCO) needed to communicate and coordinate with each other, and with other supporting figures (e.g., NOC) allowing the ground station pilot to ultimately manage the flight until a safe landing.
The experimental protocol included the following phases:
- Initial briefing: The participants were introduced to the SAFELAND Concept and to the experimental session.
- Training: The participants were familiarized with the simulation platforms.
- Simulation: The participants experienced the two SAFELAND scenarios
- Evaluation: After each scenario, a post-run questionnaire was circulated, to collect participants’ feedback on the performed activity with a special focus on operational and HF aspects (e.g., communication, workload, situational awareness).
Furthermore, a post-run debriefing was also performed to depict first impressions and/or report any questions that arose. At the end of the simulation exercise, an additional questionnaire was shared, aimed at collecting more general feedback on e.g., the concept, the procedures, and safety aspects. All these topics were further discussed and analysed during the final Debriefing. In this last phase, participants were also invited to share any thoughts and opinions with the researchers, raise new topics of discussion, and clarify possible ambiguities about the simulation and the concept experienced.
Currently, Consortium partners are putting together the data collected during the RTS to conclude on the evaluation of the SAFELAND concept. The RTS results will be thoroughly outlined in an upcoming project’s deliverable.