There has been growing interest in using electronic alternatives to the paper Flight Progress Strip (FPS) for air traffic control. However, most research has been centered on radar-based control environments, and has not considered the unique operational needs of the airport air traffic control tower. Based on an analysis of the human factors issues for control tower Decision Support Tool (DST) interfaces, a requirement has been identified for an interaction mechanism which replicates the advantages of the paper FPS (e.g., head-up operation, portability) but also enables input and output with DSTs. An approach has been developed which uses a Portable Electronic FPS that has attributes of both a paper strip and an electronic strip. The prototype flight strip system uses Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) to replace individual paper strips in addition to a central management interface which is displayed on a desktop computer. Each PDA is connected to the management interface via a wireless local area network. The Portable Electronic FPSs replicate the core functionality of paper flight strips and have additional features which provide a heads-up interface to a DST. The central management interface is used for aircraft scheduling and sequencing and provides an overview of airport departure operations. This paper presents the design of the Portable Electronic FPS system as well as preliminary evaluation results.
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