Wildlife, urban air mobility and air traffic control – what’s the matter?

Wildlife, urban air mobility and air traffic control – what’s the matter?

A Real-Time Human-in-the-Loop Study with Air Traffic Controllers

Isabel Metz
Research Associate

German Aerospace Center DLR
Lilienthalplatz 7
Braunschweig, Lower Saxony, Germany 38108
(053) 129-5366

Abstract: Aviation operations taking place up to 3’000 ft are especially endangered to collide with wildlife. Intended Urban Air Mobility aircraft perform their entire flights at these wildlife-critical heights. To reduce the risk, a warning tool based on avian radar was developed for air traffic control. This system was evaluated in real-time human-in-the-loop simulations. The set-up included commercial fixed-wing traffic and air taxi shuttles between an airport and nine locations in the adjacent city center, all within the control zone supervised by the tower controller. Controllers were provided with a visualization of current and predicted tracks of critical wildlife and were asked to use the information upon their discretion. Their feedback as well as objective performance indicators indicate the feasibility of controller involvement in the wildlife strike management process.

Isabel Metz

Dr. Isabel Metz is a postdoctoral researcher at DLR’s Institute of Flight Guidance, specialized in real- and fast-time simulations of Air Traffic Management concepts and procedures. In her position, she heads the institute’s 360° Apron- and Tower simulator, supervising human-in-the loop simulations with air traffic controllers, validating novel procedures and supporting tools.  Isabel’s main research focus lies on operational wildlife strike prevention, involving air traffic controllers and pilots in the process. In that capacity, she is a member of ICAO’s Wildlife Hazard Management Expert Group. Isabel received her B.Sc. & M.Sc. degrees in Transportation Engineering (with honours) from the University of Technology in Braunschweig, Germany and her PhD degree from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands.

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