Analysis of routine pilot-controller communication

Daniel G. Morrow, Alfred Lee, Michelle Rodvold

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


Although pilot-controller communication is central to aviation safety, this area of aviation human factors has not been extensively researched. Most research has focused on what kinds of communication problems occur. A more complete picture of communication problems requires understanding how communication usually works in routine operations. In the present paper, we describe our investigation of a sample of routine pilot-controller communication in the TRACON environment. After describing several dimensions of routine communication, we focus on three kinds of communication problems: Inaccuracies such as incorrect readbacks, Procedural deviations such as missing callsigns and readbacks, and Nonroutine transactions where pilot and controller must deal with misunderstandings or other communication problems. Preliminary results suggest these problems are not frequent events in daily operations. However, analysis of the problems that do occur suggest some factors that may cause them.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalSAE Technical Papers
StatePublished - 1990
Externally publishedYes
EventHuman Error Conference, HUMAN ERROR 1990 - Warrendale, PA, United States
Duration: Oct 1 1990Oct 1 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Automotive Engineering
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Pollution
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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