Mixed-media communication on the flight deck: A comparison of voice, data link, and mixed ATC environments

Alison McGann, Dan Morrow, Michelle Rodvold, Margaret Anne Mackintosh

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


A part-task simulation study compared pilots' responses to voice and data link air traffic control (ATC) messages in a single medium versus a mixed voice and data link ATC environment. Contrary to initial hypotheses, voice transaction times were longer in the mixed than in the single-medium environment, whereas data link transaction times were unaffected by the environment. The interval between ATC messages was also varied to examine the influence of time pressure in voice, data link, and mixed ATC environments. Time pressure resulting from short intervals between messages increased data link transaction times independent of environment, but message interval influenced voice communication only in the mixed environment. Closely spaced messages also increased the number of requests for clarification for voice messages and review menu use for data link messages. The findings emphasize the need to develop procedures for managing communication in mixed voice and data link environments and reinforce concerns about introducing data link into busy terminal environments with frequent communication.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)137-156
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Aviation Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Applied Psychology
  • Computer Science Applications


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