Sunday, July 30, 2006


I am not sure,
whom I learned these from.
An old sailor,
an Echo on the Alp mountains?
Or the scent of the trees
at a coffe cottage in the Black Forest…

The possibility that a human faced with an emergency situation after a long ruhig-calm period, may react correctly is little. Thus, there is a lesser possibility of a new accident before the aftermath of the previous gets forgotten.

After a long period without problem, Air Traffic Controllers have difficulty in handling a serious route conflict during their surveillance period.

The same with automobile driving. The relaxed driver takes over a truck appearing in front of him suddenly, with the same mood.

The problem is the source of this relaxed mood. The brains of people dealing with difficult or boring tasks learn the process of this task first. Once this schema has been formed in the brain, the related task can be done automatically with an automatic process.

Automatic processes may be triggered by both the concious or the sub-conscious. Suddenly faced with an emergency situation, the human brain has to stop the automatic process and initiate a controlled proces to be executed by the conscious.

The cause of the difficulty is the interruption of a process that is being executed by the sub-conscious… The fact of the matter is, if a process controlled by the sub-conscious is interruptable, then that may mean that, that process is not automatic.

The solution may be that the conscious may interrupt sub-conscious processes sporadically or the sub-conscious may pass the control to the conscious at the wake of a risk increasing over a threshold. The interruption of sub-conscious processes automatically may be a faster but difficult to recover solution. May be, this solution is a form of situation awareness.

Air Traffic Control, namely THE CONSCIENTIOUS CONSCIENCE and IT’S VIGIL SUB is a performance art. Air Traffic Controllers are chosen with special exams and health tests.
ATC(Air Traffic Control) is a very special human being. 300 controllers work at EUROCONTROL (European Agency for the Safety of Air Navigation)’s Maastricht Control Center according to the Dr.Vermeiren’s presentation on the internet. Each and every year 2-3 of them have to leave for mental reasons. This means roughly 30 of your colleagues have to bite the bullet at the end of 10 years.

We, the society have to appreciate the work of air traffic controllers and their mental sacrifice at this moment of the heavy summer season… Motivation is a not very well managed point in the European ATC, somehow lessened to stipend.

Ali Riza SARAL"