Tuesday, September 26, 2006


What is real, what is false?
How do we decide what we percieve through our senses
is an illusion or not?

How do we feel confidence in the information we get and the meaning we assign to it?

"If the rate of directional change is quite small - and not confirmed
by the eyes - the change will be virtually undetectable and the pilot
probably will not sense any motion whatsoever".

In a large Air Traffic Control(ATC) system, a time span of continious
maintenance activity with many successfull changes may cause
the formation of a false sense of safety.

How can an operational manager decide what he percieves in a general sense is real or not?

Any changes he decides to be made to the large system causes an increase in the risk to the safety. On the other hand any necessary changes he decides to delay may cause an increase
in the risk for the future safety.

How can he decide the risk he percieves at that moment is a real reasonable one?

Actually, we all face this dilemma in many facets of our lives...
What is real, what is false? How do our brains decide what is real?

Some of our brain's mysterious algorithms are:

- Repetition or repeatibility:
If stg is real, it has to be there when tested more than once.

-Episodic memory:
It has to be remembered as a part of a sequence of events...

-Rightness anticipation:
It has to be coherent with our knowledge and long term memory.

It has to be percived by our senses.

When carefully inspected all four of these ingredients carry the
discrepancies which form the false sense of safety in a large system.

The formation of the sense of reality in the human mind is reflected
to the air traffic control systems architecture(including the human element).

False sense of safety is the vertigo of Air Traffic Control system.

Ali Riza SARAL

Note: I will be writing more on the psychological may be neurological basis of vertigo a bit in an article named "VERTIGO IN THE CONTROL ROOM". This article will also compare the concepts in a pilot's vertigo warning article with CONTROL ROOM VERTIGO.

Second article will be on "Situation Awareness in the Maintenance and Enhancement of ATC systems".

Third article will be on the "Passenger's Right to Know"...

Ali Riza SARAL