Air Traffic Research Program > System Maintenance and Technical Operations > IETMs Research Issues 07

  Program Description

Research Areas

System Maintenance and Technical Operations Advanced Air Traffic Systems Individual and Team Performance Personnel Selection and Training
  Additional Information
System Maintenance and Technical Operations
1. Abbreviations/Acronym Standard
2. Guidelines for Evaluating the Usabi
3. Guidelines for New Symbol Developme
4. Heuristic Evaluation of Tech Ops Us
5. Information Requirements for RMM
6. Standard on Symbols Used in Technic
7. Standardization of Graphical User I

IETMs Research Issues '07

Primary Investigatior :Vicki Ahlstrom
  FAA ACB-220
Background :  Although Interactive Electronic Technical Manuals were first conceptualized in the 1980s, recent advanced in technology and computing power has caused them to be a more realistic option for maintenance. In recent years, an increasing number of IETMs have been introduced in the both the military and aircraft maintenance realms. Technical Operations, the FAA organization responsible for maintenance of National Airspace System equipment, has recently introduced IETMS as a cost effective replacement for paper-based technical manuals. Electronic delivery of documents allows the maintainer to have the most recent copy of the technical manual and reduces distribution time and cost. These manuals are created in such a way as to access the information from a number of different directions rather than restricting the user to sequentially paging through the manual. More advanced ITEMS can also provide task-specific guidance such as diagnosis, procedural guidance, and multimedia content. In the Technical Operations environment of the future, maintainers will struggle with maintaining skills on an increasingly diverse and complex set of systems and equipment. With systems that are progressively more reliable, maintainers may not work on a particular system more than once a year. The introduction of the Reliability Centered Maintenance concept may exacerbate this situation. IETMS have the potential to provide on site information necessary for troubleshooting of mission-critical systems.

Technical approach :  The approach will primarily involve surveys. We would like to collect objective data to supplement the subjective survey data. As with many operational systems, there are practical limitations to data collection which depend on the availability of personnel, safety, and potential impact to operations. We will adapt the data collection method to the constraints of the operational environment. Objective usability information will be collected through observation and semi-structured interview if it is practical to do so. If it is not possible to observe the system in use, our alternative plan is to conduct a usability structured walkthrough with participants at a field site.

Research Question :  What is the impact of the introduction of IETMs on the maintainers of the STARS and WAAS systems? What are the characteristics of the current user population? What tasks are IETMs used for relative to the system as a whole? What is the degree of interactivity between the IETM and the subject system (IETM level of functionality)? What are operator perceptions and acceptance of IETMs? What lessons may be learned from the introduction of these two IETMs in Tech Ops? How can the results of this project be applied to the design of subsequent IETMs grounded in human factors principles?

Expected completion date :  03/31/2008