|37000 Feet||Browse and search NASA's
Aviation Safety Reporting System
|Locale Reference||atc facility : zau.artcc|
|Altitude||agl single value : 0|
|Affiliation||government : faa|
|Function||controller : radar|
|Qualification||controller : radar|
|Experience||controller radar : 13|
|Independent Detector||atc equipment other atc equipment : uret|
|Resolutory Action||none taken : unable|
|Consequence||faa : investigated|
ATC Human Performance
|ATC Facility||computer equipment : zau.artcc|
procedure or policy : zau.artcc
We are being forced to use uret, which was designed as a strategic planning, d-side tool, as a strip replacement tool. It is neither safe, or efficient to use uret in this manner. Operrors are up significantly since uret has been deployed, while traffic is down. Uret should not be used as a strip replacement tool. Uret makes it much more difficult to find flight plan information than strips. This is due to: a) the font size is too small to be easily read, B) the flight plans on the uret display jump around frequently, making it difficult to find needed information, C) there are many flts that show up on the uret display that should not be there. For example, all O'hare arrs routed over the PMM4 arrival, and all O'hare satellite arrs from over pmm are displayed on the sparta sector uret display. The sparta sector controller will not work any of these aircraft. This results in 300-400 flight plans per day that are displayed that shouldn't be, and D) the uret display does not show all needed flight plan information. Routes are truncated, and remark information is not displayed. Uret can only be accessed by 1 controller at each sector. This makes it difficult to update/find things when needed. Uret makes it much more difficult to record information than strips. It is much quicker and efficient to write speeds, headings, pointouts, etc, on strips than it is to enter it using uret. Uret cannot record approach clearance information, emergency information, and special request information. Uret does not display fix posting times on flight plans. This makes it very difficult to pre-plan. Pre-planning is a very important tool that has been taken away because of uret! The uret conflict probe is not always accurate, displays many erroneous conflicts, and some actual conflicts it does not display at all. This is making controllers become reactionary, which is precisely what uret is supposed to be preventing. The need for verbal communication between the radar controller and the d-side is greatly increased using uret than with strips. This creates much more work, and a much greater room for error. One of the primary training techniques taught with uret is 'just remember.' it is not safe to have to rely on your memory to be certain that everything that was supposed to be done, was in fact done. Strips provide that insurance because the necessary information is written down, and can be easily accessed -- so if you do forget something, the strip will remind you. There is no memory helper with uret. This is a big cause of increased errors. By all accounts, uret is acceptable when working with light traffic, at sectors where aircraft are predominately in level flight. Where uret does not work as a strip replacement is when there is moderate or heavy traffic, when aircraft are climbing, and or descending, or at sequencing sectors. It has been explained to me that uret is a 'work in progress.' they realize that it cannot do what strips do as efficiently as strips, but say that in future, uret builds it will be able to. Controllers should not be forced to use such a system, until at a minimum, it can at least do what the old system did. In reality, people are not using uret -- they are just working traffic without strips, and ignoring uret. This is creating unsafe sits on a daily basis. The solution to the problem is use uret for what it was designed for -- a strategic planning tool, not as a strip replacement tool. Uret should be used in conjunction with strips, not as a replacement of them. If the uret display was mounted above the strips, it could be utilized to do the things it does well (amendments, etc) and not be forced to do the things it does not do well. Callback conversation with reporter revealed the following information: reporter alleges that uret equipment deployment is presently restr to 5 ARTCC facilities. Reporter alleges the uret design is insufficient to provide the same functionality as present day paper flight progress strips, and therefore he does not bother with its usage -- especially during heavy traffic conditions. Controller believes that uret has a purpose and function, but not as a complete replacement to paper strips. Reporter states that 5 out of his 7 operational area control sectors are completely dependent on uret, the other 2 still use paper strips. Ctrl could not be specific about operrors directly attributed to uret. Controller claims uret was contributory.
Original NASA ASRS Text
Title: ZAU CTLR ALLEGES THAT URET (USER REQUESTED EVALUATION TOOL) IS BEING DEPLOYED AS AN INCOMPLETE FLT STRIP REPLACEMENT TOOL THAT INCREASES WORKLOAD AND IS NOT EFFICIENT.
Narrative: WE ARE BEING FORCED TO USE URET, WHICH WAS DESIGNED AS A STRATEGIC PLANNING, D-SIDE TOOL, AS A STRIP REPLACEMENT TOOL. IT IS NEITHER SAFE, OR EFFICIENT TO USE URET IN THIS MANNER. OPERRORS ARE UP SIGNIFICANTLY SINCE URET HAS BEEN DEPLOYED, WHILE TFC IS DOWN. URET SHOULD NOT BE USED AS A STRIP REPLACEMENT TOOL. URET MAKES IT MUCH MORE DIFFICULT TO FIND FLT PLAN INFO THAN STRIPS. THIS IS DUE TO: A) THE FONT SIZE IS TOO SMALL TO BE EASILY READ, B) THE FLT PLANS ON THE URET DISPLAY JUMP AROUND FREQUENTLY, MAKING IT DIFFICULT TO FIND NEEDED INFO, C) THERE ARE MANY FLTS THAT SHOW UP ON THE URET DISPLAY THAT SHOULD NOT BE THERE. FOR EXAMPLE, ALL O'HARE ARRS ROUTED OVER THE PMM4 ARR, AND ALL O'HARE SATELLITE ARRS FROM OVER PMM ARE DISPLAYED ON THE SPARTA SECTOR URET DISPLAY. THE SPARTA SECTOR CTLR WILL NOT WORK ANY OF THESE ACFT. THIS RESULTS IN 300-400 FLT PLANS PER DAY THAT ARE DISPLAYED THAT SHOULDN'T BE, AND D) THE URET DISPLAY DOES NOT SHOW ALL NEEDED FLT PLAN INFO. ROUTES ARE TRUNCATED, AND REMARK INFO IS NOT DISPLAYED. URET CAN ONLY BE ACCESSED BY 1 CTLR AT EACH SECTOR. THIS MAKES IT DIFFICULT TO UPDATE/FIND THINGS WHEN NEEDED. URET MAKES IT MUCH MORE DIFFICULT TO RECORD INFO THAN STRIPS. IT IS MUCH QUICKER AND EFFICIENT TO WRITE SPDS, HEADINGS, POINTOUTS, ETC, ON STRIPS THAN IT IS TO ENTER IT USING URET. URET CANNOT RECORD APCH CLRNC INFO, EMER INFO, AND SPECIAL REQUEST INFO. URET DOES NOT DISPLAY FIX POSTING TIMES ON FLT PLANS. THIS MAKES IT VERY DIFFICULT TO PRE-PLAN. PRE-PLANNING IS A VERY IMPORTANT TOOL THAT HAS BEEN TAKEN AWAY BECAUSE OF URET! THE URET CONFLICT PROBE IS NOT ALWAYS ACCURATE, DISPLAYS MANY ERRONEOUS CONFLICTS, AND SOME ACTUAL CONFLICTS IT DOES NOT DISPLAY AT ALL. THIS IS MAKING CTLRS BECOME REACTIONARY, WHICH IS PRECISELY WHAT URET IS SUPPOSED TO BE PREVENTING. THE NEED FOR VERBAL COM BTWN THE RADAR CTLR AND THE D-SIDE IS GREATLY INCREASED USING URET THAN WITH STRIPS. THIS CREATES MUCH MORE WORK, AND A MUCH GREATER ROOM FOR ERROR. ONE OF THE PRIMARY TRAINING TECHNIQUES TAUGHT WITH URET IS 'JUST REMEMBER.' IT IS NOT SAFE TO HAVE TO RELY ON YOUR MEMORY TO BE CERTAIN THAT EVERYTHING THAT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE DONE, WAS IN FACT DONE. STRIPS PROVIDE THAT INSURANCE BECAUSE THE NECESSARY INFO IS WRITTEN DOWN, AND CAN BE EASILY ACCESSED -- SO IF YOU DO FORGET SOMETHING, THE STRIP WILL REMIND YOU. THERE IS NO MEMORY HELPER WITH URET. THIS IS A BIG CAUSE OF INCREASED ERRORS. BY ALL ACCOUNTS, URET IS ACCEPTABLE WHEN WORKING WITH LIGHT TFC, AT SECTORS WHERE ACFT ARE PREDOMINATELY IN LEVEL FLT. WHERE URET DOES NOT WORK AS A STRIP REPLACEMENT IS WHEN THERE IS MODERATE OR HVY TFC, WHEN ACFT ARE CLBING, AND OR DSNDING, OR AT SEQUENCING SECTORS. IT HAS BEEN EXPLAINED TO ME THAT URET IS A 'WORK IN PROGRESS.' THEY REALIZE THAT IT CANNOT DO WHAT STRIPS DO AS EFFICIENTLY AS STRIPS, BUT SAY THAT IN FUTURE, URET BUILDS IT WILL BE ABLE TO. CTLRS SHOULD NOT BE FORCED TO USE SUCH A SYS, UNTIL AT A MINIMUM, IT CAN AT LEAST DO WHAT THE OLD SYS DID. IN REALITY, PEOPLE ARE NOT USING URET -- THEY ARE JUST WORKING TFC WITHOUT STRIPS, AND IGNORING URET. THIS IS CREATING UNSAFE SITS ON A DAILY BASIS. THE SOLUTION TO THE PROB IS USE URET FOR WHAT IT WAS DESIGNED FOR -- A STRATEGIC PLANNING TOOL, NOT AS A STRIP REPLACEMENT TOOL. URET SHOULD BE USED IN CONJUNCTION WITH STRIPS, NOT AS A REPLACEMENT OF THEM. IF THE URET DISPLAY WAS MOUNTED ABOVE THE STRIPS, IT COULD BE UTILIZED TO DO THE THINGS IT DOES WELL (AMENDMENTS, ETC) AND NOT BE FORCED TO DO THE THINGS IT DOES NOT DO WELL. CALLBACK CONVERSATION WITH RPTR REVEALED THE FOLLOWING INFO: RPTR ALLEGES THAT URET EQUIP DEPLOYMENT IS PRESENTLY RESTR TO 5 ARTCC FACILITIES. RPTR ALLEGES THE URET DESIGN IS INSUFFICIENT TO PROVIDE THE SAME FUNCTIONALITY AS PRESENT DAY PAPER FLT PROGRESS STRIPS, AND THEREFORE HE DOES NOT BOTHER WITH ITS USAGE -- ESPECIALLY DURING HVY TFC CONDITIONS. CTLR BELIEVES THAT URET HAS A PURPOSE AND FUNCTION, BUT NOT AS A COMPLETE REPLACEMENT TO PAPER STRIPS. RPTR STATES THAT 5 OUT OF HIS 7 OPERATIONAL AREA CTL SECTORS ARE COMPLETELY DEPENDENT ON URET, THE OTHER 2 STILL USE PAPER STRIPS. CTRL COULD NOT BE SPECIFIC ABOUT OPERRORS DIRECTLY ATTRIBUTED TO URET. CTLR CLAIMS URET WAS CONTRIBUTORY.
Data retrieved from NASA's ASRS site as of July 2007 and automatically converted to unabbreviated mixed upper/lowercase text. This report is for informational purposes with no guarantee of accuracy. See NASA's ASRS site for official report.