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National Aviation Research Institute Receives More Than $1 Million in Grants - (7/24/1997)

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The National Aviation Research Institute will team up with government, academia and industry to ensure the human element is portrayed in all aspects of air traffic control research and development projects - thanks to five organizations that committed over $1 million in grant money.

NARI's collaboration with these groups will ensure the voice of air traffic controllers is incorporated into significant projects and technology before implementation - not after. "Humans work with equipment day after day so it is important the technology works for them and not the other way around," said NARI Executive Director Mike Connor. "Today, controllers are given a piece of equipment and told, 'Make this work.' NARI will change this mindset by placing human factors to the top of the priority list," he said.

NASA Ames, Lockheed Martin, Miter Corp., Catholic University and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University are the first institutions to enter into contracts with NARI to conduct research into the unique job of an air traffic controller and the pilot interface. NASA Ames pledged a dollar amount in the high six figures to NARI for three years. NARI will research issues such as free flight, advanced air traffic systems and pilot and controller human interface. Lockheed Martin guaranteed 10 months of its time and almost $56,000 to study advanced controller tools and concept development of airborne independence in free flight air traffic management. Miter Corp. provided a grant of $25,000 and a contract to research advanced air traffic operations. Specific areas of investigation will include human factors in advanced systems and operational applications. Catholic University will study the impact of free flight on air traffic controllers, their work environment and operational procedures. The educational institution entered into a contract with NARI and will pay air traffic controller consultants on an hourly basis. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University agreed to a cooperative relationship which will lead to specific research projects in the future.

NARI is a not-for-profit corporation formed in July 1996 as an outgrowth of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association. Air traffic controllers will serve as consultants on many of the research projects.

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