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This article describes the proces of handover-takeover (HOTO) of operational ATC positions. It explains the basic principles of the process, the controller rotation types, the safety issues and the measures that can prevent or mitigate the associated risks.

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Handover-Takeover Principles

The procedures for handover-takeover are usually different depending on the workplace (TWR, APPhường or ACC) và vary significantly from one ANSP lớn another. There are however some common principles that are adopted in most cases:

Handover commences in "clean" situations, i.e. there is no emergency or abnormal situation developing và the conflicts are either solved or a plan for their resolution has been made.The relieving controller is supposed to arrive sầu earlier & the relieved controller is supposed to lớn remain near the working position until they are certain that the new controller"s situational awareness is at the desired cấp độ.Check-lists are used so that vital information is not neglected or omitted.The handover-takeover process is not supposed to coincide with a change of the ATC sector configuration.

Controller Rotation

Controller rotation is an essential part of the handover-takeover process.

The main types of rotation are "swap position", "one relieving controller" & "two relieving controllers".

Swap position

There are no relieving controllers. The two controllers swap their roles (executive becomes planner & vice-versa). There are two ways khổng lồ vày this:

Swap physical position. The controllers swap both positions & roles. In this case no reconfiguration of the system is necessary but the controllers need to lớn adjust the new position to their personal preferences.Swap logical position (role). The controllers remain in their positions but switch roles. This has the benefit of retaining their personal settings but poses a number of configuration challenges and is not suitable for some positions (e.g. TWR and APP) which have different equipment for different roles.

One relieving controller

A relieving controller comes lớn the sector & replaces one of the controllers in position. The relieved controller leaves for a break. This change offers the advantage of having one "old" controller with complete situational awareness which helps in case some information is skipped during the handover/takeover. An issue here is that the controllers may need to lớn adapt their personal settings each time.

There are three main ways khổng lồ vì the process:

New-to-Hot-to-Cold. The relieving controller replaces the executive (hot) who, in turn, replaces the planner (cold). This method has the advantage lớn put the "fresh" controller on the "hot seat". The downside is that the relieved controller may need lớn stay for some time at the working position in heavy traffic situations.New-to-Cold-to-Hot. The relieving controller replaces the planner (cold) who, in turn, replaces the executive sầu (hot). The advantage in this situation is that the handover-takeover from planner to lớn executive is considerably shorter (since the planner-to-be-executive is supposed to have sầu full situational awareness) allowing the relieved controller lớn go on a break even in complex traffic situations. The disadvantage is that there is a higher risk that the new executive is actually not fully aware of the situation.Swap of position. The relieving controller replaces the executive controller & then both controller swap their roles without moving to lớn another physical position. This has the advantage of less personal setting adjustment but at the cost of more complex configuration switching.

Two relieving controllers

Two relieving controllers come to lớn the sector, replacing both controllers in position. The relieved controllers leave sầu for a break. This is done mostly when a new shift starts working. This situation "forces" a more thorough handover-takeover process because both the relieved controllers leave sầu after the process is complete. However, it is possible that both new controllers have no full situational awareness with the relieved controllers no longer available. Therefore this type of replacement should be avoided whenever possible.

Other Rotation Types

In some cases it is possible that "non-standard" replacements take place, e.g. a controller is relieved from their position và goes khổng lồ different sector to relieve sầu another controller. While these can have sầu a positive impact on the efficient use of the available personnel, they may cause safety concerns (in the example case the controller moving from one sector to lớn the other will probably have difficulties adjusting their mindmix to the new sector).

Safety Issues

A number of safety issues arise during the handover-takeover process. Some of them are equipment-related while others are caused by human factors. The most notable of these are:

insufficient information exchanged between controllers during a position swap (e.g. a controller is moving from an executive to a planner position, or the executive sầu & planner controllers swap positions);laông xã of a sufficient overlap time between arrival of the relieving controller và the departure of the relieved controller;relieved controller in a hurry to lớn leave or, relieving controller in a hurry khổng lồ control;handover is a social sự kiện, a moment when ATCOs exchange greetings and may be an opportunity to chat, so disturbing the formal transfer of traffic information;lack of pre-briefing of the ATCOs;laông chồng of comtháng team briefing and organization at the start of the shift;adjustment of personal settings (usually done by the contoller) or system settings (usually done by the supervisor);too many simultaneous handovers-takeovers (affecting several sectors);the handover process affecting both controller positions;the need to adjust the controller mindset khổng lồ a new situation (e.g. a new sector or a new role).

Prevention và Mitigation

There are three main areas where improvements may prsự kiện or mitigate the handover-takeover related risks - people, equipment & procedures.

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People

Handover time: Allow sufficient time for handover.Training: Handover should be practised during all phases of training including refresher training.Availability & preparedness: Operational staff should make themselves available & prepare for the takeover (e.g. familiarisation with new procedures, environment, weather, expected demvà, work plans, etc.) prior khổng lồ approaching the operational position.Workload and information transfer: Where available, the supervisor should be responsible for determining the timing. All handover/takeovers should be conducted at a time when doing so will not compromise the information transfer (i.e. during demand troughs). Supervisor may monitor transfers in complex situations.Staff assessment: Operational staff assessment should include handover process on a regular basis.

Equipment (tools)

Checklist(s): Checklist(s) should be available at all operational positions.Handover form / briefing note: Standardised handover form should be available to describe critical information e.g. weather, facilities, staffing, & equipment status.Reminders: Consider introducing tư vấn tools lớn provide reminders to lớn the controllers (e.g. bleep).Personal settings: The possibility khổng lồ store and easily rehotline personal settings helps the controller adapt to lớn their new position & role more quickly.

Procedures

Describe the process: Development & formal mô tả tìm kiếm of standard & reasonably detailed handover-takeover procedureFollow checklist: As a routine task, operational staff should follow the checkdanh sách. A ‘uniform’ way of working for all members having the same endorsement which should reduce the problems where teams have sầu distinctly different ways of working.Handover form: The handover form should be completed.Signing off/in procedure: Signing off & signing in procedure should be in use to acknowledge that everything is done.Adjacent operational positions: Avoid simultaneous handover of adjacent operational positions.Number of handovers: Where possible minimise the number of handovers (need lớn compromise between need for regular breaks and need khổng lồ minimise hazardous activity lượt thích a handover/takeover).Sector opening: Minimise the number of handovers before/after sector opening (e.g. when sectors are collapsed or de-collapsed). All handovers/takeovers should be conducted at a time when doing so will not compromise the information transfer.Roster design: Time for position handover should be built inkhổng lồ the roster.Controller rotation: The rotation pattern should be carefully considered so that the optimal one is chosen. Generally, simultaneous replacement of both positions or controllers leaving one sector and starting lớn work on another one without a break may lead to lớn reduced situational awareness.

Accidents and Incidents

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