Date of Award
Master of Science
Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering
Michael C Dorneich
Sensor-based flight vision systems enable approaches to altitudes closer to the runway that would otherwise be precluded due to low visibility ceilings. These systems have the potential to augment the safety in flight operations and enable improved crew performance irrespective of the visibility conditions. The sensor-based flight vision system utilizes imaging sensors capable of penetrating through obscuring weather conditions, thereby providing forward the vision of the runway environment in real-time for display on a heads-up display (HUD). As the use of sensor-based flight vision system is likely to increase in general aviation operations due to recent FAA policy revision, it is necessary to evaluate the associated human performance implications, especially during off-nominal conditions.
Most of the previous studies were primarily limited to nominal cases and the assessment on off-nominal cases was limited only to HUD failures though the sensors integrated to these systems can produce degraded sensor output concerning atmospheric conditions. So, the objective of this thesis is to evaluate the human factors implications in using the flight vision system displaying poor sensor output. A pilot-in-the-loop experiment was conducted in a fixed-base flight simulator modeled with the sensor-based flight vision system. Evaluation pilots flew six different experimental trials with two visibility levels (i.e. 600ft RVR and 1000ft RVR) and three levels of
sensor information quality (i.e. none, poor, and good sensor output). Measures of performance include approach and landing performance, attention allocation, workload, and decision-making. The experiment results indicated that the pilot’s landing performance and decision making were negatively impacted by poor sensor output. Neither workload nor situation awareness was impacted. Attention allocation results show that pilots had utilized the precision approach path indicator (PAPI) and runway threshold line (RTL) for touchdown operations and fixating on RTL was critical to avoid incorrect landing decisions.
Annamalai, Ramanathan, "Evaluating the effect of sensor limitations in flight vision systems on pilot performance" (2020). Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 18085.