20120615 - Ergonomization needs of student pilots

[<Normal page] [PEREZGONZALEZ Jose D [ed] (2009). Ergonomization needs of student pilots. Aeroscience (ISSN 2324-4399), 2012, pages 35-36.]

Perezgonzalez & Lee explored the ergonomization needs of student pilots in 20091. They asked a group of student pilots3 which technological features they wanted to have when flying (with costs also included as part of those features). The group comprised New Zealand student pilots who already had obtained their private pilot licences (PPL) and were on a continuation course towards their air transport pilot licences (ATPL). These pilots had also completed at least one navigational flight requiring them to fly solo over long distances. Both requirements were important as they allowed the student pilot some experience from which to draw an opinion regarding the technological features under research.

The student pilots selected, from a list of 28 technological features, those that they wished to have in their flying. They also valued the selected features on their relative importance to each other. Of relevance here is that these students did not have experience with a glass-cockpit, but with a conventional one, so most of them had no direct experience with the technological features under research (although some students may have had access to some of them by way of bringing their own third-party technologies, such as smartphones or laptops with flight support programs installed, into the cockpit).

The research results are presented in table 1. Overall, the student pilots highly valued technological features that helped them with their flying (e.g. onboard display of navigation charts, airspace awareness functionality, pre-flight route planning, and TCAS functionality), low running costs, post-flight analysis displayed on navigation charts, and equipment portability.

Table 1. Relative importance of ergonomization features to student pilots2
technological feature mean* interpretation
Onboard display of navigation charts 4.0 important
Airspace awareness functionality 3.9 important
Low operational costs 3.9 important
Post-flight feedback on navigation charts 3.8 important
Pre-flight route planning functionality 3.6 important
TCAS functionality 3.6 important
Weather and airspace planning support 3.5 important
Onboard display of track flown 3.5 important
Portability 3.5 important
Real-time onboard monitoring 3.4 medium importance
Onboard display of route to follow 3.4 medium importance
Onboard display of elevation 3.4 medium importance
Low set up costs 3.4 medium importance
Post-flight feedback on satellite maps 3.1 medium importance
Post-flight feedback of elevation flown 3.1 medium importance
Real-time remote monitoring 2.9 medium importance
Onboard display of satellite maps 2.9 medium importance
Recording of flight parameters per second 2.8 medium importance
Full communication capabilities 2.7 medium importance
Post-flight feedback in 3-D 2.6 medium importance
Onboard 3-D displays 2.5 medium importance
Autonomy 2.3 little importance
Recording of multiple flight parameters 2.2 little importance
Full post-flight video playback functionality 2.0 little importance
Post-flight video playback capability 1.6 little importance
Fleet monitoring functionality 1.5 little importance
Onboard display of street maps 0.8 very little importance
Post-flight feedback on street maps 0.6 very little importance
*average value out of 54
1. PEREZGONZALEZ Jose D & Seung Yong LEE (2009a). New technologies for the student pilot. Aviation Education and Research Proceedings, volume 2009, pages 10-11. ISSN 1176-0729.
2. PEREZGONZALEZ Jose D & Seung Yong LEE (2009b). New technologies for the student pilot (Conference presentation). Aviation Education and Research Conference, 2009 (July), Blenheim (New Zealand).
+++ Footnotes +++
3. Sample size = 17 student pilots from New Zealand.
4. Pilots rated the importance of various technological features to their GA flying according to a 6-point Likert-scale running from "0, Not-important" to "5, Very important". The mean is the average of their responses.

Want to know more?

AviationKnowledge - Ergonomization
This AviationKnoweldge page offers links to further information on aviation ergonomization.
Perezgonzalez & Lee's (2009) abstract
The original abstract can be found under the "2009 Symposium Proceedings" tab, as PEREZGONZALEZ Jose D & Seung Yong LEE (2009a). New technologies for the student pilot. Aviation Education and Research Proceedings, volume 2009, pages 10-11. ISSN 1176-0729.


Jose D PEREZGONZALEZ (2010). School of Aviation, Massey University, New Zealand (JDPerezgonzalezJDPerezgonzalez).


Stuart ANDERSON (2010). School of Aviation, Massey University, New Zealand (stuartandersonstuartanderson).
Amber WAN (2010). School of Aviation, Massey University, New Zealand (Amber WanAmber Wan).

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