Browse Publications Technical Papers 2002-01-1550

Preliminary Effect of Synthetic Vision Systems Displays to Reduce Low-Visibility Loss of Control and Controlled Flight Into Terrain Accidents 2002-01-1550

An experimental investigation was conducted to study the effectiveness of Synthetic Vision Systems (SVS) flight displays as a means of eliminating Low Visibility Loss of Control (LVLOC) and Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT) accidents by low time general aviation (GA) pilots. A series of basic maneuvers were performed by 18 subject pilots during transition from Visual Meteorological Conditions (VMC) to Instrument Meteorological Conditions (IMC), with continued flight into IMC, employing a fixed-based flight simulator.
A total of three display concepts were employed for this evaluation. One display concept, referred to as the Attitude Indicator (AI) replicated instrumentation common in today's General Aviation (GA) aircraft. The second display concept, referred to as the Electronic Attitude Indicator (EAI), featured an enlarged attitude indicator that was more representative of a “glass display” that also included advanced flight symbology, such as a velocity vector. The third concept, referred to as the SVS display, was identical to the EAI except that computer-generated terrain imagery replaced the conventional blue-sky/brown-ground of the EAI. Pilot performance parameters, pilot control inputs and physiological data were recorded for post-test analysis. Situation awareness (SA) and qualitative pilot comments were obtained through questionnaires and free-form interviews administered immediately after the experimental session. Initial pilot performance data were obtained by instructor pilot observations. Physiological data (skin temperature, heart rate, and muscle flexure) were also recorded.
Preliminary results indicate that far less errors were committed when using the EAI and SVS displays than when using conventional instruments. The specific data example examined in this report illustrates the benefit from SVS displays to avoid massive loss of SA conditions. All pilots acknowledged the enhanced situation awareness provided by the SVS display concept. Levels of pilot stress appear to be correlated with skin temperature measurements.


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