An ecological perceptual aid for precision vertical landings
Author(s)Smith, Cristin Anne
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Aeronautics and Astronautics.
Mary L. Cummings and Laura M. Forest.
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Pilots of vertical landing vehicles face numerous control challenges which often involve the loss of outside visual perceptual cues or the control of flight parameters within tight constraints. These challenges are often associated with a high mental workload, therefore, a precision landing aid that addresses and helps to mitigate these challenges, and reduce mental workload is needed. To address this need, a cognitive task analysis identified specific situation awareness requirements for the design of a vertical landing aid in order to reduce the mental steps required during a vertical landing. From these requirements, a new vertical landing decision aid, known as the Vertical Altitude and Velocity Indicator (VAVI) was designed, which displays altitude and vertical speed information in an integrated form including the display of flight parameter safety constraints. The display instrument takes advantage of direct-perception interaction by leveraging ecological perception and emergent features to provide quick perception and comprehension of critical flight parameters in an integrated fashion. To test the effectiveness of the VAVI for vertical landing and hover performance, an experiment was conducted in which participants flew a simulated Harrier vertical landing flight profile using Microsoft Flight Simulator (MSFS) 2004.(cont.) Participants were recruited for their helicopter pilot experience or PC flight simulator experience. Two heads-up displays were implemented: one which included the VAVI, and another which displayed altitude and vertical speed information consistent with operational V/STOL aircraft head-up displays. A 2x2 ANOVA design was utilized in which the heads-up display was a between-subjects factor and flight task, which included hovering and landing, was a within-subjects factor. Participants participated in two test scenarios which involved hovering at a specified altitudes and descending using either a static or dynamic vertical speed heuristic. The VAVI showed statistically significantly better vertical speed control performance over the conventional display of altitude and vertical speed. Similarly, though not statistically significant, other dependent variables used to measure landing performance as well as precision hovering consistently resulted in better performance with the VAVI. A subjective workload survey indicated that the VAVI caused less workload across all experimental tasks, indicating that the VAVI does help to remove some of the demanding cognitive processes currently associated with vertical landing and hover operations. Future design and implementation issues are discussed.
Thesis (S.M.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2006.Includes bibliographical references (p. 157-162).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Aeronautics and Astronautics.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Aeronautics and Astronautics.