Seeing the Big Picture: Pilot Assessments of Cockpit System Interactions Contribution to Situation Awareness

  • David R. Meyer
  • Christina F. RusnockEmail author
  • Michael E. Miller
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 9736)


Pilots build and maintain situation awareness based on their interaction with the world around them. This interaction includes a complex and dynamic series of tasks including running checklists, reading instruments and displays, looking out of the window, or listening to the radios. However, since the quality and quantity of information derived from each interaction is not well known, cockpit designers can only have an abstract understanding of how much situation awareness their system imparts to the human operators. This paper examines the opinions of pilots regarding how performing cockpit tasks contribute towards gaining situation awareness. Twenty-one military aviators were asked to rate 19 generic cockpit tasks based on how they contribute to or degrade situation awareness. This research shows that modern avionics, such as the Heads-Up Display, Multi-Function Display, and other sensors can provide strong positive situation awareness, but depending on the mission phase and other factors, they may not be significantly more advantageous than their analog counterparts.


Situation awareness Aircrew Pilot Cockpit design Human-machine interaction 


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Copyright information

© US Government (outside the US) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • David R. Meyer
    • 1
  • Christina F. Rusnock
    • 1
    Email author
  • Michael E. Miller
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Systems Engineering and ManagementAir Force Institute of TechnologyWright-Patterson AFBUSA

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