Handbook of Aviation Human Factors

By Daniel J. Garland; John A. Wise et al. | Go to book overview
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outside world is largely created through computer graphic techniques; that is, information from databases is used to portray the world by rendering (drawing) a representation of the outside world similar to that shown in a very sophisticated, interactive video game. In the enhanced vision approach, various sensors (television, radar, forward-looking infrared radar, etc.) are used to extend the pilot's vision by allowing the pilot to "see" at night, in fog, or during heavy rain. Thus the pilot's vision is extended or enhanced, and becomes effective in regions pilots would not normally be capable of seeing.

Cockpit Configuration

Because the HSCT has no front windows, the entire front "wall" of the crew station can be used as a display. Large-area flat-panel displays, such as AMLCDS, would be the display medium to create these large viewing areas for pilots. However, the exact configuration of the display device depends not only on the field of view provided by large displays, but also on such factors as display resolution and update rate, as well as magnification level of the sensor image ( Harris & Parrish, 1992).

Research has been conducted ( Haralson, Reising, & Gharyeb, 1989) comparing the effectiveness of large-area display formats. The panoramic cockpit control and display system (PCCADS) was developed to compare a traditional F-15 cockpit suite with a cockpit suite that contained one 10 x 10 display with two 5 x 5 inch displays. Results showed that pilots performed better using the large-area display and also liked the large display formats. PCCADS 2000 compared the two previously mentioned cockpit suites with one large display format. Again, the pilots preferred and performed better with one large display format. The pilots were able to tailor the format by putting information where they wanted it. In this way, they knew exactly where to look to find critical information. This, is turn, enhanced performance.

Another aspect of the large display surface is that it could be three-dimensional (3-D). Current 3-D techniques require some sort of eyeware in order to present the third dimension, but commercial airline pilots would find this headgear objectionable, thus necessitating another way of presenting 3-D information. The answer lies in an autostereo display, which does not require glasses ( Eichenlaub & Martens, 1992).

In military cockpits pilots do wear helmets, so presenting information on their visors is a natural means of display presentation. The creation of a "virtual cockpit" on the visor, in 3-D, is a natural follow-on to the fact that pilots cannot see the outside world because laser protection devices prevent outside light from reaching their eyes.


Aircraft crew stations have progressed from those of Doolittle's day containing myriad mechanical devices to those of today based almost entirely on electro-optical devices where the distinction between controls and displays continues to blur. In addition, automation has progressed from simple autopilots to flight management systems with numerous software decision aids. With the increasing emphasis on unmanned aerial vehicles, there is even some discussion in the military environment as to how many future systems will possess human crewmembers ( Wilson, 1995). No matter how this issue is resolved, as long as there are manned aircraft, airborne crew stations will offer


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Handbook of Aviation Human Factors
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