Ergonomization needs of student pilots
Perezgonzalez & Lee explored the ergonomization needs of student pilots in 20091. They asked a group of student pilots which technological features they wanted to have when flying (with costs also included as part of those features). They also asked them how much they valued the selected features.
Extended research results are presented in table 1. Overall, the student pilots valued highly technological features that helped them with their flying (eg, 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|
|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|
|Weather and airspace planning support||3.5||important|
|Onboard display of track flown||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|
|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 5|
- This was an exploratory study of student pilots' valuation of new technologies (typically integrated in the so called glass-cockpit).
- A convenient sample of 17 student pilots. 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.
- 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).
- A questionnaire with a list of 28 technological features, collated from observing three different GPS-based technologies used in aviation or with aviation applications: a real-time fleet tracking technology (Spidertracks), an iPhone application for tracking flight parameters for post-flight analysis, and a flight management system application which runs on Microsoft Windows-capable devices.
- The questionnaire required first a dichotomous (yes/no) selection of features deemed relevant, and, secondly, an assessment of the relevant features on a five-anchor Likert scale running from '1, very little importance' to '5, very important'. (In practice, the procedure made for a six-anchor Likert scale, with '0' standing for those features not deemed relevant and meaning 'not important at all'. Results, thus, average values between 0 and 5.
- A last question asked the students to choose which of the three technologies they would purchase if they had the capability of doing so.
- Students were approached and invited to participate in the research in the last half-hour of a normal class.
- They were given a presentation of the different technologies and their relevant features, including a comparison vis-a-vis between them.
- After the presentation, they were invited to fill in the questionnaire.
- Univariate quantitative analysis (namely descriptive analyses), using SPSS version 14.
Given the exploratory approach of the research and the small sample and its convenience, the results from this study may not have enough scope for generalization. They could be indicative of similar attitudes in the following 'populations' (in order of decreasing generalization power):
- Future student pilots from the same school reaching a similar level of training and exposure to new technologies.
- Student pilots in New Zealand.
- Student pilots elsewhere.
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 (ISSN 1176-0729), volume 2009, pages 10-11.
Jose D PEREZGONZALEZ (2010). Massey University, Turitea Campus, Private Bag 11-222, Palmerston North 4442, New Zealand. (JDPerezgonzalez).
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